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

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I guess I'm among the vast majority that has nothing to complain about regarding FedEx, UPS or USPS. I ship via all three services many times each week. The only problems that I've ever had are with two international deliveries with USPS, but they weren't the fault of USPS. The delivering postal services were the culprits. The Royal Mail lost one in UK and a package in Indonesia disappeared after customs.

I think that it's more fair to recognize that all three organizations are huge operations and, given the tremendous number of customers that they serve, even a tiny percentage of errors will amount to a large number of events. I'm not sure that Randy should be as upset as he seems - FedEx's customer service helped him with his problem on the phone and seems to have responded to his emails (although not terribly efficiently). Randy's situation is probably representative of a tiny minority of FedEx's customers. That's not to trivialize it, but, rather, to point out that FedEx (and, probably, UPS), as gigantic operations, can't move quite as nimbly to correct nearly unique issues like Randy's. The fact that FedEx appears to have done so may not be worth of great praise, but I'm not sure that it's worthy of as much effort as Randy put into it.

Of course, it's his time to spend - far be it for me to complain about that!

I like to use FedEx Ground quite a bit because they are surprisingly quick and treat the packages much better than UPS in my experience. But FedEx treats Ground shippers like they have leprosy. Our local FedEx office will not accept ground packages after 5 pmā€”even though they are open until 7. Call in with a problem or query about the status of a ground delivery, and you will likely get confusion, puzzlement, or "that's a ground package, that's not in this system" response from the customer service individual.

I realize FedEx probably prefers their express shippers to ground shippers, but if you are going to offer a service, it's not wise to treat your customers like second class citizens when they try to use it.

My story isn't quite as crazy as the rest. I'm sure if I delved back into history I could find many times one of these companies screwed up, but this story deals with UPS.

I was doing an exhibit install in Florida, unfortunately after one of the hurricanes last year. Everything we needed had to be shipped in, as there was NOTHING available in town for electrical supplies. The museum I was working in had an address that started with 1 or "One".

FedEx and and USPS had no problem with the address, however it was written. UPS, on the other hand, could not differentiate between the number "1" and the word "One". I don't remember which one was correct, but one of them would get delivered, the other would be returned. Numerous calls to UPS only led to "Well make sure that your shippers are using the correct version". Instead we just made sure that all packages were sent FedEx and not UPS. And with about 10 heavy packages arriving every day, that's a lot of lost business!!

I had created an online account with FedEx four years ago to send out one package. I totally forgot about it after sending that one package, and so when moved to a new start and closed the bank account for the debit card that was listed on that account, I didn't go in and edit my account information.

A month ago, I start getting letters from them saying that charges for my recent shipment had been refused by my bank, and I need to contact them immediately to make payment arrangements. Of course, I called and denied doing any such recent shipments. As it turns out, someone had filled in the wrong account number on their FedEx waybill, and the charges were being made to my (forgotten) account on accident.

The several CSR's I had to deal with to get the issue resolved were quite nice and helpful, but the entire experience really scares me. You can that easily put down an incorrect account number and have your charges go to someone else's account? I'll take packages to the local office and mail from there from now on. I'm not going to take my chances that someone else will put down my account number again.

I had my own bad experience with FedEx. To be accurate, I've never had a problem with the half dozen packages sent to me via FedEx Air, but the one time someone sent me a package via FedEx Ground it was hell. (And I've never had a problem with the many packages sent to me via USPS or UPS).

Now, I'm not home when these packages arrive. And since most require a signature, this usually means I had to drop by their office to pick it up. I've had to do it all the time with UPS (and the few times I've had FexEx Air).

So, I got home and found a doorknob hanger from FedEx Ground saying they tried to deliver a page and couldn't. Here was a 800-number to call, etc. If they didn't deliver it to me within 3 days it would automatically go back (UPS will hold for a week after the 3 days of attempts) UNLESS I made other arrangements. The thing was, I was going to be gone the next couple of days, etc.

SO, I called the 800 number and asked them to HOLD my package for me at the local location for pickup by ME on Monday. And where was the local location (being only familiar with the local FedEx Air office).

