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This 32 message thread spans 2 pages: 32 ( [1] 2 > >     
What to do when a shipper fails to deliver your products?
What recourse do I have?

 11:57 pm on Dec 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

Just shipped a package FedEx overnight to a customer who was going out of town tonight for the holidays. Package got "stuck" in the sorting facility at the destination after what looks like a very long delay in Newark, NJ last night.

Got an angry email from the customer this evening asking what happened, since paid extra for shipping and everything.

Called FedEx to see what was up and was basically told "we were too busy, it'll get there tomorrow instead." Well, it's a big money signature required product, and nobody will be there to sign for it! I believe the customer is on a plane as I write this and have been unable to contact them since their email. Rest of the story is my problem to work out with the customer and not relevent to others, so I don't need to go into the details.

I'm writing this for two reasons:
1. Fair warning to others...FedEX at least for me was at beyond capacity and failed to meet delivery deadlines for an overnight shipment. Maybe I can save someone else some pain and credibility loss.

2. Have other people experienced this? What is my recourse to FedEx? I will NOT be happy with just the refund of the $50 overnight charge. I have already credited my customer for the entire shipping amount and will probably offer more in an effort to make ammends once I understand how inconvienced the customer has been.

How have others dealt with situations like this?



 12:35 am on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

You can probably get your shipping fees back, but not much more. When UPS was on strike they had a lot of similar problems and seemed indifferent to the difficulty it caused. Generally they do a great job and I like them, but when it doesn't work, they don't take much responsibility.


 12:57 am on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

>> I will NOT be happy with just the refund of the $50

You will be lucky to get that. They often have some excuse that was in the contract. You really have to stir up #&@! to get refunds. No matter how important the sale is to you, they hear it all day long. There is a very small percentage of packages that do not make it to the destination every single day, and they hear about them.

I have done lots of business with all the major courier companies, trucking, rail, sea and air freight. Sometimes things go wrong, it is out of your hands when it leaves your dock. Explain that to your customer, provide the tracking info so he can verify where the screw up happened. That is all you can do, be honest with the customer and his anger will be transfered to fedex.


 1:28 am on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

You will only get your shipping back if the delay wasn't an act of nature.(weather) Can you forward the package to where ever your customer is flying to?


 2:38 am on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

We have a simple rule based on decades in business: we never 100% guarantee anything!

Once had some rush products fail delivery when the UPS truck caught fire a few miles from the destination.

Something can always go wrong, so plan for it.


As an old geezer I'm amazed how well next day delivery works...almost always.


 2:46 am on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

The results of a casual Google on variations of 'Fedex Refunds' seem to suggest you will have a tough time obtaining your original service payment due to the Santa Clause. Obtaining anything more will probably be a miracle on par with the Virgin Birth. Here are a very few relevant cut and pastes taken at random from roughly 59,200 Google matches (this is NOT a sequential quote of any one Fedex document).

FedEx is changing its notice requirements for requesting a money-back guarantee refund or credit if we miss our delivery time. The following changes are effective for invoices dated April 1, 2001, and later:

All of the limitations applicable to the service failure money-back guarantee noted above are also applicable to the FedEx Same Day service failure money-back guarantee. NOTE: THE QUOTED DELIVERY COMMITMENT TIME MAY CHANGE FOR MANY REASONS, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE FOLLOWING: flight delays or cancellations due to air traffic control, weather, or mechanical problems. If the delivery commitment is changed, the Money-Back Guarantee will only be applicable to the latest delivery commitment. You agree that our records regarding quoted delivery times will constitute conclusive proof of any such quotes.

Service Failure - At our option, we will either refund or credit your transportation charges upon request if we deliver your shipment 60 seconds or more after our published delivery commitment. We will attempt to notify you twice by phone if there is any change in the time of the delivery commitment. If requested by you, we will also attempt to notify the recipient twice of any change in the quoted delivery time. If we are unable to reach you or the recipient after two attempts, we assume no liability for our inability to notify.

