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The UPS Store, Tales of Gore

Stories of ownership failure, carnage and regrets about The UPS Store (TUPSS), formerly known as Mail Boxes Etc. OH, and the rebuttals to those horror stories too.

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michael webster's picture

BS Call

Guest writes: " My sales have increased 15-25% every year. Went from #30 in my area to #1 or #2 every month."

Cum'on, this is BS.  

Did you start from a dollar a year?  I might believe that sales increase.

Your are a shill: my store increased sales 125% over five years.

Post it your monthly sales reports to your franchisor, then.

Michael Webster PhD LLB
Franchise News

UPS loses another legal battle

UPS gets their butts kicked again in the legal arena. What a bunch of crooks !!!

UPS Store Case

What happened with the BSA case. It looked like everything was going their way, then the plaintiffs moved the trial dates (why). Now the Judge changed an earlier ruling and granted summary judgement for the defendents?

What happened?


I want to thank you for your comments posted here. While doing my own due diligence I am finding conflicting perspectives with the viewpoints on this site. While your personal experience and positions are well taken into consideration, it would be irresponsible of me to ignore the weight of the credible sources that I have found which are providing me additional information.

The people quoted in this article have interesting things to say.

I don’t know if any of you served our country, but as a veteran myself, I found this interesting as well.

Again I thank you as your postings have encouraged me to dig deeper and perhaps see a side of the story not represented here.

Re: Perspective

Anyone can get that crap written about them.
How about having Jim Amos explain all the lawsuits that follow in his wake.
What franchise are you looking into anyway?

OH, are you Jimbo himself trying to do a little saving face????

Jim Amos--look further

Enter "Jim Amos lawsuits" into the search engine on this site. Read well. Note the long history. Also, Jim Amos was instrumental in the sellout of Mail Boxes Etc. to UPS, which led to the present situation.

Jim Amos

I read on this site where he admits to providing information that was protected in the sale. Maybe he should have to give back the proceeds that he pocketed. Daughter Heather Rose tanked one company on her own already. Stay away from any deal this guy is dealing up unless of course he gives you an eagle pin to show just how stupid you are. He seems to have an obsession with birds and shrines built to himself. Maybe catch one of his books if you really need to induce a coma. One of the greatest Con Men of all time.

Jim Amos

I couldn't agree with you more. It is absolutly amazing that a crook like Jim Amos keeps getting hired. Your're right. He is the ultimate "self-rightous" con-man. There were many excellent franchises and area people involved in MBE. However, they were so indimitated by this man that they kept their mouth shut for fear of reprisal. I am no longer involved with MBE but I write this as a warning to others who might be tempted to be involved in a business that he is associated with. If Amos is invlolved, RUN! I recently reviewed an interview with Amos on Kudlow. Looks good and sounds good. That's the problem. In all my years in business a never met a more dispicable man than Amos.

UPS Stockholders

If you are a stockholder and really care how you get your money and not just wait for that check, then ask UPS why the UPS Stores are not in the annual report and how they are doing. When you own a company, you should report on it. UPS does not do that. The whole world seems to move on what UPS does each quarter. Why is that? They may get the job done but at the expense of over 4,500 store owners.

Don't buy a new store or a transfer, not even if it shows a profit because that profit is fleeting. Ask yourself if this store is such a great thing, then why are the owners selling or why are there so many for sale for less then what they could be? They know what goes on behind the scenes and you don't find that out until you buy. Put your money in stocks and bonds. Have something for your retirement.


UPS doesnt own the ups store chain, it is owned by mbe. UPS just has a contract with them to use them in the name so that peoplw will know that they can ship ups there, just like fedex kinkos, which is still owned by kinkos


UPS owns MBE, bought them in 2001, do a simple web search.

Fedex bought kinkos and is currently dropping the Kinkos name.

Re: UPS Stockholders

UPS Stores are listed. They are listed under SCS and they don't break you fools out!

The new FOC should be out

Anyone have a copy or know how to get a copy from the FTC?

Paul Steinberg's picture

FTC doesn't give FDD

FTC won't give you the FDD, although that's a common misconception. Try Caleasi--I always forget the hyperlink, but it's on the Franchipedia section of BMM.

