FedEx nightmare

In December of last year I dispatched a shipment of 6000pcs of cut
Namibian Demantoid garnet from my cutters in Thailand back to my
office in Namibia. It arrived safely in Joberg about December 19th
and sometime afterward was stolen out of their (FedEx=92s) secure
customs lock-up. FedEx has refused to accept responsibility even
though they admitted to me that only 5 or 6 people had access to the
lock-up and they all worked for FedEx! FedEx has attempted to hide
behind its limits of liabilities, their attorneys and endless group
of low-level robots spewing froth company gibberish.

FedEx=92s own code of conduct demands that it=92s employees conduct
themselves in a legal and ethical manner but clearly this means
nothing once the bean counters and lawyers get involved, its duck and
dive, smoke and mirrors. I wanted to give all Orchidians a heads-up
on their FedEx shipments. Even if it is insured you may still have
trouble getting any help or compensation out of FedEx even when they
have clearly been negligent. You must also take great care to fully
document the contents of the package, take pictures of the contents
and have it witnessed by credible third parties because as with me
when all else fails and FedEx hides behind its lawyers they=92ll send
you a letter with lines like this

=93Quite Apart from anything else, our client is not in a position to
accept that it received any parcel in fact containing the items or
goods alluded to by you=94.

Christopher L. Johnston
PO Box 354
Fax ++264-64-57-0548
Omaruru ~ Namibia

First of all are you using their high value insurance program? If
you are and it was properly shipped and insured for the right amount
then you have recourse (as you would have had to sign a contract with
them to join their high value program and it is all pretty clearly
spelled out in the contract). On the other hand if you just shipped
it through them normally their $ limit is $500. That is also pretty
clearly spelled out and that is the maximum you could collect. The
issue isn’t whether one of their employees did it or not. The issue
is did you have the proper insurance. If you were shipping it through
them with normal coverage (i.e. $500.) than that is their total
possible liability. And if you were shipping it this way and the
package had a much higher value than why weren’t you carrying some
other kind of insurance? Almost all shipping insurance carries
coverage regardless of whether it is internal or external theft.

Daniel R. Spirer, GG
Spirer Somes Jewelers
1794 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02140

Shipping/ Insurance

First, I’m very sorry for the grief Fed-ex is giving you. But, do
stand firm if you have indeed paid for insurance from a carrier. As
Daniel pointed out, if you have followed the company’s own stated
procedures and they have accepted your money in payment for the
stated amount, then you do indeed have a contract.

In a similar dispute with UPS many years ago I experienced the same
ENDLESS run around. that seems to be the way claims they do not
want to recognize are handled…they will simply try to wear you
down to the point of surrender. How did I win? I put in a claim to
the county court in MY OWN TOWN and subpoenaed 3 different UPS
officials to appear. This is not costly, you are entitled to do
this and the clerk of the local court can walk you through it. You
don’t need a lawyer for small claims court, if your claim should
fall within that classification. the reasons you can and should
file the claim in your own town? 1. The contract was entered into
when your driver picked up your package and UPS accepted it and your
insured amount. so the dispute originates there. 2. This puts the
case in your court not the company’s hometown court. 3. the company
will then have to present the subpoenaed individuals to testify in
court or forfeit there side of the case (you win!). The carrier is
then much more likely to simply pay you what you are indeed owed,
since actually going before the judge will set a precedence they may
not want documented. Filing in small claims court is very easy and
not expensive. stop wasting your time and breath arguing with one
flunky after another and make the big guns come to you and face the
fact that you are just plain right! good luck! marianne hunter

Chris Ouch! about the lost garnets. Sorry that happened to you. The
u.s. postal system just lost my absolutely safe and secure registered
package. The postal employees appear to have brains when they accept
a package and seem to be dull, useless and unintelligent when trying
to get help to recover a lost item.

Richard Hart

It is my understanding that FedEx is defending several class action
lawsuits wherein the complaint is that they are not honoring the
"declared value" or high value insurance program when a loss is
suffered. It might be worth checking if you use them frequently for
high value items.

Hey folks,

I recently sent about 12 oz of gold scrap through my local fedex.
When I told them how much I wanted to insure it for, the guy told me
about there $500 payout. He told me that I could pay for more
insurance if I wanted but they wouldn’t honor the payout! He didn’t
offer me any suggestions about better insurance. I gambled, sent it
uninsured, overnight and luckily it got there.

Christopher, I suggest that you notify the local police,and tell the
folks at fedex that you are doing so. If they admitted to you that
they had your package, and that only 5 or 6 people had access to it,
and they don’t have it now, it was stolen. They may not want to
pay, but the truth is they have 1 or more thieves on there dock, if
they won’t investigate it thru the police,they may be culpable as
well. Perhaps, a police investgation is warranted and will make
them think twice about blowing you off. Did you have to document
what was in the package through customs? If you did, it seems that
you would have 3rd party proof of contents. Their lawyers can argue
till they are blue in the face but theft is theft. Do you have
civil court in your country? Maybe suing the individuals directly
involved for the loss will scare them in to paying up. The theft of
a $10 package is as bad for business as a $10,000 package. I bet if
you point this out in court you will dealt with amicably.

