Wednesday, May 30, 2007

FedEx Disaster

My mom is a disabled pizza delivery driver for a national pizza chain, though because of her disability she won't be doing that for much longer. She stumbled across a habanero sauce/marmelade recipe one day and after many iterations of improving upon it and making it her own, she decided to see what people thought. They loved it.

So, I brought some back home with me from a not-so-recent Southern California trip to see her, and started selling it at local craft fairs for $8 per jar. The product proved to be popular that I sold out. I begged my mom to make some more and send it to me. We decided to use FedEx because they were the cheapest. Well, sometimes in life I guess you truly do get what you pay for.

This is our story.

Original shipment: submitted online 3 days before scheduled delivery date of May 1st. Claimed value: $450. Shipment type: FedEx Home Delivery.

My mom had packed the box precisely as the fedex rep had instructed. Double cardboard on the bottom to fortify the base from tearing, packing peanuts between the box edge and the contents, bubble wrap in between each flat of 12 jars (of which there were 4.5 flats)... everything right that you could do to pack a box, she did right.

However, the box I received (short, fat) looked nothing like the box that was shipped (tall, skinny). In fact, this is because it was not the box that was originally shipped; it appears the original box was dropped, half of its contents destroyed, and all of our receipts in the envelope (far right in the picture) were MISSING.

Here is what arrived at my doorstep:


Note that I was expecting twice as many jars, and packing peanuts were the only materials used to insulate the jars from hitting each other. This did not prove effective:


And that's one of the few jars with the label still in tact. Every other jar was either dented and/or had a torn label and/or was covered in sauce.

5/9/07: So, I was understandably upset because I was going to sell these things in a few days at a craft fair. I called FedEx and filed a claim, which sounded like a very easy process since they pay the claim in 5-7 days. "Great," I thought, "at least we can recover our capital and continue to make more sauce." This was on 5/9/07. I faxed the claim to two different numbers, just to be safe, and included all appropriate documentation. At the same time, I did as they told me and left the damaged contents at my apartment's leasing office for them to pick up and examine for the claims process.

On 5/17/07, I called back to check on the status of my claim because we hadn't received a check. Spoke with Pat in the claims department. It sounds like he can't read our pricing sheet and instructed me to re-fax pricing sheet and include this tracking number. Pat was to look into situation and call me back on my cell phone. Never got a call back from Patty Cake, Patty Cake, baker's man.

Furthermore, it seems that nobody at FedEx has a clue what happened with this shipment. There is no original invoice number, invoice date, etc. on my fedex.com account; they stated to me that over the phone it appeared there was no declared value, but yet I put a declared value online and over the phone. They are trying to retrace this online order back to the start to see if they can uncover the fact that I really did claim $450.

5/23/07 rolls around. Spoke with Carla Duncan in c.service. No direct # for claims dept. Claim closed (denied) on 5/18/07, then re-opened some time later because "additional documentation was received. Person handling claim, Jacquelyn, won't be back in the office until Tuesday, since Monday is a holiday. Fuck. I guess I get to wait some more.

5/29/07: 9:20AM. Spoke with "India". She says claims dept has denied claim--they say it was delivered on a different tracking number. Seems like nobody knows what the fuck they are talking about in this company, since yesterday I was told the claim was re-opened. India offered to leave a callback request with Jackie. We'll see if she calls back today. [Nope, no call back.]

5/30/07: 1:17 PM. Finally spoke with my assigned claims rep, Jackie (caller id 901-922-7000), who says that the tracking number starting with "889" means that the item has been repackaged, and that's not the tracking number they need for whatever it is they have to do (are they still trying to verify that I originally claimed a $450 value??). This seems ludacris to me, since, if an item is re-packaged, one would think it would be linked to the original tracking number in the database... and since I placed the pickup order with a CUSTOMER SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE, you'd think there would be an original tracking number SOMEWHERE IN THEIR SYSTEM.

Welp, Jackie said she would have to do some more investigating and call me back tomorrow since she was about to leave for the day in 15 minutes. How convenient.

Curious, I wonder where my "damaged contents" package is since I shipped it on May 10th (it is now May 30th) and they said it'd be shipped right back to me. They must have looked at it by now and documented it, right?

Indeed, they had. But where was the package? I later found that they had delivered it to my apartment complex, but failed to put my apartment number on it. So, my apartment complex let it sit in their office for about 2 weeks before I finally called in to inquire.

When I opened the box I glanced in to see what kind of packing material they used to secure the GLASS JARS this time. At first glance, I was delighted with what I thought were those sealed bags of air that Amazon.com uses to ship BOOKS... (you know, the things that don't break and spill all over the place) ...but no.

To my dismay and utter SHOCK, it turns out they just dumped all the jars into a pink plastic bag, tied a knot at the top, and dumped that bag in another bag, with a knot at that top of it as well. Same way you might dispose of, you know, a dead human body.

Hmm, seems to me like they knew it was going to be a complete CLUSTER FUCK in that bag, "so we better make sure it doesn't leak too bad."

Below is what I received:

I just opened the box, haven't tampered with anything.



Inside of the bag.


The labels are practically see-through due to all the sauce they've absorbed.


Another gnarly picture of the chaos that ensued.

And finally, the video:

, shockwave-flash@http://www.youtube.com/v/MRzV-1AZ3pQ" href="http://www.youtube.com/v/MRzV-1AZ3pQ" id="">


Now... the claims process is STILL going on and it's unknown how long it will last.... but as it progresses, I'll post updates to this blog entry in chronological order.