Fed Ex Ground Shipping Woes


I've had two situations over the past 3 months where FedEx has caused shipping damange. I have had zero prior issues with them in the last 4 years. They immediately rejected the claim on the first item (packed in the OEM Box with original packaging materials and cited "insufficient packaging."

I learned quickly and recently had a seller professionally package an amp that was being shipped to me. The professional packer used a double-boxing system with at least 4 inches of rigid foam and Styrofoam peanuts. Shippers typically require a minimum of 3 inches of insulation around the unit.

To make a long story short, FedEx managed to managle the outer shipping container, mangle the inner shipping container, and damage the unit.

I'm at a loss for words......

Has anybody had better luck with one of the other couriers or any tips? I thought that both the seller and I did everything humanly possible to ensure safe delivery.
gechta
I try to stay away from any ground shipping, more time and handling in the system.
I had a Fedex claim denied last year but stayed all over it until they finally paid in full. Go to a supervisor and never take NO for an answer. You paid for the insurance and that's what it is for. In my case, Fedex absolutely butchered the box, dropped it from about 10 storeys, and put a huge dent on the amp front face and knocked the transformer and RCA jacks loose at the solder joint. The person I bought the amp from packed it really poorly (threw it into a single layer box with a few peanuts so it could roll all around) and it was really his fault, but he denied responsibility and turned over the claim to me. But I filled out all the claim forms and probably spent 15 hours on it on the phone and email for a 220.00 claim. A pyrrhic victory at best.
its been my experience that fed ex air and fedex ground are 2 different levels of service as well. the shipper in any event is the insurer..not the receiver.
FedX Air scrapped a Krell amp of mine. They did pay up but it was a jacked up ordeal. Krell uses Ocean Air. They treated my new amp box like it was crystal. It costs more initially, but saves in the long run.
Good luck, John
I agree with Sns.

Stay completely away from Fedex ground especially, unless you're shipping something completely indestructible.

I prefer USPS for my shipping needs. I have never had a problem with them. (The only caveat being that they have a rather low maximum shipping weight.)

UPS is acceptable, barely, for heavier items, but they too hire gorillas to move their boxes, so double box everything.

My two cents worth.
Can't agree with the premise for this thread. I've used FedEx exclusively for the past 3-4 years and have shipped over 1000 pieces of equipment, domestic and international, with some weighing 100 Lbs or more, without so much as a scratch. Have to assume that the problem is localized. It may be that the damage is actually caused in your local FedEx Terminal. Common sense dictates that shipments must be extremely well packed to avoid damage in transit regardless of which carrier is used.
This subject has been brought up over and over. If Commcat hasn't had problems, they are a lucky individual. I've talked to managers at an equipment rack/media rack manufacturer (in the past) who told me their ground carriers were destroying shipments at a very high rate. They had to send me three shipments to get me one that wasn't destroyed (and we're talking solid steel.) Forum threads are constantly bemoaning rough treatment by ground carriers. Personally, FedEx ground, UPS, & DHL have all done their best to destroy equipment I've shipped and it's only been careful packaging that has saved me from some damage. In other cases, they still managed to damage stuff in spite of packing carefully. The problem is so bad I will never buy another piece of equipment I have to ship to the west coast to get repaired. Living in Florida and shipping air freight to the west coast is getting too expensive now.
I find the heavier the item being shipped the more likely it is to be damaged, amps are always at risk. If you want it to get there safely, put it on a palette and ship it freight.

