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

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After having a job where half of what I did was filling out customer support forms to get something fixed I have figured out how to get what you want from support the first time most of the time: keep it very short and sweet. Make it 2 sentences the first sentence being the problem, the second being how to fix it. For Randy's case my email would have been:

Missing Drop Box from Drop Box Locator. Please add drop box located at 100 Drop Street, City, State Zip to your Drop Box Locator as it is missing.

It is terse, easy to read, makes the problem very clear, and hardly gives enough for an automatic response system to have something to work with. Short and sweet seems to be the way to get Customer Service.

Today I ran into a new problem with FedEx: SOMETIMES PRIORITY OVERNIGHT IS NOT!

I sent a check to a relative so she could buy a (very) used car. She called me at 11:30 to say she hadn't gotten it. I called FedEx and found that even though I had used Priority Overnight, in her "remote" area it's not guaranteed to be delivered by 10:30 AM, just by 4:00 PM. When I said that I should have used Standard Overnight, she said, "Oh, that isn't available in that area." The "remote" address is under 30 miles down the freeway from the FedEx facility in Boise! THERE WAS NOTHING AT ALL THAT NOTIFIED ME OF ALL THAT! I consider this to be fraudulent. The next time I send anything, I'll be using UPS.

FedEx is the absolute WORST company to ship packages through. I used to live in an apartment complex in a not-all-that-nice area of town. A replacement cd-rom drive for my computer was being sent to me by the manufacturer, who shipped via the morons at FedEx. The complete and utter IDIOT who delivered the package did not leave a notice of attempted delivery, but instead just LEFT the package sitting on the floor in front of my door. Needless to say, it wasn't there when I arrived home. I only know it had been delivered because I was watching the package tracking page. It took FOUR attempts (and 3 stolen cdrom drives) before I was actually home when FedEx delivered the package.

If you need to ship a package, ship via USPS or UPS. Both will leave delivery notices so that you can arrange a pickup time, and don't employ people that are so stupid that they just leave packages in the middle of an apartment complex hallway.

Well, at least FedEx's online tracking system is nice. You can see where the package is every step of the way. (Pickup requested, picked up, on truck, arrived, left on another truck, and so on.)

I only had one problem with FedEx, when a package sent to me took "the scenic route" to get here. (About 10 days to go from upstate New York to "downstate " New York -- about a 4 hour drive.) The people who sent the package were very helpful in getting on FedEx's case, and offered to ship another one. Fortunately, it arrived before we left on vacation. I do hope that they got a refund on shipping.

Of course, their online tracking showed it (almost) every step of the way, from leaving the original station, to New York City (meaning they practically drive past my house), to New Jersey (the wrong direction), to having it leave the New Jersey station and immediately return 3 minutes later, to having it "magically" appear in Connecticut several days later, etc. etc. etc.

Fortunately, I wasn't in a rush, so the delay was only an annoyance.

My FedEx customer service issue was of a different sort. I had received a tracking number when I placed an online order and was following as it made its way cross-country. I noticed that it had arrived in town but was not scheduled to be delivered until the next day. I called the national customer service line, since the local number is not published, and asked if I could pick it up at the terminal. I was assured that I could.

When I spoke to the woman behind the counter though, I got a different story. She basically told me that I could not have it. When I asked why, she stated something about "service commit" several times. I explained I had no idea what she meant. Eventually I got her to stop using jargon and she explained that I had paid for 3-day service and it had only been two days. I was a bit bewildered by this. "So you're just going to hold on to it for an extra day?" I asked. I thought this was being a bit too literal when it comes to delivery times. I interpret a stated delivery time as being a maximum, not a guaranteed minimum. She tried to explain about other packages having a higher priority since they paid for a higher level of service. Thats fine when it comes to processing it for home delivery, but I was standing right there. Just walk back there and get, I am saving you the effort of having to drive it out to my house.

Anyway, I got her to check with the manager and it was no problem. I got my package and was on my way, though still a bit bewildered by the whole experience.

