Filing a claim with FedEx or What the hell happened to my TV?

A while back I got a refurbished TV from, 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
Reference/Claimant #
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 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 and

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.


Tina Havelka

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:

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?

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21 Responses

  1. Heathermyralynn says:

    Im going through the same thing with usps they damage my package it was my computer i had put insurance on the package file a claim and they denied it twice how can they get away i sent them all. The request information because they say i have to file online send pictures of damage and proof of postage and proof of purchase and value and they still denied my claim i feel like I been scammed i try calling all the news station but no help usps insurance is a scam

  2. Dusten says:

    So i am in the same boat as everyone else. Shipped a commercial coffee machine, it arrived to the buyer damaged. The odd thing is in the pictures the buyer sent me i noticed that the packaging had been modified. They put their own banding on it for some reason, also the plastic wrap i had it it in was hanging off of it. I am going to keep calling them til they reverse the decison or small claims court is in the future. IF anyone has some tips for small claims court please let me know.

  3. Keke says:

    I bought a rug from Overstock, which was delivered torn by FedEx. Keep away from those bums

  4. Hey so I also fell prey to Fedex. Except they couldn’t decline me based on packing – I paid for THEM to pack it!

    They packed two computers with paper in a big box. No styrofoam, no bubble wrap – just paper. The package came with visible damage (a big hole in the side), the computers were massively damaged with giant dents, and visible damage was done to the motherboards, etc. Ends up being about 1000 dollars worth of damages.

    I filed a claim, documented everything, and got denied because they claim they inspected the package and found no damages somewhere along the line. I got a one-line thing saying “we inspected the package and found no damage.” Well I still have the box right beside my bed and the giant hole as well as the dented cases (which I can no longer close) beg to differ.

    I filed with the BBB and if that doesn’t work, I’ll destroy them in court. I want to do as much damage to the company as I can if they keep denying me, so I definitely plan to hire a nice lawyer and pile on the damages and legal fees for them to compensate.

    Fun other fact – they shipped a suitcase as well to me. That arrived with, somehow, the outer pocket ripped open. They’re ‘investigating’ that claim, even though they admitted it was damaged to me over the phone. I can’t help but wonder if they’ll deny that one too.

  5. Lindy says:

    We shipped a porcelain sink and it arrived broken. Robert Minger at Fedex denied with the same denial as others got. Plus they were slow in even responding to my claim. We are now escalating with them and hope to avoid small claims court, but if i need to go that far, I will.
    From FEDEX:
    I do apologize, however the above claim was declined due to insufficient packing. Based on the inspection report, there was not enough cushioning around the items to protect them in transit. I also reviewed the photo provided and unfortunately, nothing in the photos would show this to be incorrect. I can only see the package lined with cardboard. Due to the fragile nature of the merchandise, you would need inner packing that would provide cushioning.

    Based on the information provided, we must respectfully maintain our decision.

  6. alan paladino says:

    Who is the person at fedex authorized to receive legal summons for small claims court, and what is their address for service?

  7. L.Ward says:

    I have a Major problem with Fed Ex right now, I had a cell phone shipped Nd I insure it for 1,000.00. Well Fed ex didn’t believe there was damage to my phone, so they sent out an inspector to take pictures of the damaged phone and would get back to me. Well it’s been since November that this has all taken place and last week I receive a call saying that there was no proof of damage to the box, and that my claim was being denied because of no pictures of the box. Well the inspector did not take any pictures of the box. But when the claim was initially submitted I sent in the pictures of the damage to box with my original claim. But since the inspector failed to submit more pictures my clim was denied. I was then told to take they aged box into a fed ex location near me so they can inspect the box. Now this morning I get a rude call from a fed ex claims representative telling me that they inspected the box and because the shipping label was ripped when open and they can not visibly see the bar code that my claim has been denied and to take it up with the 3rd party fed ex shipping location where my package was sent from. So now because I didn’t open the box the right way and the shipping label was ripped during that process not making the bar code visible means my claim is denied!! How is this legal or fair! Am I able to take them to small claims for this! What about my damaged phone forget the label that should be the least of anyone’s concerns, that is clearly the box it was shipped in, and you can clearly see the original packaging and shipping label is intact. What am I to do now, it seems as thought they care about the shipping label being ripped and not the damaged box or my broken 1,000.00 phone inside of the damaged box! Someone Please Help With Any Suggestions.