Richard Vandersteen once told me, "Fed Ex for air shipping is wonderful. For anything else - they're total a#$%%les."
Fedex Ground employs contractors -- is a different company within the FEDEX organization.
USPS Priority Mail ,, best of all for me...Never had a problem.......Never even had a scrape or dent in a box....
I've shipped a boatload of stuff over the past couple of years. Previously, my experiences with FedEX Ground were horrific, so when I began this new journey, I used UPS. 2 of the approximately 15 shipments I made were damaged. A friend told me to use FedEX Ground, and once I made the switch, I never looked back. Knock on wood, but I've not had one component damaged since that happened that was their fault (I did have 2 come to me damaged, but was the fault of the people who packed them).
I guess I would have to say that I am fortunate. I ship Fed Ex Ground because it is the cheapest option, and the buyer rarely chooses to spend more on shipping. In fact, one of my pet peeves is that once a price has been negotiated including all fees, Paypal, shipping etc, a buyer will then ask, "jeez, I really want that abc quickly, could you overnight it or send it 2nd day air?". IMHO that should all be part of the initial negotiations.

Anyway, I ship Fed Ex Ground in the CONUS for the last 8 years, with only one problem, and Fed Ex paid the claim in full. When shipping internationally I use USPS for duties collection reasons (Fed Ex Ground sucks at this).

UPS Ground cost more than Fed Ex Ground, and I'd be happy to ship air if the buyer wants to at least split the additional cost. Normally though the buyer wants the cheapest price, which gets him the cheapest shipping.

Cheers,
John
My experience, after shipping and receiving over 200 packages in the last three years, is to never, never use FedEx ground. Regular FedEx is okay.

Unless it is for media mail, never use USPS. They don't pay claims, ever.

UPS ground is the only carrier left, unless you do local pickup or delivery. Never ship a turntable, only pickup.
The beauty of UPS ground is that if you receive something damaged, you can file a claim on line and UPS comes and gets the item the next day. No hassel, so far. Will they pay a claim? Yes and no. If UPS thinks it is not their damage, back it goes to the shipper. From that point it is anybodies quess. But remember, if you paid for the item via PayPal, and can prove it has been returned, easily done with UPS tracking reports. PayPal will give you your money back. Little to lose since you did not have to pay for return shipping, and PayPal will give you your fully payment back.
As was suggested in one of the earlier posts, FedEx Ground is definitely not the same company as FedEx Express. FedEx Ground couriers are independent contractors who purchase the right from FedEx corporate to provide service to a given zip code(s). Just 2 weeks ago, a major online retailer of pro and consumer products told me that they never use FedEx Ground because of innumerable service and damage problems deriving from the fact that FedEx Ground personnel are indeed sub-contractors. With all of the above in mind, that is the most likely reason why attitudes toward and experiences with Fedex Ground are so variable. Our local FedEx Ground courier is so bad that I was forced to open a UPS account -- and I have had my own personal FedEx account since 1984.
Well, this is depressing. I just sent two packages this morning via FedEx Ground. I've had flawless service from them over the past 5 years. We'll see what happens this time and I'll report back if the thread still exists.
Although I've never had any problem with damage, I refuse to use Fedex, air or ground, because the local distribution and drivers have been incompetent. Not once have they actually delivered to my door. Last time, they said my address doesn't exist. At least UPS has had the common sense to make late afternoon deliveries to a residential address.
drtmth58 is right, fed ex ground is independent contractors

i avoid them for all the damage claims i have read about and the occasional missing package scams that have occured and packages being rifled thru
I shipped monoblocs Fedex. Somebody at FedEx rifled one of the boxes and the contents. I took lots of photos. FedEx refused my claim several times and issued their standard claim that it was not packaged properly. I filed a BBB complaint and climbed the ladder to Fedex management. Once I was able to talk with somebody at Fedex with decision making authority, Fedex paid 100% of the insurance value. Financially I was restored, but it took a lot of letters, phone calls and photos to obtain satisfaction. But, once somebody with a brain and authority got the case, Fedex settled quickly and fully.

