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Consumer purchases $300.00 in products online and uses their American Express card. The merchant ships the product via FedEx Ground as selected by the consumer. The product is delivered in advance of the estimated arrival date. Consumer not home and FedEx leaves at door without a signature.
Thirty days later, the merchant receives notice from American Express that a claim has been filed and the merchandise was not received when expected. The Merchant counters the claim stating that this is usually common practice amongst the top delivery companies. To leave a package like this without a signature.
I come home and find stuff from both FedEx and UPS left on my porch regularly, without a signature.
American Express informed the merchant that without a signature, there is nothing they can do, the consumer gets a full refund and the merchant is left with the bill.
How do you handle signatures? Do you provide the consumer with an option to check a box that states no signature required? And then present a disclaimer about responsibility?
What's best practice in a situation like this?
Sorry for the rant, but I am quite less than thriled with AMEX this week. We just had our merchant account suspended because a custmoer made a mistake and contacted their fraud department because he didn't recognize $5,000 worth of charges from us on the cards. (Did he first ask his employees, on whose cards the charges were made, about the charges? No. Did AMEX contact us and give us a chance to respond to the allegations and give us a chance to clear things up before suspending the account? No.) Anyway, when we contacted the comapny about it, the manager immediately contacted AMEX to clear up the issue, admitted his mistake, and agreed to pay for the charges.
But does AMEX reinstate our account right away? No. They realize that when our account was setup 5 years ago, they (AMEX) setup our account as a law office, not a travel agency. So until we send them (at our expense) a copy of our business license and all the other supporting documentation that we already sent them over 5 years ago, they won't reinstate our account.
Unfortunately, I don't think it's very realistic. But something definitely needs to be done to shift some power back to the merchant side, away from the consumer. Consumers already have so many legal protections in place, yet the credit card companies just make it easier and easier for them to commit fraud, the costs of which the bsuinesses have to absorb, which in turn gets passed on to all the other consumers.
For your case (going forward), the only way I see for you to protect yourself is to ship it with signature required for delivery.
That being said, you should have a tracking number, which is proof that the item was actually delivered, signature or not.
As an aside, why did the customer wait so long and then issue a chargeback - why did they not contact the merchant and find out where their delivery was?
In cases like this, with a tracking number, I would file an insurance claim against FedEx - I doubt Amex will be willing to budge on their stance - they always side with their account holders.
The point I am getting to is that I suspect very little weight is given to evidence as to whether the product was actually delivered into the hands of the buyer. It may be that credit card companies put more weight on the cardholder's track record (ie, historical chargeback claims, payment history, etc.)
It's sorta like trying to figure out Google's algo.
Now that you know how this customer is, mark in your customer database that you no longer want to do business with this customer.
Unfortunately since the reason was not received, you cannot prove that it was and the card association that you mentioned, will always side in favor of the consumer. That card association is sometimes not good to accept because of this reason, but its customers tend to be more loyal and spend more money
Didn't you have insurnace on the package? FedEx should pay the insurance if the customer says they never got it.
It's actually ranges from $1.50 to $3.50, depending upon the type of signature required:
•$1.50 per package
(Indirect Signature Required)
FedEx will obtain a signature in one of three ways: From someone at the delivery address; or from a neighbor, building manager or someone at a neighboring address; or the recipient can sign a FedEx door tag authorizing release of the package without anyone present.
• $2.50 per package
(Direct Signature Required)
FedEx will obtain a signature from someone at the delivery address. If no one is at the address, FedEx will reattempt delivery. Direct Signature Required overrides any recipient release that may be on file for deliveries to nonresidential addresses.
• $3.50 per package
(Adult Signature Required)
FedEx will obtain a signature from someone at least 21 years old (government-issued photo identification required) at the delivery address. If no eligible recipient is at the address, FedEx will reattempt delivery. Adult Signature Required overrides any recipient release that may be on file for deliveries to nonresidential addresses.
The UPS signature services and fees are similar.
In the case of Amex, you need at least the Direct Signature service if you want protection against chargeback, which cost $2.50. Our company ships 300-500 packages a day, which means we'd spend over $1000.00 per day or a quarter million dollars per year for this "insurance policy" against chargebacks if we chose it for every shipment.
Instead we only require a signature on high-value shipments paid for by Visa/Mastercard and Discover. For Amex orders over $300.00 we require a signature.
I have also had FedEx and UPS leave packages at the wrong address... we are talking from the house next door, to a house 3 blocks away.