Consumerist Complaints: Stolen FedEx Package

Reader Clare P. wrote in with her tale of anguish and woe after a Tivo that she’d ordered through HDEasy was stolen from her doorstep after being delivered by FedEx. Adding to the frustration, Clare’s been having an aggravating game of phone tag with the support lines for Tivo, FedEx and HDEasy, trying to figure out the process for filing her claim and getting a replacement.

She’s got a lot of questions she’s looking for you guys to answer, so go to her full email after the jump and see if you can’t help her out.

Consumerist, I am writing to appeal to you and your readers for help/advice/righteous indignation. The Cliffs Notes version: Fedex left my Tivo at the door, and now it’s gone. What now?

Oh, you wanted more than that? Here’s the unabridged version:

On March 11, I called and ordered a Tivo for my dad’s birthday from 877-BUY-TIVO, the phone number on Tivo.com’s Web site. I gave all the pertinent information–phone, address, credit card number, email address–and was informed that the order would take 1-2 business days to fill and that the Tivo would be shipped via FedEx Ground.

I received a receipt via email from hdeasy.com on March 12 with the charge for the Tivo and the one-year service commitment.

On March 15, I received another email from hdeasy.com saying that the Tivo had shipped via FedEx ground. The email included a FedEx tracking number.

Over the course of two days, I tracked the package from the starting shipping point of Plano, TX to my home in Pennsylvania on FedEx
s Web site.

Here’s where it gets dicey.

On March 17 (a Friday), I saw that the package was “on truck for delivery” at the local FedEx depot. Because my home is so close to the local FedEx depot, I usually get FedEx packages either early in the day or late in the day (before 11 a.m. or after 4 p.m.) And that’s fine, because one or both of my parents is usually home at those times. I checked the package’s progress throughout the course of the day and saw that it was delivered to my house at 2:41 p.m. Nobody was home then. FedEx says on their package progress Web page, “Left at front door. Signature Service not requested.” When I read this, I got concerned. I live on a busy street. My front door isn’t hidden or shielded in any way from the street. My next door neighbor–who used to accept packages for me all the time–recently moved to an assisted living community, so she couldn’t have taken it. My other neighbors work during the day, so they couldn’t have held the package for me.

I got home from work around 6:15 p.m. and asked my mother, “So where’s the Tivo? It was delivered today.”

“It was? I haven’t seen it.”

A frantic search around my house, shed, garage, my now-gone next door neighbor’s garage, and front door revealed nothing. My dad reads Consumerist, so I’ll edit out what I said here.

At 7 p.m. on March 17, I got on the phone to FedEx
s customer service number with tracking number in hand, and asked what the process was for a stolen package. The CSR looked at the package’s tracking history and said “It says it was left at your front door. We’ll call the driver and find out what happened.” I asked, “So what’s my next step?” CSR: “Um, call your shipper? And call us back if you don’t hear from us in 24 hours.”

Next, I called Tivo’s customer service number, and explained that I ordered a Tivo from 877-BUY-TIVO, which was delivered that day and appeared to have been stolen from in front of my house. I asked what the box looked like so I knew what to look for. I got kicked from one CSR to a higher-level CSR, who finally kicked me to a CSR supervisor (after I explained the situation and gave all my information each and every time) who basically said the same thing as FedEx–“We’ll look into it, we’ll call you, if you don’t hear from us, call us back.” I was on hold for half an hour between the second and third CSRs, by the way.

I realized that Tivo didn’t fill the order, hdeasy.com did. *facepalm* I called hdeasy.com’s customer service number at about 8 p.m. and got a prerecorded message saying, “No one is available to take your call right now. Please call back after 8 a.m. EST.” I’d call them now, but I’m at work.

I called FedEx again today (March 20) and the CSR said, “Sorry no one called you. There’s a message here saying that you called on the 17th and said your package was missing. FedEx ground has to call you. Your local depot is closed on Sundays and Mondays, so you’ll have to wait for us to call you tomorrow.” Me: “OK, well, what do I do next?” FedEx CSR: “We’ll call you.” Me: “Well, if it was in fact stolen, what do I do?”
FedEx CSR: “Call your shipper, because they have to file a claim saying it was stolen.”