I'll also mention that Nick Gowan at True Sound in San Jose, who is an experienced repair tech, was very helpful.
This reminds me of the time a Fedex guy got about 6 feet from my front porch and heaved a 50 pound amp on to my porch. Surprisingly there was no damage at all. In his defense it was a Saturday delivery. No one likes working weekends.
Makes me wonder though, how rough do they have to be to do the damage they do.
I've had two shipments damaged by FED-X Ground--one a pair of speakers and the other an amp. Both were initially denied. In the case of the speakers, the outer boxes were damaged, punctured, and there was a verbal admission from the driver that the boxes had kept falling over in the truck and once had landed on the handtruck, piercing the box! The first response denied the claim, saying I'd not declared a value on the shipment, which was false. The 2nd response declared the boxes were insufficient packaging. And so on.

I took pix and protested, went up the chain, finally getting a guy who was real who sent a 3rd party adjuster out to inspect. This adjuster took a look and marveled at the extent of the damage, all but telling me I could get full reimbursement if I wanted. I didn't--just wanting FEDX to settle for the cost of repair and loss of value.

The next incident was an amp--a cap crushed, a transformer cover knocked loose. In this case, there was no outer box damage and FEDX denied my claim. I'm still wrestling with them.

Point--FEDX Ground is a low-level of service and treatment. They pull every trick in the book not to honor a claim. Once you get past the lower-level lackeys and jokers, you have a better chance of getting your claim taken seriously. But they throw up asinine roadblocks--no doubt.

Good luck.
I've been reminded that "flawless" doesn't exactly characterize the situation when I FedExed my Sony XA777ES and the buyer and FedEx played tag for days. He did eventually get the unit and it was undamaged, but his experience wasn't the greatest :-)

On the other hand I've sent and received dozens of shipments via FedEx Ground and this is the only downer I know of. Sure can't say the same for UPS.
Thanks for starting the 173rd thread of Fedex,UPS,Bax,etc etc etc versions of shipping packages around the World.So very illuminating men.Thanks so much for your experiences.I wonder when the next thread will rear its cardboard head???Cmon,you can do better than this.No?.....OK.....carry on.....cheers,Bob
Both UPS and FedEx use a system of chargebacks to the origin or destination station for these claims. UPS also uses an outside contractor named Crawford to manage the claims process and they are notoriously difficult and make decisions for UPS.

Given the economy and that both companies are in severe cost cutting mode, neither one wants to pay claims like they use to (even then it wasn't fun). Getting one of the stations to accept responsibility or in UPS' case for Crawford to approve a claim is a tedious process to say the least.

As already said here, you have to get to a manager if you have difficulty at all or your claim will never be approved.
With Crawford and UPS, it is much more difficult since you can't get a UPS person unless ou are a business with a sales representative.

The safest way to send heavy (over 80 lbs) amp or speakers is indeed by LTL freight on a pallet. And yes it does cost more.

I worked at FedEx for 20 years. Things have changed.
I'm the seller in this FedEx screwup as described by Gechta. A couple points to add: First, I feel very fortunate to have been dealing with Gechta in this transaction because he warned me about the FedEx packing "specs", and I also checked with FedEx before I sent the box to make sure that I took the proper precautions. Also, I made sure that the packing store gave me a receipt with a notation that the packing included ample padding. So we'll see how FedEx responds and report back to you on this forum.

Second, when the damaged box arrived, Gechta alertly thought to take photos of the box before refusing delivery. We will submit these photos as part of the FedEx claim. Remember the old saying, a picture is worth a thousand words?

Well, this proves it. There's a gash that appears to be 14-15 inches or more across the outer box, and you can clearly see the inner box, which is also ripped open exposing the amp. Perhaps we could start posting such photos on Audiogon, with the appropriate credit to FedEx, UPS et al, to give these guys some incentive to be more respectful of our property.

