How FedEx Humps Ex-Pats

The mysterious Edward W. corresponds from Britain:

I’d also like to call your attention to a lovely little practice FedEx enjoys with overseas shipments. Several times, my loving parents have shipped various items to me in the UK. Items get delivered, everyone is happy. Until a few weeks later, I get an invoice from FedEx for customs duty, which they informed me, they’ve paid on my behalf as a ‘convenience’. A ‘convenience’ for which they also ‘charge’. This means I’ve paid up to
20 duty and service charge on such high-end items as a bag of sage-and-onion stuffing and canned pumpkin for Thanksgiving. My personal favourite was a courtesy copy of a book I helped edit. It was FedExed by the publisher, but arrived when I was out. A neighbour took it in, and handed it over to me later. A week later, what should arrive but an invoice. So I had to pay (again,
20) for a book I hadn’t requested, hadn’t signed for, and conceivably (as far as FedEx was aware) hadn’t even received.

I should point out that at no point during delivery are you made aware that duty has been assessed on an item…you only find out when the invoice comes, or (even better) if you get a rather dubious letter from a ‘collections agency’ threatening you with legal action if you don’t pay.

This happened to me three different times. Now, I wouldn’t use FedEx if Tom Hanks came to the door with a pair of ice skates, a silly smile, and an apology.

I really, really hate FedEx.

This is John Brownlee, slipping out of the Consumerist’s royal ‘we’ for a moment. Edward, I sympathize with your plight. As an American living abroad myself – with a mother who likes to send me little care packages, usually consisting of novelty underpants – what once was a pinhead-sized pucker has been stretched into a gaping vortex by the repeated bonings I have received over the years by hidden C.O.D. shipping charges. I haven’t yet experienced the FedEx reaming, but in Ireland, there are numerous other ways in which An Post tries to bore out your wallet. My favorite is when the shifty-eyed mail man arbitrarily charges me a V.A.T. of 21% of what the goods I have received are worth. Nothing makes your birthday more special than the mail man whisking away your birthday presents because you don’t have
100 in cash in your pajamas to pay off what is, at heart, the sort of bullshit socialist tax that would have been a Bolshevik’s wet dream.