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

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I have an ongoing problem with FedEx Ground. One of my suppliers uses FedEx Ground. The packages are shipped from their warehouse in California to my shop, also in California. The packages, according to the tracking number, are out for delivery generally the day after they are shipped to me.

Of course they never arrive. The tracking info is updated "future delivery requested". By who? Beats me, certainly not me - I wanted/needed/expected them that day.

This happens to EVERY ground delivery. The package doesn't show up the next day either. It might be a week after it hits the local warehouse that they get around to delivering it to me.

The bit about "you get what you pay for by not using Express" doesn't wash. UPS gives accurate delivery information on every package. Their ground rates are essentially the same, and the driver shows up with the package every time.

I work for one of these large carriers and I understand some of the frustration that people are venting. However the reality is that UPS, DHL and Fed Ex screw things up royally on a daily basis. Sometimes it's caused by human error and when you are dealing with tens of thousands of packages being handled by hundreds of different employees throughout locations across the globe every day, it's gonna happen.

This is a service industry, we are not producing products to spec that we can over time get right without error. Our industry relies heavily on the weather, machinery, and it's people's competency... very uncontrollable. So however and whoever you decide to ship with, remember on a service performance level across the board they are all within fractions of a percentage away from who's better on any given day, there is no one superior shipper for every location in the U.S.

Maybe for your neck of the woods, but for large companies like dell who ship worldwide to every location in the world and u.s. there is not one carrier who reigns supreme, sure some have their strengths. UPS has the best ground coverage in the U.S. DHL has the most complete international coverage, Fed Ex does everything within reason but just pick the one that serves you best for you area, a carrier may be great for your company in your area, but for someone else 50 miles away they may be not as good as its competitor and that may depend on their hub location's proximity to where you are.

Anyway, I've found that it's the small companies that gripe the most because service failures have the biggest impact on them, the big ones like Dell, T-Mobile, Sears, Costco realize that things get screwed up by all of the carriers daily yet they seem to handle it in stride knowing that for every 1000 shipments that go out on any given day that at least 25 and maybe even 100 of those will get hung up somewhere by a mechanical issue, weather delay, or maybe just some "idiot" that's having a bad day.

I agree; these companies royally screw up sometimes. What makes me unhappy is the follow-up customer service.

I had a job stateside (I'm in Japan now) that dealt with wonderful FedEx screw-ups, but had good UPS experiences. I remembered that.


My latest nightmares have been with UPS!

My husband and I paid UPS an arm and a leg to get our computers shipped from China -- yes, the mainland, the PRC -- to Japan when we moved to Hokkaido this spring. Two desktop units, half hand-me-down old parts, half new parts, but the prize possession of them was my husband's NEW GeForce 7950 video card, an expensive late Christmas gift.

Apparently when they did shipping inspection they repacked the computers VERY BADLY and then SLAMMED the repacked box into a pallet, completely breaking my husband's case, and, of course, busting the GeForce video card. The case, the video card, and some wires were complete junk, and only the fact that my husband and I know computer hardware well allowed us to salvage the rest on the receiving end. My computer case was partially broken, but the computer works... but not well. I recently had to replace the case, as the cooling fan failed!

On receiving the boxes here in Japan, we discovered the repacking, and the damage, and contacted UPS. They sent out people to inspect the damage, took pictures, promised to contact us with the insurance. That was six months ago. Repeated e-mails and calls to Shanghai have availed nothing. Contacting UPS in the U.S. does nothing; they say that we have to talk to UPS China.

After all of this, Canadian friends informed me that UPS has sucked for all of their international shipping as well. Phooey on 'em all!

We shipped UPS China previously without problems, and China Post many times without problems, the latter for far less cost and paperwork headaches. (My hat's off to the China Post Main Branch in Tianjin; those people bent over backwards for me a few times! And it DOES help that I speak Mandarin.)

When I shipped China Post to the U.S. we had only MINOR breakage, and for less than a quarter of the cost -- and when I mean minor breakage, a CERAMIC cup broke, which I found reasonable. (I didn't do a great job packing it.) The only breakage disaster we had was with my in-laws, and stuff, ironically, was broken state-side.

