Pocket-lint has received this cautionary tale from one of our readers, who has proved what he says in his open letter to us. The gist of it is that an ordered iPad mini with Retina display has gone missing, but you'll be as surprised as we were at the reason why.
We've decided to present his story in its complete form here. Let's hope UPS is reading.
One man's tale of woe and waiting for Apple's newest tablet
My wife and I don't normally bother with presents for birthdays. After our many years together, our home is so full of accumulated, memory-laden rubbish that one more item might drop us through the floorboards into the flat below.
But this year was a big one. It would be ungracious to reveal how big, but it had a zero at the end of it.
She was born in November, at around the date when Apple announced its new iPad Mini with Retina display. I'd already seen her gazing wistfully at the current model in the Apple store and I knew that the only thing that was stopping her was that she couldn't justify the expense to herself.
I work freelance, so I took on a bit of extra work, squirrelled the money away, and shortly after they became available to order online, made the purchase.
The estimated delivery date was a couple of weeks after her birthday, but since she wouldn't be expecting a gift, timing wasn't crucial. In fact, it would add to the surprise.
Then, exciting news. On November 23, I receive an email from Apple telling me that her iPad has shipped from the warehouse and may arrive two days later.
November 25. Nothing. I check and recheck Apple's online delivery tracking service, but nothing comes.
November 26. A change! It's on its way from the UPS warehouse. It's on a truck. It will definitely be here today. So will I. All day.
The three-storey Victorian house I live in contains three flats. The upstairs flat is empty, awaiting new owners, the downstairs neighbours are out at work. It's eerily quiet. No music or radio for me today. When the delivery comes, I want to hear it. There will be no 'sorry we missed you' postcards. Not on my watch.
I head downstairs to check the doorbells are working, making a mental note to remind the incoming upstairs neighbours to change the label on their bell, which still bears the name of a couple who moved out a year ago.
As I sit at my computer typing, I can hear every creak this old building makes.
My ears are as attuned to unusual sounds as a deer's to the click of a hunter's rifle. Three or four times, I think I hear the scre-e-e-e-k of a gate or the crunch of footsteps on gravel. It's nothing.
The clock ticks.
It's 4pm. Time for another look at the online tracking service. A hammer blow.
Delivered! At 3.17pm!
How? Never mind that now, it must be in the hallway downstairs.
I must be mistaken. Back to the computer. To Apple's site and to the UPS site. Both say the same thing.
Delivered at 3.17pm and signed for by… signed for by… the couple who moved out a year ago. The couple whose name I never got round to removing from the doorbell.
It's now 4.19pm and I'm on the phone to Apple. To my ears, the customer service man sounds sceptical, and I'm disappointed not to receive the promised follow-up email (I later discover that two emails have been spam-trapped).
A little later, I call UPS, who promise to call me back within the hour. They don't.
All my neighbours, both current and impending, confirm by email that they did not sign for anything.
I spend the intervening, disbelieving hours checking up on UK consumer law regarding online sales. It's all positive. Until the item has been delivered into my hands, the missing iPad Mini is Apple's and UPS's problem, not mine.
By now, I am thinking very dark things about UPS indeed. There are three equally ridiculous-sounding ways I can think of that the package could have been signed for with the name used.
The first is that the delivery person handed it to a random passerby who masqueraded as someone living here, taking the name from the bell.
The second is for the delivery person to have got to the doorstep, read the name on the bell and signed for it themselves before stealing it for themselves.
The third is for the delivery person to be working in cahoots with someone who signs for stuff, taking names from doorbells.
I search online for reassurance about the unimpeachable honesty of UPS delivery people. I find this:
November 27. Back on the phone to Apple. This time, we get somewhere. The very helpful customer service man knows my rights as well as I do, agrees it's their problem and asks for a scan of my passport so they can compare signatures with the one UPS have. Frustratingly, even though I have the iPad's serial number on my invoice, he says they can't track its whereabouts.
Back on the phone to UPS. They promise to get back within an hour. They don't.
Finally, in mid-afternoon I receive a call telling me to contact Apple, as it's now with them and their investigation team. I imagine I hear the sound of hands being washed and Vs being flicked.
Now I'm back to waiting. Apple says it will contact me this afternoon. There's even talk of a goodwill gesture to make up for the inconvenience. Which is an improvement on the gesture I feel UPS have made.
And that's where I am right now. Waiting again, as my wife's birthday recedes further into history.
And do you know what the real kicker is?
Somewhere, someone is either fencing, receiving or buying my wife's brand new iPad mini.
They will open the box, hold the machine in their hands and turn it over to inspect its lines. And on the rear, they will find engraved the following words: "To dear XXXX (wife's mac.com email address), on a 'significant' birthday".
I ordered the inscription as anti-theft security. Alanis Morissette, eat your heart out.