ACE – flying the unfriendly skies

Alaska Central Express, more commonly known as ACE, has a website that loudly proclaims them to be a “more reliable” cargo carrier with six flights each week to Dutch Harbor.  “Don’t wait on your freight!” They claim consistent flight schedules, friendly service and they even offer online air bill tracking.  With that online air bill tracking, I was able to confirm something I already knew:  our new stove has been sitting in their Anchorage warehouse for 17 days.  Sears dropped it off on the 7th, a Saturday.  When we hadn’t received it by the following Thursday I phoned the Anchorage facility.  “Oh, you’ll have it by Sunday.”  Excellent. That’s great. Except it didn’t arrive by Sunday.  On Monday I phoned the Anchorage warehouse again and asked why I hadn’t yet received my stove. The woman who answered said she’d check into this matter and would call me back.  After five hours she still hadn’t phoned back (she never did) so I called our local ACE office.  “We’ve only had one plane in the last four days,” was the whining response, “You’ll get it by Friday.”  Uh-huh.  The whining continued, “If you want to, you can upgrade it to priority and you’ll get it sooner.”  Really?  What does making it a priority item involve?  “For that size item, about $100.” Umm, excuse me, but I’m already paying $250 for freight delivery and now you want another $100 to make the delivery actually happen?  Uh…  that sounds like a scam.  So ACE accepts items for delivery at a set rate but doesn’t really deliver anything without forcing the customer to pay above and beyond the set rate?  Do I have that right?  It sounds like a really crappy way to do business and I just can’t bring myself to pay them extra for the crappy service I’ve already received.  Clearly our freight was not a priority to them and we were in fact going to wait on our freight, no matter what their website might claim to the contrary.  Friday came, and went.  No stove.  I called at the end of the day.  “Sorry,” said the whining voice, “We’ve only had one plane this week and we’re really backed up and if it’s not priority it’s just going to have to wait.”  I spent the weekend searching for someone in Anchorage who might be able to collect the stove from ACE and take it to the Horizon Lines shipping consolidator, a company which I know from personal experience is, unlike ACE, reliable, friendly, and economical. You have to wait a few days for the ship to get here, but after 17 days in the ACE warehouse in Anchorage, what’s a four-day boat trip?  We would have paid $100 for someone to get the stove out of ACE’s hands, but unfortunately we couldn’t find anyone with both a truck and free time on Monday.  I sent an email about 12 hours ago asking about the status of my stove but, not surprisingly, haven’t heard anything from them.  So here we sit, still wondering when – or if – we’re going to get our stove from our unfriendly, unreliable extortionists at ACE.  I’m just glad it’s a stove and not my dog waiting in their warehouse.

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