FedEx Shipping Problems - Big Concern!

Discussion in 'Trade Talk' started by hopley, Jun 17, 2019.

  1. hopley

    hopley Meyvn (1,319) Feb 24, 2010 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    BEWARE! Two days ago I took a well wrapped and noise controlled package with 3 bombers and 3 cans to FedEx and the woman asked me what was inside. I waffled as FedEx has never asked me this, and with UPS I usually say "Books and misc. gifts", it's never been a problem. Regardless of how many pennies or noisy things are inside, just a little shake can indicate liquids and she was persistent and said she would have to open the box and inspect it for alcohol. I said I'm not going to have her unwrap everything and left, walked across the street to UPS and sent my box.

    I've also read on Facebook that FedEx is clamping down on their alcohol policies and that someone recently had an undamaged box confiscated. This came from the "Boston Area Craft Beer" forum which is closed, or I would include the link, so this could be specific to the Boston area, but I doubt it. Anyway - I'd caution folks to stay away from FedEx for a while, if not forever at this point; I'm not touching them again based on this interaction.
     
  2. cmukid87

    cmukid87 Disciple (309) Jan 30, 2017 Michigan
    Trader

    I have 3 pretty valuable boxes going out soon. Can anyone else substantiate these problems with FedEx? I know of one local FedEx store to me that is a pain but they have always been that way.
     
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  3. KevinJohnson2

    KevinJohnson2 Devotee (427) Jul 8, 2013 Michigan
    Society Trader

    I ran into a similar problem a couple of years ago with my local FedEx shop telling me they had to open my box to inspect for alcohol. I felt pretty silly saying, "I'm not comfortable with this" and walking out that afternoon. Since then I have printed my own labels and scheduled FedEx pickup's from my house and haven't had a single issue. It's super convenient and you don't have to interact with anyone at a store location.
     
  4. the_bavarian

    the_bavarian Initiate (43) Sep 15, 2017 Florida
    Trader

    I preprint labels from my account and just drop off, never had a problem...been shipping Fedex for over 4 years...if asked about liquids I always say it's bottles of homemade olive oil...
     
  5. hopley

    hopley Meyvn (1,319) Feb 24, 2010 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    Here are some of the replies from the Facebook page I mentioned - I tried to clean it up by eliminating the names and "likes" and some of the other garbage, etc. so you can just read the comments...but it does indeed look like it is not just limited to the Boston area...hope this helps...

    June 14 at 3:10 PM
    Just had Fedex confiscate an undamaged box that was sent to me (Burlington) . I dont think I did anything to flag my address so just a warning to folks.

    I think fedex is ramping up anti-alcohol policies
      • that sucks as not a fan of ups as I don't find them reliable
        1
        • source?
    • USPS for the win
      • fine if you are sending cans or 2 bottles but when you are shipping 6 750s not really a win
        • good point, but i’d rather pay extra than risk losing everything in the package
        • The FedEx I have been using for 10 years has completely caught onto the sound of anything close to liquid. I don't ship cans anymore and try to only ship bottles standing up.
    • 1
      • but there is nothing against shipping liquid. My homemade numbing anal lube ships fine with no questions or concerns from fedex/ups/usps employees.
      • 7
        • put a cut up 4 pak on each can lid and put some pennies in between. makes enough noise to cover any sound...otherwise just ship USPS and you'll never have a problem
      • 1
        • I got a package seized by them. They gave me no info why and wouldn't let me pick it up
        • recently?
        • 2 months ago
      • 1l FedEx seems fairly strict, so I use UPS and usps instead
    • 1
      • Seems I keep reading these stories in many different beer groups across the US about FedEX seizing boxes in New England this week
      • l all the more reason for us to be aware and let trading partners know
        • l right. Which was the major point of my comment
      • 1
        • Jane was the box from Matt R?
      • e yes
        • both alerting our separate groups
        • A buddy had 5 shippers from Colorado confiscated, they made it as far as onto the delivery truck to his work before never being dropped off and confiscated. Not sure what's up but seems like they are being real dicks now. Suggest switching to UPS until things calm down.
      • I need to track a package that left from CT via FedEx and see what’s happening. I did get something in TN from VT via USPS.
      • Landed just fine CT to TN via fedex
      • ·
        USE USPS
     
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  6. cmukid87

    cmukid87 Disciple (309) Jan 30, 2017 Michigan
    Trader

    I have been using for years, too. I'm more specifically asking about recently to very recently. I feel like there have been more and more reports of this type of behavior from FedEx.
     