Good luck, Dennis

Daniel R. Spirer=92s comment regarding high value insurance program is
noted. Although I do not believe that it is available on goods

I did in fact have insurance on the goods. Not enough because One
Service in Bangkok in spite of offering cover to 50,000usd on their
price sheet to African destinations would only furnish cover to 5000.

It=92s really is not about the money its about corporate ethics and
accountability. I am seriously pissed off when 3 months later FedEx
still won=92t acknowledge that the package has been stolen. They
continue to hide behind their ongoing investigation. Why? Because
their attorneys are telling them that the second they admit it was
stolen their limits of liability are pierced and they are exposed

Further a salient point that needs to be reemphasized is this. The
goods did not fall off a delivery truck nor were they removed from
CUSTOMS BONDED LOCK-UP. If there is one place in their system where
things should absolutely not go missing its out of this government
regulated high security area. This means that FedEx has questionable
control of their lock-up facilities, at least in South Africa. That
place should be like a bank vault. Not only for their customers, but
because FedEx=92s liability to the relevant tax authorities.

What still sends me into a rage is, J. M. Witts-Hewinson at Cliffe
Dekker, FedEx=92s RSA attorney who has the audacity to say,

  =93Quite apart from anything else, our client is not in a
  position to accept that it received any parcel in fact
  containing the items or goods alluded to by you=94. 

Not only will FedEx not admit the parcel was stolen their lawyers
are now alluding that I either never sent the box or I sent an empty

How=92s that for corporate ethics and accountability.

Christopher L. Johnston
PO Box 354
Fax ++264-64-57-0548
Omaruru ~ Namibia

I’m going to write once again on this topic because I think a few
things need to be said. Over the years we have shipped, and had
things lost, through all of the major shippers (USPS, FedEx, UPS).
The reality is that we are all in a business that involves high
value, easily stolen, merchandise. All shippers are going to have a
problem sooner or later. There are thieves everywhere and they will
take advantage of all possible options in their attempts to steal.
It is up to us, as the shippers of such merchandise, to make sure it
is properly insured. If one source doesn’t offer the coverage you
need, than you need to use another source. And if none of them do
then you need to carry an insurance policy that does. If you aren’t,
then only you are to blame for any loss. You can’t blame the
shipping company because it isn’t necessarily their job (unless you
have bought insurance through them) to insure the package. And while
in an ideal world it would be wonderful if they all did actually care
about each individual package, the reality is that they are handling
millions of packages every single day, they are trying to do it for
the low prices we all want to pay for such services, and they simply
cannot have in place the security necessary for that volume of
packages. If you want service that does give you that kind of
attention then fork out the dollars and use someone like Brinks or
one of the other armoured car services that specialize in high value

Daniel R. Spirer, GG
Spirer Somes Jewelers
1794 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02140

I have used fedex and ups and have had stuff stolen by both of them.
I use the united states post office now exclusivly they have never
lost anything in nine years I send it registered mail return
reciept. The post office charges a fraction of what fedex and ups
charge and it always gets there. I have sent jewelery in an envelope
through the post office the stuff got to dallas with the envelope
all taped up because the rings were falling out of it, not one piece
was taken or damaged. I love the post office no matter what anyone
says they rock.

We have been using FEDEX declared value with good success for about
one year. Got it through MJSA these days for a better discount than
we had on our own as DVX shippers. As it turned out at first we were
not getting the correct discount and FEDEX paid the difference when
we found the problem. A FEDEX employee showed us the error and taught
us how to read their billing correctly.

A loss or two have occurred among hundreds of packages shipped.
FEDEX has paid for the lost packages with only minor delays or

We had one problem with FEDEX to Mexico, where they lost the NAFTA
documents several times and we paid too mush in tariffs. FEDEX denied
our appeal. So, we use UPS for international and FEDEX domestic.

Daniel Ballard

Hi Orchidians,Reading all that about FedeX, I’m wondering wich could
be the safest way to send silver and gold jewelry from Argentina to
CA, USA? Thank you! Fabiana Gadano

I point blank refuse to have anything I have bought shipped by Fed
Ex because of the cost (for this reason I do not buy from Thaigem any
more as that is the only method they use). Every time they have
shipped something to me they have added import duties and taxes, plus
a handling charge, even when they were not required by law. The
amounts involved were not enough to make a fuss about as the package
values were low, but when it happens too often the costs mount up. I
always request that purchases I make from the US are sent either USPS
First Class or Global Priority, both of which have never yet let me
down. So far USPS has proved to be nearly as good as our own Post
Office here in the UK.


Was FedEx now Global Priority USPS

I agree with Pat about USPS, and Global Priority being a bargain
from U.S. to various other countries.

