What do I do with a FedEx claim denial?

Well, I have just had my first bad experience with FedEx. I recently sent an item back to the manufacturer for service and the remote was damaged during shipment. I asked for a letter from the manufacturer confirming the damage and the $200 replacement cost. The package was insured for $1000. I sent the letter in with the claim form to FedEx. As expected, FedEx denied the claim. The remote came loose from its compartment in the foam packing material during shipment and cracked. There was no visable damage to the box. What recourse do I have other than to get a lawyer? Hardly seems worth the effort for $200. I definately plan to cancel my FedEx account but then I will have to use UPS which is probably worse. Isn't this kind of thing the reason you buy insurance?
If FedEx does not settle, why not ask the manufacturer to have a little compassion and sell you a replacement at their cost.

Chances are it would amount to less than half of the $200.00, making the effort of dealing with claims hassles out of the question.

If they do replace the remote for a great price, how about asking Fed Ex to throw in the shipping charges for free. The two together should put you over the top.
Go to your local courthouse and pick up the paper work for filing a small claims lawsuit. Since the package was sent from your adress it is within the jurisdiction of your local court house. Fill it out and have Fed Ex served via certified mail. Include in your damages the amount the court fees are. You will need documentation for how much the remote costs to replace. You will get paid shortly before the court date, probably about 2 months.

I did this with a UPS insurance situation and they paid up. Mine was 2200.00 for a CD player.

It's pretty much standard procedure that they deny any claims made for damage shipments. Most people will just figure that it's to much trouble to go after them, but it's really not that hard, and I can just about garantee that you will get paid.
Sounds like FedEx has a point. THEY didn't pack the remote which "came loose from its compartment in the foam packing material during shipment and cracked"; Why should they be responsible? Whomever the packer was is the one at fault...
Ejlif comments:
We ship thousands of items yearly and deal with claims on incoming shipments constantly.
We had the EXACT same experience with UPS in 1993. They paid 4 days after they were served.

Assuming you are not at fault, sue Fed Ex.
Your only worry will be if you win and they appeal it (if you lose you
can not appeal it, at least not in California). At that point it's no
longer a small claims issue, regardless of the amount.

We had *1* claim on our outbound shipments in 2001,
and Fed Ex denied it (not very good for Fed Ex since we only
use them about 30x's yearly, vs thousands for DHL).
One more letter to them and then we go to our local small claims office.
These freight companies just assume everyone will go away,
right or not, once they get that denial letter.

Go get'm!


I am a lawyer. You can try filing a claim in small claims court against FedEx, and they might settle just to avoid the expense of sending a lawyer to court. If they do choose to go to court you will likely lose, since there was no external damage to the box. If the electronics was shipped in the original carton with the original foam inserts, and the remote was properly placed in the inserts, then the manufacturor is probably liable. This is based on the theory that the shipping carton did not properly protect the electronics in shipment. I would certainly press the manufacturor for a new remote. A remote will cost them very little, and they need to improve their carton.
Good Luck.
Thanks for all of the followups. I will look into small claims this week and give it a try. Theta offered to give me a remote for $150 instead of the $200 retail value. Doesn't seem like much of a discount but since Theta has to get the remote from Pioneer maybe that is all that they can do. By the way, that form letter that FedEx sends out is a piece of work. "We value your business, and appreciate your understanding in this matter. We look forward to serving your future express shipping needs". Pure corporate drivel!
I am not a lwayer. But it looks to me like you are the "piece of work". You admit that it was not packaged properly and still expect FedEx to pay? How in the world do you come to the conclusion that FedEx is responsible for your inability to properly package the item?
I agree with Herman. How is it FedEx's fault the remote came loose from the packaging. If you feel soemthing is wrong with the packaging go after theta. If you packaged it wrong accept responsability and stop trying to get someone else to pay for your mistake. I believe claims like these make it more difficult for the rest of us to collect when we have a claim that should be honored. I believe the freight companies should pay promptly when someting is damaged because of their actions. I also believe if someone doesn't want to take the time or trouble to package someting correctly they should bear the responsability for the outcome.
To reply DGclark,

It seems to me in most cases the merchant/carrier should set honor the insurance policy established between them and the sender no matter what the quality of packaging is. If FedEx receives payment for the insurance and decides to ship the merchandise, they are assuming the risk of loss, in my opinion.

let me qualify my statement by saying that i have been on the brunt end of many a damaged package. your conclusion of saying that since they accepted it, they should pay it no matter what is simply nuts. Have you tried to board an airplane lately? Do you know what this would cause FEDEX and UPS to do? Inspect every package to ensure that it correctly packaged? Hire more staff, so you dont have to wait in a line 50 deep? How about we do our diligence and pack correctly, and have FEDEX and UPS deliver and handle properly.
Maybe, as some of you have pointed out, this is entirely my fault and I should have done something more to protect the remote from damage, but I am still having some difficulty understanding just how the remote came loose without the box being significantly jarred in transit. It is possible for a box to be mishandled without there being visible evidence of damage on the outside. The amount of packaging that is considered sufficient can be a matter of opinion and that is what companies use to deny claims. I didn't carelessly package the unit for shipment and I am not trying to ripoff FedEx. Maybe a good question is just what are we buying when we pay extra for insurance coverage? It sounds like the insurance that is sold by these shipping companies only has value if it can be absolutely proven that the company was 100% at fault. Things can get damaged during shipment and it doesn't have to be someones fault or maybe its a combination of less than absolutely perfect packing and less than perfect handling. I apparently misunderstood what I was buying when I payed for the extra insurance coverage but I thought that it was to cover this sort of incident.
Sorry unless the remote was securely taped in place and FEDEx had to drop the piece 20 feet for it to pry loose, it sounds like its the packers fault . We all know that UPS FEDEX USPS are not going to baby our precious audio cargo. It is our responsibility to overpack our gear to avoid the anguish and hassel of claims when shipping out stuff. Double boxing with extra stuffing to hold things in place (like your remote) extra cardboard in corners etc.
A 25% discount is generous from Manufacture. The cost of the remote is not Thetas only expense. like many businesses each sale may cost them $ 50.00 or more ! to process, so they are not geting rich selling replacement parts at discount. BTW what is your time worth? It is probably worth more than your spending on this issue. If you bought the piece on audiogon you saved more than the $ 150.00 anyway !