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  7. hopley

    hopley Meyvn (1,319) Feb 24, 2010 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    Exactly the default I was thinking of using - preprinting labels which I haven't yet done as I had until now preferred the personal delivery and drop off method, but if you read the Facebook entries I just posted below, it looks like they are now also intercepting boxes "en-route"...so who knows? I'm sure they're not going to catch everything but still makes sense to use caution and / or extra peanuts / pennies...
     
  8. KevinJohnson2

    KevinJohnson2 Devotee (427) Jul 8, 2013 Michigan
    Society Trader

    I hear ya. I've always felt that "noise makers" inside boxes actually draw more attention which I try to avoid though. Just my own personal thought on it.
     
  9. cmukid87

    cmukid87 Disciple (309) Jan 30, 2017 Michigan
    Trader

    The boxes are all just one single, wax topped 750ml. If properly packaged, should have no issue.
     
  10. jhavs

    jhavs Poo-Bah (1,724) Apr 16, 2015 New Hampshire
    Society Trader

    I stay away from FedEx due to the constant issues with a few hubs in VT. Most of my packages would head through VT on the way in or out. This is not a recent issue though, there have been previous threads discussing FedEx and VT (and other states with issues).
    I had one stopped at the FedEx location in Lebanon, NH. On the way to me. Nothing was broken. They would not let me pickup and shipped it back to the sender. He shipped it back with another carrier without issue. I assumed they opened it and saw the contents. It was a foam bottle shipper box, which are fairly easy to figure out.
     
  11. maximum12

    maximum12 Poo-Bah (4,066) Jan 21, 2008 Minnesota
    Trader

    There are constantly stories circulating that "FedEx/UPS/USPS" are clamping down on alcohol in boxes - the threads have been popping up regularly since I've been trading for over a decade.

    My experience has been that these things appear to be more specific employee based that spread throughout the system. My local FedEx had one guy - the manager - who was a pain in the ass with questions, suspicions, & general attitude, & for a few weeks he appeared to have issued an edict to pose intrusive questions to all & sundry. I told him I'd go ahead & move to UPS & when I came back a month later, no more questions, straight through to today.

    Sounds like this may be the case at your place too, if you've never been questioned before. But ultimately it comes down to comfort level. If you're suspicious they're going to open your box, go elsewhere.
     
  12. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (6,353) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

    This is exactly what I do as well (olive oil and fruit infused balsamic vinegar).

    Where I live, fedex asks about rhe contents most of the time, so I'm always prepared for the question. So far, that's always done the trick with no further issues.
     
    #12 John_M, Jun 17, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2019
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  13. WTCrane

    WTCrane Initiate (60) Jan 30, 2019 Massachusetts
    Trader

    UPS opened a box of mine. The box did have a noticeable liquid sound. I had the label prepaid/printed. I walked in and the guy was helping another customer, but looked in my direction, I said just dropping off. He asked if I needed a receipt and I said no. He told me leave it on the counter, and i'm all set.

    I get a phone call 20 minutes later from UPS saying they do not ship Alcohol. I just played dumb and went down back down and they let me grab the box. The guy was cool about it, just said its not allowed. Said if I was going to risk that in the future require a signature so some kid doesn't get into the box.

    Since the label was already paid for, I just brought it to another UPS Store. Box was shipped and received a few days later no issues.

