(This is not Spam!) How Twitter Saved Me $800

Those who know me know that I am a freak for technology (or a ‘technology slut’, as my father-in-law so affectionately has called me). Considering this, I suppose I was rather late to online social networking and the blogosphere. I don’t really know what took me so long, but now that I’ve found it, I’m all in like someone playing with house money.

I wanted to share this quick true story with you because it has become my new token reply to anyone, in my professional or personal life, who suggests that technology is inherently the tool of the devil.

A few weeks ago I had to put in a warranty claim with Rogers on one of our iPhones. Anyone familiar with this process knows that Rogers sends you a package which includes: a) the new device; and b) a pre-paid UPS envelope in which you must dutifully return the device you are replacing. So, being the anal task manager that I am, I promptly scooted down to the nearest UPS Store to drop-off the returning package.

Big mistake.

From that day forward, said phone ceases to exist on the planet. There is no record of it ever being put into the UPS, let alone Rogers, system. I do not know what happened, but one can infer.

So I waited a few days, even though I knew UPS usually delivers within the GTA quite promptly. More days passed and I started to get a bad feeling. I myself was stupid because all I got from the store was a little scrap piece of paper with a hand-written tracking number and a store stamp. I checked on the online tracking site. Nothing. Rogers.com. Nothing. I started getting worried.

My next step was to go back to the store and ask what had happened. My Spidey senses spiked with anxiety when I walked in and found another man angrily talking to a UPS agent on the phone, demanding to know where his ‘lost’ item was. I asked one of the young lads about my package, and he shrugged his shoulders kind of like the way one of my grade 6 students once lied about stuffing an unwanted ham sandwich in an unused cupboard in the classroom. “It’s not our fault – it’s head office’s,” was his claim. So I called head office.

“I’m sorry but there is nothing we can do because it was never put into the system by the store”.

I called Rogers.

“I’m sorry but this is really a UPS issue. We don’t see it in our system.” (The Rogers customer rep even warned me to never drop-off at a UPS Store!)

In other words, The Usual.

That very day I also received a letter from Rogers warning me that if I did not return my phone soon I would be out 800 smackers. I didn’t know what to do. Write a letter? Wait? Just put a ‘trace’ in the system? No, I tweeted it.

OMG I think the UPS Store stole my iphone #RobbedByUPS

Ten minutes later I received this reply from the UPS head PR office: @r_o_y_a_n Please contact us immediately regarding this issue at the following number … I was stunned.

The rest, as they say, is history. The saga did not end completely there, but people at UPS sure got very helpful very fast. Needless to say, and rightfully so, the iPhone with legs is not costing me a cent.

If the head PR office rushes to the assistance of a mere speck of dust like me because I seem to have a voice I never knew I had, what does this say about Twitter and Web 2.0 as a kind of emancipatory tool? What about the Ahmadinejad Regime’s desire to literally stamp out tweeters during the Iran Election (or #iranelection, as it’s known in the Twitterverse)? And why is the NFL, the most powerful sports juggernaut in N. America, banning their players from tweeting? Hmm, one of the biggest courier companies in the world, an autocrat, and a multi-billion dollar sports league don’t like people speaking their mind on a little website? In my world, that’s something that is, at the very least, interesting.

So the next time a colleague angrily calls you ‘A Tool’ (another true story) for giving PD around technology, or your kid’s high school decides (in vain, no doubt) to ban cell phones at school because, well, it’s just easier, tell them the story of how a corporation was concerned about, and acted immediately upon, the Twitter habits of a little Asian man in Toronto.



  1. That’s a great story! It’s also a good lesson in integrity – what you say on the Net matters, and if you say the right thing at the right time, it counts. No doubt they would have done a quick read through of your profile to make sure you were ‘the real deal’.

    I am slowly unfolding a theory about how important it is to be ‘truthful’ and own yourself and your words in a post-polite society, especially in the relative anonymity of cyberspace. I’ll blog about it sometime.

  2. What a story. It’s amazing how tweets arent just used to promote things, but its a huge tool to bash companies too. I think the corporations have caught on and are taking dramatic action as you saw in your experience! Great story!

  3. Wow Royan! Was the lost phone actually found, or did UPS just cover your costs?
    I guess your post was viral negative marketing for them unless they arrested it.

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