Monday, July 29, 2019

Fedex: when it absolutely, positively has to get stuck in the system for over two months

I have seen some pretty serious corporate bureaucratic dysfunction over the years, but I think this one takes the cake: on May 23, we shipped a package via Fedex from California to Colorado.  The package required a signature.  It turned out that the person we sent it to had moved, and so was not able to sign for the package, and so it was not delivered.

Now, the package has our return address on it, so you would think that in a situation like that Fedex would simply return the package to us.  But you would be wrong.  Very, very wrong.

Fedex has an on-line tracking system, so we knew that the package had not been delivered (though at the time we didn't know why).  We kept an eye on it for about a week waiting for it to be either delivered or returned.  After a week, we called Fedex to ask what was going on.  We were told that they had been unable to obtain the required signature.  We asked why the package had not been returned.  It turns out that return shipping is not included in the original price.  We had paid cash for the original shipment, they could not return it because they didn't have a credit card on file.

OK, we said, that's kind of annoying to find out at this stage in the game, but no problem, we'll give you a credit card.  Oh no, they said, that won't work.  We can't accept a credit card payment at this point, you need a Fedex account number.  Why can't they accept a credit card now?  No one knew.

So we opened a Fedex account.  Problem solved, no?


It turns out that there is more than one kind of Fedex account, and we had opened the wrong kind.  So we opened another Fedex account.

By this point a month had gone by, and the package had been shipped from Colorado to Mississippi!  Why they didn't just send it back to California I have no idea, and neither did they.

By now we have spoken to no fewer than ten different people at Fedex over a period of two months.  No one can tell us why the package has not been returned to us.  At one point we were told it was going through some kind of security screening (there is nothing in the package but paper).  As if the situation were not already ironic enough, the latest delay (we are told) has something to do with Fedex wanting to give us a refund for the original shipping charge in order to make up for the inconvenience, though, of course, they are still going to charge us for the return shipment.

If by some bizarre chance anyone at Fedex upper management is seeing this, you have a very serious problem in your processes.  This is beyond unacceptable.  For an organization whose entire business model is based on getting things to their destinations on time, you should be hanging your head in shame that it has taken you over two months to return a package from Colorado To California with no end in sight.  I really don't like to engage in public shaming, but if ever there was a situation that warranted it, this is it.

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