    It freaked me out for about a week, but I put a couple boxes in the mail today. I make sure I speak with somebody, watch them put the box into the outgoing bin, and get a receipt in my hands. I just tell them its liquid in the box now if they ask. (I say organic cleaning supplies)

    If I have a really noisy box though, and i'm worried. I find that packing the beers in a smaller box, inside a slightly larger box, and losely crinkled paper or styrofoam in the voids works the best for soundproofing. You want the box inside to shift and land on the crinkled paper, or the foam and make a sound. Noisemakers I agree sometimes make the box more noticeable. But papers and foam are something you'd naturally find in packing. If you pack the box so tight that nothing moves the liquid is going to be audible.
     
  14. 7irondave

    7irondave Devotee (471) Jun 22, 2016 Massachusetts
    Trader

    I had issues with a rogue employee at my local UPS hub. I drive to a FedEx Office now where I print out my labels and drop off. Never a question there after 75+ boxes. FedEx Office is further away but worth it for me to avoid headaches

    I think @maximum12 hit the nail on the head. All it takes is one employee
     
  15. Thirst_trappist

    Thirst_trappist Aspirant (263) Jan 18, 2016 Florida
    Trader

    Do you pre print your own labels? It seems most people who run into the "what are you shipping" questions don't pre print

    If you do... Then just go to a different FedEx. Or have an excuse like you're shipping snow globes or olive oil. I've used both before.

    If you print your own and don't feel comfortable with excuses..... Use a different shipper
     
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  16. hopley

    hopley Meyvn (1,319) Feb 24, 2010 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    One of the comments on Facebook mentioned problems with FedEx in Williston, VT related to stealing beer, and I recall you using USPS on one of our trades. That same person mentioned using pirateship.com which I'd never heard of - said it was 2 days to CA for a cheaper flat rate, etc. Plan to consider both of them for future trades. Cheers!
     
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  17. jhavs

    jhavs Poo-Bah (1,724) Apr 16, 2015 New Hampshire
    Society Trader

    Yeah. Lots of VT stories seem to be discussed in various groups. Williston is the worst offender, but others are known for the same.

    The drop off questions have never been an issue for me for any shipper. It is the fact that if FedEx does notice something they either dispose of or send back to the shipper that bothers me. Rarely do they let the box get picked up by recipient.
     
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  18. hopley

    hopley Meyvn (1,319) Feb 24, 2010 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    Yea, I've questioned this one too as there was a guy in the office who seemed circumspect on a previous transaction and even shook a box I sent but said nothing. This time that same guy was standing right next to the woman who waited on me, who had taken boxes from me in the past, and it was she who gave me the hard time...I'm wondering if it was his presence that tipped the scales. I know he's not the manager but he could be some other "in charge" guy but either way, I'm done with this FedEx branch any way - it's the Coolidge Corner, Brookline branch just FYI. The other thing though, and the reason for creating this post, was the coincidence in reading other stuff on Facebook about them cracking down...either way, hope it is just an isolated problem, cheers man!
     
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  19. hopley

    hopley Meyvn (1,319) Feb 24, 2010 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    Good advice, thanks - I'll do that from now on if I end up using FedEx, and will probably start doing that with UPS. And I like the homemade olive oil / balsamic vinegar. I've always said "books and misc. gifts" and they never go further - and it assuages me from feeling as if I'm lying because the misc. gifts can be anything...I guess the lack of including books is an oversight on my part, but explains away the weight...!
     
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  20. 7irondave

    7irondave Devotee (471) Jun 22, 2016 Massachusetts
    Trader

     
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  21. Thirst_trappist

    Thirst_trappist Aspirant (263) Jan 18, 2016 Florida
    Trader

    Yeah no problem. Reality is there will always be some hurdles with beer mail.

    Just got to find thy path of least resistance. Good luck
     
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  22. Thirst_trappist

    Thirst_trappist Aspirant (263) Jan 18, 2016 Florida
    Trader

    Reading this....you need to use a different FedEx location if you end up shipping with FedEx.

    Sounds like a guy with a hard on with catching beer mail. F that guy
     
  23. putonyourwalkingshoes

    putonyourwalkingshoes Disciple (377) Jul 31, 2013 California
    Trader

    Good point and has others have noted just print your label at home. I show up to FedEx with a tucked in shirt and gently place the package down smiling as I walk out since my FedEx visits are rushed saying "No dry ice and no receipt needed".
     