In response to Dan's comment about using UPS, they leave a note. My neighbour recieved a laser printer and some other computer hardware in their clearly marked retail boxes via UPS. The regular route guy was not on duty that day and the bimbo filling in for him backed the truck into the driveway, put the boxes in front of the garage door (in plain view) and left. I took my garden wagon over picked up the packages, called the neighbour and left a messege on her machine. She could not believe what had happened and when she called UPS the next day, they told her they would investigate the matter. Hasn't heard a thing since. The regular driver assured us she would not be filling in for him again.

Darren, MO.

I noted a comment about Amazon not publishing phone numbers. I buy a lot of books. If there is a problem, I enter a phone number in a pop-up box and, within seconds, I am speaking with a pleasant English-speaking person who stands on his or her head to help me.

One problem: I bought an ebook and had problems. I called and was told that I couldn't be helped by them. They would forward a message via email and hopefully someone would contact me. Two days later, with no contact, I cancelled that order (not easy).

Wow, lots of people with lots of the same problems, huh? I know my comment is way late, but I've only just gotten to this particular cranky customer posting.

My personal experiences with the USPS have not been so great. The inadequacies of service have varied depending on where I lived at the time, but the worst is where I live now. For some reason, personal checks have a tendency to disappear.

My all-time favorite poor encounter with delivery, though, has GOT to be with UPS. When we bought this house in '02, the neighborhood was still in development, and therefore, a lot of deliveries were a tad difficult to accomplish (we are in a suburban area, not rural). This had to just be borne out over time. So we bought the house, and we ordered blinds for the windows over the internet. The blinds were shipped to us via UPS. By this time, we'd already been living in the house for a few weeks, and we'd had a couple different deliveries made (with difficulty but made nonetheless), so we KNEW that it could be done.

Well, we got one of those fun postcards from UPS stating that they couldn't find our address in their systems (why do they insist on asking for a recipient telephone number if they refuse to ever USE it?) So what did they do with our (highly anticipated) blinds? They decided that we must have MOVED BACK TO OUR OLD HOUSE and delivered them there! I do not kid. Still makes me laugh. DUH!

I work for a credit card company, and I've done the Customer Service thing. DHL has always been my nightmare, ever since they bought out Airborne Express. Never had ANY problems with Airborne Express, they did a GREAT job. With DHL, you request cards be overnighted before the 5p deadline, the embossing center would have the cards ready to go out the next morning...and DHL would pick them up three days later. Do you have any idea how aggravating it is to have someone screaming at you on the phone for something that isn't your or your company's fault? (That being one of many aggravations; my favorite is 'How dare you charge me a late fee!'. Needless to say I've gotten out of the Customer Service area.) You have to sit there and apologize for someone else's screw-up; not just a one-timer, but a consistent, constant over and over again situation! I would never, EVER trust DHL with anything of mine. If they do that to a corporate customer who pays them thousands a month, what would they do to an average joe?

I live in what is called a "medium metro area" - small city in a county wih a population of around 350,000. I live close to the center of town in an area that is a mix of commercial and residential. I am lucky in that our UPS drivers and our express FedEx drivers are TERRIFIC and know exactly what to do if I am not home. They have never had difficulty finding our house or delivering to it and have been wonderful about going out of their way to make sure we get our deliveries because they know I get medicines shipped through them that I must have.

Our USPS person however keeps changing about every week or so (doesn't anyone like working for the post office any more?) and since I get a lot of mail and our delivery times can vary from 9:00 in the morning to after 7:00 at night I never know what to expect. Our post office doesn't answer the phone anymore either and don't even get me started on the people at the new generic toll-free customer service number the post office has put in! Needless to say, I have switched most of my shipping that I receive and send to UPS for ground and FedEx for air.

DHL is a HORROR!!! I have yet to receive a single package from them (either before or after the takeover) that was not misdelivered. Since I live on one of the two main east-west streets running through town you would think they could find my house! Oh no!!! I have had my packages delivered to everything from a plumbing supply company one street over to a suburban housing development two towns away! Not even reasonable excuses either - much less an apology! I no longer buy from companies that use them and I am VERY up front about why!

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