Today we received a bill from UPS for an overnight international package that we shipped last month. When we shipped it, we paid cash. Nearly 70 euros worth, in fact, so you can imagine that I was a little perturbed to get a bill for that amount. Did the delivery man pocket the cash and report the bill as unpaid?
Then I thought, well, maybe I’m not reading this correctly. It’s true that I sometimes make mistakes when interpreting the impenetrable gobbledy-gook of bills and “official” statements. But no, right there at the tear-off bottom part it said, “Include this part with your payment.”
My wife looked at it and said, “No, it’s got to be a statement.” I pointed at the top, where it said “Factura,” which means “bill” in Portuguese. It did not say “Recibo,” which would mean “receipt.” Then I pointed at the bottom tear-off part.
Baffled and now as perturbed as I was, my wife got on the phone with the local UPS. She hadn’t even finished describing the problem before the clerk interrupted and said, “Oh, you’re referring to the lower part of the bill? Yeah, don’t worry, we send out the same paper to people who have accounts with us and charge their shipments. So if you’ve already paid, then it’s not a bill.”
So, let me get this straight. Portugal’s UPS office sends bills to everyone who ships with them, whether they charged the shipment on account or paid cash. If you haven’t paid, it’s a bill. If you have paid, then it’s a receipt. And in the meantime, exactly how many phone calls must that office get from confused and worried customers? Obviously quite a few, since my wife didn’t even finish explaining before the clerk knew exactly what she was talking about.
What, do they only have one kind of stationery?
(Cynically, I am wondering how many people pay twice, and whether UPS refunds their money.)