Dear ABC News Fixer: Sent My Computer for Repairs, It Never Returned

PHOTO: UPS

Dear ABC News Fixer: I sent my computer out for repairs. It was fixed and sent back to me by UPS, but I never received it.

UPS wouldn't talk to me because I was not the sender. I was still charged for postage and handling by the repair company. I was told that UPS would settle with the shipper, but I can't get any information from the sender, either. Can you help?

- Alice Ogues, Pahrump, Nev.

Dear Alice: Your Gateway computer has not had a good year. First, you had to send it out for repairs in January. After about a month and no word from the shop, you contacted them and were told it had already been shipped back to you in early February.

But you never got the package. You obtained the tracking number and called UPS. They promised to look into it, and in early March, you said a UPS rep came to your home with a document for you to sign, confirming that you'd never received the computer.

After that, nothing happened – until April, when you were told the case was closed. At first, you thought a settlement had been sent to the repair company – but they told you nothing had been done.

The ABC News Fixer was hopeful we could pull your computer out this black hole. We gave your tracking number to UPS' media relations folks and asked if they could investigate. UPS told us that usually claims are filed by the shipper, but they promised to look into it.

It turned out that another little error had gotten in the way, said Susan Rosenberg, public relations director for UPS. In March, when you completed the claims paperwork, a box was accidentally checked indicating that delivery was completed. Which was, of course, exactly the opposite of what happened. That error caused their system to close out the issue, Rosenberg told us.

UPS did get in touch with you and with the shipper, and UPS ultimately decided to buy you a new laptop since yours apparently has vanished. UPS also apologized for the trouble.

Rosenberg pointed out that UPS delivers 16.3 million packages a day.

On another note, as the holiday gift-giving season approaches, consumers should keep in mind that packages shipped via UPS are automatically protected against loss or damage up to $100, but the protection doesn't apply if there is improper or insufficient packaging. So don't ship a fragile gift for Grandma in a flimsy box.

Shippers can declare a value higher than $100, to get a higher level of protection against loss or damage, but will need to pay extra. There are various exclusions and restrictions, so if you're shipping something really important, be sure to read the fine print online before shipping and read the FAQs here.

Rosenberg said your shipper didn't declare any value, but UPS picked up the cost of a new laptop to make up for the problems with how your inquiry was handled.

- The ABC News Fixer

Got a consumer problem? The ABC News Fixer may be able to help. Click here to submit your problem online. Letters are edited for length and clarity.

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