Paul Steinberg
Franchisee Attorney, New York City, Ph: 212-529-5400


1st half of the IAMCO arbitration litigation ruling coming up in the next 7 days. 2nd half of IAMCO trials in appellate court and that will go forward as past eperiances have shown. This group are solely MBE stores. PSA (Platinum Sheild Assoc) have been awarded a class action status on behalf of the UPS Stores and that is in full swing. PSA individual litigations (also MBE stores only) are waiting for their ruling from the appellate court and are optimistic on that as experiance will show again. BSA (Brown Sheild Assoc)has 1st trial date of SEPT.16,2008 for the UPS STORES and after that the 2nd trial for the converted UPS STORES 30 dats after. Lets do the math 30 + 165 + 217= 412 group litigations add on about 50 more personal litigations and than add on 5000 more in the class action litigation and we have 5462 litigants all taking action against UPS just on the franchise alone. Anyone want to buy into this franchise?

UPS stock holders report

Does anyone have the stock holders report. A birdie told me for the first time the litigation of these groups is mentioned in the stock holders report. Sure would like to get a confirmation on that. Anyone up for some dry reading that has the report

Re: UPS stock holders report

Your confirmation from the UPS annual report:

Page 36:
"UPS and Mail Boxes Etc., Inc. are defendants in various lawsuits brought by franchisees who operate Mail Boxes Etc., centers and The UPS Store locations. These lawsuits relate to the re-branding of Mail Boxes Etc. centers to The UPS Store, The UPS Store business model, the representations made in connection with the rebranding and the sale of The UPS Store franchisees, and UPS' sale of services in the franchisees territories. We have denied any liability with respect to these claims and intend to defend ourselves vigorously. At this time, we have not determined the amount of any liability that may result from these matters or whether such liability, if any, would have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, result of operations, or liquidity."

Very Interesting, UPS

Hey, UPS, how is it you ignored the UPSS in the last 5 annual reports, and now feel it is time to cover your butts.

Did those pesky legals tell you to do this?

Are you setting the stage to blame Mathis, Romanella & Eskew and then get rid of the mess?

Are you ready to actually discuss the problems with the representatives of the franchisees?

When will you be able to determine the amount of liability that may result from these matters?

Will you set up a reserve for this, or stick your heads in the sand and possibly have another "one time event" blind side the stockholder like you did with the Central State Teamsters? Yes, the one that wiped out most of the profits in 2007.

Inquiring minds want to know!

Ask the Man who owns one.

And Folks wonder why UPS stock shares are floundering

Does the phrase "unfunded liability" have something to do with it?

Last year there were rumors that the underfunded Central States Teamsters Union debacle would have an impact on UPS earnings. UPS never even mentioned this in their annual report and lo and behold come 4th quarter of last year, they charged $6 billion against earnings to make this problem go away! This resulted in net earnings for the year of less than the paltry dividends paid shareholders. Right now, shares are selling at 200 times twelve month trailing earnings and this week, UPS admits that 1st quarter earnings will be about 10% less than previously forecast! Still no acknowledgement of the facts that they have a potential liability that might dwarf the so called "one time charge" due to the teamsters union pension fund for one region only of the country.

What is the unfunded liability due to the franchising debacle?

Who knows? - what we do know is that the one franchisee that settled, did so by UPS/MBE buying his franchise back for $5,000,000.

As mentioned above, there are potentially almost 5,500 litigants somewhat similarly situated. Do the math, it comes out to about
$27,500,000,000 which is quite a chunk of change, now is it not!

Would it not be appropriate to at least mention this storm cloud to the stockholders?

What goes around comes around

UPS/MBE have 5 legal battles to contend with all at the same time and all having to do with the MBE/UPS STORES.
1-IAMCO GROUP coming to a head
3-platinum sheild individual litigations moving forward
4 UPSOVERCHARGEDME.COM moving forward and gaining huge number or participants
5-Brown Sheild GROUP litigation in full flight
6-Numerous other personal litigations in process
7- Growth of franchise drastically diminished and renewals closing instead
8-ASO (INDEPENDANT PACK AND SHIP) continuous discontent growing at an alarming rate with UPS
9- FEDEX gaining steady ground at UPS expense
CONCLUSION: BROWN STARTING TO GO DOWN! That's what happens when monkies disguise themselves as gorrilla's!


