Often unnoticed rates at UPS

Dec. 21, 2009 at 9:41 AM
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NEW YORK, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- U.S. customers may feel duped when they are charged extra at a UPS Store for sending a package by U.S. mail, a market critic said.

"I think there's a natural assumption on the part of the consumer that if you're sending something through the U.S. Postal Service, even when it's from another store, you're not paying more, and if you are paying more, it's just a pittance," Tod Marks, a senior editor at Consumer Reports told The New York Times.

The Times, however, reported Monday that surcharges at UPS Stores for sending packages through the federal mail system are not always small.

At various Manhattan UPS franchises, Times reporters found markups ranging between 10 percent and 140 percent over U.S. Postal Service rates for the same service, the newspaper said.

"UPS stores are allowed to have any kind of markup they want," said franchise owner Shawn Choudhury.

Further, UPS Stores don't always point out what the markup will be, the Times said.

"We would certainly hope that they are open and honest," said Rich Hallibrin, a spokesman for Mail Boxes Etc., which manages the shipping giant's franchise business.

But "we can't mandate it," Hallibrin said.

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