The FedEx Debacle

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FedEx invoice on the mystery package: value £8,976

One of the biggest dramas of moving to the U.S., after getting all my paperwork sorted, was what to do with my stuff. I narrowed it down over the months before the move (thank you, eBay!) but I still had rather a lot; yet not enough to make shipping it over cost- or time-effective. So I started looking into sending it by post. I managed to get about fifteen packages shipped over in twos and threes, but in order to send the bulk (and the more expensive items) I needed to have the right customs paperwork or I’d have to pay import duty on the lot.

I’d been using UPS* to send the other packets, but found their website unworkable and their help department nonexistent, which left me high and dry about the paperwork (part of which needs completing and signing by the courier, so I couldn’t exactly post it and hope for the best).

*Note to UPS, you lost a big order because your website ain’t up to snuff.

So FedEx it was. And here the drama began, because to open an account they had to verify a credit card, and the site kept rejecting both of mine. I spoke to the bank because they’d already stopped one suspicious-looking transaction that week (note to self, buying a MacBook abroad raises red flags) but they promised they hadn’t blocked it. It was all FedEx being stupid.

After a week of trying, the website finally worked and the order was placed for eleven packages. They all made it from my parents’ house to London. Nine made it from London to Memphis. Two vanished. Over a weekend while the nine bumbled around the southern states, the other two caught up. They were due for delivery on Monday. On Sunday night, I got an email they were being held by customs. On Monday, one package arrived; ten were still being held because the paperwork — which they’d needed to clear the one released — was now “missing.”

Twenty-four hours and no phone call later, I called them. Twelve hours later, someone bothered to call me back. I emailed over replacement paperwork and after another delay due to Veterans Day, the packages were finally released.

Today they delivered eleven packages. Which, WTF.

After checking them over, I found the one that wasn’t mine. It had my paperwork shoved in the envelope on the front on top of its real paperwork, which gave its value at almost £9,000. Oops. So my good deed of the day was calling them and letting them collect it, but be warned! Don’t use FedEx if you can’t cope with drama.

UPDATE: They called me at 7am the following morning to arrange delivery of the £9k parcel they collected. “It says California on the paperwork but we think it’s supposed to be for you.” FML.

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