What is the value of my data?
I am furious.
Usually, I am resigned. Usually, I understand when policies get in the way, processes #fail, and people act like, well, humans and make mistakes.
But this time I was so pissed off, I took to Twitter.
Lo and behold, UPS tweeted back within hours asking me to email them:
And so I did:
Greetings UPS and thanks for hearing my cry for help.
I wanted to send a package and went to UPS.com but when I entered my username and password, I received this:
>>> The User ID and/or Password entered was invalid. Please try again. (Note: User ID and Password fields are case sensitive and consecutive unsuccessful log-in attempts may result in the User ID being locked out.) (SSO_1018)
After multiple attempts and assuming I may have been mistaken about my name and password, I choose "Send User IDs" and received this:
>>> No User ID(s) exists for the e-mail address entered. Please try again. (SSO_1014)
When I called UPS Customer Service, I was told that my account was probably deleted as I had not sent a package in several months. When I expressed my disbelief, the person on the phone assured me it was standard operating procedure.
I was flummoxed. So I turned to Twitter. Having tweeted for more than 5 years, this is only my second public complaint.
Is the information I received correct and the years of personal and business addresses I entered at UPS.com are now gone? Or is this information incorrect and my account can be recovered?
Thank you for your help.
Twitter@ups.com replied within two hours:
Thank you for your response. The system will purge the account after 7 months of inactivity and we are unable to retrieve the information. You should have received an automated message telling you that it was going to expire if you did not log into the account. This is done because we have so many accounts that are not used. I'm so sorry that I can't pull up this information for you. You would have to set up a new profile.
Still not believing my eyes, I tried again:
I am certain that I have shipped something with UPS within the past seven months but always trusted you guys to keep track of such things. Do you truly have no information connected to my email address? None at all?
It seems I was blown off for good:
I appreciate you getting back to us. Unfortunately, we have not been able to locate any further information. It may be best that you create a new profile at this time. I'm sorry that I don't have better news for you. Thank you for taking the time to bring this to our attention and allowing us to respond.
So now - a week later - I am calm, I am cool, I am collected. I am rationally considering…
No, I'm not.
I am still furious!
That was my data. You say you sent me an automated message telling me my account was going to expire. Can you show me a copy?
I am so sorry that, in this world of big data, your systems are so lame and your data storage costs are so high that the 450 kb it must have taken to store a couple of hundred addresses for me was just too costly for you to bear.
Might you have at least sent me a CSV file of my data before deciding I was a non-entity?
So what is the value of my data? Simple: one business relationship, deleted.
All is not lost. I did hear from FedEx:
Good to know Dave. Thanks for being there.
Stamp Fail image via Shutterstock.
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Jim Sterne is an international consultant who focuses on measuring the value of the Web as a medium for creating and strengthening customer relationships. Sterne has written eight books on using the Internet for marketing, is the founding president and current chairman of the Digital Analytics Association and produces the eMetrics Summit and the Media Analytics Summit.
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