For goodness' sake, China Post can get entire tea sets to the U.S. just fine, and they're known for being the incompetent slow-boat-FROM-China, but UPS can't get some well-packed, well-documented computer parts from China to Japan, less than a quarter of the distance? Heaven help us!

Anyway, the end of my nightmare is we're still waiting to be paid. On top of everything else they did wrong, they did the paperwork wrong -- or at least that's what they're claiming the problem is!

As I said, phooey on them all, just stick to the local postal systems -- USPS, China Post, Japan Post, they've all done better by me so far!

I work for a shipping company, and will not take sides with UPS or FedEx, because they both have their ups and downs. However, some advice to those waiting for insurance money is to bug them to death!! That is the only way we as a business have been able to get refunds of our shipments. Try to call them every chance you get, and then some. Call for an update, call for more information, call to check up on it. This is the only way we have been able to get money back from both Fedex and UPS.

Fed Up with FedEx!

We are still waiting for a package from the West Coast that has been in and out of the local hub more times than the people that work there. Wrong truck, can't find the address and every other excuse in the book.

The tracking info is always wrong and the customer 'care' people all tell different stories, or lies. The local hub even called to get exact delivery directions for their driver and the package was still not delivered.

As of right now they are 'tracing' the package but the tracking information shows it to be still in their hub.

A new company policy is now in effect for us. We absolutely will not accept ANY inbound FedEx from our vendors, even if it is freight free and even if it means we have to buy elsewhere. It is not worth the trouble and time to run behind FedEx and clean up their crap.

We are certainly glad we have a UPS shipping account. Problems with UPS, sometimes. Lies, never. GO UPS and increase your profits.

Referring to the original post, every address in the US maps out to a zip code, and all the delivery services use the zip code system. This is partly to accommodate shippers (who can use any of the delivery services), but also since Smartpost came out some of the delivery services are also carrying US mail at least partway through their system.

PO Boxes also often have a different zip code than that of the town or city the regular mail goes to. That may explain the problem, but without knowing the actual address or zip I can't say for sure.

If the zip code you're using is only for a PO Box then no drop boxes will show for that zip, and may also explain the address problems you were having.


No, the town only has one zip code, including for the PO Boxes. They do, finally, have the drop box in their online system. -rc

My daughter placed an on-line order. Normally everything goes well. This time after receiving her FED-EX tracking number, she discovered that, after the package got into FED-EX "possession", her package was being sent to Tennessee. Then her package was signed by a strange person. So she contacted the on-line company. They stated FED-EX made a mistake and diverted the package.

After 10 days, her package arrived on our doorstep, mauled, damaged - 10 days from California to Arizona. Then, towards the evening, someone was pounding on my front door. It was the FED-EX delivery man. He said, "I have to have that package back that I delivered. It does not belong to you, It belongs to a person in Tennessee". Then he got forceful. "I have to have that package back!!"

I tried to explain everything, but it was useless. So my daughter brought him the receipt. He went back to his truck and then tried to convince his boss or dispatch person that it was our package. Nobody would believe us. But, I was not about to give him or anyone a package I had paid for. He sped off without once apologizing, but did tell me "the company you ordered this from made the mistake".

So I tried calling their customer service. I got this strange condescending woman automated voice that I had to yell at like a hard of hearing person. Finally I got a real person. He could barely speak English. He told me "the company you ordered from made the mistake".

Nice - never want to order online with FED EX as the carrier. Too much grief and incompetence and arrogance. Brown does a lot for me! :)

Wish I'd seen some of these comments a month ago. Twice in the past three weeks I've had major problems with FedEx, starting with shippers who insist on a personal sign off for delivery. I travel often and am in a rural, crime free area. So never a problem with packages in general - just leave 'em inside the garage and all is OK. (Or have the local store in town sign for them if needed.)

First FedEx delivery we went round and round - I'd cancel business appointments and stay home all day only to find no package on the promised delivery day. Calls to FedEx would be responded with - "Gee, we don't know what happened we'll try tomorrow." I'd ask for an approximate time frame and be told, "Could be any time. We don't know." So, you guessed it - I'd be gone for an hour or two in the AM to find a missed delivery. Next day I'd stay home morning and take off late PM only to get back and find another missed delivery. That episode took a week of tries to resolve. (They DID kindly offer to let me pick it up at their terminal - a round trip of 135 miles...)

