Editor’s note: This guest post is contributed by iNymbus
When using FedEx as your shipper, any Loss & Damage claims are actually freight claims. It doesn’t matter how big or small your business is, or the size of the shipment. The process for this can be time consuming and labor intensive. Many companies find the task overwhelming, ending up not making the claim and writing the loss off, rather than pursuing it.
There are numerous rules around filing a claim with FedEx. Timing is one of the major elements that you need to be aware of. You have a limited amount of time to lodge a claim, which means you have to catch the issue as quickly as possible. You also need to get all your paperwork in order quickly to submit it with your claim.
Once the claim process is underway, however, you could be in for a long wait.
The frustrating part for you as the retailer is that your reputation takes the hit for losing the package or incurring damages. It may have been FedEx’s fault, but you are ultimately responsible. You will likely have to refund the customer, and then wait for weeks- or months- before you hear the results of your claim against the shipping company. This can have a detrimental effect on your bottom line, especially if it’s happening regularly.
What is a FedEx Claim?
A Loss and Damages claim with FedEx is exactly what it sounds like. You are letting the shipper know that a parcel that you paid them to deliver has either not arrived at the destination, or arrived in a damaged condition. Through lodging this claim, you’re also letting FedEx know that you believe this loss or damage to the parcel is their fault, not yours, or that of the recipient.
The responsibility of lodging this claim with FedEx lies on the sender – your company. Your business will have two contracts – one with the customer and one with the shipper. You have agreed with the customer that you will ship the goods to them for a certain price. You have then entered into an agreement with FedEx to deliver those goods.
If the parcel is lost or damaged, the customer will return to you to lodge a complaint and possibly ask for their money back. How you deal with this is up to you and your company returns and refunds policy. In all likelihood, you’ll end up out of pocket as you’ll either have to refund the customer, or send them a new product for free.
The next step is for you to file your claim with FedEx so that you can discover what happened and hopefully recover your money for that delivery. At no stage does your customer have any interaction with FedEx, the onus is on you to file the claim.
How to File a Claim with FedEx
- Get Your Paperwork in Order
To file a claim with FedEx you must lodge all relevant paperwork within 21 calendar days (three weeks) of the date of the delivery. The claim can be submitted via post, fax, or email and must be sent to the shipping company’s Customer Support department. In order to get the best chance of your claim being resolved favorably, it’s best to include all the paperwork pertaining to the order. This includes the commercial invoice for the goods and the parcel, as well as proof of the costs you have incurred as a result of the loss of, or damage to, the parcel.
- Fill Out the Online Claim Form
Your next step for filing a claim must be to go to the FedEx website and complete the form on the claims page. Enter your parcel tracking number and then select the type of claim you wish to lodge. The website will then show you the most up to date tracking data that it has for that number. Below that, you can complete the details about the shipment either going missing or getting damaged.
- Upload Supporting Documentation
After this, you can upload photographs that show the damage if you have any – it’s always best to ask the customer for those if possible. Then you need to prove the value of the shipment – the same invoice sent to your customer will work here. Finally, you’ll find a space to enter your contact details and then review your claim before hitting submit.
If you are working with more than one claim, it is possible to file batch claims for either missing shipments or damaged parcels. The system allows you to claim for up to 200 different tracking numbers in one go. However, this is a complex, time consuming process and you will need to ensure you have all of the paperwork and information ahead of time.
What If My FedEx Claim Is Denied?
Every claim FedEx receives is subject to investigation. The first factor they’ll investigate is how you packed your parcel for shipping, and if you followed their guidelines. The shipping company takes no responsibility for the packing of items. If there were damages due to poor packing, the fault lies with the sender.
If the box shows no exterior damage but the product is damaged, this classifies as a packing fault and your claim will be denied. It’s important to get photos of the box from the recipient so that you can see for yourself if it was a packing error, or careless handling by the shipper. Unfortunately, you have no recourse with FedEx if the box shows no damage from handling and shipping.
In the case of lost packages, the shipper will investigate to see at what point in the process the item went missing. It’s only likely that they would deny the claim if the package went missing after the driver completed delivery. They do leave packages unattended at the delivery address if there is no one to sign for the item, but their terms and conditions stipulate this.
In any of these situations, you are able to lodge an appeal on your claim. It’s important to check the reason for the denial, and see if you can provide additional proof that your claim is valid. In some cases, this may reverse their decision, but it’s not always the case. Should the shipper still be found to be at fault, the claim will once more be denied.
Automate the Claims Process
If you find yourself in a position of needing to file numerous claims on a regular basis – common for online retailers – you might want to look into investing in software that can automate a large part of the process for you. A software solution like iNymbus will take all of the data and evaluate the claim for you, cutting out a lot of the back and forth that can happen in the claims process.
If you are dealing with big orders that can result in massive deductions or regular orders that add up to big losses for your company, then automation software like iNymbus can be a game changer. You won’t have to outsource the work to another company or hire an entire department to deal with these sorts of claims. Instead, you can let Robotic Process Automation take care of the claim process and resolve any disputes.
The FedEx claims process doesn’t have to have a detrimental effect on your bottom line. Knowing how to file a claim and having the right tools for the job can be the difference between staying in the red, and moving into the black.