My wife and I purchased an MBE store in 2000. It was a new style store, one of the first in Canada. We did our due dilligance by checking with stores in our area. What we did not realize (and weren’t told) was that they built their stores for max $75,000 at least 5 years prior. This was the amount they were expensing off in their financial statements. We knew we were paying somewhat more than the original stores, what with inflation and the cost of the series 2000 store. It cost us over $250000 to get up and running with the buildout and equipment. We tried for over 4 years to make it. I never drew a penny out of the complany in over 4 years. I was fortunate my wife had an income that allowed us to live. I was relieved when she finally said she would not invest any more money. We closed the doors, and our esteemed Area Franchisee paid all of $11000 for our $250000 investment. Enron fraud — MBE and UPS are worse. MBE stands for mostly bad experience. Don’t touch it unless you’re looking for a huge tax write off.

We had a Small Business loan from the Royal Bank secured by equipment and a personal guarantee and had a 25% Government Guarantee. When we closed the store, the Royal Bank seized the store for the security. To reopen the store, the Area Franchisee made an offer to the Bank for $11,000 and received the store in return. We had to pay the bank the balance owing, (except the part secured with the Gov Guarantee) based on our personal guarantee. Needless to say, our losses are much larger than the small business loan, because we had mortgaged our house to the limit (it was nearly paid for before our crazy decision to go into business with MBE). We will be paying on the mortgage for the next 15 years. And we are both close to 65.

Further to my comments above, a surprising benefit we did receive was from Revenue Canada. When we closed the company books with our Chartered Accountant, he made a very conservative filing of our loss so we would be eligable for a tax write off. He told us we would be getting an audit from Revenue Canada. He said Revenue Canada are not your friends, and to only tell them what they asked with their questions. We filed our income tax, and sure enough, we received a letter from them that we were being audited. I sent them all of the information they asked for. Within a few days, Revenue Canada phoned me. The gal doing the audit asked me what was going on with MBE/UPS. She said she had several files on her desk that were very similar to ours. I told her the whole story. I twigged that this may be a way of getting some come-uppance. I knew we would never know the results of the audit. She almost sounded excited. She asked who the Area Franchisee was, and the names of the big wigs in Oakville. She asked me to send proof of our total losses (on top of what our accountant claimed). To make a long story short, regardless what we think of Rev Can, we received a great tax write off. Also, I would love to have been a fly on the wall in Oakville when Corporate Office was audited.

Mr. Blue MauMau's picture

The UPS Store 2007 Uniform Franchise Offering Circular

EXCLUSIVE: The UPS Store 2007 Uniform Franchise Offering Circular (UFOC) is now online at Blue MauMau.

Bob Frankman's picture

TUPSS Drops in Rankings has dropped The UPS Store in its top rankings for 2008. It's down from #4 to now #11. Entrepreneur still considers it the best franchise opportunity in its category - postal services.

looking at buying a ups store.

I am currently spending over 100k per month with ups and
for ground shipping my incentives are only 14% i am looking
at buy a store to get my other company a 50% discount.
any thoughts and does anybody see a problem?


Yet another store closing

My husband and I opened our store nearly three years ago. This week we will be closing it and just walking away suffering, of course, a huge loss. The reason, as you are all aware, is we cannot continue to fund the lies told to us by UPS. Our The UPS Store franchise was totally misrepresented to us by our area franchise director (as he likes to call himself). The last thing we needed was another hand in our checking account. Seems he has lined his pockets with cash for every contract/lease he got us into although he states he was "acting in our best interests". All can rest assured that we will never again in our lifetime be a UPS customer. I would sooner walk my packages to their destination than to give up another of my hard earned dollars to UPS.

Mr. Blue MauMau's picture

Tales of Gore Dedicated to the UPS Store

There is so much posting on the UPS Store (most not nice) that we've discovered a new glitch that we never knew we had. Recent comments towards the end of the UPS queue are not queued. We're fixing this ASAP though.

So, it is best to move The UPS Store soiree to a better venue. There is a new forum called "The UPS Store, Tales of Gore" that is dedicated completely to gripes and horror stories from the UPS Store franchisees and thought leaders.

Please post your UPS stories, Mail Boxes Etc. and related mail service franchise gripes here.

Mr. Blue MauMau
Community Umpire

The UPS Stores = BAMBOOZLED!!!

Also, if you have rent, (around #3,500.00 per month) a small business loan (Monthly Payment approx. $2,500.00 per month, you're already have been BAMBOOZLED! You're lost it all!! DO NOT I REPEAT, NO DO NOT buy a UPS Store!!!!