We could even do caption contests. Right off the bat, I'd suggest this one for our package: First Great White Attack on Great Lakes...In what appears to be the first attack by a great white shark in Great Lakes Region, here is photo evidence that one of these monsters mistook a FedEx package for a harbor seal, or perhaps the boat cap'n in Jaws....
As promised above, a report on my two-package FedEx Ground shipment from Maryland to Oregon. It arrived there yesterday in perfect condtion, five days after I dropped it off here.
When you fill out a Fedex Ground slip it asks if you are shipping to a residence or business. If you check residence, the package usually goes through their Home Delivery service. In these parts there are separate terminals for Ground and Home Delivery. Of the 2 Home Delivery inspires the least confidence. More than once they have left delivery slips without knocking or ringing the bell in signature required situations. The terminal is far away.
I only ship by FedEx Ground. I never ship anything by UPS. The "shock" in their system almost got them prohibited in the EU. FedEx air is a real toss up. Even well packed and light things usually have dented boxes.

I have had two claims out of more than 40 shipments with FedEx Ground. Both were initially rejected which is SOP for everyone. A call to FedEx on both got the payment for total damages once and got the unit repaired in another.

I also have had good luck with the USPS. One damage claim with them was easily resolved at my local post office.

OEM boxing is the way to go in most circumstances, but some companies are much better at packing than others.
I just shipped my amp to a guy after he bought it. I double boxed it and it had about 4-5 inched clearence from each side and it still got damaged. Theres no visible damage to the box or the unit on the outside. However after the unit wouldnt turn on my purchaser took it to the local dealer and the tech pointed out where the transformer had broken loose from its brackets as if the box had been droped on its side the outside of the amp was packaged real well but the transformer inside got damaged. So now ive filled a claim for my purchaser and we're waiting to see what happends. If fedex says no, ill fight to get it settled but in the end if they ultimatly wont pay the claim then who gets screwed? Me or the purchaser, I packed it well, it was his money that shipped it. I dont know what should be done, is the loss somthing we split or is he or I just S.O.L? Any advice on this would be appretiated as well as any advice on getting fed ex to pay out would be helpfull
Jonnyblaze, you are the shipper. I had a similar experience with an amp. In my case it was dropped upside down with all transformers sheared off their mounts. It was one of two monoblocks. UPS ultimately bought both and took possession. I also had another amp experience which was shipped to me through a UPS pickup location. UPS said that I bought the insurance on it from the pickup location and they refused to pay. I took them into small claims court and lost with the judge saying I had brought the wrong company into court, even though the insurance form said UPS.

I hope your experience is like my first experience. If you shipped FedEx Ground, I have had but one experience. They also paid but it was a long effort to get it. Good luck.
The person who purchased the shipping insurance (normally the shipper) is the screwee.

This is from the Sellers rules in the Audiogon policy guidelines:

What if an item is damaged in shipping?
If an item is damaged in shipping, the seller should contact the shipping company immediately so that a Damage Claim can be filed. The responsibility of filing a Damage Claim is solely with the seller. The Buyer will need to cooperate with the shipping company, which will either inspect the item at the Buyer's location, or pick up the item for further processing. In most cases, the shipping company will return the item to the Seller, and expect the seller to pursue the claim.

Audiogon requires that Sellers are responsible for the safe transport of sold items to the Buyer. If the item is damaged or lost in transit, the Seller is expected to refund the payment to the Buyer as soon as the shipping company inspects or returns the item. The Seller will then need to recover funds from the shipping company.


This is the quote from the buyers AudiogoN guidelines:

What if an item is damaged in shipping?
If an item is damaged in shipping, you should contact the seller immediately so that a Damage Claim is filed. The responsibility of pursuing a Damage Claim is solely with the seller. However, you will need to cooperate with the seller and the shipping company in any manner requested. Often, the shipping company will come back to pick it up, or inspect the package in your home.

Keep all of the packing and materials exactly as you received it. Do not attempt to use the item or plug it in, which may result in further damage. Do not attempt to disassemble or repair the item unless the seller first agrees.