So now I’m out $225, I have a bunch of questions, no answers, no satisfaction, and no birthday gift for my dad.

–How am I supposed to prove the package was stolen?

–Who is the shipper? Tivo or hdeasy.com?
–Does a chargeback come into play anywhere here?
–Is FedEx at fault for leaving the package without having someone sign for and receive it?
–Has anything like this ever happened to one of you? How did you resolve the situation?

I should have just gone to Best Buy and bought it in person.

Thanks in advance for everybody’s advice and for not raking me over the coals!

–Clare

That sucks. Our gut feeling is that this will eventually be resolved, Clare, if you remain patient. We hope you won’t be required to prove that it was stolen: companies like FedEx get packages stolen all the time, it’s parcel with the difficulties delivering packages to people who aren’t home. They do seem to have a process in place to help get satisfaction if your package is stolen. What it sounds like you need to do is insistently keep on HDEasy until they file the claim. Your package was likely insured by HDEasy and we imagine that they’ll check with FedEx to see if you have a history of “stolen” packages and, if not, issue a replacement order. Just make sure to specify that signature is required.

Still, we don’t have any experience with stolen packages, so perhaps one of our commenters can offer a bleaker view on the situation. Just what you wanted, right, Clare?

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. LTS! says:

    Well, I’ve never had a FedEx package stolen, but I’ve had 3 UPS packages stolen in my years. The process usually works like this.

    You call UPS and alert them, they will speak with the driver so that they know what exactly happened in their chain of custody. However, you will need to speak with the shipper (HDEasy.com) and have them initiate a trace on the package. HDeasy.com will contact UPS and the process will begin. After that, my experience pretty much says that because the package was delivered without a signature there is no proof it was ever delivered and therefore HDEasy.com will be forced to send you another Tivo (expect a signature requirement this time).

    This is how it has played out all 3 times I’ve had this problem. (3 different addresses I should add).

    This process never took more than a few days to resolve. If it takes more than 2 weeks contact your credit card company and contest the charge so that you aren’t stuck paying for something that was improperly delivered.

    Frankly, not requiring a signature opens the seller to a huge loss possibility as well as the shipping company. After all, if no one signed for it, there’s no proof it was delivered. Of course they claim they leave packages without signature verification for customer service convenience, which is nice… until your package is stolen.

    Good luck.

  2. Gizmodo says:

    I had a FedEx package not delivered to the correct address (maybe the driver stole it?) b/c the tracking ticket said left at door even though I was home the whole time and no one rang the doorbell or left it at the door.

    After dealing with FedEx they said the driver would try to “recover” the package and basically had no action. I went to the shipper/company I purchased the product from and they refunded me (and most likely issued a claim to FedEx for losing the package they sent).

    Cliff Notes – don’t rely on FedEx to do anything, get a refund from HDEasy.com. Don’t say the package was stolen, say it was not delivered. If HDEasy.com is unable to refund you, you can then pursue cancelling the charge through your credit card company. Also, many credit cards have a protection where if something is lost/broken/stolen within first 90 days they will reimburse you.

    Good luck :)

  3. drsmith says:

    If possible, I have all of my packages delivered to my office to prevent this very scenario. I once had a $100 network card stolen from my doorstep and the shipper wouldn’t take the necessary steps to replace it. Ever since that day, all packages have been getting delivered to my office. I haven’t lost a single package since.

    If you use USPS to ship, get a PO box. The credit card companies will think you’ve become a terrorist, but at least you will be able to get your packages without having them left on your doorstep while you’re at work.

  4. dotyoureyes says:

    If your credit card bill arrives before the shipping problem is resolved, you could take the route of contesting the charge with your credit card company.

    You paid for something that was never delivered to you — therefore you deserve a refund. Your credit card company should be able to issue the refund to you, then they take the matter up with hdeasy or TiVo (whoever the biller ends up being).

  5. Sloshua says:

    I work in customer service and deal with a lot of lost/stolen UPS orders. While this issue is with FedEx, I imagine that their policies are similar.

