Why I’ll Never Use FEDEX Again to Ship My Camera Gear

Jul 5, 2017

Marc Weisberg

We love it when our readers get in touch with us to share their stories. This article was contributed to DIYP by a member of our community. If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us here.

Jul 5, 2017

Marc Weisberg

We love it when our readers get in touch with us to share their stories. This article was contributed to DIYP by a member of our community. If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us here.

Join the Discussion

Share on:

Who can you trust to ship your photo and camera gear?  Not FEDEX!  What follows is the story of how FEDEX utterly screwed up my delivery and cost me over $1000.00 to get new gear and re-printing of all my workshop materials. Here’s the true to life story of how FEDEX screwed up my shipment and Why I’ll Never Use FEDEX Again to Ship My Camera Gear. The story begins in Irvine, California at the FEDEX delivery hub. I was teaching a Luxury Real Estate Workshop in NYC in early June 2017 and needed to ship out a ThinkTank Production Manager 40″….which weighed 60lbs.  Following all the rules, I showed up at the FEDEX facility 1 hr. before the shipping drop-off deadline of 5:00 PM on a Tuesday.

What follows is the story of how FEDEX screwed up my delivery and cost me over $1000.00 to by new gear and re-printing of all my workshop materials.

A few things to know about FEDEX shipping/delivery options.  a)  Business delivery is delivered to the destination Monday thru Friday only.  b) Home delivery is delivered Monday thru Saturday.  Since my drop-off was on a Tuesday by their deadline….and 4 days was required for transit…I chose home delivery….which should have reached my destination by Saturday end of the day.  I say should have because according to FEDEX this was their guarantee.

Really FEDEX? … YOU SUCK!

Everything was going according to plan….I followed all the shipping and deadline rules.  But, on Friday morning at 8:00 AM, two of hours before my flight from LGB to  JFK.  I logged onto the FEDEX website to track my package … Much to my surprise, I saw that my shipment was scheduled to arrive by the end of the day Tuesday, June 6th instead of Saturday, June 2nd as promised.  I thought….this must be some kind of weird mistake.  But NO it wasn’t.

If my gear showed up on Tuesday, June 6th,  that meant all my gear would show up after my workshop was finished. Basically, I was screwed. I immediately called up FEDEX.  They told me it was my mistake. That I had shipped it incorrectly. First, they told me that I didn’t meet the deadline.  Then they told me that I did meet the deadline but that I was in the wrong line…in a FEDEX Express line.  Then they said I was in the right line but that I shipped it business delivery…which I did not.  And that the package wouldn’t be there until the Tuesday, June 6th by the end of the day.  I asked to speak with a supervisor and was told that I couldn’t speak with a supervisor and that there was nothing that they could do for me. WTF?  I wasn’t having any of that.  So I call up the facility for where it was shipped from and was able to get a manager on the line, and this is what I learned….

The on-site manager at the Irvine depot said that her hands were tied but that she’d get back to me and see what she could do for me. About 30-45 mins. later she got back to me.  This is what she told me:  The driver who was picking up all the packages from the Irvine depot got an emergency call that his niece had been in a car accident and left the depot with all the packages except mine.  My package spent an extra day sitting at the Irvine depot. The driver had screwed up. Hey, I feel for the guy.  But we are talking about a multi-billion dollar, multinational Fortune 500 company, ranked #58 on the Fortune 500 list in 2017.  You’d think that they have policies in place to prevent this?  But they don’t.  The on-site manager at the Irvine facility told me…..”It wasn’t until Wednesday at some time during that day that my package shipped…..and that the package was on a truck somewhere between Joplin, Missouri, and NYC.”  She had spoken with the managers in both the Missouri and New Jersey depots and that there was nothing at all that could be done. Basically, I was F#cked! All my lighting gear, all my light stands, tripods, batteries, and all my printed materials for my two-day workshop would be delayed {and possibly lost} until after my workshop was over.  I had just opened an account with FEDEX a couple weeks earlier.  This was my first shipment ever with FEDEX.  How could this happen?  I was panicking.  I needed to replace all my gear!  I needed this essential gear to teach my workshop and also needed my books which I give each student.  The first thing on my mind was that I needed to take care of my students.

Luckily my workshop was in NYC.  Imagine if it had been in Kansas or Montana?  How would I have been able to replace my gear on such short notice? We landed in NYC on a Friday evening at 10:30 PM.  Both Adorama and B&H camera are closed from the Sabbath from Friday sundown until Sunday morning.  So, on Sunday morning, I walked into Adorama and plunked down $1000.00 for new gear.  Renting the gear would have been $800.  In my mind, spending $800 on a two-day rental was a complete waste of money.  So I purchased all new gear.

I BET YOU THINK YOUR COVERED BY YOU’RE INSURANCE … YOU’RE NOT!