Mr. Blue MauMau's picture

Recap: KRI Says The UPS Store #1 Retailer

...will the old thread that started under the Canby Research Story be lost to new posters? - Guest

That thread will remain. The discussion is just getting too robust for the remarks section of the story. Please post the quote from the original story that you are replying to (like the above example) for clarity.

For those readers who are new to this ongoing discusion, the story and discussion thread that is being referred to is a Kanbay Research Institute study picked up by the mainstream media that was immediately challenged here - "UPS Store Considered Most Competitive Retailer." The wording is ambiguous said many of you. Most competitive retailer for the franchiser or for the individual franchise units?

KRI replied to the Blue MauMau community (see UPS Shows Advantage of the Franchising Model) saying, "the purpose of the study was to provide business leaders -- primarily CEOs of multi-store chains -- with innovative ideas about how to build competitive advantage."

You can see the original discussion thread these two stories created on The UPS Stores  by clicking the links.

ups co-op

MBE/ups stores has taken all interest from my advertising co-ops. They have taken this income from every co-op in America I suspect. It is money they have taken even though they state/imply and put in writing that it belongs to the co-op .

 I urge all store owners/ co-op owner members and thier counsel to review your co-op contract which states "all monies will be placed in interest bearing accounts which will be used to offset bank charges" and to also review your accounting of co-op funds. I recieved an email fro my UPS rep stating "they never intended for the co-ops to recieve the interest,just not to make them pay any fees"  In a world where banks do not make charges on business accounts they still take this money from the co-ops and even acknowledge thier intent was to never pay the money out.

What a deal!!!

ups store

I am lookin at an existing store that grosses 434k the owner says he gets 90k
he is asking 325k. is this worth looking into?


In the fall of 2007, one of UPS’ own, (Do you swear to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you G-d) said that since the Gold Shield inception that a significant majority of the network saw decrease in sales in the fax, and document services profit centers. This was due to the fact that since 1999 to date individuals and more so small businesses could go to a STAPLES or the likes of and purchase a fax and an adequate printer to satisfy all of their needs. Not only would this save a considerable amount of money but also time by having to go to a UPS store or FEDEX KINKOS or the like of. As the old saying goes in business “TIME IS MONEY”

It certainly looks apparent that UPS /MBE had full knowledge that in 2003 the perception of tapping into the so called lucrative coping sector was nothing more than one of the pieces of the one sided Gold Shield program that has devastated this franchise. Now there is no doubt that shipping along with document services and faxing will do little to make this franchise profitable. What is left to build on? If the major and #1 issue of drop offs is not addressed into profits to this franchise, then the majority will most likely fail or at the least be unprofitable.

Today we know the truth and it would be pretty insulting for any area franchisee to ever make another presentation on the benefits of document services since it is evident that this area of our business has caused negative results for the majority over the last 4 years. What did you discuss at your last network meeting? What will you discuss at your next network meeting? What is left to discuss? We all know now that the term “GOLD SHIELD” was the worst thing that ever happened to the MBE franchise.

That is one hell of a conclusion and the sole reason that the words, “GOLD SHIELD” are never uttered by anyone any longer!

What happened to the UFOC for The UPS Store

It was posted here and now it has disappeared. Did Blue MauMau cave to pressure from UPS.

MBE claimed to be exempt from filing in California so the Cali-Ezy site is no help.

The UFOC still must be filed with the Federal Trade Commission.

Anyone know why it was posted here and now is gone?

Buying an existing UPS store....

What advice would you give someone who was interested in buying an existing UPS store?

The UPS Store, a typical day........

This video pretty much sums it up if you're looking to buy a UPS Store.

pak mail

are pak mail stores any better?