    UPS requires the shipper to file a claim for a lost/stolen/damaged package. If the customer calls UPS they will usually get the run around, since UPS won’t be bothered to notify the shipper. The best thing to do is to call the shipper and notify them, and have them file a claim. A claim can take a few weeks to be processed, and usually the shipper will wait until the receive notification that the claim was approved before refunding or reshipping your order.

    The problem is that most of the time the customer does not have the option of marking their package “signature required”, and a lot of places ship their packages with no signature required.

    The best thing to do is to stay on top of the shipper, keep calling, because once they receive notification that the claim was approved they will wait untill they here from you again to issue a refund. Don’t waste your time dealing with FedEX or UPS as it’s the shipper’s responsibility. Stay vigilant!

  6. factotum says:

    I recently had something “delivered” by UPS. Their tracking system indicated “left on porch” but I was home all day and it hadn’t been. I called and got, “Our system shows it was left on the porch. Did you look for it?” “No,” I said, “I’m dumb. I only go by what the computer tells me.” Eventually it was found in their processing center. How that constitutes my porch I don’t know.

  7. elptacek says:

    Also, report it to your local police. There’s really not much they can do, but they do keep track of mail and package theft. Reporting it helps them establish patterns of theft in your neighborhood — it might not help you recover your package, but it might be beneficial in the long run.

  8. hdeasy says:

    I am afraid I may have to sue this TV thing ‘Hdeasy’ as my name is Hugh Deasy and my username on the web was hdeasy long before hi-def TV was a twinkle in the eye of the media-moguls.

  9. AmbrosineHarpie says:

    I know I’m resurrecting a dead thread, but I’m having a similar problem with Fedex. They supposedly delivered my package three weeks ago. It was even signed for, but not by me! I was home all day when it was supposed to arrive, I even saw the fedex truck in our condo parking lot, but they never brought the package to my door.

    So I’ve notified the shipper, and every week I ask them for an update, and every time they tell me that fedex is still investigating. Three weeks to figure out what I already know: they gave my package to someone at another address with another name?!

    Should I contest the charges on my credit card or just let this thing play out?

  10. ninese says:

    Placed an order for halloween candy from an online store. Selected 2 day delivery to insure shipment makes it for the halloween holiday. Never made it. My item is now somebody elses. October 31, 2008 I called FEDEX and they say that it was delivered october 28th, 2008 as according to the tracking number. This is why UPS customer service told me that UPS shipments to my apartment always require a signature. However, FEDEX doesnt require a signature. This FEDEX 2 day service gave me nothing but grief and a tracking number which made me feel like FEDEX was taking advantage of me. ONLY UPS from now on.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I’m dealing with this very same runaround right now with FedEx ground (FedEx home delivery). They say the package was delivered and left on the front porch (no signature required), but my husband was home the entire time, and no one came to the door or left a package. I’ve called the store (Dillard’s) and FedEx. Neither are being super helpful. Dillard’s just emailed me back to say they talked to Fedex and the driver says he delivered it to the right place. SURE HE DID. I am supposed to get a call from the FedEx home delivery office tomorrow morning. In the meantime, because I am not happy with the efforts being made on FedEx and Dillard’s parts to satisfy me, I’ve started a chargeback process with my credit card company. I’m hoping that will get Dillard’s off their asses and start them actually helping me.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I ordered a cell phone. FedEx driver left it in front the door. It was stolen. I called the FedEx to ask them to keep the second order in their station. They said yes, however, the same story repeated. We need some strategies to help us! Will the local police do anything good for solving problems?

  13. Brian Kaspar says:

    Through the comments of fellow frustrated consumers, there does seem to be a pattern here. It is the shippers responsibility to open a claim. Be it UPS or Fedex. I too am in the midst of this very same conundrum. “left at front door. Signature not requested”! And, like some of you, there was someone home at the time of their supposed delivery. No knock at the door or ring of the bell. It’s been 5 days since tracking said “delivered”. After not getting any answers from Fedex, I decided to do my own research on protocol. That is what has landed me at this thread. I have only just today contacted the seller with instructions to open a claim. But this thread and the great advise it contains has given me some hope that there may some resolve. So… Thank you all for sharing your experience and advice on these matters.