18 Oct 2011

Why I Won't Be Using FedEx Again

Companies can make clever ads, they can get "engaged" in social media, and they show how much they CARE ABOUT THE CHILDREN [insert Sally Struthers emoticon], but none of that builds real trust. "Trust" isn't a silly marketing buzzword - it's a business's greatest bond with its customer, and it's developed, strengthened and broken during real interactions. And it's trust that caused FedEx Canada to lose precious little me as a customer.

But let me back up, because this story actually starts with something pure and good. It started with this:


I love that damn show, as does my dear husband. This husband that I love almost as much as Community had a birthday in July and because I am a clever, thoughtful and pop culture-obsessed wife, I ordered two of these mugs from the NBC store as a birthday gift:


$12 a pop for mugs is a bit much, but whatev. Birthday, right? Troy and Abed, right?

The package was received by our concierge and the mugs were in perfect and wonderful working order. Total state-of-the-art liquid containment. Husband was happy, the birthday was splendid, and I retained my position as Patrick's Favourite Wife.

On August 12th, I received an invoice from FedEx, looking for their "Advancement Fee" - which is supposedly the charge that's meant to cover duty and "managing customs" on account of this being a cross-border shopping experience. YOU'RE WELCOME, AMERICA:

I think it's rather strange that I'd get charged HST (a tax on goods and services provided in Ontario) on a product from the US, that it's all kinds of fun that FedEx's total charge for something worth $24 was $14.29 (60% of the product cost. Splendid!), and that you have no idea what the charge will be until long after you make your transaction - but that's not even what this blog post is about.

This blog post is about the fact that I paid it. That day. I called the little 1-800 number and paid that ridiculous charge without complaint. Aren't I a good little drone? YOU'RE WELCOME, CAPITALISM.
A screen shot from my bank account. It's really small.
But you can click it!
I'm pretty anal about paying bills on time and keeping records, so when they give you that reference number that most of us either a) pretend to write down but really don't or b) write down on a scrap of paper which we later wrap our gum in, I actually write them down. On the bill. And date it. And then file it. In file folders. Actual file folders! It's like every day is 1993 in my home.
I should get a pre-inked stamp, right? I love stamps.
I especially love having a legitimate excuse to get a stamp.

This is where the story should end, with FedEx Canada humping its pile of money and Patrick and I pouring vodka coffee into our Troy and Abed in the Morning mugs over breakfast.

But it doesn't end there.

On October 6th, my mailbox greets me with this letter from FedEx:

WHHHHAAT?

You know, I might be the kind of person who gets a sick thrill from embarrassing my husband while he's on business calls, I might have no idea how to open a coconut, and I might be that lady who strips her clothes off on the sidewalk - but I am NOT the sort of girl who gets Past Due notices.

So I was kind of stunned. What was this about? The letter gives no information about the services rendered, only an invoice number. I order things now and again from across the border, so I'm not sure exactly what it's for. And so, to the '90s I went, and I dug up the info from my file folder.

I was quickly able to match up the invoice amounts, see that I had called to pay, saw the reference number, went online and confirmed that amount was indeed charged. Some people would see this and feel mad. But you know how I felt? Relieved. As I was digging up my info, the entire time I genuinely felt awful that I might have skipped out on paying something that I owed.  Because, like I said, I'm not just a drone, I'm a good drone.

So I call FedEx Canada.

Nicely!

There's zero need to get all uppity and crazy with the poor schmuck who happens to answer the phone - it's not his fault. And mistakes happen, right? I was just glad that I had the information I needed to correct the situation.

Oh, speaking of which - you know those reference numbers I mentioned earlier - the ones a company gives you that most of us don't bother saving or writing down? FedEx does the exact same thing with them. They're just like us! The number I quoted meant nothing to guy I was on the phone with. Neato.

But since FedEx clearly charged my credit card in the amount of gee-what-a-coincidence-that's-how-much-is-on-the-invoice, they've got to have a record of that somewhere, right? So I give the guy the last few digits of my VISA and he says he'll take a look at the transactions, have it straightened out and agrees with me that there must have been a miscommunication between departments.

"Thanks for calling and thank you for choosing FedEx."

Technically, NBC chose FedEx, but whatever ....

So, then I make my trusty note on the letter and file (!) it.

Today I'm up to whatever shitty thing I do between meals when:


SHUT. THE. FUCK. UP.

The letter is dated five bloody days AFTER I called FedEx.

ARE THEY KIDDING ME!?!?!

I felt a Troy Barnes-style Nosebleed of Rage coming on (no quicky linky on that reference, you'll just have to go watch Community to get it. YOU'RE WELCOME, YOUR BRAIN CELLS).

The letter threatens to transfer the balance to a collection agency where "all related costs will be your responsibility and your credit rating may be affected."

Here's a zany fact, kids: credit ratings are somewhat important to adults. It impacts our ability to do things like get mortgages and rent apartments, get a business loan or establish a line of credit. They're not the sort of thing you should be screwing with.

