A while back I got a refurbished TV from woot.com, when it arrived and the FedEx guy dropped it on the ground I cringed a little, but signed for it and then dragged it over to my desk to open it up.
I removed the Styrofoam padders on the top corners and pulled the TV out. There were some scuff marks on the sides (no biggie there, cosmetic blemishes are part of what makes a refurb a refurb), but there were also scuff marks on the screen, just left of center near the top. This was slightly more troubling, but trying to think happy thoughts, I plugged it in anyway (using a VGA cable from my laptop for the input).
Alas, nothing! Well, not nothing exactly, as the screen would flash and it would show mostly black, except for some really colorful sections radiating from the aforementioned scuff marks, which with the TV on were all black and sort of in a fist shape. At this point, I can’t help but think that someone has punched my TV. After a moment of wondering who would punch a TV, I realized I needed to figure out who it is I should contact. First, I email woot, and ask the obvious question (“Did you ship me a broken TV?”), they inform me that they did not. Then I have to decide between FedEx and Magnavox (the latter for some sort of repair service). I opt to talk to FedEx first, which is what led to the hijinks that inspired this post.
Friday 19 March 2010
Call claims, speak to a nice young woman named Ashley who walked me through the process and informed me that someone could be out tomorrow (Saturday) to inspect it. Since the package is at my office I ask if we could do a different day so that I didn’t have to hang out at the office all day for just this. Not a problem, she says and tells me the inspector will stop by on Tuesday (since it was FedEx Home and they operate Tue-Sat). She also asks me what I want to happen to the TV after the Claims process, do I want it shipped back to woot or to come back to me. I say ship it back to me, so that I could try and get it repaired after they are done with it (ideally with the money they send me), in the hope that this is a fixable issue. She gives me a confirmation number, emails me something, and provides a fax number that I need to send various documents to, which I promptly do.
Tuesday 23 March 2010
Inspector turns out to be the normal FedEx Home Delivery guy, who is picking up the package and taking it back with him. I tell him that I was expecting an inspector and he says that he’s supposed to deliver it back to base and they will inspect it there. I ask him if I need to try and pack it back up like it was originally packed and he says that is unnecessary, that I should just try and shove all the packing materials in there. I do as requested and then he asks me to seal the package, “just so nothing falls out”. I go and grab some packing tape and run it over the top seam once and then he takes it away, carrying it slightly better than when he dropped it off.
Wednesday 31 March 2010
I get a letter from FedEx Cargo Claims. It states:
March 25, 2010
my name, address
Case # my case number
Tracking/Barcode Label # my Tracking/Barcode Label
Amount: $300.00 USA
Ship Date/Received Date 03/19/2010
Dear FedEx Customer,
Thank you for submitting your claim for the above-referenced shipment. After carefully reviewing your documentation and the shipping records, we are unable to honor your request for a claim.
We inspected the shipment and found that it was not adequately prepared or packed for safe transportation. A copy of the damage inspection report is included for your records.
Correctly packing, taping and labeling your shipment can help ensure it arrives on time and in good condition. You can find packaging guidelines for preparing future FedEx shipments at www.fedex.com/us/services/packageshipment and in the FedEx Service Guide.
If you would like a copy of the FedEx Service Guide, please call 1-800 Go FedEx 1.800.463.3339. FedEx information is also available at fedex.com and http://www.fedex.com/us/claimsonline.
Thank you for shipping with FedEx. We appreciate your business, and hope you will continue to count on us for reliable, high-quality delivery services.
The attached “damage inspection report” was a bit lacking in information. It listed the Shipper (WOOT INC) and the Consignee (me) and that it was shipped in a corrugated carton, containing “1 FLAT SCREEN TV” that was “CRACKED”.
The last two lines being:
Shipper Instructions: AUTOMATICALLY RETURN TO SHIPPER
Disposition of Package: COMPLETE ORDER RETURNED
At this point, I am assuming the TV made its way back to woot, but I have no idea. I suppose FedEx could have just kept and I wouldn’t have known. The biggest thing missing from the “damage inspection report” was the reason behind their refuting my claim. I see NOTHING that indicates the basis for refusing my claim.
Did FedEx not find it acceptable the way I packaged it up in the 2 minutes I had to give it to the Inspector who turned out to be the Delivery Guy? Maybe if I had known ahead of time to package it up like it was when I first opened it up it would have passed muster. Or maybe if the Delivery Guy had said that it needed to be packaged in the same way it was shipped. At this point, I have absolutely no idea.
I know it is stereotypical for insurance to screw you, but I have had a number of pleasant interactions when making claims with my own insurance company (Car/Motorcycle Insurance — go with Progressive they are wonderful), and have never felt screwed over.
This however was complete crap. I get a letter with no information stating that they aren’t paying anything and I have to assume that the TV went back to Woot. Did it? Who knows? Not me!
I did a little googling today and found that I am not the only one that has suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous FedEx fortune. This isn’t terribly shocking (any claims department is going to have some people angry at being denied, be they legitimate denials or not), and a number of people reported similar instances of FedEx denying their claims, though I didn’t see much more information than “I was denied”. This is part of the reason that today’s blog post was NOT labeled Vitriol, as I decided that it would be more useful to others if I wasn’t swearing throughout.
Final Thoughts: DO NOT USE FEDEX for shipping anything electronic or fragile. You need documents shipped? Probably not a problem, but why chance it, there’s always USPS and UPS. If you happen to ship something and the insurance won’t pay, what’s the point?