UPS Loses Round in Legal Battle With Franchsiees

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- A California court has certified a national class action brought by United Parcel Service franchisees against UPS (NYSE: UPS). The class action involves claims of intentional misrepresentation and multiple statutory violations relating to UPS' conversion of more than 3400 Mail Boxes Etc. franchises to the UPS store. The suit contends that UPS misled franchisees into believing that the UPS Store model would be more profitable for the franchisees. Instead the suit alleges that the conversion was for the purpose of moving profits to UPS. The class action seeks rescission of the conversion and monetary damages
"This is a huge win for our organization," said Howard Spanier, a
Malibu, Calif. franchisee for over eighteen years who was forced by UPS to give up his Mail Boxes Etc. identity in 2006; "We look forward to UPS having to finally answer for its actions." Spanier is the president of the Platinum Shield Association, representing current and former MBE franchisees who filed suit against UPS over the alleged misrepresentations referenced in Wednesday's appellate
court decision. The appellate court noted the background of the dispute in its lengthy opinion, stating, "After evaluating a plan to create a network of 1,700 to 2,000 UPS-operated stores, UPS rejected that plan as requiring an initial investment and management costs that were too high. Instead, on April 30, 2001, UPS acquired MBE (based in San Diego) and transferred MBE's assets and liabilities to MBE Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of UPS. UPS intended to acquire the MBE franchise system by converting MBE franchises into 'The UPS Store.'" Spanier and his fellow MBE franchisees allege that to persuade them to convert to the UPS Store, the Atlanta-based shipping giant withheld critical documents regarding tests UPS conducted in Seattle and St. Louis and other smaller cities for a new business model that was ultimately called The UPS Store. "We were never provided the information we needed to make an informed decision about our stores," Spanier said, "and when the conversion took place for those who agreed to it, the full impact of UPS' scheme was nonvoidable and disastrous for many." If successful, each franchisee class member will have the opportunity to rescind its UPS Store contract and to seek related damages. The impact of such a result would be ignificant to UPS both in terms of lost revenue and destruction of its retail network.

In its decision, the appellate court said, "We find that the trial
court made erroneous assumptions of law finding that individual issues predominated over common issues of law and fact with regard to reliance. Plaintiff (DT Woodard, a California franchisee of the former Mail Boxes Etc which UPS acquired in 2001) has alleged facts which create at least an inference of plaintiff's reliance on defendants' (UPS) representations, which induced plaintiff to agree to amend a franchise agreement.

The trials and tribulations of being a UPS Store Owner

What a sad day it has become has to resort to nickel and dimeing franchises to the point of bankruptcy. The saddest thing about this network is what it could have been and not what it is. There is no turning back now. What high hopes I had when I started this but how naive I was.

buying a ups store

we are doing approx 600 boxes per day.
could i find a ups store and let them just scan my
boxes and split the 1.50 on each package on top
of my incentives do you think ups will pick up on this
and will it work.

A very costly mistake is buying a UPS Store Franchise!

This is not a viable business to be in! Many UPS Store franchise owners are filing bankruptcy, drying out their retirement accounts, maxing out their home equity line of credit - it’s a travesty!

co-op interest

We all should be looking at what aour money is being used for, we shopuld be asking for a detailed accounting as to how our money is being spent. DO we know that all our ad money that is paid every month is being used for The UPS Stores only???

Want to take a Bath in UPS waters?

We really took a bath and Brown didn't furnish any towels or water softener!
I feel sorry for those people who think that UPS is going to share any of their profits with them.

if i bought a ups store for

if i bought a ups store for $150,000.00 that breaks even.
i would scan the boxes it would take an employee approx 2 hours a day
i would as the store owner make 600 x 1.10 x 25 days a month approx $15,000 per
month minus an extra employee cost at $1,500 to scan and royalties at $1,100.00

i would net over $10,000 per month.

please poke holes in this theory as i want to buy a store asap.


ups store legal update

update on UPS stores legal battle with parent company UPS.

UPS Stores For Sale

I have seen UPS Stores on sale on Ebay for 25 to 50% of what a new store would cost. Are these offers for real? Is it really that bad?
I am considering one of these offers, am I totally crazy?

Dallas Business News ---The UPS Store

I don't think newspapers are circulated and read to the great degree that they were just ten years ago and I, personally, believe that this is a great shame. Reading and digesting what one has read does much more for the brain than listening to an attractive woman or man tell you about the day's news. We are diverted by looking at the clothing, or the hair, or the eyes, etc.. of the "actor" who is speaking and brainwashed by their good looks.
I post on this because we have Dale insisting that publicity concerning ZEE --ZOR problems that become public hurts the ZOR and might sink his ship, etc... and he has to know that this isn't true.
ZEES get 1% of the publicity and PR that the ZOR puts out there every day. The only publicity ZEES get is normally in the Business Sections of the papers on the Internet, etc...
While this is excellent coverage of the facts by Katherine Yung, Dallas Business, we know that the business news is read selectively and not as widely read as the rest of the paper by the public. While it was excellent coverage of the facts by Janet Sparks in the March 2007 Franchise Times ---who is it that reads these business articles ----not the same people who are customers of Quiznos and UPS, I'm sure.
You would have to have a front-page article or primetime investigation, etc.. to really damage either of these names in the eyes of the public ---- who have short memories, and Americans would still frequent their local Quiznos and UPS store anyway and the Zor wouldn't be hurt.



