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FedEx is pissing me off June 2, 2006

Posted by fukumimi in general.
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I sent a package to Canada via FedEx and it has been stopped, in Anchorage, Alaska. 

Apparently the FDA rules post-911 (or perhaps more precisely post-Anthrax scare – which reminds me, what happened to that investigation?) mean that packages containing food which travel to the US are scrutinised and people sending stuff to the US need to submit a prior notice via the FDA website. Which is fine, every country can set its own laws. However, apparently the laws apply to goods which are transhipped through the US.

So my package got stuck in Alaska, and FedEx called me explaining the problem. They then said I had to make the appropriate filings, and send them a copy of the filings.

Not particularly wanting to volunteer personal information to a foreign government (not that they don't have me on their records already), I asked if they couldn't file the application (which the FDA rules state they can, if they wanted) but they insisted I had to do it. I then asked what happened if I didn't file the paperwork. They said the package would be shipped back. AT MY COST. Yeah, right. Over my dead body. (even if the FedEx account is paid by the company. as a matter of principle)

OK, so I didn't file the paperwork ahead of time, but I am not particularly familiar with the details of US import/export regulations and I think it is crazy to expect people to be aware of various requirements.

The package had a bill of lading which CLEARLY indicated that the package contained foodstuffs. The package was picked up, and processed at FedEx's facilities in Japan, and put on a plane and only when it arrived in Anchorage and refused entry at customs was the problem identified.

I would think that in this set of circumstances, FedEx are at fault for not picking up the problem before the package left Japan. It wasn't like they didn't have any way of knowing the contents of the package.  

I was thinking about telling FedEx that I wasn't going to file the paperwork and to get the package back to me. Then fight with them if they tried to get me to pay for the return shipping.

However, call me lazy, I decided that it would most likely be a waste of my time, so I did what the FDA required, and sent FedEx a copy of the paperwork. 24 hours later, FedEx's tracking system shows no change in status, and I have yet to receive any communication from FedEx. 

FedEx's service in Japan sucks. Big time.

A previous experience of their service resulted in a server (double boxed, in original boxes, with "fragile" and "sensitive electronic equipment inside" stickers all over the box)being delivered with the box looking like it had been dragged behind the FedEx van from the airport. The mild steel casing of the server was warped, suggesting it had been dropped at some point. Trying to fire the box up, the HDD made a funny noise and died.

The current experience reminded me why I don't use FedEx out of choice. I was so pissed off I am considering lobbying our admin department to switch international courier companies. After all, FedEx doesn't have a monopoly, and the best way to punish bad service is by voting with our wallets. (and telling the story to anyone who cares to listen)

Hopefully my package will arrive in Toronto sometime before the end of the year, vaguely intact. 

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Comments»

1. Jeff Daggett - June 5, 2006

I completely agree with you. I respect that post 9/11 FedEx’s job may be more difficult, but, hey, that’s their job. At some point they seem to have forgotten that their job is to get it there, overnight. I recently sent my partner her laptop after a Tokyo visit that ended with her leaving before her computer did. Same story. One way trip to Anchorage, despite having filled out what I was told was the appropriate paperwork. On another recent occasion, I had to drive to the Los Angeles equivalent of Atsugi to pick up a case of wine, all because they had made their two attempts to deliver while I was on a business trip.

Not to belabor the point, but a company that forgets it is in the business of delivering a solution, not a service, does so at its peril. I’m now trialing DHL for Disney and my other clients, and if they prove to be more reliable, FedEx is fired.


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