Most recently the same thing happened with an Amazon order - had to sign for it in person - no exceptions. Home on promised delivery day and no delivery for two days in a row no less. Gone for an hour the next day and that was the time frame FedEx happened by. This time they said - "We don't deliver on Mondays". You guessed it - I was away from the house for two hours Monday afternoon only to find a "Delivery Attempt" notice on the door when I returned. FedEx promised, "Delivery for sure on Tuesday". So again I cancelled appointments, only to find an email saying "sorry, no delivery scheduled today". FedEx was unable to explain just why there were all these missed deliveries other than, "Well, it's a rural area and we don't go there all that often." Bah! I just cancelled my Amazon order, asked for a refund, and told FedEx to send the package back - almost two weeks after it was delivered to FedEx.

I'll re-order from another vendor who's willing to ship via UPS.

Randy, you chewed out Mark on April 15th for being part of the problem. However, there is only so much that employees can do when the real problems are up above, in management, which is what Mark seems to be implying. If you're going to chew him out, you should provide him with some *constructive* criticism, if possible. If the company happens to be rotten all the way up, there's not much he can do. If mid-management tattles to lower management, he could be simply signing his own pink slip by complaining. I don't know what kind of constructive criticism you could offer in that case. Mark should try to get promoted, and fix things himself, but if he's not management material (my impression is that few people really are), then that's not an option for him.

One thing that many businesses probably should have is a customer satisfaction office or something like that, responsible for identifying negative trends both within and outside the company, and possessing the authority to actually fix them.


Mark is/was an asshole: it doesn't matter whether management is good or bad if the carriers use customer packages "for batting practice" -- which is what Mark said that I reacted to. Couriers don't know what they're carrying: it could be one-of-a-kind art, it could be medical supplies, it could be junk. But someone paid a fair amount of money for it to be delivered with reasonable care and speed. If they can't do that, then they need to find more honest work -- and that's my "constructive" advice. -rc

FedEx - YEP they're idiots!

Example 1:

I was required to send my ORIGINAL (not a copy) 1040 to school when applying for a grant/scholarship for my son. The teacher was supposed to copy it and send along with the approved application. First mistake, not taking it there myself since the (idiot) teacher packaged up my ORIGINAL return and sent it in instead of copying. Duh!!! He sent it along with my W-2's, etc.

I was finally able to locate it a few weeks later, once the application was processed and persuaded the person to send it back to me ASAP in a secure manner. She sent it FedEx to my house. I live several hundred feet off the road in a rural area - I regularly have packages, items, checks dropped off on my front porch. When FedEx attempted to delivery the package containing my tax return I wasn't home. The driver went to a neighbor where he made a lot of deliveries (medical supplies) but they weren't home either. The driver left my tax return in the neighbor's front door --- HE LEFT IT AT THE NEIGHBOR'S HOUSE NOT MINE!!!

When I don't receive the package get back on the phone and start calling around. FedEx insists it was delivered but I don't have it. They finally track down the driver who explains where he left it. Go talk to the neighbors - its now a couple days later. Of course, they insist that they don't have the package. Yeaaaah right. I'm hoping that they did receive it even if they had fun reading through my annual finances. Better than having it delivered to the neighbors that I really don't like.

Example 2

Someone is sending me a check for several thousands of dollars. He is sending it overnight and I say "don't use FedEx" explaining problem #1 above. A few days later he calls to find out if I received the payment. "Nope, how'd you send it". FEDEX. Again on the phone - tracking shows it was delivered to my mail box (which by the way is illegal) a few days ago. Go out to search the half dozen mailboxes on the road and fortunately found it in the neighbor's box that had gone to Florida for the winter.

Example 3

Work in a large office building that has 2 FedEx drop boxes. Our company ships UPS but on occasion I need to send a package internationally and need to use FedEx. Both boxes are completely empty of shipping supplies so I contact FedEx to request that the driver do his job and fill them. Talking to FedEx they insist that there is only ONE box in the building and also that the address is 44, not 24 (we're the only building on the private road). Sigh. Yep, same idiots still working there!

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