The Worst Shipping Experiences
Anyone who has ever ordered a product online or mailed a package to a friend has likely had at least one bad shipping experience. Perhaps your package was roughed up in the mail, showed up at the wrong address, or was switched with a different order. We’ve rounded up a few of the worst shipping horror stories, and if you think you have a story that can top these, tell us about it in the comments section below.
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A couple years ago, John Wetmore, a TV producer, decided to ship 200 DVDs from his home in Maryland to California for a conference. Unfortunately only six of those DVDs actually made it. The person on the receiving end sent Wetmore the following message describing the state of the package.
"The first of your two packages with DVDs arrived yesterday badly damaged. Somewhere along the way it burst open and was stuffed full of assorted junk (a sweater, a surge protector, a bagful of lanyards for a Japanese conference, etc.) and resealed. I found six DVDs inside along with a generic Postal Service note about the fact that the package had been damaged."
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That's Not My Tobacco
Wetmore isn’t the only one to have the contents of a package transformed during the shipping process.
“I once won an auction on eBay for a lot of over 45 baby clothes, mostly from name brands. When the box finally arrived in Hawaii nearly two months later, a large hole had been ripped in one corner and all but four pieces were gone,” said Teri Haux. “Whoever snatched the goods was kind enough to leave an empty can of chewing tobacco in their place. It took me months to file a claim through PayPal and finally get a partial refund.”
Photo Credit: Marion Doss
The Wedding Day Disaster
Consumers aren’t the only ones who suffer from delivery problems; small businesses also have plenty of their own gripes.
Robert Haan, who runs a company that rents out tech gadgets, shipped several video cameras to Kansas City for a wedding a week ago. Somehow the cameras were shipped to California instead.
“I called the carrier as soon as I found out (after hours), and was told there was nothing they could do,” he said. “It is scheduled to arrive nearly a week after the wedding.”
Haan decided to mail out another batch of cameras, which fortunately made it on time, but as for the original delivery, he says it finally made its way to Kansas City yesterday, but was then inexplicably placed on a truck to be delivered to Des Moines, Iowa instead, and who knows where it will end up next.
“I still don’t know when it’s going to show up,” Haan said. “I swear this package is cursed.”
Photo Credit: Tammra McCauley
Oblivious Delivery Man
If you’ve ever waited for a package to be delivered by FedEx, chances are you’ve found a note on your door saying they tried to deliver it to you but just missed you. But as it turns out, sometimes they’ll do this even if you’re home.
Paul Smith wrote on GetSatisfaction.com that FedEx has repeatedly notified him and his girlfriend that a package could not be delivered because no one was there, despite the fact that both of them almost always work from home.
“So something doesn't add up,” says Smith. “I double-checked with a shipper just to make sure he had the address right, which he did, and he chalked it up to ‘lazy FedEx delivery person’," he wrote.
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Handle With Care
A word to the wise: If you’re going to ship half of your worldly possessions and fragile belongings, you may just want to hire a moving company rather than a shipping service.
As one commenter complained on PissedConsumer.com, “I shipped over 20 boxes of household items, weighing a total of over 1,300 lbs from Hawaii to San Diego. One box, marked FRAGILE, NO NOT SHIP FLAT, was full of pictures in frames, posters in frames, oil paintings, etc. UPS dropped 8 boxes on one day and about a dozen more the next day … The next day, checking the tracking code online, the note stated that the contents were missing and the box was discarded! That was six weeks ago, UPS refuses to talk to me.”
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Why Are You in My House?
Usually the biggest concern when shipping something is whether the package will end up being delivered, but one consumer discovered a new thing to worry about: What happens when the package arrives at your home, and the delivery man decides to come inside?
“I just moved into a house, and about two days later I got the first package delivered to my house. The FedEx delivery person knocked twice, waited about five seconds, then opened my door and walked in. I did not let him in, I did not shout "come in!" or anything, he just walked in. I was so surprised I just signed for my package and let him leave without saying anything,” one commenter wrote on The Consumerist.
After the incident, this consumer did contact FedEx, which assured him that this is not okay, and that the company would work “to avoid similar incidents in the future.”
Photo Credit: Hakan Dahlstrom
How to Avoid Shipping Mishaps
While you may not have much control over the safety of your package once it is en route, there are some steps you can take to safeguard your shipment.
“The most important thing is to have the proper packaging,” said Susan Rosenberg, Public Relations Manager for UPS. “Scotch tape is not correct packaging tape. Wadding up newspapers is not appropriate cushioning material. And make sure the contents of the package are not too heavy for the thickness of the box that is used.”
Still, mistakes will always happen.
“I’d love to say we are perfect, but with more than 15 million deliveries on a given day, we do make mistakes,” Rosenberg said. She recommends that you contact the original shipper in the event that something goes wrong.
Photo Credit: Ed Yourdon
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