In today’s post I illustrate how not to deliver packages. At least five weeks ago I purchased some replacement parts for an iPad II. All in all, we’re talking maybe $2 worth of parts and weighing in at a whopping four ounces including the box to ship them in. The total cost would come to about $25 to ship from the mid-West to San Diego. And yet, I still don’t have those parts.

The Buyer

I have a Post Office box because my apartment’s mail situation is really undesirable. This isn’t that uncommon, at least here in California.

The Seller

The seller is a reputable company called eTech Parts. Their only problem here is that their website’s shopping cart should have detected that I have a P.O. box as the shipping address and therefore FedEx presumably wouldn’t be an option since the latter doesn’t like shipping to them.

The Shipping Company

So the buyer entered his P.O. box as the shipping address. The seller did the same on the FedEx paperwork. What did the shipping company then decide to do?

What They Didn’t Do

What FedEx didn’t do was to contact either the buyer or the seller to ask for a different (physical) address. They also didn’t simply return the package to the seller. And finally, they also didn’t simply deliver the package to the post office as addressed.

What They Did Instead

Then—and this is the really amazingly-stupid part—FedEx decided to look into their own shipping history database, find someone who previously had this same P.O. box number, then re-directed the package to their address! But wait, it gets worse.

They didn’t verify that that person’s name matched mine. And they didn’t seem to mind that my city’s post office and the other address are separated by 900 miles. Considering that post office box leases last for a mere six months, it’s ridiculous that FedEx could consider this as a sound business decision.

Also what they didn’t do was to update the tracking information for the package. If you looked up the progress for the package it still indicated the P.O. box and San Diego! So you get to see that the box arrived in a big Los Angeles facility and then inexplicably the truck started driving northward. And then they had the audacity to unceremoniously drop the package at some unknown person’s doorstep rather than to verify that they had successfully re-routed someone’s property.

The Aftermath

Having called the seller and FedEx’s support people I find that the package is now lost. FedEx now expects me to contact the seller to get them to re-send the package. I have done so, of course, and I’ve told them that they’re not to use FedEx this time.

In fact, I’ve suggested that they should never use FedEx again. It’s one of those “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me” type of things.


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