In order to qualify for a refund or credit due to service failure, the following limitations apply:

For invoiced shipments and for shipments by shippers using our customer automation, we must receive your notification (in writing or by telephone) of a service failure within 15 calendar days from the original invoice date. You must furnish with your payment the invoice numbers to which your payment applies. If an invoice is not paid in full, the reason for each unpaid charge must be noted along with its airbill or package tracking number.

For shipments that we don't invoice because paid by cash, check, money order, or credit card, you must notify us, in writing or by telephone, of a service failure within 15calendar days from the date of shipment. We will send your refund to the billing address on your account.

The package or shipment must not have been tendered for transportation during the three (3) calendar days before Christmas if tendered for transportation by FedEx Priority Overnight, FedEx Standard Overnight or FedEx 1Day Freight services. The package or shipment must not have been tendered for transportation during the fourteen (14) calendar days before Christmas if tendered for transportation by any other FedEx domestic service. Money-Back Guarantees for service failures are suspended for shipments tendered to use on these services during these periods.

Ho ho ho to you and your customers :)

[edited by: engine at 10:02 am (utc) on Jan. 14, 2005]
[edit reason] formatting [/edit]


 3:31 am on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

Once had some rush products fail delivery when the UPS truck caught fire a few miles from the destination.

Was it by Kansas City? I had that happen with a computer that was in route to me on UPS a couple years ago.

Anyway, I wouldn't even try to get compensation for the lost sale (if that happens). I would try for the original shipping cost. Also, if you have to have it redirected and it is time sensative I would not redirect. Instead ship a new one from your location and wait for the old one to come back. I have never had a package redirected successfully.


 3:36 am on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

Their both crooks! We're giving DHL a whirl with apparent success..

Same service
Much Higher oversize threshold (fed ex was killing us)
Similar , actually better rates....
FedEx can kiss my 70k/year goodbye....


 1:22 pm on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

Well I would trade you your one failure. I sent out 218 perishable packages on Monday and 51 failed to arrive on time. It looks like it's going to be a busy Christmas solving this one. Last year they only lost 40. It looks like to me that they would prepare accordingly for their peak season. I guess insurance is cheaper.


 1:41 pm on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

Just had a simlilar thing happen, two cases of urgently needed toys have failed to arrive on a private courier.

Result being that two bad feedbacks have been left on Amazon - drops me out of their seller agreement soooooo I get charged to complete refunds of the orders that have not arrived.

Which means that I not only have to refund 450 but Amazon charge me 80 for the pleasure oh yeah and they wont now release my 2500 for a further 2 weeks just to ensure everything else goes ok.

Excuse me while I scream my head off....


 1:46 pm on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>We're giving DHL a whirl

All courier companies are the same. They all have problems from time to time. So don't worry, you will be cursing DHL in the future as well.


 2:30 pm on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm more upset by the "aww, ummm, we were busy, so your screwed" attitude. As an aside, it's been 24 hours since the last tracking "event", it's still hasn't left the dest sort facility.

The recipient is no longer contactable as far as I can tell, and even if the package comes back to me I'll be out of town and unable to handle it.

I've already spent hours dealing with this, and it's nowhere near over.

I've already signed up for DHL this morning. I've been considering it for a while, and this was the kick in the butt I needed. Even if the service isn't any better I'll have the gratification of knowing I took my business elsewhere.


 2:49 pm on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

In the U.S., I have discovered that I can reduce my lost or significantly delayed packages to 0%. Your milage may vary, but since I started to insure each package for at least $200 I have never had a problem.

For USPS once I added Signature confirmation they never lost another package.


 2:52 pm on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

This package was insured for $1600.


 4:15 pm on Dec 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

Saw this today:

"FedEx Corp. and United Parcel Service Inc. said they were hit by ice and snowstorms at their respective Midwest hubs in Indianapolis and Louisville on Wednesday late at night, the most crucial time of day for moving packages across the country. The two companies and the U.S. Postal Service have been scrambling to come up with alternative routes so packages can still arrive at their destinations by Christmas. But they said many would probably not make it."