But FedEx will! Over $14.29. That you already paid in August. And already called them about. Oh, tra la la.

I again took out my file folder, which is now marked "SERIOUSLY?!", and called FedEx for a third time.

I'm told it's now "resolved".

But do I trust that FedEx has made things right?  Do I trust their data management? Their customer service? Their ability to send a message from one department to another? Am I confident that they won't "accidentally" keep escalating this to a level of harassment that is completely unwarranted, unnecessary, and potentially financially damaging?

Nope. I don't trust them at all.

And I don't do business with companies that I can't trust.

15 comments:

Beth 7:38 pm, October 18, 2011  

Boooo! This happened to me once with the sketchiest of all gyms, Fitness One. It turns out that when a gym padlocks its doors without warning and says they've cancelled your account, BE ALERT for collections calls 8 months later for the sum of your arrears payments up until then. Also, make sure you're in the middle of applying for a mortgage.

Maybe we should occupy toronto in the name of innocent well-meaning bill payers everywhere.

Anonymous,  7:52 pm, October 18, 2011  

I have an Etsy store that does quite well and I also refuse to use FedEx. Their fees are by far the highest but the service doesn't make up for it. Constant mistakes. Good for you for writing about it.

Jessica 7:55 pm, October 18, 2011  

We once ordered beef jerky (cause New Braunfuls makes the best!)and it was shipped fedex and arrived half eaten. FedEx didn't care but the smokehouse sent a new package through a different company (UPS most likely.) Now my mom almost always requests shipments go through someone other than FedEx.

Also, quality choice in shows.

Karen 9:02 pm, October 18, 2011  

Blech, FedEx. They are THE WORST. Consider me FedEx free now too.

Jess 9:59 pm, October 18, 2011  

That's awful! But I'm so glad that you are that organized of a person so you can prove they suck.

And I've had a ton of people tell me to catch up on Community, but this post put me over the edge. My next pathetically awesome goal: watch all episodes of Community! Challenge accepted!

Anonymous,  11:03 pm, October 18, 2011  

I love your story telling. I'm also convinced that I need to finally check out Community.

Jen 7:56 am, October 19, 2011  

boo to Fed-Ex. awful.

i also love community and was strongly considering ordering one of those mugs, but now it seems like doing so through Fed-Ex might put me out of house and home?

also, right with you on the stamp thing. i have one at work that makes me feel like a 1960's banker every time i use it.

Megan,  9:47 am, October 19, 2011  

What you need to do right now is contact your credit card company. One of the best reasons to use credit cards rather than debit cards is because in a situation like this, the credit card company will do all the work. You tell them you already paid it, which they of course can see on your account, and they will do all the work contacting FedEx and making them see the light. Even though FedEx says it's resolved, you need to contact your credit card company anyway just to be sure. Good luck!

Megan,  9:52 am, October 19, 2011  

You could also try calling back to whatever original number you called to pay it in the first place, since that's the department who took your info and gave you a confirmation number. Make it their responsibility to make sure that info gets passed along. Ask them do to a conference call while you're still on the line with the "final notice" letter sender department. Be forceful, and get angry if you have to. Ask to speak to a manager. You do NOT want to get on a debt collector's list. We get daily debt collection calls at our house, probably 4 or 5 a day, looking for people who used to have our number or who have a similar name. It doesn't matter that I tell them that the person doesn't live there, it doesn't matter that I yell at them, or that we don't pick up, or that our answering machine clearly states our names, which are not the names of the people they're looking for. They keep calling, and they'll never stop.

The irony here is that we are literally in no debt except for our mortgage. We're the annoying people who pay off credit cards every month and don't have any loans for anything. I really hate getting pestered by these people, who can frankly be quite nasty. Ugh.

Anonymous,  10:25 am, October 19, 2011  

your opening paragraph says it all. there's no point in contacting a "social media expert" (barf) if your company isn't able to master the basics of business.

Keri 11:24 am, October 19, 2011  

I think I've trudged up this hill with half a dozen companies! Eventually I'll probably be boycotting half the planet. Oh well. At least it makes good blog content, right? :)

brooke @ claremont road 4:22 pm, October 19, 2011  

I hate FedEx. I'd keep calling daily if I were you, just to ensure that there is PLENTY of documentation and record of you being in touch, until they send you a notice that they have cleaned up their mess. Hate them. Bah.

Meghan,  1:35 am, October 20, 2011  

Twitter this! A lot of companies now have Twitter representatives that lurk around and find negative comments about their companies and go out of their way to fix it. Some companies even have Twitter reps you can go to directly. I wouldn't have been satisfied with why you were even charged in the first place, did you find anything out about that?

Terri 11:58 am, October 23, 2011  

New reader to your blog :)

I was going to suggest you Twitter your story but see Meghan has beat me to it.

Jen 4:31 pm, October 25, 2011  

Thanks, everybody! Shame that so many people have been burned by them / companies. I'm oddly using this blog post as a record should things not be "resolved".

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