UPS reusing old tracking numbers!



  • Ya know, UPS must ship a LOT of packages -- they're already reusing numbers from only 2 years ago!


     

    Those 18-digit tracking numbers just can't keep up with the demand...



  • It's all down to Heisenberg: if the location of the shipment is very accurately known, the shipment it refers to must be highly uncertain - as will be depcited in the Quantum View.



  • There was a Pop-Up Potpourri about this a few months back.



  • For what it's worth, back when I had to deal with fairly large amounts of UPS tracking numbers (~200/day, not huge by any stretch, but large enough for me), we would find a dupe at least every few months.  I was informed by our UPS rep that tracking numbers should usually be unique, but that they weren't guaranteed to be unique, which was a minor WTF moment for me. 

    Of course, we didn't need them to be unique, but I can't imagine how UPS could allow it or continue to work with it ... Maybe I'm just not enterprisey enough.



  • They really only need uniqueness within a 1-month period or so, since it's just for tracking packages en-route. It's not a general unique-package-id.



  • Uniqueness for them is one thing, but uniqueness for the user should be their priority. As soon as I got emailed my tracking number, it looked like my package had been already delivered - and to the wrong state, at that!

     Total WTF moment indeed.

    At the very least, they could do some simple manipulation on the tracking page to avoid this - if there are any "Delivered" dates, the tracking page should list those entries newer than that delivery date. Adding a button to allow you to "View older packages with this number" would get you the historical data.

    Seriously, when was the last time you looked up the status on a 2-year old already-delivered package?  



  • Has anyone else noticed the OP isn't really even referring to the uniqueness of the numbers? I think his issue is the delivered on date being 2005 when it was shipped in 2007. Whether the numbers are unique or not, the dates should be correct.

     

    Maybe I am missing some history that would help me understand why everyone is ignoring that....



  • It seems strange that they would only list the 2005 delivery date, not all the other information from the 2005 package as well.  My guess is that this came up because somebody put in the wrong number when delivering the package back in 2005.  That or somebody tried to program the page to ignore older packages, but failed horribly at it.



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    Has anyone else noticed the OP isn't really even referring to the uniqueness of the numbers? I think his issue is the delivered on date being 2005 when it was shipped in 2007. Whether the numbers are unique or not, the dates should be correct.

     

    Maybe I am missing some history that would help me understand why everyone is ignoring that....

    I was referring to the lack of uniqueness. If they used unique numbers, I wouldn't see two order histories listed in the tracking page, and the summary page wouldn't say "Delivered in 2005" either.




  • I noticed that the destination on that package is Shrewsbury...  May I ask where you live?  I live in Worcester.



  • @tster said:

    I noticed that the destination on that package is Shrewsbury...  May I ask where you live?  I live in Worcester.

    Shrewsbury isn't the final destination - it's actually an interim stop on the way to Waltham, where I work.
     



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    Has anyone else noticed the OP isn't really even referring to the uniqueness of the numbers? I think his issue is the delivered on date being 2005 when it was shipped in 2007. Whether the numbers are unique or not, the dates should be correct.

     

    Maybe I am missing some history that would help me understand why everyone is ignoring that....

     

    Based off of the image, it hasn't yet been delivered. Thus the delivery date is correct for the first time this number was used.



  • All us massholes. Wonderful.

     

    I live in Natick by the way, work down in mansfield. 

     

    <-- forgot about it being underneath my user name there.. It's been a long night here at work :( 



  • Make It In Massachusetts.

    Spend It In Newf Hampshire.

     



  • Those 18 numbers also contain service codes, customer identification numbers and a check digit, so the real unique ID range a retail company has for a certain service may be as low as a million or something. If that mail order company sends out a couple of thousand UPS shipments a day, they'll have duplicate tracking numbers within a year. Happens all the time.



  • A company can have more, because a company can have more than one shipper number. But the rest of your post is right. only 7 digits of the tracking number actually refer to the unique package.



  • @Skurry said:

    Those 18 numbers also contain service codes, customer identification numbers and a check digit, so the real unique ID range a retail company has for a certain service may be as low as a million or something. If that mail order company sends out a couple of thousand UPS shipments a day, they'll have duplicate tracking numbers within a year. Happens all the time.


    And if the unique part of the ID is generated randomly, it'll be a lot faster than that -- see "Birthday paradox".



  • Waco, TX? I didn't think UPS shipped incendiary substances....



  • So it was delivered to your porch, but was temporarily lawn-side?


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