 11:02 pm on Dec 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

FedEx is also not honoring their money back guarantee for packages shipped after the 22nd. I also have inside information that it was not the ice storm but the shear volume of packages. This week alone I had 51 packages delayed on Monday(good weather)and 43 delayed on Wednesday and Thursday they turned back 36 because they were so backed up. Does anyone out there use UPS or DHL? If so, how did you fare?


 11:37 pm on Dec 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

Every carrier is experiencing similar issues. As online shopping becomes more prevalent, buyers are waiting longer to make their purchases. Day after Thanksgiving used to be the heaviest volume day, but that has changed. I'm thinking this year it was Dec 22.

1) As another poster mentioned above, do not offer guarantees - especially when Dec 25 is very close.

2) Suggest to customer quicker shipping option. For example, if a customer orders a product on the 22nd, advise Overnight service in case there is a likely delay.


 12:24 am on Dec 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

We have tried them all: UPS, FedEx, USPS, none are foolproof re guaranteed delivery for obvious reasons: weather, truck had an accident, bridge down, road closed, etc. Customers are frankly really spoiled by the average success rate, but once they pay for delivery by X date that you guarantee, I can understand they are upset. The best bet is jsinger's earlier comment: "We have a simple rule based on decades in business: we never 100% guarantee anything! ....Something can always go wrong, so plan for it."

Notice he/she said "decades of experience."

This country is a contintent and more, when you consider Alaska, Hawaii and the Territories. I would say, given that contintent size and its varied geography and weather, I have gotten pretty darn good service out of all these carriers 90% of the time, but the world ain't perfect.

We ought to know that from our own business experience, and we owe it to our customers to reinforce that and not encourage unrealistic expectations.


 4:31 am on Dec 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

Exactly why we don't ever use Fed-Ex

I mean, these guys have had issues for a few years now

And yes, those of us that are "Old Hat" in this business, never give anything (especially shipping) a 100%


 7:14 pm on Dec 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

USPS Priority.. I'm the only high-volume person still using it I suppose.

-They pick it up everyday
-dilvery confirmation
-$3.85 up to one lbs. (my widgets weigh 1 pound)
-1 day delivery on the east coast, 2days for midwest, 3days for the west coast.
-Never more than 3 days, even over holiday.
-Never lost my packages, not even once.
-Using Endicia I can make cool packing labels.

I don't give my customers options, I said order by the 22nd for christmas delivery, everyone made it. I guess there are good and bad things about it, but it has worked fine for me.


 7:22 pm on Dec 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

> -1 day delivery on the east coast,
> 2 days for midwest, 3days for the west coast.
> -Never more than 3 days, even over holiday.

I suggest you review your delivery time logs. You will see packages fall outside the delivery times you state.


 7:28 pm on Dec 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

From the packages that I checked up on, thats what I've seen for USPS Priority mail 1 pound packages. Of course I don't check when each one is delivered but I've never had a complaint once the item shipped except when we were the ones in error.


 8:52 pm on Dec 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

All of those couriers pale into insignificance when you have to deal with someone like Amtrak in the UK. When they lose parcels they'll never accept that they've lost it so you put in a claim and it wait and wait and wait. Two months later, instead of paying your claim they find the parcel. They'll deliver it and consider they completed their end of the bargain. It doesn't matter if the goods are perishables and the flowers have not just dried but completely composted. It doesn't matter if the goods depreciate fast (as in computer parts). It doesn't matter if you've already reshipped goods to that customer. (If you have then you have to pay to get the original parcel shipped back to you!)

In fact, consider yourself very lucky with the cr*p service you get there. With Amtrak they often don't find the parcels even after months but they never pay the claims. They always find some excuse to not pay. You won't believe how expert they are at this. The last claim was rejected because their local depot only scanned 19 out of the 20 parcels we sent. Our argument that the driver very clearly signed for 20 parcels - and documentary proof of that - cut no ice. "We only scanned 19 back at the depot so we won't accept any claim for your 20th parcel".