If a seller and a buyer cannot agree on a course of action to follow, a "Dispute" may be filed with Audiogon:
http://www.audiogon.com/help/disp/drp.html

Generally speaking, the Seller is expected to refund to the buyer, and recover the money by pursuing the damage claim. Shipping companies generally pay the seller only and it may take some time. The Buyer should not have to wait until the claim is processed. Essentially, it is the Seller's responsiblity to deliver the item to the buyer in an undamaged condition.

Good luck,
John
IMO, there is a fundamental flaw with Audogon's statement. If Audiogon is
going to make such detailed policy statements, then Audiogon should take
into consideration who has possession of the damaged goods.

If the seller is expected to refund the money immediately to the buyer, then
the buyer will (usually) have both the component and the money, and the
seller will have nothing. This is not equitable. There are many circumstances
of partial insurance claims paid. Let's say a faceplate has been damaged and
the component is otherwise fully functional. If the buyer has the component
and the full refund, and if the insurance company pays the seller $200 for the
faceplate damage, then the seller is now relying on the good faith of the
buyer to return the component, or to return the refund. Essentially, the seller
is left without any leverage, and is open to potential fraud by the buyer who
keeps the money and the component.

Now, if the component is picked up by the shipping company for inspection,
and is no longer in the buyer's possession, then refunding the buyer's money
is more equitable, as the shipper has the leverage of the contract to force the
shipping company to return the component or face a lawsuit.

IMO.
I had a situation where I took speaker components to UPS and had them pack the items. The buyer later contacted me and showed me photos of the severe damage inflicted during the shipping process. What was strange was that the buyer refused to contact his local UPS to have them inspect the damage. I'm not sure why he refused, but I informed him that if he didn't I wouldn't be able to file an insurance claim and without being able to file a claim, I wouldn't return his money. (I did say if he helped with the claim I would give him a full refund.) I had to play hardball with the buyer because otherwise I could be without the product, without the money paid and without the ability to recoup anything from the shipper. Under some very specific circumstances there are some major flaws in the system.
Onhwy61 offers a perfect case study of why the Audiogon position statement quoted above is flawed.
Yes, Audiogon needs to say this is the normal way to deal with this situation. I once sold a quality turntable to a guy that FedEx Ground nearly destroyed and returned to me. Even the FedEx guy who returned it said "it looks like we did our best to destroy it."

FedEx said that they would consider repairing it but not declare it totaled. It was made in the UK, and I quickly moved to contact the company and to send pictures. Fortunately they were very helpful and gave a "worse case" estimate that FedEx honored. I sent it off and the company did and excellent repair.

The buyer in the mean time was bitching about my screwing him. When he got it back in first class condition, he apologized to me repeatedly.
AFAIK, the buyer is NEVER left with the product AND the money. I've had a couple of these experiences from both sides, buyer and seller. For me, it's always worked out (knock wood). The buyer holds the package for the shipping company to come and inspect it, at which point the shipping company will claim the product. FWIW, NEVER return ship a damaged product, for the shipping company will claim that it was previously damaged.

Anyway, now the shipping company has the damaged product, the buyer has nothing, and the seller has the cash. I couldn't find the exact qoute, but it is in the AudiogoN guidelines that in the case of damage, the reverse steps should be performed. ie: buyer pays, shipper ships, buyer receives. In the case of damage: buyer complains (and should not touch or disturbe the product), buyer notifys seller, seller notifys shipping company, shipping company investigates at buyer's home and confiscates product. Seller refunds buyers money, seller follows through on claim with shipping company.

Now, shipping companies can be tricky, with such language as "ship in original packaging". If the seller cannot convince the shipping company that the package was properly shipped, then it is the shipper, not the buyer, who loses money.

One last thing for sellers, NEVER over-insure. Shipping companies will only fully re-imburse you for what you can PROVE that you received for it......be it a Paypal statement, money order, etc. So if you ship a $3K amp that you sold for $1500, if you insure it for $2500, you will never receive $2500.....only $1500 at best.