  8. N. Binkley says:

    i am getting ready to file a claim for a KITCHENAID FOOD PROCESSOR and i sincerely hope i do not receive this letter as I ship many many items with ebay and I will blog until Fed x is a household name …and I might even contact our local tv channel …they love running stories like this…..

  9. Ajay says:


    I have the same issue with my Sony LED. Fedex damaged it during transport and technician confirmed it’s uneconomical to get the internal display fixed……still awaiting to hear back from claims.

    Wished I had read this site before using Fedex…..

  10. Kwabena says:

    These morons sent me the same generic letter and my claim amount is $990.15. I’m headed to court for this one. This Tina Havelka claims rep is very unprofessional. Fedex messed with the wrong individual…I’ll fight till i can’t walk again

  11. Kay says:

    Just finished dealing with FedEx Claims dept. They honored my claim after weeks of arguing. Don’t back down and be a hassle. They denied my claim three times but guess who has the check now? Every time I called and had something else to complain about the CS Rep would say “Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that. I will make a note in the account.” I would ask what they were going to do about it and after being transferred to multiple people (none of which could furnish an answer.) They told me that it would be kicked up to management for review and I would be contacted within 48 hours. Wll 48 hours later I had a message from the manager saying that “Hi Kay, I took a look at your claim and we’re going to go a head and accept it.” No reason for accepting it AND she didn’t leave her call back number so I know she just didn’t want to deal with it anymore:) Be tough and don’t take no “stuff” !

  12. rachel says:

    Hi everyone I have a few questions….here’s my story…I’m 26 years old and my biological father sends me Christmas gifts every year…since I’ve been born. I currently live in California but used to live in Tennessee…and he lives in Oregon I never had any problems getting my packages when I was in Tennessee but currently living in California where as it was only supposed to take three days it actually never got here…so I’ve already talked to claims and the Guy told me I would get denied so there was no reason to try. Cause o wasn’t the shipper.

    • John says:

      Rachel –

      If you have a tracking number and it shows as lost on the shipper’s site, you can definitely make a claim.


  13. E J says:

    FUCK FED EX. I am waiting for a package in Portland Oregon, sent from Dallas TX. My package has been sitting in Los Angeles CA for 3 days not with no movement. I called and spoke to some Fed EX moron and this is normal. Meanwhile my package delivery date has been moved out another week. It will be three weeks if they deliver it on that date. Fuck Fed EX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Flint says:

    Rick: Did you have any luck with the lawsuit? They destroyed a fragile and very expensive piece of my lab equipment and won’t pay for it. I think I might do the same thing.

  15. Rick says:

    I received a letter from FedEx today requesting MY photographs of the shipment I took prior to the shipping. Being in Risk Managment myself, I know to document everything.

    They want my pictures and I told them “No!” as it should be protocol for THEM to document each claim denial “if” they actually did inspect my package as they said they did.

    I told FedEx they can see my pictures during the discovery process of the court hearing.

    My claim was only for $163.75, but I’m going to seek an additional $500.00 in punative damages and I’m going to show the Judge a link to this site so he can see that I received the VERY SAME LETTER as John.

    FedEx messed with the wrong person. They should have sent me my $163.75 back, but now it’s going to cost them more in Administrative paperwork and to send a representative to court.


  16. John says:

    My story gets even better. After talking with Woot, they filed their own claim, which FedEx also denied. In addition to that, FedEx cannot tell either of us where the TV is. I never got it back; Woot never got it back.

    If you proceed with taking FedEx to court, I’d love to hear how that goes.

  17. Rick says:

    I recently submitted a claim to FedEx and received the exact same letter as John – word for word.

    I’m taking FedEx to Small Claims Court in California.

    What’s the use of buying insurance if your claim is going to be denied automatically?


  18. John says:

    I just sent an email over, thanks!

  19. kristy says:

    Sup, I’m from Woot CS, we can definitely help you. Email us your username or order number? We may have more in stock, so please let us know if you’d prefer that or a refund.

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