Fore! FedEx Ships Golf Clubs the Wrong Direction

ABC News Fixer helps golfer get reimbursed after a vacation mix-up.

— -- For their California golfing vacation, Ardis Winters and Steve Rosenthal of Wisconsin thought they’d get ahead of the game and ship their clubs -- rather than lug them on the airplane.But their plans backfired when FedEx sent Ardis’ golf gear in the wrong direction, back to Wisconsin.

Ardis tried and failed, twice, to get reimbursed for the mix-up before finally calling in reinforcements. Read Ardis’ original letter to the ABC News Fixer below, and see how The Fixer helped get this resolved. Also, check out The Fixer’s tips on shipping.

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Dear ABC News Fixer: Last February, we sent two sets of golf clubs to Palm Desert, Calif., via FedEx. We bought extra declared value coverage, guaranteeing them up to $500. One set of clubs made it, but FedEx lost the tracking sticker for the other set and instead of sending them to the destination in California, they returned them to Wisconsin.

I have been trying to get reimbursed for my consequential expenses such as club rental and the purchase of shoes, balls, etc. for my vacation. I’d also like to get the shipping cost refunded.

FedEx has been denying the claim, even though I have provided copies of receipts. I cannot get an answer as to why.

I am only asking for a reimbursement of $318.56! Can you help me?

- Ardis Winters, Plover, Wis.

Dear Ardis: You tried so hard to be organized and send your clubs out West ahead of time, and what did you get?

A golf vacation with no golf gear!

You told the ABC News Fixer that what was especially frustrating is that you had seen this coming before you left Wisconsin, when you checked the tracking number on the wayward clubs and could see they got to California but hadn’t moved to the destination. You said you called FedEx at least twice before leaving on vacation to alert them, and though they promised to call you back, no one ever did.

Next thing you know, you’re in California with no clubs -- and your neighbor from Wisconsin is calling to ask why there’s a set of golf clubs on your porch in the middle of winter.You spent $255 to rent clubs and buy shoes, balls and gloves in California, on top of the $63.56 you had paid to ship the gear.

When you tried to get at least the shipping fee back, your claim was denied because the clubs weren’t “lost.” You complained some more, and the local shipping store you used, Pack N Ship in Plover, Wis., got FedEx on the phone. You said the FedEx customer service rep suggested you file a “consequential claim” for the money you lost because the shipment was misdirected. So you filed that claim, and it, too, was denied.

FedEx never told us why they denied it – a spokeswoman said they didn’t want to comment on the particulars of an individual customer’s case – but The Fixer did convince them to take another look at the whole situation. After we got involved, their executive offices asked you for some additional receipts, and you soon got some good news: they were sending a check for the full $318.56.

The company included a hand-written note apologizing for any inconvenience.

This is a busy time of year for all shipping companies, with holiday orders and the inevitable returns that occur in January.

For others who are planning to ship items, here’s some advice:

- Be sure to ask the shipping company how it will guarantee your shipment. FedEx, for example, offers declared value coverage of up to $100 – and you can purchase additional coverage above that amount.

- Read the terms carefully. For example, there may be limits on coverage when shipping special items such as artwork, antiques, glassware or jewelry.

- Stay organized. Check the tracking numbers until you know the package has arrived, and keep all your records and receipts. If there’s a problem, act fast – there may be a small window in which to file a claim.

- The ABC News Fixer