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FedEx: They Absolutely, Positively Should Have Gotten it Right the First Time - Comments

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In my neighborhood UPS is worse than FedEx. I had a package with first delivery attempted by UPS July 27. I phoned, and arranged to pick up the package (so I thought), and they told me I would be able to pick it up at the depot the next day. I had to leave the area for a week that day, so I stopped at the depot and discovered that my package wasn't there! I showed them my slip, which was marked as requiring a signature for delivery, so they told me the driver would attempt delivery again on the 31st and then bring it back to the depot to hold until August 3rd.

While I was out of town I went online to check its status, and saw that it had been delivered on the 31st! I got home finally on August 2nd and found that my upstairs neighbors had kindly brought the packages inside the security doors, and walked around them for a week. The UPS around here hasn't a clue what they're doing! Apparently I can't count on anything they say.

I've had other bad experiences with them when I was in PA (now I'm in NJ), such as the time a driver gave me a notice marked as a third delivery attempt which was in fact the first attempt, since he/she apparently didn't want to be bothered driving out to my place again!

FedEx isn't perfect, certainly, but I've had much better experiences with them than with OOPS.

Fed Ex has told us that our address does not exist also. We do get USPS delivery here as well as every other delivery service. Go figure....

While this doesn't pertain specifically to FedEx, it does pertain to Customer Service. The "canned reply" is one of my pet peeves. Why do these people simply ASSUME they know what we want, instead of actually reading the message/letter, and responding to the problem? And if, as sometimes happens, they can't determine what the issue is, why not simply reply asking for clarification? I have far more respect and tolerance for someone who does this.

Some years ago when I was working at a museum in New Orleans I ordered some materials delivered through UPS. They were for a public presentation I was scheduled to give that weekend, and I was getting panicky as I was running out of time to prepare. On the next to last day of my grace period I was really, really hoping for my package, and when it didn't arrive I called the local office. They told me the driver had reported nobody home.

The building I was in was the Old U.S. Mint, which takes up an entire city block at the foot of Esplanade Ave in the French Quarter, the heart of the city. It's a massive four-story 1835 building that looks like a fortress, as originally it was one, and as a major civic landmark it's hard to miss. As it's a public building, there is a uniformed security officer by the door from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm every day, including weekends. Nobody home?

The driver clearly had gotten tired at the end of his run and thought, hell with it, I'm reporting nobody home for the rest of these drop-offs and calling it a day. To say that I was upset on the phone with the dispatcher doesn't begin to cover it. Fortunately they delivered the next day, just in time, but still....

I have a FedEx nightmare and a USPS nightmare. FedEx first: I ordered a gift basket for my brother, who lives in the Seattle area. I chose FedEx shipping because I wanted it to get to him before his birthday. I confirmed and reconfirmed the address to make sure I hadn't made any mistakes. On his birthday, I called to wish him a happy and asked if he'd gotten the basket. No. (It was supposed to have been there by the day before.)

After some time of phone calls to FedEx and a look at tracking on their site, I found that they had delivered it to a fellow with the same name in a town On The Other Side of Washington State! How the hell could that have happened? I called to get it straightened out and was told it had "an incomplete address, so they tried to remedy it by looking it up." What?!?!?! They had my phone number, why didn't they just call me to "fix the address"?

They went to the other guy (who I called first, by the way, got him from phone information, to explain why he had just gotten a birthday gift basket) to pick it up and finally delivered it to my brother. No apology, no nothing. In their mind, they had gone above and beyond by "fixing the address." Sheesh.

USPS story: We have a book that we ship to reviewers, etc. When we put it, with a media kit, in a Priority Mail envelope, it is just over a pound. Because USPS has decided that anything over a pound can be terrorist stuff and stuff under a pound can't (???) we have to bring it to the post office even though we affix postage, so they can see you and plop a "round stamp" on it. Almost every time we have done this, the package has come back with a big green sticker that says "You have to bring this in to the post office because it's over a pound." First of all, if they can send it downtown for that green sticker, then send it back to me, why the hell can't they send it downtown, then to the recipient?