Quite frankly, I am a bit perturbed at your answer. You illusory scenario is down right rediculous.

Again, I believe carriers who are qualified professionals with specific knowledge of their trade and craft are assuming a duty of care when they accept the considerations of their clients under specified circumstances.

In other words, they have no excuse to deny claims when a product is not in the same condition from when it leaves the departure point to when it arrives at its destination.

Don't give me the logistical nightmare scenario. If FedEx can ship a package from NY to Tokyo in 24 hours, they can check a damn package.
I also think that Viggen is way off base on this one. If FedEx paid on anything damaged no matter how it was packaged, they would either soon be out of business or insurance would be very, very expensive.

People would go into business just shipping stuff to be damaged to collect on insurance. Let's see how we can make some money.

1. Go to antique stores and buy damaged porcelain at a low price. Put it in a box with a very heavy item with no padding and insure it for the value of perfect piece. When it arrives in small fragments, collect!

2. Buy TV sets that don't work and then put them in flimsy boxes with the picture tube facing down. When it arrives with the tube broken, collect!

Don't think that wouldn't happen. People rip off insurance companies for millions of dollars annually in false claims. This would just be too easy to pass up.

However, Mchd1 makes a very valid point. They sell this coverage as insurance but it is not insurance in the usual sense of the word. Most people consider insurance as something that covers losses no matter what. Even if the car wreck is your fault, your insurance company has to pay. They may cancel you later, but they have to pay. The shippers should do a better job of explaining what they are selling.

I prefer to use UPS because they offer a packing service for about $20. They put it in a heavy box and surround the component with that expanding foam in plastic. The beauty is, they cannot deny a claim for improper packing because they did it. Maybe $20 is a lot for insurance, but if you need a box and packing anyway, it is really pretty cheap.

Herman just committed the strawman fallacy. Please remove his post, cordially = D.
I do not intend to pursue this any further. I will either buy a new remote or go without. I have shipped many items in the past without any problems but I guess that I have been lucky. I have learned from this experience but I think that we ultimately do ship things at our own risk with or without insurance no matter how well packaged. This is a bit concerning considering the value of the components that we ship. From the other threads that I have read here on Audiogon it sounds as though these companies initially deny all claims as a matter of process and they seem no more likely to want to pay a claim even when something is completely smashed and it is clearly their fault. I understand the insurance fraud issue but I sure am glad that the other insurances that I purchase do not provide the same type of coverage as the insurance sold by the shipping companies.

If my examples distort what you intended to say, then I apologize. However, "no matter what the quality of packaging is" seems very clear to me. I believe my examples simply illustrate the problem with your position.

There is an implied warrenty that they will get there in one piece even without the insurance. Give your local attourney generals office a call. There is one in every state and information will have the number. This is an organaztion designed to help people in your situation.

I went head to head with a lawyer of a car repair bill and with the help of the Attourney generals office I embarrased in court and won the case clean. there is also the better business Burue.

At the very least they will tell you what you need to do to fight them. At the most they will help you do it. Either way its worth a simple phone call.

You know how to quote, however, you used it out of context. Please note that the key content in that paragraph specified the carrier should honor an established contract between the them and the client. If the carrier feel they shouldn't insure a package, then they shouldn't have established the contract to insure.

I agree they should honor whatever agreement they have entered into. The "Terms and Conditions" that is part of every airbill states in part "We won't be liable for your acts or omissions, including but not limited to improper or insufficient packing" That seems pretty clear to me also. Pack it correctly or they won't pay. The question then becomes what is "improper and insufficient packing?" It is my contention that if part of what you are shipping is moving around in the box, it is not properly packed.

In any case, I'm off on vacation for a few weeks and can't concern myself with such things for a while. Good luck to Mchd1 on whatever avenue you decide to pursue.

"If part of what you are shipping is moving around in the box, it is not properly packed." Then the carrier ought not to accept responsiblity to insure the goods being transported. It's not brain surgery. Have a great vacation!!
Just a point of clarrification. The remote was not moving around when I gave the package to FedEx. It was snugly fit into a compartment surrounded on three sides by foam packing braces and on three sides by the top, bottom,and side of the shipping box. The remote was jarred loose during transit with sufficient force to cause it to move around the box and crack. I still do not understand how the remote got out of this compartment. I do not remember there being enough of an opening for the remote to squeeze out and get into the main part of the box, but there obviously was. I am getting the component back this week from the manufacturer and will be able to re-examine the remote,box and packing material. There are other things that I could have done with the remote to prepare it for shipping that might have prevented damage and I will certainly do them in the future but I did not simply toss the remote in the box and send it off to California.