FedEx SmartPost Is Actually Rather Stupid

Jane’s order from the Gap shipped using FedEx Smartpost. That’s a service that uses FedEx’s network to get items from the vendor to the local post office, then turns packages over to the USPS, which is stoping by your house anyway, for final delivery. This seems like a really great idea in theory, but leaves a pretty big crack for packages to slip through. Both systems say that her package has been delivered. It hasn’t. Well, it sort of had–it was delivered to the local post office, which normally isn’t what “delivered” means using SmartPost.

I had a very frustrating encounter this morning involving something as simple as the definition of the word ‘delivered’. I placed an order with the Gap on 7/13. My order was split into two shipments and I received notification on 7/15 that two of the items were shipped with an estimated delivery date of 7/24. I got the rest of the order on 7/19 with no problems. I checked on my remaining order and the delivery date was changed to 7/23. I completely forgot about it until the morning of 7/25 so I pulled up the email on my phone and hit track shipment, which took me to the USPS site instead of Fedex. Their site said that it was delivered on Saturday 7/21 at 1:05pm. I also checked it on Fedex’s site. Same thing, yet I haven’t received any packages. I called Gap to let them know that I never got my package. The rep repeatedly told me that they have to wait until a certain amount of time has passed before they can do anything. I think she said 9 business days so that if I didn’t receive it by the 26th, I could call them the following day. I kept trying to explain that both USPS and FedEx were saying it was delivered, but she wouldn’t tell me anything other than I have to wait for 9 business days to pass. In not exactly my finest moment, I called her a not very nice name and hung up because I was so frustrated.

Then I called FedEx. The woman I spoke with there told me that the delivery date doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m going to get my package on that date. I understand that, but both sites are saying it was delivered! Not just a delivery date, but numerous updates that end at delivered. She told me that the post office was going to deliver it, but I would not receive a confirmation of that. But the sites DO say it was delivered. She said that from the time it arrives at my local post office, it can take 4-5 days to be delivered. Okay that’s fine, but this has four different lines of actions that were taken at my local post office and ending with DELIVERED. It went around and around like this, but I got nowhere.

My main complain is why is everyone using the word ‘delivered’ as if it has a completely opposite meaning? They usually use ‘in transit’ until it IS delivered so why not stick with that and save delivered for when my package was actually left at my house? The one status update from FedEx does say ‘arrived at local post office – allow one to two additional days for delivery’, but later says the same day it was delivered. If it wasn’t actually delivered, why was the status updated to ‘out for delivery’ and then ‘delivered’? I’ve ordered plenty of things online and never have I seen the status changed to ‘delivered’ until the package was at my house.

I attached the screenshots from the FedEx and USPS sites (I did black out the town of the local post office). Am I losing my mind/missing something?!

We would never think so. “Delivered” should mean “has reached its final destination.” And that’s all.


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  1. erinpac says:

    I would try inquiring with USPS. It sounds like Fedex did the handoff and then probably wouldn’t know if it is delivered or not. USPS’ site says delivered… perhaps it isn’t, perhaps it’s gone missing, or perhaps the postman left it someplace odd to hide it. You’d likely have to go back to talk to GAP after the required time if something did go wrong… but in the meantime the USPS is likely the only one who can give you more detail on the actual location.

  2. Broke_Daddy says:

    I had the same problem some time ago. It said “Delivered” but I didn’t have the item. After some research I found the spot that said the item was “Delivered” to the local post office. I got it the next day, but them again I live in a small rural community.

  3. scoosdad says:

    The USPS’s level of competence continues to reach new lows. Recently I had to return an item to Amazon. Their return shipping label instructed me to drop it off at the post office. There I found out it was to be picked up by a private shipping company who would take it all the way back to Amazon’s returns center in Kentucky.

    The clerk at the desk in the post office took my package, scanned it, and tossed it into the pile. I went back home and the next day I checked the tracking info to be sure it was on its way. It was listed as “DELIVERED” even though I knew that was impossible. I went back to the post office and after some investigation, they figured out the USPS clerk next in the line had scanned the package on its way out the door with the wrong setting on the scanner, marked it delivered in their system, and had therefore shut down the ability for any future tracking of the package beyond that point. Unless of course, if you were on the USPS’s internal computer system, then you could see exactly where the package was at any moment. But the clerk refused to give me a printout of that for my records, saying they weren’t allowed to give that information out to the public.

    The only final confirmation I had that the package made it to Amazon was a credit on my credit card statement about three weeks later.

    I would pay Amazon extra to be able to choose my shipping carrier both in deliveries and returns. I cringe whenever I find out that FedEx is to deliver my Amazon order. I make sure I’m home to receive it on rainy days because our local FedEx drivers don’t give a hoot if they leave a bag of dog food out in the rain.

  4. Thomas says:

    Hmmm….the whole thing sounds like a disaster looking for a place to happen! Combining a company that could careless about their customers (Fedex) and an inept, dysfunction and almost bankrupt quasi-government agency with a crap tracking system (USPS) — WHAT COULD POSSIBLE GO WRONG?