In any case, each time this happens, I bring the thing back and complain. Each time the local post office says they're doing what they're supposed to be doing, it's downtown that's sending it back. I literally had to complain by phone to the downtown office five times, and get increasingly belligerent at the local office until I got a little satisfaction. Now, they know me when I come in, know I'll ream them if I get the package back, and put an extra "zero postage" metered stamp on it. Why couldn't they do that from the beginning? Why the hell can't I just give it to my mail man or put it in the box and be done with it? Double Sheesh.

Ah... The unpleasant business of the shipping business. Once, while at work, my boss gave me his passport and that of three other people to have visas to China expedited. I sent the package via FedEx with the letter from our office and check, properly addressed to the expediter in California. After two days, I called the expediter in California to make sure that the three passports, our letter and check for processing had been received. They told me that they had not received anything--I immediately began panicking.

I called FedEx only to find out from their system that our package had been delivered. I said I had just spoken with our expediter and they had yet to receive anything and it was now barely 5 days before my boss and his guests were due to leave for China. Needless to say, I became rather belligerent with the agent and demanded he find out from the driver where exactly the item had been delivered to.

As it turns out, the expediter's office was closed on the day that delivery had been effected, and the FedEx driver left it with personnel on the suite accross the hall. We called there, and sure enough, they still had the package, perfectly sealed. They said that it is their policy not to deliver packages for the neighboring suite but once a week--I told them they had exactly ten seconds to hand that package to the FedEx driver to deliver across the hall, as he was supposed to, since I had three overdue visas to China, and I was not in the mood to play hostess.

Needless to say, I yelled at the FedEx guy for not doing his job--I mean, if I am paying for next day delivery to California before 11 a.m., that means that the person receiving the package should receive the package on the day scheduled before 11 a.m., not two days late while it sat on the suite across the hall.

Can you say cranky? I was beyond cranky.

My problem is slightly different from the problems that others have had; my house is not physically located on the street that my street address would indicate. The regular UPS driver for my route knows where my house is (I seem to recall one time giving him directions on the phone), but fill-in drivers don't know. My last conversation with UPS customer service indicates that they do NOT keep any record on addresses for future reference; they can only make a note for a current delivery, which seems kinda silly; this also means that I can't leave standing instructions to hold the package when a signature is required.

On the subject of canned replies; at least one company that I do business with sends canned replies, but follows it up with a live reply; I think that this is a nice touch, which allows them to either ask if the problem is resolved or send a more appropriate reply.

I occurs to me that one could possibly even train a Bayesian email filter to recognize emails that customer service reps think need a special reply.

My Cranky Customer is on UPS I had been expecting a 91# large box of music, tapes and records (yes old music). UPS delivered the 91# box but did not ring doorbell or even knock with signs on door "knock LOUD I am upstairs" they left the box on the step blocking me, a disabled senior citizen, into the house. It took 5 phone calls, 4 hours, and threatening to call 911, the fire dept and the local TV station before they sent someone to move the box, so I could open it and bring the stuff inside a little at a time. I was literally locked into my home because of UPS placing the box where they did. NOT only that but they placed it under the AC where it got wet as well!

My experience with UPS: I had ordered small mechanical parts, to be delivered at home (a 28-unit condo complex). The ordering information on the shipper's website included my unit number.

UPS sent me a postcard via snail mail, "sorry, unable to deliver, please come get it from us". The package from the shipper had my name and full address on its label. The UPS-generated label (done by the driver?) had my name and an incomplete address! All the driver needed to do was rotate the package ninety degrees to see the original address, but nope, can't find the delivery location, unable to deliver.

Because I had my package in hand, I didn't bother complaining up the chain. But if I have to order from that shipper again, I will beg them not to use UPS.

Mr. Bruce makes a good point in his last line. Let the businesses that you purchase from know that you are unhappy with a particular shipping company.

To the shippers, the end customer may be nothing to them, since you were probably not the one to choose the carrier.

But if those businesses that ship out 100+ packages a day were to suddenly pitch a fit about their customers not receiving their orders and threaten to quit using them.... I bet the carriers would start to listen then!

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(Read the article that everyone's commenting on.)