MELBOURNE, FLORIDA -- My dad died just before Thanksgiving (my mom passed about 3 years ago), and one of the items in their house that I wanted to have is a beautifully and intrinsically hand-carved wooden swan that they had purchased when they lived in Hong Kong. It was about 15 pounds, and about 2 feet in length.
I took the swan and a few other small items to PakMail in Seneca SC to have them shipped to me at home, and I emphasized to Andrew at PakMail how fragile this swan was in particular. The wood itself was not fragile but the long swan neck could be broken if it was abused. Andrew assured me that they would pack the shipment with the utmost care and ensure its safe delivery. The shipping alone was about $185. I insured the shipment for $200, thinking that even if the swan arrived slightly damaged, it should be able to be repaired by a good woodworker for about that amount.
The box arrived more than a week later, a HUGE box, about 4 feet by 3 feet by 2 feet, and upon opening the box, which was very full of Styrofoam peanuts and bubble wrap, the wooden swan's neck had been broken. It was a clean break. I called PakMail, who asked me to go get an estimate from a local woodworker. I did so and sent him the estimate (under $200), where his instructions were that I should wait to hear from him and he would file a claim with FedEx. I sent him pictures of the broken swan, as well as pictures of the box which showed no external visible damage.
Several days later, a FedEx truck came to my house, and the driver asked to pick up the broken swan. What? I did not know he was coming, nobody had said anything to me about this. I told the FedEx driver that I did not have the box anymore, and questioned him about whether or not the swan could be transported safely. He thought for a moment then said that FedEx "does this all the time" and that he would ensure its safety. Although not offered, I would not let him take the swan without a receipt, so he (grudgingly) gave me a receipt with a claim number.
I called PakMail and told them about this. Andrew was upset since he said he had specifically told FedEx *NOT* to pick up the swan, but he said since I did not know any better nor had been told anything differently, it would be ok. Not having heard anything from FedEx a week later, I called FedEx to inquire about the status of the swan, since I wanted to go ahead and get it repaired at the woodworker who had given me the estimate.
After being transferred several times, I was told that the swan "had been damaged beyond recognition, and FedEx had DISPOSED of it". What?? DISPOSED OF IT? That was NOT their call and what about the driver who said he could transport it safely?? The FedEx supervisor took my statement to file a complaint against the driver but I knew in my heart that that would go nowhere.
Talking and emailing with Linda of FedEx (who apparently is the FedEx contact for PakMail), she finally told me after several more weeks that FedEx would take no responsibility for this, and that since the insurance claim for $200 had been paid (and PakMail also felt bad enough about this to refund the $185 paid for shipping), that they would close this case. I told her repeatedly that even if one were to ignore the tremendous sentimental value of a very special item owned by my recently deceased parents, several Google searches showed that purchasing a replacement equivalent piece would be $500-$1000.
FedEx has demonstrated their willful destruction of personal property, their negligence in handling it properly, their unwarranted decision to DISPOSE OF IT (their exact words), and their unwillingness to do anything about it. Is that the kind of company YOU want to use to ship items that have ANY value to you at all? For me in the future, no way.
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA -- I shipped a package from the San Diego area to the Philippines on December 6, after being assured by the agent for the company that they would have it delivered "within 5 business days." It was a Christmas gift. I was charged $150.00, the international economy rate, for a package that weighed less than 5 pounds, and was smaller than and the box measured about 18x24 inches. It contained a tablet computer. On December 13, the package arrived at Philippine customs. It is still there. I have been told for the last 2 weeks by FedEx that they are waiting for the person in the Cebu, Philippines office who is responsible for my package to "get back to them."
When I pointed out that it was clear the person was not going to get back to them... after about 10 straight days of being told this, and suggested that they telephone that person or his supervisor, I was told, "It wasn't done that way." They said they have sent several emails, and I would just have to wait. On December 18, the recipient, my fiance, called the Fedex office responsible for delivering the package (at the Cebu airport). She was told she could come and pick up the package, provided she paid the person $25.00; because they were "too busy to deliver it."
Now, I have repeatedly instructed Fedex that my account was to be charged any fees, and it is clearly in the notes. The person she spoke with acknowledged this. So, by paying some extortion money on the side... she could have her Christmas present.
I made Fedex aware of this, because in addition to saying they were waiting for their Cebu employee to contact them, they said it was the Philippine government, not them, that was holding it up. They continued to say no one from the Philippines would respond to their emails. I should point out that the Fedex people I was speaking with were with the international division, the problem resolution unit called summerset i-cat, apparently part of some vice-president's unit. Needless to say, I have never been allowed to speak with the vice-president.
On Monday, December 23, they changed their story. They told me the amount customs would charge me, and said it should be delivered on the 24th. It wasn't. I was told the same thing on the 24th... that it would be delivered the 26th. It is the 26th in the Philippines, and nothing has changed. Online tracking states "delay" just like it has for nearly 2 weeks now. Granted, customs can delay a package. But, one would expect that a company like Fedex has professionals employed who know how to deal with customs and get a package cleared, especially for what they charge. Clearly they do... but you have to pay an extortion fee on the side.
It's a 3 hour trip for my fiance to the airport... not to mention $25.00 is a lot of money to the average person in the Philippines. However, that is apparently the only way she will receive the package. Obviously, Fedex pays their employees there a slave wage and they have to extort fees from recipients... otherwise they will never receive their packages.
PARIS -- Expedited shipment from Denmark to my customer in Canada. Arrived in Paris on Saturday; it is Tuesday now and still hasn't moved. Several customer service stated it was [bumped] TWICE and made it clear this happens regularly. A "case file" has been opened, but no one can tell me what is going on with it because, you guessed it. The people handling the case file are also in Paris. No one in the USA seems too concerned about it, at least not on the executive level. How do I explain this to my customer?
TAMPA, FLORIDA -- You ship a package with several quite small electronic devices (mp3/mp4 players). As many countries have weird customs laws you declare the value to be under 100$ (so your recipient would not have to pay customs duties). It takes 50% longer for your package to arrive and as you track it - it goes via very weird route. It finally arrives to the destination, but its weight is significantly lighter. When your recipient opens the package - he sees that the contents of boxes are gone stolen. You have fun with FEDEX trying to at least get your shipping money and insurance amount back. Remember they have thieves working for them and do not care about you!!!