UPS casts a wide net with its independently owned and operated UPS Stores, company-owned Customer Centers, authorized outlets, and 40,000 drop boxes. Its prices and services mirror those of FedEx, but for slightly higher ground shipping rates in our price comparison.
UPS goes toe-to-toe with FedEx when it comes to air/express delivery options, which let customers send overnight packages that will arrive by a specified time early the next day. However, our UPS review found that the company's prices are typically several dollars higher than FedEx's for essentially the same service. The U.S. Postal Service outdoes them both on price at most service levels but doesn't provide extras such as a guaranteed delivery date, except for overnight Priority Mail Express.
One thing that gives UPS a leg up over FedEx is its large network of locations: 1,000 Customer Centers, 4,741 independently owned UPS Stores, and 13,000 authorized outlets. The U.S. Postal Service has more retail offices, but UPS supplements its outlets with more than 40,000 drop boxes. Nine out of 10 consumers can find a UPS drop box within five miles of home, according to the company.
UPS reviews posted online include a number of complaints about late deliveries and lost packages. However, UPS delivered more than 4 billion packages in 2011, most of them unharmed and on time. Data compiled by PackageFox in early 2011 show that 91 percent of UPS shipments arrived at the appointed time, giving the company a slight edge on FedEx, which delivered 88 percent of packages on time. The UPS services we researched include a money-back guarantee if a shipment arrives late.
Despite advantages in retail presence and on-time delivery, according to our UPS review the company falls short on other factors. These include price and customer satisfaction, where UPS trailed FedEx by a single point in a recent American Customer Satisfaction Index report, scoring 84 out of 100, and has lagged its competitor on average over the past 15 years.