Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fedex Ground + Direct Signature Required = FAIL

I recently ordered a Virgin Mobile MiFi 2200 (which I'll write about if and when I receive it).  Unfortunately, Virgin Mobile shipped this device by FedEx Ground, with "Direct Signature Required."  This is a great strategy, provided your customers are all unemployed pot smokers who never leave the house.

"Direct Signature Required" means that somebody must be present at the delivery address to sign for the package.  For FedEx Express services, this is only moderately annoying, because after they miss you once, you can go pick up the package in the evening at the FedEx Express location, which is probably not too far away.  FedEx Ground, however, is a completely different system, whose facilities are few and far between, and which do not have convenient hours.

Since the Spousal Unit and I are gainfully employed, there wasn't anyone home today when FedEx Ground tried to deliver the package, nor will there be anyone home the next two days.  I called FedEx to discuss my options, and my option was this:  They can "add a note" requesting that the package be held at the FedEx Ground facility in Hunker, PA, 90 minutes' drive from my home.  I can pick up the package either between 8:00 and 10:00 am, or between 4:00 and 6:00 pm.

Virgin Mobile:  It is not reasonable to make your customers deal with this crap.  FedEx:  You need to find a way to better integrate your craptacular Ground service with the rest of your system.  I should be able to easily divert Ground Direct Signature packages to a FedEx Express facility or a Kinko's store.

UPDATE (the next day): Despite my request to hold the package at the Hunker facility, FedEx Ground attempted re-delivery today.  I'm getting up early tomorrow to go to the facility between 8:00 and 10:00 am, so I called to reiterate my request.  The CSR I spoke to did not see any record of the request I made last night, and entered a new one.  I asked how I could be sure that the package would be there tomorrow morning.  She instructed me to call at 8:00 to verify that it is on hold.  I explained that in order to drive 90 minutes to Hunker to be there during their morning window, and then arrive on time to an appointment in Pittsburgh, I had to leave home well before 8:00.  She apologized repeatedly.  I asked if the apology was all that would happen for the screw-up, or if further action would be taken to identify and correct problems in FedEx's processes.  She asked if I wanted to open a complaint, and I said yes.  She noted my name and phone number and said someone would call me.

For the exciting conclusion, see Virgin Mobile MiFi 2200: A “review”.

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