Wednesday, February 03, 2010

FedEx Delivery Exception: A Play in Two Acts

Act 1

Bought two off-lease laptops on eBay to add to my event stock. Day of delivery comes. No delivery. E-mail seller, get tracking number. Plug tracking number into FedEx web site. Get this:

"Unable to Deliver Shipment. Return To Shipper. Recipient Unknown".


Get on the horn to FedEx with a good head of steam. Tell FedEx Chick "WTF? How can the recipient be unknown? I live in a dinky little town, two FedEx guys, I know them both by name, they know who I am."

FedEx Chick: "Wellllll - there are some notes in the record. Let me see.... it says 'overturned trailer' ".

Me: "They tried to deliver my pkg to a trailer? I don't live in a trailer. I live in a house. And trailer homes are illegal here."

FedEx Chick: "Still reading....OK, what happened is the pkg was out for delivery on a FedEx delivery truck, which then got into a big crash, and it rolled over. All the boxes onboard are being returned to their shippers."

Me: "Hmglymph. {working...working.....working} Are you sure?"

FedEx Chick: "That's what it says".

Me: "OK, thanks."

Act 2

Redial FedEx. Get another rep on the horn.

Me: "Hi, I'd like to give you a tracking number, and perhaps you can tell me what happened to this shipment. I just had a conversation with another FedEx rep about this, and I'm not sure I believe what she told me."

FedEx dude: "OK, sure, what's the tracking #?"

{looks it up}

FedEx dude: "Yup, I see what you mean. FedEx truck crashed, rolled over a few times, boxes damaged, all returned to shipper".

Me: "Hmglymph." {working...working.....working}

FedEx dude: "Yeah, I know, it's rare but it happens. I've been here ten years, saw it once before. FedEx truck had a fuel leak and burned to the ground."

Me: "Just for the sake of my own curiosity, why were all the boxes returned to their shippers? Why not deliver them and let the recipient make a claim if the contents are damaged?"

FedEx dude: "It's company policy. FedEx returns the parcels because in most cases the contents are purchased goods. It's easier for buyers to make a refund claims on their credit card if the goods are never delivered at all than if they're delivered damaged. Once they're delivered, then the buyer has to document the damage, file a claim, possibly return the goods at their own expense, and it can be a lengthy and costly process."

Me: "Wow. Never thought of that. That's possibly the first time in 49 years that somebody has explained something by saying 'it's company policy' and the company policy actually made sense."

FedEx dude: {laughs} "Yes, sir. Can I help you with anything else today?"

Me: "No, thanks for your help. Aloha".

FedEx dude: "Thanks for calling FedEx".


The Big Guy said...


For most "Company Policy" excuses, the policy usually exists to guard against such a small set of occurrences that you really have to analyze the policy and all possible situations before you get a "well, ok, I can see that, but it still doesn't make sense in this case" moment.

That's the first one I've ever seen that makes sense right out of the box.


Unknown said...

exact same thing just happened to me, here's the number: 784028332650