So here’s what I found out.  FEDEX won’t do anything for you at all for a delayed shipment.  They won’t pay for you to rent or buy new gear.  Your insurance company doesn’t pay for delayed shipments either.  My insurance policy is with a  triple-A rated insurance company with a comprehensive business policy.  My American Express Platinum which I pay $450 a year for doesn’t cover me for delayed shipments either.  Only for lost airline luggage.  Again I was F#cked.  The key here is that the shipment wasn’t lost….it was delayed.  It gets worse though.  If FEDEX is to pay out anything….they will only pay the insured amount, that you’ve stated on your FEDEX shipping bill. And they get to keep the case and its contents that you shipped.  But wait…it gets better…You have to prove that value of everything that was in your shipment.  That’s right….you need to show proof of purchase and the receipt for EVERYTHING that’s in your case that you’ve shipped.  They make it very difficult to get your money.  And it’s a lengthy process that can take several months.

How to Protect Yourself When Shipping Your Camera Gear

  1. Make a list of all your gear
  2. Photograph all your gear in the case
  3. Record all the serial numbers and have proof of purchase receipts
  4. If needed, make copies so if you are traveling to a foreign country and you need to start a case with FEDEX you can start it right away.
  5. Know that you are not covered by your business insurance, or by your credit card and that FEDEX will not take care of your expenses should you need to rent or purchase new gear.
  6. If you really want to protect yourself, have an identical case of back-up gear ready to ship overnight. This may seem overkill, but what are your options?

Needless to say, I’ll never use FEDEX again.  And before you go thinking that this is an isolated situation. I shipped another package from NYC to NJ and FEDEX proceeded to lose that package completely.  In the end, my case finally arrived by the end of the day Tuesday, June 6th at my friend’s apartment in NYC, 4 days late!….When my workshop was completed and done.  By that point, my case of gear was of no use to me.  FEDEX ended up reimbursing my shipping costs both ways from CA -> NYC and from NYC->CA.  But that was nothing compared to the stress, 2 hours on the phone with FEDEX, the time and $$$$ it cost me to replace all my gear. In the future, I intend to use UPS for my shipments. And have an extra case of gear ready to ship just in case.

About the Author

Marc Weisberg is an architectural and luxury real estate photographer. He owns and operates a successful Southern California based photography studio, founded in 2001, and is the founder of Luxury Real Estate Images. You can see more of his work on his website and his Instagram profile.

Marc also teaches luxury real estate photography workshops, and you can attend the next one in  Irvine, CA, from September 11th to September 13th, 2017. This article was also published here and shared with permission.

Filed Under:

Tagged With:

Find this interesting? Share it with your friends!

DIPY Icon

We love it when our readers get in touch with us to share their stories. This article was contributed to DIYP by a member of our community. If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us here.

Join the Discussion

DIYP Comment Policy
Be nice, be on-topic, no personal information or flames.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

14 responses to “Why I’ll Never Use FEDEX Again to Ship My Camera Gear”

  1. Roy Bridgewood Avatar
    Roy Bridgewood

    I work for a camera manufacturer who earlier this year lunched a camera that at the time was much anticipated. I had a pre production model sent out to my home address. It did not arrive Not lost.. just left in a van, in a car park for over two eeeks

  2. Trevor Lovecross Avatar
    Trevor Lovecross

    Rotten customer non-service! I feel your pain. ??

  3. aleroe Avatar
    aleroe

    FedEx carries 3.4 million packages a day, or over a billion packages per year. The overwhelming majority of those are delivered safe, sound, and on time. But no one can be 100% and there are always some failures. It sucks when you’re the one to experience that, but your experience is anecdotal evidence only. If you’re assuming that UPS or USPS are safe to ship with and FedEx is not, you may be sorely disappointed. They screw up sometimes too.

    1. Marco Tedaldi Avatar
      Marco Tedaldi

      I think it’s not really about the screw-up but about how you, as a customer are treated when they screw up…
      A service that says:”We guarantee, that we’ll deliver but if we don’t it’s entirely your own problem” should not be allowed to use the word “guarantee”.

      1. aleroe Avatar
        aleroe

        It’s not reasonable to expect their guarantee to cover all your expenses if a delivery is late. Imagine you’re sending signed papers for purchasing a house. The package is a day late, and so you lose the purchase opportunity. Would you expect FedEx (or your insurance) to pay, like, $100,000 because your papers are a day late? There’s no upper limit on that sort of liability.

        And if you think UPS or USPS would pay your arbitrarily high expenses, you’re again going to be sorely disappointed.

        Hey, I get it though: if I have a bad experience at a restaurant, I may never go back there, even though I KNOW that every restaurant screws up occasionally and my odds may be no better at other restaurants than they would be going back to the first restaurant. It’s an emotional thing. But it’s not logical.

        And for Marc Weisberg to write a blog article about it is a little unfair. If he had done a study and determined that FedEx is statistically worse than others, or their policies are worse, then that would be one thing. But he’s just complaining about a spurious event (a car accident, for Pete’s sake!) that could’ve happened to any carrier.