  24. Thirst_trappist

    Thirst_trappist Aspirant (263) Jan 18, 2016 Florida
    Trader

    Yeah I mentioned it earlier as well.

    Feel like I'm this instance....op needs to avoid that location entirely
     
  25. Janeinma

    Janeinma Devotee (446) May 24, 2009 Massachusetts
    Trader

    it was a box to me that was confiscated, and my trader sent the beer using usps the next week. His label was preprinted and the usps packaging was bombmproof , the initial box was a six shipper. My fedex driver is normally the best, carries my boxes round to my back porch out the rain and sun so I know it wasn't him.
    I am hearing other stories of this and supposingly a new reg was just added so perhaps a few months of hyper vigilance there?
    I am sending ups and usps for a while though.
    And the reason I normally don't use ups is that it takes a few days lomnger, its more expensive and my ups guy tends to deliver to me at the end of the day meaning any beer is on a open slowmoving ups truck for 8-10 hours
     
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  26. Janeinma

    Janeinma Devotee (446) May 24, 2009 Massachusetts
    Trader

    I forgot to add, my trader was the best, we messaged for a while I suggested he send a smaller box to make up for the fact it wasn't his fault and he insisted on replacing everything. We have bad trader threads but great traders are out there and how people handle situations like this makes all the difference.
     
  27. Sandis

    Sandis Initiate (142) Jun 18, 2018 Minnesota
    Trader

    I had been using Fed Ex for about a year with no issues until just a few weeks back I brought a box with a single bottle in it to ship. No unusual noises or anything. After asking me what was inside (to which I replied, A cribbage board and some hunting photos) the girl immediately grabbed a box cutter, held it against the box and asked me if it was OK if she looked inside.
    To this question I obviously said I prefer that you not and asked for the box back. She handed it to me and said if I try to send that package at a different location they will ask the same thing. I fear she made a note on my account. So, I now use either UPS or USPS. I'm keeping away for Fed Ex for a while.
     
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  28. hopley

    hopley Meyvn (1,319) Feb 24, 2010 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    Yeah, thanks for adding on here, I spend more time on BA so it was only coincidental that I saw your post on FB just after my own probs with FedEx, but glad to hear more of the details. Based on some of the additional feedback, I'm moving more and more in the direction of a policy change as well as a few rogue employee/s. I used only UPS for years but then started successfully using FedEx as well recently because of what you mention - better delivery times, Saturday delivery, etc. (I found pricing similar). Now though - I'm done with FedEx - too much risk.
     
  29. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (6,353) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

    Just out of the blue, she asked if she could open up and look inside the box?

    That really sounds odd. Is that the office policy there? That they open up every box to see what's inside? If the answer is no, why were you singled out?

    I've never had a clerk at UPS or FedEx ask to open up a box I was shipping, and I would have had a few questions for any clerk that asked me if they could. One thing I would have pointed out, is that I spent a considerable amount of time and money packing everything up, and that I expect fedex to provide me with a new box and pack everything up exactly the way it was before if they're going to open my box. Have to think that would probably have given her pause.
     
  30. Sandis

    Sandis Initiate (142) Jun 18, 2018 Minnesota
    Trader

    Good points! One thing I think caused her to ask me may have been that the box I was shipping was a single bottle wine shipper. It didn't have any markings on it but maybe the shape caused her to inquire. I didn't push the issue too much once she handed the box over because I had other options (UPS, USPS). I was actually relieved she gave me the box because I wonder if she had opened it and found that what I was shipping was illegal if she could have confiscated it. That bottle of Forager Crema never would have gotten to the lucky recipient! :slight_smile:
     
  31. hopley

    hopley Meyvn (1,319) Feb 24, 2010 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    I've actually got a three bottle wine shipper that I'd love to use one of these days, but haven't for that very reason. The one time I did use the exact same thing - I wrapped it in a grocery store paper bag to conceal what it was and sent it via UPS. I have since learned that FedEx wouldn't have sent that package anyway as they have a policy against sending boxes that are wrapped in paper of any sort...i.e., you have to send it an original or used box with tape and address labels only.
     
