I have a large box of demo equipment that travels almost as much as I do. The only difference is that while I change planes in Chicago, my box changes planes in Memphis. I (well, my company) has used Fedex for years and I have very few complaints or disappointing experiences with them. The usually do what they say and adhere to policy. And that's the problem I recently ran into.
I had a long trip coming up, which involved leaving on the March 1, and getting home on March 9. My last day to ship stuff was February 26. I needed to ship my box across the country to a coworker's hotel. Unfortunately, he wasn't scheduled to arrive until March 9 or 10. And while Fedex is pretty good about sending things quickly, they don't have a way to make that shipment take 12 days instead of 1.
I figured the best shot was to send it ground to the local Fedex facility so my colleague could pick it up there. Sometimes that's easier (and more secure) that shipping it to a hotel. I figured it would arrive right around the 8th. The guy at the Fedex counter told me it would arrive on the 6th. Damn them and their efficiencies. But the 6th isn't too early, so I filled out a ground shipping form and addressed it appropriately.
Then the clerk explained that wouldn't work. When shipping express packages and having them held at a local Fedex facility, you simply put the recipient's name on the sheet along with the Fedex address.
Ground doesn't work that way. You can't ship something ground, and have it held at a local Fedex location. Ground will only ship to the addressee and since my coworker does not work for Fedex, I couldn't ship it to him at Fedex. Of course for a package that is now 3-4 days early, I can't really ship it to the hotel.
So I decide to ship in with the slowest express service. The clerk explains that it will arrive at the local Fedex facility to be held there on the 3rd . Which is fine, except they will only hold a package for 5 days. After that they are supposed to contact the shipper for further instructions. I asked about other options, and we tagged the boxes saying when they would be picked up. The clerk at my local facility said he would see if he could delay the day my shipment would leave the facility (but he explained he couldn't commit to that), but it wasn't enough
My box went out on time and arrived on time. And the 5-day hold passed on time, and then Fedex gave up on the hold and shipped it back to me. Apparently it is waiting at my local depot -- again, on time.
So my colleague didn't get to use the equipment in his demo, which is frustrating, but not the end of the world.
I don't blame Fedex to much. The did exactly what they said they would. The only mistake was that they were supposed to call the shipper (me) after the 5 days for further instructions, but they never did that. If tey had, things might have worked out. Instead, they called my colleague asking him to pick it up in a few hours or it was just going back. Of course, he was on a flight at the time and didn't get the message until later.
While he was getting off his plane and getting into his rental car, that package was probably being loaded onto a plane at the exact same airport.
I don't want to accuse FedEx of poor customer service here. This was more of a case of a missed opportunity. My request for slow delivery may have been a little unusual, but it was an opportunity for someone to go above and beyond. to help me out. I would likely have even paid extra shipping if necessary;
Instead, we all just ended up frustrated and out some shipping fes.
But at least I learned a few more things about how FedEx works. Who do you use when it absolutely, positively has to get there in a week and a half?