When I got home from my trip, I was a little annoyed to see further hangers from subsequent delivery attempts. Did they not pay attention to my HOLD request???

So I go to the local location to pickup my package, and find they DID NOT HOLD IT! It seems the call center is near useless, and that one should instead speak with the local center to have them hold it. Gee, and how am I supposed to know this??? The 'manager' I spoke with kept asking the name of the person I spoke with (as if I note this), and seemed to take the attitude that it was MY fault that they did not hold my package like I asked them.

After this garbage, I left. I called the 800 number to try to get it fixed (like, could they redirect the package back to me? No. The sender would have to resend it). Useless.

Then the sender contacted me and asked why I 'refused the package'. This is the reason the FedEx Ground people gave for being unable to deliver the package to me. If I am not home, how can I refuse a package???

The sender resent it, but I asked that they NOT use FedEx Ground. They did, but I had connections that got me the package, weeks after I expected it.

I will never use FedEx Ground.

My co-worker bought a new Apple computer that came with a free IPod. FedEx delivered two packages, one containing the computer, the other package had obviously been opened and taped back up. When he opened the taped package, there was a torn and empty IPod box - no IPod. It was obvious that a FedEx employee had stolen the IPod. My co-worker called FedEx and told them what happened. He was told to contact Apple, who sent him a new IPod that very day. Seems like the FedEx employee was familiar with the Apple special and could easily identify which box the IPod was in. This probably happens with other carriers as well, it's just too bad it happens at all.

Here's the solution: Call your local post office and begin home delivery. You can notify them of a pick-up for your packages and they will pick up the package for shipping at your home. You will also have the joy of being able to get your mail without driving to town (and thus wasting gas) plus you will save on your PO Box rent.

Rural carriers are post offices on wheels. You can get all your mailing supplies delivered to your home and will not have the problems you experienced.


I have no idea where you are, but there are many rural places that cannot get delivery. While I could, I ship too much stuff to burden a rural delivery carrier with that many packages (and yes, I'm sure: I've seen his little car). While it is possible to get pickups from USPS of that kind of load in more urban areas, I do check USPS from time to time to see if they're offering it here yet. They do not. As is often the case, "the solution" doesn't always work. -rc

Eight months or so ago I ran into a similar problem trying to ship something to my father. Neither of his summer and winter houses have local post office delivery. The FedEx system kept kicking out his address as it wasn't in their database of valid addresses. After I called, I found their database was supplied by the USPS so of course it wasn't found! They quickly fixed the problem, but based on your experience, they still have a similar stupid problem.

I used to work as the CEO of a mail-order firm, shipping about $4 million in small packages each year. Just over a year ago we did a study of all the different companies we used for shipping, mainly for number of lost packages, but also for length of shipping time. Without going into too much detail, we were amazed at the differences between shipping companies. We ended up reducing the companies we used to (primarily) UPS and the USPS. Fedex was one of the worst in our study, and we dropped them entirely. (This was just our experience -- your mileage may vary.)

Randy, I hear you. My favourite is how Fed Ex (and UPS) charge the recipient enormous "customs clearing charges" on anything of value (over $15.00 US, usually) coming into Canada from the US. The federal government has rules stating how much a carrier can charge for this, but Fed Ex and UPS always charge about five times the legal rate. Getting your money back can cost more money than the overcharge, since you have to send registered letters to the courier, to the federal department that deals with courier charges, and to the courier's US office. A registered letter costs $6.50 to send these days within Canada, and no they don't reimburse you for that. It can take weeks to get a reply, and most of the time you don't, so you have to send the letters again. I would guess that 99% of Canadians don't know they're being overcharged.

The government allows them to charge $5.00 on items up to $100 and $15 on items $100 to $1,000 in value. Generally Fed Ex and UPS charge $25 to $35 on items up to $200 and up to $250 on items over $200. (None of these numbers include GST or duties, of course.) You also can't refuse to pay even if you refuse the item - they've done the work for you. UPS took me to small claims court over this - I defended and won in court. It hasn't stopped them from charging ridiculous fees to anybody else, has it?

Canada Post charges $5.00 per container no matter the value.

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