UPS Store Lawsuit

Federal Court Accepts Franchisee Victims' Amended Complaint Against United Parcel Service (UPS) PDF Print E-mail
March 22, 2007

L. Michael Hankes, Esq.
63 Commercial Wharf
Boston, MA 02110
(617) 723-1144
Los Angeles, CA

Peter C. Lagarias, Esq.
1629 Fifth Ave.
San Rafael, CA 94901
(415) 460-0100

Federal Court Accepts Franchisee Victims’ Amended Complaint Against United Parcel Service (UPS)

A group of small business owners (The Brown Shield Association, BSA) unites against shipping Goliath UPS, citing omissions, non-disclosure, unfair practices, breach of contract, and predatory practices for franchised locations.

Los Angeles, CA (March 22, 2007) - A substantially revised amended class action lawsuit against UPS was accepted earlier this month by the United States District Court – Central District of California. The amended complaint was filed by more than 220 franchisees of The UPS Store. The franchisees contend that, among other claims, UPS omitted and/or did not disclose relevant information to franchisees opening new The UPS Store locations and those franchisees switching from the MBE brand to The UPS Store brand; UPS made false claims about how well The UPS Store would perform financially; UPS competes and uses information from the franchisee to acquire customers for UPS directly, bypassing the franchisee altogether.

“Corporate greed is still alive and well in America” says Larry Bowdoin, President of the Brown Shield Association (BSA), and a franchisee himself in Alabama. ”UPS likes to call us a minor number of disgruntled franchisees. We’re just one group. What UPS doesn’t want you to ask is how many additional lawsuits from franchisees are there?”.

Bowdoin continued, “No franchisee could have forseen that our biggest competitor would have been our franchisor, UPS itself. There have been many instances of UPS luring away our [franchisee] customers, often with incentives, affecting the franchisees’ profits. UPS makes more money that way, with no regard to our bottom line. The more money per package that they get doing it that way adds up to tens of millions of dollars of extra profit for them. They don’t care that we have rent, employees, health care to pay for out of our own pockets”.

“Had information been fully disclosed regarding profitability, missing test market data, and unfair trade practices, the franchisees would have been able to see that UPS was pulling a fast one on us”, said Bob Strickland, VP of the BSA and a franchisee from Virginia. “This is not a viable business to be in,” he continued. “Instead, we have people filing bankruptcy, drying out their retirement accounts, maxing out their home equity line of credit - it’s a travesty. We’re fighting back for all of the exploitation that UPS has done to us”.

The BSA represents a wide range of franchisees from around the country.

UPS Steals Christmas From Another Franchisee

UPS Still at War With Its Franchisees

STRONGSVILLE, Ohio, Dec. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- For the last dozen years, Chris May was a key part of her town's holiday shipping frenzy. Her United Parcel Service (UPS) (NYSE: UPS) Mail Boxes Etc. store in Strongsville was the local "go to" stop for regular mail services and those angst-ridden last-minute dashes to get Aunt Maude's package in the mail before the holiday deadline.

But this year, thanks to the indifference of senior management at UPS in faraway Atlanta, May and her family are spending the holidays out of the shipping business and contemplating the future without the store she had operated since 1995. "My son says I played chicken with a big brown truck and lost," May said.

The circumstance that led to May's loss of her franchise business in Strongsville has been repeated across the country since the 2001 acquisition of Mail Boxes Etc. (MBE) by UPS, and has led to May and some 130 of her fellow franchisees filing a lawsuit in California to redress the alleged misdeeds of UPS. A recent California appellate court action, overturning a lower court's decision, gives hope to the Platinum Shield Association members (including May) that they will now get their day in court.

As May recounts the events of the past five-plus years, she notes the enthusiasm she and many other former MBE owners found in the predictions of UPS senior officials, who promised that UPS would establish a combined marketing effort that would benefit every store owner. "We had gone through some rough financial times with the previous owner (U.S. Office Products), and we believed that UPS being a stronger company would put things back on the right track," May recalled.

"Then at the end of 2002," she continued, "we were told about a series of tests to determine what the new store format would be, and early in 2003 UPS held a series of road shows with franchisees when they rolled out the new concept called The UPS Store. More disturbing, though, was that we were told we had to make the decision almost immediately to convert from Mail Boxes Etc. to a new name and a dramatically less profitable business model.