Cheers,
John
Jmcgrogan2 said:
In the case of damage: buyer complains (and should not touch or disturbe the product), buyer notifys seller, seller notifys shipping company, shipping company investigates at buyer's home and confiscates product. Seller refunds buyers money, seller follows through on claim with shipping company.

This is exactly the way I read the Audigon state quoted previously. The buyer should never have the product and the sellers money at the same time. If the buyer doesn't cooperate in the in the sellers claim process with the shipping company, he/she has no claim to receive their money back.
The quote from Audiogon is very specific. Nothing needs to be read into it:


What if an item is damaged in shipping?
If an item is damaged in shipping, the seller should contact the shipping
company immediately so that a Damage Claim can be filed. The responsibility
of filing a Damage Claim is solely with the seller. The Buyer will need to
cooperate with the shipping company, which will either inspect the item at
the Buyer's location, or pick up the item for further processing. In most cases,
the shipping company will return the item to the Seller, and expect the seller
to pursue the claim.

Audiogon requires that Sellers are responsible for the safe transport of sold
items to the Buyer. If the item is damaged or lost in transit, the Seller is
expected to refund the payment to the Buyer as soon as the shipping
company inspects or returns the item. The Seller will then need to recover
funds from the shipping company.

Please note the following statements excerpted from the quote above:

1) The Buyer will need to cooperate with the shipping company, which will
EITHER INSPECT THE ITEM AT THE BUYER'S LOCATION *OR* PICK UP THE ITEM
for further processing.

2) The Seller is expected to refund the payment to the Buyer as soon as the
shipping company INSPECTS *OR* RETURNS THE ITEM.

Note that according to Audiogon's statement, the return of the item is not an
exclusive condition for full immediate refund by the Seller. The minimum
requirement for full refund by the seller is the inspection of the item by the
shipping company at the buyer's location.

This is a flaw, IMO.

A seller should not be without both the item and the funds.
Tvad, while I do agree with your extreme example, it has been my experience that sellers and buyers can work together to satisfy both.
You seem to be stuck on the fact that the buyer can hold both product AND money. I have never found this to be the case. In the few times when I had shipping damage, I instructed the buyer to hold the item for inspection of the shipping company. On both occasions the shipping company picked up the item for further inspection.

Once the shipping company had the item in their hands, I refunded the buyer his money. I then persued the shipping company for damage payments, which I received in both cases.

Now I certainly could be paranoid, and feel the buyer is a scam artist, but I have not found this to be true yet...for me. Saying that, I would not refund the buyer the funds as long as the buyer maintained control of the item.

In the end, common sense should prevail on both parties. If it doesn't, then we panic. From my experiences, I've only paniced as a buyer......thank goodness for my CC bank to bail me out of a couple of bad sales. In both cases, I gave the damaged unit up to Paypal or the bank before my credit was cleared, only because the shipper was in cognito.

Cheers,
John
05-05-09: Jmcgrogan2
Tvad, while I do agree with your extreme example, it has been my experience that sellers and buyers can work together to satisfy both.
You seem to be stuck on the fact that the buyer can hold both product AND money.

To be precise, I am stuck on the fact that Audiogon policy allows the buyer to hold both the item and the money, and that there are some Audiogon members who will point to this in defense of their actions.

I am absolutely one who believes in compromise, and all my disputes over shipping damages (two) have been resolved amicably.

However, there are times when what's in print (shall we use the term "contract") will be followed to the letter when one party in a transaction has something to lose (or gain).
I recently had bad experiences with FedEx AND UPS, day late, dollar short, dropped from Empire State building, had to chase down package myself, etc.

Of course, we get blamed by "insufficient packing or insurance" yeah right, typical scenario, what else ?

How bout the fact I used special shipping boxes, fragile handle with care, this end up, do not drop labels plastered everywhere and the best conceivable packing material possible ?

What options are left, drive it yourself or Pony Express ?