  4. Sylvain Duford Avatar
    Sylvain Duford

    After some 25 years of buying online, I can tell you that nobody is perfect, but that FedEx is by far the best. If you can’t trust FedEx, you can’t trust any other service either.

  5. galfromaway Avatar
    galfromaway

    I’m going with the assumption that the author wrote this when mad/frustrated, and that resulted in a typo:
    I BET YOU THINK YOUR COVERED BY YOU’RE INSURANCE … YOU’RE NOT!

    (You’re insurance –> your insurance)

    1. Thomas James Killmess Avatar
      Thomas James Killmess

      You also missed: think you’re covered.

  6. Michael Turcotte Avatar
    Michael Turcotte

    This -> ” I immediately called up FEDEX. They told me it was my mistake. That I had shipped it incorrectly. First, they told me that I didn’t meet the deadline. Then they told me that I did meet the deadline but that I was in the wrong line…in a FEDEX Express line. Then they said I was in the right line but that I shipped it business delivery…which I did not. And that the package wouldn’t be there until the Tuesday, June 6th by the end of the day. I asked to speak with a supervisor and was told that I couldn’t speak with a supervisor and that there was nothing that they could do for me. ”

    crosses the line for lying to your customer. Probably comes real close to fraud as well. For those who only know what the news defines as fraud, here is an actual definition – deception intended to result in financial/personal gain or to deprive a victim of a legal right. Have to check the laws local to the operator as well as federal laws (telcom crosses state lines) to see the legal definition.

    UPS uses the USPS to help ship stuff for normal delivery.

  7. Mark Spoo Avatar
    Mark Spoo

    Sounds like your lack of planning and having a back up plan or 2 was YOUR fault not FedEx. Additionally FedEx does not give a rodents rectum about you or your issues. You are incident is minuscule in FedEx’s eyes given the scope of what they deliver daily.
    Sounds like you need to attend a presentation in planning and back up planning.

  8. Mel Avatar
    Mel

    UPS isn’t any better. I got into an argument with UPS over a pair of shoes if they delivered to my dead neighbor. Ups and the driver insisted that they put the package on my back porch which was enclosed by a fence guarded by three dogs. I know the package was delivered to to deceased neighbor because we actually found it several weeks later. Not only that but we lived at the same address for approximately eight years and ups only deliver the package to the correct address one time they left it on the hood of the car. I was home at the time. When I called UPS to complain that the package had been left on the hood of the car from that date forward for approximately two weeks everyday that UPS was delivering in the area my mailbox which fortunately snapped back together was knocked into pieces and my mail scattered by wind over the field across from my house.

  9. FedEx Sucks Avatar
    FedEx Sucks

    FedEx sucks. For all those that state that no business can be perfect the fact is that FedEx is imperfect more times than not. And that isn’t even the point; their delivery information provides poor details to their customer support, they are full of excuses or blame to their customer, and they just shrug their shoulders when you request assistance to mitigate the problem. I purchase a lot of equipment from all over the world; FedEx can’t hold a light to UPS. And yes, I have a FedEx story: a xmas laptop for my Dad that was purchased on November Cyber Monday that never came until mid January and then was obviously damaged in transport. No respect for their customers.

  10. catlett Avatar
    catlett

    “I BET YOU THINK YOUR COVERED BY YOU’RE INSURANCE … YOU’RE NOT!”

    Whoever sold you the insurance should have told you about business interruption insurance. If you fully described your business and they didn’t then you need to have a talk with them. If they offered it and you didn’t take it then it is on you.

  11. James Wallace Avatar
    James Wallace

    All the shipping companies suck. They all deny your insurance claim on general principal, knowing more than half will walk away rather than fight it. Thats big money in their pocket. UPS, for example, ran over one of my boxes with an aircraft HF radio in it. It was double boxed. However the radio, a 150W talk around the world aircraft transmitter, is essentially a solid piece of aluminum that acts as a heat sink to dissipate the heat from the power. Well they crushed it and there where obvious tire tracks over the outer box. UPS’s answer, not properly packaged. Lets see, how should I pack it so you can RUN IT OVER?

    Anyhow, had to lawyer them to get the $10,000 box paid for. In fact I have had to lawyer very single shipping and freight company to ever get them to pay on any damage claims. Including Yellow Freight, who dropped my aircraft’s engine off the back of their truck on I20 (it became a collection of IO-520 Parts in a box). They all suck, not just FedEx. Who, BTW, has the lowest damage score in my personal shipment statistical play book. That doesn’t mean they won’t catch up.

    This is like bitching that one airline is worse than another. They all are in a knock down drag out fight for last place in service. Who is JD Powers anyhow, the service that apparently sells awards to airlines, auto manufactures and even shipping companies? The give awards to companies, like: “least likely to sell you liver, while waiting in line.” “Highest rated in customer satisfaction , while habitually overbooked and dragging you, with a complimentary beating, off the aircraft.”