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?