Ethical? UPS and iPad delivery shenanigans

As most of you know I have ordered an iPad and like all the other 250,000+ early adopters I am eagerly awaiting my delivery. On Monday I received notice of shipment from Apple and it showed the shipment had left China. By Tuesday at noon UPS said that it was in Louisville, KY and by midnight it was in State College, PA. Great! I knew that Apple would likely make arrangements with UPS to keep delivery from occurring before April 3rd (or the 5th in my case since it will be delivered to the office), but it was nice to know that it was in the neighborhood. Then things got curious.

By Thursday morning the UPS tracking system had reverted back to the original status on Monday, showing “origin scan” in Shenzhen, CN. Today, Friday morning, it now shows it is leaving China from Guangzhou.

UPS is busy reassuring the Apple faithful that their precious is in fact close by and will be delivered on time. I was sharing this with my folks and my grandmother yesterday who said this was “unethical.” At first I laughed at the notion and said that Apple has a right to determine when their product would have initial delivery, allowing them to make a big splash. And I still think that is true, but…

When I saw the tracking information this morning and that it now showed that it was just leaving China this morning, even as I knew it was in my town and the UPS folks were reassuring us all that their tracking information was wrong, I reconsidered my view.

The UPS system has been manipulated to present me (and every other iPad recipient) with false information. They are lying to us. If that is not unethical, then it is at least very poor customer service. They are harming their credibility and demonstrating that if you are powerful enough (Apple) you can force UPS to alter their tracking system to suit your needs.

So my conclusion is that UPS has, if not behaved unethically, behaved in a way that undermines their credibility. What do you think?

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