Wednesday, February 18, 2009

UPS Teams With USPS on Package Returns

UPS is piloting a new returns service with a few pre-selected retailers that allows consumers to return items shipped via UPS by placing them in their own mailboxes for pickup by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).

Known as UPS Returns Flexible Access, the offering uses the USPS Parcel Return Service combined with UPS's own delivery network to allow retailers to provide their customers with increased convenience in returning items.

Consumers in the pilot program receive special package labels that allow them to leave a UPS Returns package in their own mailbox or other location for their postal carrier to pick up. They also can drop the package off at their local Post Office or in postal collection boxes.

Once a returns package arrives at the local post office, a UPS driver picks it up and transports the package back to the retailer via the UPS ground network.

The combination of USPS options with the traditional UPS access channels - The UPS Store, UPS drop boxes, UPS customer centers, third-party retailers (Office Depot, Staples, Authorized Shipping Outlets) and UPS drivers - creates an extensive network of package pickup options available to the consumer.

The pilot is expected to last about five months. UPS will work closely with the pilot customers and the USPS to determine when and if the service will be made available to other retailers on a more widespread basis.

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