Now we've got this notification from them:

In an effort to discourage excessive speculative insurance claims we will be introducing an administrative charge of 10 per claim which will be applied where at least three claims are submitted in relation to consignments carried in a particular month and where at least 50% of these claims are rejected.
i.e. the more genuine claims we don't pay the more we can charge you in admin fees

The missive also says:
With effect from Jan 05 we will apply a 2.5% surcharge to all invoices. Where payment is made in accordance with agreed terms and conditions this charge may be deducted from your payment.

Even though we've never paid one invoice late. Complete w*nkers! But they won't have our business anymore.


 9:07 pm on Dec 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>This country is a contintent and more

Wrong, way wrong, not even close to the truth.

There is only one country in the world that is nearly a whole continent and that is Australia. In fact, the US is not even close to half of the continent, Canada is far bigger than the US. Also, don't forget Mexico, which is also a relatively a large country and part of North America.

Just a little nit-picking, because I am a stickler when it come to geography.


 9:52 pm on Dec 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

>> USPS Priority.. I'm the only high-volume person still using it I suppose. <<

We use USPS Priority Mail as well. Our goods are almost always under 5 pounds, making Priority Mail the best bang for the buck. Orders arrive at their destination quicker than ground services, our shipping costs are lower, and the Postal Service pays for our shipping supplies.


 11:12 pm on Dec 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

Us too, on USPS Priority. If the package is over one pound (most orders are 1-3 pounds), we add delivery confirmation. Over the years, maybe 2-3 packages delivered late (4 days rather than 2-3 days) within the U.S.

We ship Air Letter-Post overseas and to Canada. Again, very few problems, and those that do get "lost" are no doubt confiscated or shop-lifted by Customs. (We ship adult widgets.)

I will say too that I've noticed UPS packages arrive in terrible shape. For the most part, the USPS packages arrive okay, especially if there's a "fragile" or "perishable" sticker on the box.


 11:45 pm on Dec 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

We used to be 95% Priority Mail/5% UPS (with a volume of about 500 packages per month). Endicia is a slick tool, especially with its import capability and free Delivery Confirmation.

About four months ago, though, we started having more and more Priority Mail packages simply disappear. In addition, we had several customers per week desiring to track the packages; Delivery Confirmation isn't a true in-transit tracking system, so we couldn't provide that.

Based on some trials of delicate packages with DHL, we switched over completely (except for international) to DHL about 2 months ago. After about 1,000 packages: 1 report of damage, 0 packages gone missing.

Their billing can sometimes be wacky, and their phone service is spotty. I'm told by my DHL rep that this is largely due to the acquisition of Airborne Express by DHL, as they struggle to combine the operations. I'm not convinced that explains all of the hiccups, but at least they seem to be handling the package aspect fairly well.


 4:16 am on Dec 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

Rugles -- in good fun -- yep you are a nit picker. I know of course, that the US is only part of the larger N American contintent. But we have saying, (at least in the Texas part of our part of this heah continent), given how large the contintent itself is, and the US portion of that, which is: Texas itself is a contintent in itself (not only in size, but also in terms of topography and climate, range of weather and land types.

The term in all cases is meant to be descriptive, allegorical, rather than literal. But you betcha, Australia is probably a match, and more, in every sense of the description. :)


 6:08 pm on Dec 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

It is not worth your time to try and get a refund from FEDEX, I've tried. I would focus on the customer.

- Offer him a shipping refund
- If the customer is not going to be home on delivery date. Send the customer the tracking number and have him contact FEDEX to hold deliver until he returns.

In my business, when someone asks for overnight shipment. I try to lower their expectations by stating that, I will get the package shipped in time but I can not guarantee that the shipper will get it to you on time.


 10:34 am on Dec 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

I particularly like the USPS Prioroty to ship out of country.

The prices for FPO (military) in Germany are the equivilent to if I shipped to New York or Los Angeles when using the USPS.

And, no worries about the customs or port of entry issues either. Because, afterall, the Fed is the one that is delivering the parcel.

This 32 message thread spans 2 pages: 32 ( [1] 2 > >
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