  32. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (6,353) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

    My wife and I belong to several wine clubs, and so I have a lot of left over wine shippers. They're great and I re-use them all the time (usually wrap some paper and/or plastic around the individual bottles to cut down on rattling and sound). I get questioned by FedEx concerning the contents pretty often, but other than that, I've never had a problem (I'm always ready for the question).

    @Sandis. It's not illegal to ship alcohol via FedEx (wineries and breweries do it all the time). You need certain permits if you're going to ship via fedex, and of course it's a violation of their policy, but none of that would justify their decision to confiscate your property.
     
  33. Gushue3

    Gushue3 Zealot (587) Jun 10, 2010 Massachusetts
    Trader

    I've had an increasingly more difficult time at my go to FedEx in the south shore on MA for the past 2 years. It's been the same manager who works 6 days a week, no other worker has pressed for more information. I now plan my drop offs around this one person.

    I've been using the prepaid online shipment from FedEx, which is easy and simple. I'll likely not be using this service as I go forward, does UPS have a similar service?
     
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  34. WTCrane

    WTCrane Initiate (60) Jan 30, 2019 Massachusetts
    Trader

    Yes they do. Promo code EASY usually gives a pretty good discount too if your doing it online.

    I prefer UPS for my boxes, although as mention above, I had a manager at the local UPS hub open my box. I stopped gong there. I pretty much only ship on Mondays, and I found a UPS Store with a guy working that afternoon shift who looks barely out of high school and seems like he couldn't care less what is in the box. I prepay online, and drop off there.
     
  35. jhavs

    jhavs Poo-Bah (1,724) Apr 16, 2015 New Hampshire
    Society Trader

    On NPR yesterday there was a story discussing a Law suit that FedEx is involved in with the department of commerce. It mainly involves certain computer parts. The interviews online described the fines that they receive from the government for shipping computer products that are illegal. The people from FedEx being interviewed said that if they don't open suspicious packages and check, they are liable. He went further into how it gave the employee a difficult technical decision and that the employees were not able to have this responsibility.

    Nothing to do with beer, but may have led to them having more scrutiny towards packages in general.

    The fines discussed were very large. The fines/punishments can make it all the way down to the individual accepting the package.

    They also specifically mentioned that UPS was not a part of this case and that UPS issued a statement saying they will comply with any regulations regarding the shipment of these computer parts.

    This is an article on the topic:
    https://techcrunch.com/2019/06/24/f...ng-misrouted-huawei-packages/?renderMode=ie11
     
  36. Thirst_trappist

    Thirst_trappist Aspirant (263) Jan 18, 2016 Florida
    Trader

    Tongue in cheek from me..... It would be really great if you packed a gag box.

    So when he pressed you and wants to open it....poof he gets something he didn't want to see or deal with.
     
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  37. Thirst_trappist

    Thirst_trappist Aspirant (263) Jan 18, 2016 Florida
    Trader

    Huawei.... That's why. I can see why the govt is on them. China spy parts disguised as consumer goods! Eek. (that's a jk on spy parts)

    I didn't read your link but FedEx is trying to Sue correct? Saying they can't check every single package
     
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  38. jhavs

    jhavs Poo-Bah (1,724) Apr 16, 2015 New Hampshire
    Society Trader

    Yes. FedEx is suing the department of commerce. Saying they couldn't possibly meet the requirements. There was mention of fines up to $250 million.
     
  39. Thirst_trappist

    Thirst_trappist Aspirant (263) Jan 18, 2016 Florida
    Trader

    Can't imagine UPS if about to check every single package of FedEx seemingly finds it unfeasible? Dunno seems odd one easily accepts and the other is suing over it
     
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  40. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (6,353) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

    I'm not sure how much relevance this has to domestic shipments. Just glanced over the article, and it sounds like this applies only to shipments going to foreign country companies on the DOC's "blacklist." While I think FedEx raises some good points (I'll be curious to see how this plays out in Federal Court), it doesn't sound as if this lawsuit is going to have any impact on the way Fedex currently conducts business as it applies to domestic shipments.
     
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