(I’ve been a lurking new subscriber so may have missed something,
but can’t recall input originally requested about shipment from
Argentina to the U.S.)

USPS will not add insurance, tracking or any additional services to
the Global Priority packs, though, so it seems we are at our own risk
if we mail this way.

I have made multiple shipments to Spain via USPS Global Priority
with 2-3 day delivery - the most recent of which was mailed on the
day of their terrorist attacks, Thursday March 11 to Madrid, yet
arrived on Monday.

That said, with a larger quantity or value of items, Global Express
can be tracked and insured, although at about 4x the cost for a small

I’m enjoying the variety of topics discussed here, and am looking
forward to more inspiration and

Iowa USA

Yup me too, Pat, USPS Global Priority is often faster to me here in
Ibiza than stuff coming to me from within Europe…the record is 3
days from Spokane to Ibiza! Both Fedex and UPS to Ibiza are
disastrous,which is a great pity as Rio Grande who have excellent
supplies and findings etc. will only use these carriers so I am very
reluctant to order from them unless really necessary…I have to pay
a surcharge to have my parcel shipped on from Madrid or Barcelona
depending on port of entry into Spain, then a customs agent has to
inspect it and pay the duties plus VAT to the customs folks who
usually just pass on a package that has a value less than $150 ,
then it goes to a depot in Ibiza Town, and they phone me to say theat
I can pick it up whenever I like!! Great…it’s 10 miles away…so
much for door to door delivery… One time a 3 day UPS took 3 weeks ,
and the Ibiza depot shrugs and charges another 30$ for the
trans-shipping from Barcelona…USPS for me every time…and
if you’re out there Rio Grande people…I really would buy from you
more if you’d ship USPS…I love your patterned silver wires and get
through 2 or 3 kilos per annum, but can’t afford the 60% extra that
shipping costs add to the order total…great range of tools
too…ah well… Steve Holden

The one and only ring of mine that has ever been lost in shipment
was sent to Canada via Express Mail Service, disappeared in customs.
We are still trying to collect on the insurance three months later.
As far as I can tell the USPS is as bad or worse about paying on
claims as any other carrier. Shippers are in the delivery business
insurance is just a sideline. They don’t really care if they have a
bad reputation for paying on claims, it will not affect their main
business much if at all. Insurers however need to have a good
reputation for prompt payment on claims otherwise no one will buy
their service. That is why 99.9% of our shipments are sent via FedEx
and insured through separate insurance by Parcel Pro. FedEx has an
excellent record of delivering and Parcel Pro has a excellent
reputation of promptly paying on claims I must caveat this however
because FedEx has never lost one of our shipments so I have never
had to try to make a claim via Parcel Pro so I have no first hand
knowledge of Parcel Pro’s claims service just anecdotal evidence
from other jewelers.

Jim Binnion

James Binnion Metal Arts
Phone (360) 756-6550
Toll Free (877) 408 7287
Fax (360) 756-2160

Member of the Better Business Bureau

I once contacted the Insurance Commissioners office in my State
about a problem with shipping insurance through a carrier. It turns
out that most carriers don’t technically offer insurance even though
it is referred to as insurance. It is really more of an agreement, so
insurance laws don’t apply.

I also asked the carrier for a police report since items had been
stolen from the package. They didn’t like that request.

Ken Gastineau
Berea, Kentucky

At out set my heart goes out to the person who lost demantoids. Even
money will not make up the loss in terms of the rarity of the

I think I will not be out of place to put in my two cents.

First of all our company has been used all the carriers like Fed ex,
UPS, USPS, local messenger service to ferry our precious gemstones
in my experience of 16years.

If I graded the companies in terms of theft (in the order of least
to most)

a) Local Messenger (no loss at all or mis-delivery)

b) USPS (with no loss: mis-delivery but recovered both incoming and

c) Fed ex ( One package incoming and four package out going*)

d) U.P.S. If I said virtually every package was lost it would be no
exaggeration (also three or fourpilferation)

Now we send all our packages FedEx exclusively.

One particular incident stands outlike a sore thumb and that was
the only experience.

I packed twocultured pearl (Akoya) necklaces 8.5-9mm, 9-9.5mm AAA
quality right in the presence and plain sight of thecourier andI
learnt later the package never made it to the truck parked right
under our building althoughit was scanned picked up from our

Pursuantto my complaints to Mr. Fredrick Smiths office directly
(after lots rep gave tenthousand wrong the courier was
fired (after it was established) then they decided on two people to
go and pick package (one of them would be security officer) etc.

But my plea to make me a party to the police complaint fell on deaf
ears as well as the insured amount (the $ 500declared value
clause). The fed ex put in more effective measures and made the
shipping more secure ( We did not loose a package after that).

But there were several things I did not know then that I could filed
a Small claim, or police complaint.

So thank you each and every participant putting inyour experience.

Thank you