"If we did not convert at that time," May remembered, "we were told we could remain Mail Boxes stores until our original agreements expired. This was really a shock, and we were never given any details on the tests to understand why UPS took the action they laid on us."

May said her original MBE agreement ran through the end of 2005, at which time the UPS system representatives informed her that she had to decide: throw away more than a decade of "brand-building" as an MBE store and convert to the UPS Store format, or go independent. "I'm a positive person," she said, "but I had already seen a drop of eight percent in my business in the first year after UPS took over, and then another 10 percent drop the next year, and the more I talked with other franchisees, the less I was sure that UPS had a good plan for us.

"I really thought at first that UPS just needed to tweak their plan a little to make it better, but all we saw was a reduction in our daily sales, less support from headquarters and no sign that we who had been MBE franchisees mattered in the long-term UPS plan," May added.

Then in February 2006 the full impact of UPS' effort to unify its retail outlets hit May, when UPS filed a temporary restraining order against her and many other franchisees in federal court, alleging that she and the others were violating trademark statutes by continuing to operate under the MBE banner. "They de-identified my store on February 1 and filed the TRO on February 14, Valentine's Day," she said. The federal court took more than six months to reach a decision to shift the case to California, where MBE was headquartered.

"The real sign of UPS' intent came in October of 2006 when they opened a UPS Store a half-mile from my store," May said, "and at that point I knew the end was near, because my franchise company was directly competing against me." On April 21, 2007 May closed her store and walked away from a 12-year run, from early success to the bitterness of what she feels was an unnecessarily harsh forced closure.

"It's sad to look back," May stated; "in the MBE days I was always in the top five stores in my district, and I thought the store would be a good revenue generator for years, and then we could sell it and put that money into our retirement plan." May added that she had not come to the franchise business with no background; she worked in marketing at Land 'o Lakes for several years, and her husband is a corporate veteran also.

"I had two kids while I ran the store, my son in 1997 and my daughter in 2004," she recalled, "and they both loved to come down to the store -- especially at holiday season -- and see all the action and talk to my customers. And I remember that one of my reasons for getting into the shipping franchise was because the town we used to live in didn't have one. So I'd drive to Strongsville and use the very store that I wound up buying."

When she thinks about the future, May says she hasn't completely ruled out perhaps trying another franchise. "Some are good, and as I've learned, some are not so good; I really enjoyed dealing with customers, and in a town like this, there is a family aspect that's great."

This year will be very different for Chris May and her family. Driving past her former store, she will remember the many crazy days of a dozen holiday seasons and the hard work she put into making her store a success. And then she will remember Valentine's Day of 2006, when all the planning and hard work were undone in an instant.

For further information please contact Joe Wightman, Platinum Shield Association at 917-880-9609 or Mike Furtney or Joann Killeen of the Killeen Furtney Group, Los Angeles. 310-476-6941 Office.

SOURCE Platinum Shield Association.

The UPS Store Dallas Morning News

Editor's note - To our guests, please be aware that copying and pasting an article in its entirety from copyrighted material is an infringement of copyright law. I have cut this article to the more interesting parts and provided a link to the original story in the Dallas Morning News. Readers can clip parts of a news article, make a comment and link to the original story. That's fair use. - Mr. Blue MauMau

UPS Store owners all over the country are packing it in, including 10 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in the last two years. And the numbers could grow, raising alarms about a possible franchise fiasco.

Mike Gorlano 50, couldn't get back half of what he paid for his UPS Store in Carrollton. He's living off his savings while looking for a new career. Andy Weir, 43, faces thousands of dollars of debt after closing his UPS Store in Richardson. The problem stems from an unusual situation: The stores can't compete with United Parcel Service Inc.'s Web site. Many current and former franchisees accuse the package delivery giant of using the Internet to take away their customers. Most of the franchisees that failed are mom-and-pop operations that sank all of their savings into their stores. The owners say UPS is destroying their livelihoods and retirement dreams.

...To fight back, a group of 220 current and former franchisees from around the country, including a few from the Dallas area, is suing UPS and its franchisor, Mail Boxes Etc., accusing them of breach of contract, fraud, unfair trade practices and other actions. 'In 28 months in this business, I don't see an opportunity to survive,' says Joaquin Rosal, a UPS Store franchisee in Coppell.

...The fallout could tarnish the reputation of a franchise that consistently wins high marks from Entrepreneur magazine and others.  

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