How Fedex stole my dad’s watch

Let’s start by saying in my family we’ve not been historically “well-off”. I can count with one hand the times that my dad has bought himself anything he actually wanted, he’s always been the type to spend the little extra money he has on his three kids.

This is a story about one of those times. My dad has had 3 watches since I remember. The last one he bought in the early 2000’s and it has finally died. He’s been wanting an Apple Watch for a while, so he decided to splurge and get himself a refurbished Apple Watch on Amazon. Now I have an Amazon Prime account and to save money on shipping he asked me to place the order for him.

It was a rare occasion, not only does my dad never buy anything for himself, he never asks for any favors. Needless to say, I was ecstatic. I hurried to my laptop and placed the order for him. Got him rushed shipping and excitedly waited for the notification that the package was delivered. On a Wednesday two week ago I got the notification and immediately texted my dad but there was no package. Had Amazon screwed this up?? Nope, I had, I shipped the package to the wrong address. (This is a good time to mention that my dad and I live 3000 miles away :))

As soon as I got home that night, I apologetically called my dad. How could I mess up the only favor he’s asked of me in the last half a decade? After I hung up I took the unopened package from my desk and went directly to the closest Fedex and shipped it to my dad. The person there was pretty nice and asked me what the reported value was for insurance purposes. I told him $400 and he asked me what was in the box. I told him the story of this watch and he said he’ll mark it as $399 so he wouldn’t have to open the package and check it’s contents. I complied.

A week went by and I get a text from my dad, it said “bad news”. He sends me a few pictures of the opened box and I immediately think the watch must be defective. Little did I know it was worse. I called my dad and he explained the watch was actually missing. The package had been opened en-route, the band and charger were there but the actual watch was missing.

That’s when the Fedex ordeal began.

I was still at work and in the middle of running a meeting. I was so embarrassed and felt so bad that I asked to be excused and immediately went online to find out how to report this. I found the following link and immediately submitted a claim: https://www.fedex.com/apps/onlineclaims

A few hours later I got an email from Fedex Ground Claims (ground-claims-autoreply@ground.fedex.com) that asked, very reasonably, for supporting documentation. I had everything they needed in hand:

  1. A copy of the email they just sent
  2. A copy of my shipping receipt
  3. Proof of Value (amazon’s invoice)
  4. Any evidence and pictures of the package

I had everything electronically, but after reading the email over and over again I realized the only way to get these documents to Fedex would be to mail them or fax them. (Welcome to 1992)

Immediately I asked my boss to be excused for the rest of the day and headed to the same Fedex office where I had originally shipped the package. I told the person working there my issue, it was the same guy from before, and he offered to help me fax the documents. He insisted, however, that I had to pay to fax these. He literally asked me to pay to fax documentation about how his company stole the contents of a package!!! I was a bit outraged, but thankfully his manager was there and promptly waived the charges. And so we started faxing.

After several attempts and four hours later we thought we had the documents faxed. (this is why humans invented email). I asked the person at the office if we could please also physically mail the documents, and we were back to the argument that I had to pay for this. Fifteen minutes later, I decided I’d already spent too much time dealing with Fedex one day (4pm to 8pm) and left the office without also mailing the paperwork hoping for the best.

Sunday came around I was talking with my dad on the phone. He has a few cameras around the house and mentioned he had been watching some video of the day the package was delivered. He mentioned he’d found the moment where the Fedex delivery person had delivered the package and it went like this: Fedex employee gets off the truck, places package on the floor, knocks on the door, and literally RUNS away towards his truck and drives away. We found this really funny and saved the video just in case.

Fast forward to today. I get home and receive a letter from Fedex that my claim has been DENIED. Denied? Why? I submitted all the documents! How could it possibly be denied?

Here we go again. I get on my phone and call Fedex customer service.

I talked to the robot on the phone and she directs me towards the wrong department (we’ve perfected email, but admittedly bots still need more work). After explaining my case I was redirected to the Customer Advocacy Department and I talked to a nice gentleman who we are not going to name :) This guy explained to me that there was nothing he can do to help me, he told me there was no way he could see why my claim was denied and that I had to call the Claims department during working hours. Now it just happens to be that Fedex’s Claims Department working hours are the same as my working hours, so we have a bit of a problem. This gentleman went on to explain how I should just miss a few hours of work to get this closed, or even better “why don’t you just skip lunch” and resolve this. Trying my best to keep calm I asked to speak to his superior, maybe I’d have better luck with him.

Aaaaand talking to his superior is what prompted me to write this. After explaining my case yet again. After he explained how he could not possibly help. He actually said he had all the case notes right in front of him, but he could not tell me what they were because that is not his department. That’s when I said good bye and hung up. Screw the $300 for the watch. Who needs watches when we have phones.

TL;DR Fedex stole my dad’s watch, asked me to pay to report it, denied my claim and refused to help when I called. But at least have a funny video of a delivery driver knocking and dashing.

Apparently this is not a rare occurrence: