Strata....by Susan Lenz

The "Strata Series" was inspired by the cross-sectional profiles of the earth. The resulting series was worked on water-soluble fabric in free motion machine embroidery. The series was SHORT LIVED. Thus, this blog is a place to BURY blog posts....in the cross-sectional profiles. It functions as a support area for my "main" blog which is Art in Stitches by Susan Lenz.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Guardian Angel Lost by FedEx


 Guardian Angel, art quilt.  38" x 30". Image transfers on fabric, vintage coverlet scrap, antique glass buttons and newer buttons, beads and sequins, trim, and a single artificial flower collected from a cemetery dumpster; self-guided, free-motion machine embroidery and dense hand stitching.

(Detail ... click on either image to enlarge.)

This page has been created to help a researcher (such an NPR "All Things Considered" reporter) looking into the FedEx system's method of tracking lost packages.  To submit this idea to NPR, CLICK HERE!


THIS PIECE WAS LOST BY FEDEX GROUND

So ... here's the information I have:

On Wednesday, August 26, 2016 I sent two, separate packages to the same location.  One arrived.  One did not.  The first package contained a 3D piece called Teapot for a show called What’s for Dinner? 2016 at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas.  It arrived.  The second package contained Guardian Angel, an art quilt accepted into a juried exhibit curated by internationally renown fiber artist Jane Dunnewold.  It did not arrive. Both packages were addressed to the convention’s affiliated company, Quilt’s Inc., 7660 Woodway, Suite 550, Houston, TX  77063. (713-781-6864 and Fax at 713-781-8182).  The two contact people at Quilt’s Inc. are Becky Navarro, Special Exhibit Coordinator at 713-781-6864, ext. 105 and her assistant Deann Shamuyaria at 713-781-6864, ext. 129. (Email addresses are: beckyn@quilts.com and deanns@quilts.com.)  Both packages included paperwork for the return shipping.  The International Quilt Festival was held during the last week of October.  This event is annually the largest held in the George R. Brown Convention Center and attracts over 62,000 visitors.  It is a big deal.  Having artwork in a special exhibit is a big deal.  The lead time is long … long enough that a “lost package” might reasonably be found, delivered, and still be shown if a genuine effort to locate it is exerted.


The package that was delivered (Teapot ... for What's for Dinner? 2016) had this tracking number:      774351619163

Here is it’s tracking to Houston:
8/26/2015 - Wednesday
12:50 pm
Delivered

Houston, TX


5:15 am
On FedEx vehicle for delivery

HOUSTON, TX


4:58 am
At local FedEx facility

HOUSTON, TX


3:11 am
Departed FedEx location

HOUSTON, TX


8/25/2015 - Tuesday
11:53 pm
Arrived at FedEx location

HOUSTON, TX


9:05 am
Departed FedEx location

ELLENWOOD, GA


1:45 am
Arrived at FedEx location

ELLENWOOD, GA


8/24/2015 - Monday
9:28 pm
Left FedEx origin facility

COLUMBIA, SC


8:40 pm
Arrived at FedEx location

COLUMBIA, SC


7:30 pm
Picked up

COLUMBIA, SC


5:05 pm
In FedEx possession

COLUMBIA, SC

Tendered at FedEx location
4:01 pm
Shipment information sent to FedEx




The package with Guardian Angel, which was lost, had this tracking number:  774351618947
Our FedEx shipper # is 00000599590
The master tracking number for the two packages is 774351619163

On November 13, the package was still in the FedEx system where it is listed with the measurements 5" x 5" x 39" and the status is "Not Closed"

I cannot find a page that confirms the resolution of the claim, but I did get a check (no. 02190061) for $110.99 which includes the shipping costs.  FedEx does not admit losing the package.  It states,"We at FedEx are sorry we were unable to meet you standard on this delivery(s)."

The case number is:  0916542245
Here is the available tracking information for the last package:

8/24/2015 - Monday
9:28 pm
Left FedEx origin facility

COLUMBIA, SC


8:52 pm
Arrived at FedEx location

COLUMBIA, SC


7:30 pm
Picked up

COLUMBIA, SC


5:05 pm
In FedEx possession

COLUMBIA, SC

Tendered at FedEx location
4:01 pm
Shipment information sent to FedEx




PLEASE NOTE:  Both packages were scanned at exactly 9:28 leaving the FedEx Shipping Center in Columbia.  I later learned that the scanning of packages is done INSIDE the truck.  There is no possibility that the package was scanned and then rolled off a conveyor belt to a location outside the actual truck.  The package, however, is not scanned in Ellenton, GA.  I am guessing that it rolled off a conveyor belt before being scanned.  For all I know, it is still on the floor under a piece of equipment in Ellenton, GA.  It could easily have had its bar code damaged in such an action and then be sent to the Over Goods Warehouse in Utah where it should have been opened, inspected, and the return shipping information found.

When I first initiated the claim, I managed to "work my way up the telephone chain" to speak with someone named Georgine who was terse, unfriendly, and tried to tell me that someone named "Michele" was my claims agent.  She told me that FedEx frequently doesn't consider a package lost until 20 business days after the last scan or, at least, that’s the timeline for settling a claim.  I told her that I didn’t really want to have the claim settled; I wanted the package found and delivered.  (By the way, there is no option for requesting a search without actually filing a claim.  One has to initiate the FedEx system for SETTLING a claim in order to have anyone start any process of "looking" for a missing package.)  Nicely, I explained that there was plenty of time to find the package, deliver it, and still have the artwork shown in the exhibition.  Georgine treated me as if I was hysterical and demanding. Honestly, I was being very, very polite.  I strongly believe in the old adage that “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”   

Yet, I was also asking as many questions as possible ... including asking for the FedEx definition of the term "looking".  I literally asked if "looking" includes anyone physically going to the location of the last scanning or to the location at which the next scanning should have taken place.  Georgine switched verbs.  She said the company "traces" packages.  I was more blunt; I asked if “tracing” meant only keyboard activity.  Georgine was defensive and evasive.  I got a strong impression that "looking/tracing" is only a matter of a few keyboard strokes, waiting twenty days, and paying as little money as possible ... or, at least, this is the process if a package carries no additional insurance.  Let's face it!  It is cheaper to pay even the maximum $100 than to actually bankroll real people performing the task of physically LOOKING for a package. 

Later, when speaking to helpful people, I learned that Georgine was, in fact, my claims agent.  The name “Michele” was not attached to the case file.  I never heard from Georgine again.  Yet, of course I was continuing my regular telephone calls (at different times of the day and evening ... hoping to gain someone's sympathy).  I talked to Cody one night.  He confirmed that messages appeared in their system asking the Columbia station if a package was in their "lost" cage.  Of course, I'd already figured out that the package was scanned INSIDE the truck in Columbia ... so it obviously left that terminal.  Cody initiated other "traces" (especially one for the Ellenton terminal where it never arrived), put me on hold, and made a few telephone calls and requested a "search" at the Over Goods Warehouse.  He was nice.  

By this time, I had learned that the Over Goods Warehouse is the place that undeliverable packages are sent.  A package is undeliverable if the barcode is damaged or in any way made illegible.  Once there, packages are opened and inspected. This is done in hopes of finding information that will assist in locating the sender and/or the package’s shipping destination.  Silently, I was hoping that my package would be sent to Utah because I knew that all the necessary information was on the paperwork inside the box.  Plus, I had uploaded a photo of the piece and obviously, the art quilt looks like the photo. Plus, my name is stitched to the back of the piece. 

On another, later day, I spoke with Dakota.  She was very understanding. When I asked for any proactive thing for me to do, she suggested going to the Columbia FedEx Ground shipping center, provided the address and hours, and wished me luck.  That's when I met Tabitha Doughty who took an interest in my case, gave me her FedEx email address and a real telephone number and made inquiries.  She could not find the on-line image of Guardian Angel, which was uploaded on the first day of my claim.  She had me send one directly to her.  She promised to call the next day by 3 PM.  She did.  She continued to look into the matter for another few days and called again ... but made no headway despite another request to search the Over Good Warehouse.  She also had no idea what happens to packages that remain in Utah.  

In the meantime, Becky Navarro of Quilts, Inc. in Texas was working the case from her end.  I provided the tracking and case number. She had a FedEx claims agent initiate another search of the Over Goods Warehouse in Utah.  She also sent a registered letter to David J. Bronczek, FedEx President. She asked various FedEx agents about packages sent to the mysterious Over Goods Warehouse in Utah and got no good answers to any questions. Like Cody, Dakota, Becky, and me, Tabitha found it strange that if my package was there, it hadn't been found.  After all, the return paperwork with all addresses involved is in the box.  

Then on October 4th, I went to an art residency in a remote section of Oregon and had no Internet and very little telephone connectivity. During October, FedEx sent the $110.99 check ($100 plus the cost of shipping) and my husband Steve filed a claim with our private insurance company, which was paid.  I am left with the feeling that FedEx doesn’t really care about packages that are not additionally insured through their system. It is cheaper to pay $100 than to spend man hours really looking for anything.  Still, there remain nagging questions with regards to the Over Goods Warehouse in Utah.  How many packages are sent there per day, per week, per month?  What is the percentage of packages that are “found”? What happens to those packages that are never found? How long can a package stay in the Over Goods Warehouse? Are they burned?  Are they sold at a warehouse auction?  Why do the FedEx agents not have this information? Why can’t an ordinary FedEx customer have the answers to any of these questions?

UPDATE:  Because Guardian Angel was headed to an exhibit curated by Jane Dunnewold, Jane wrote asking whether the piece was ever found.  Jane is a "big name" in the art quilting world.  She knows that over the years FedEx has lost other packages.  She urged me to continue asking questions.  She submitted my information to NPR's "All Things Considered".  That's when I created this blog post and also submitted my request to "All Things Considered".  I urge others to request the same investigation into the Over Goods Warehouse.  HERE'S THE LINK TO NPR for submitting ideas for future episodes.  Jane, the nice people at Quilts Inc., and lots of other artists (including me) are still using FedEx regularly and are now very curious about the manner in which lost packages are handled.  What does become of them?  

I mentioned this curiosity to a friend.  I've known him for years through the local auction house.  We are both "regulars" with "permanent numbers".  He sells things through antique malls and over the Internet.  He's had at least one package gone missing too.  He tackled our questions from a different angle and found Bulward Auctions in Salt Lake City, the auction house that actually does sell items from the Over Goods Warehouse in Utah!  I called.  I was given the telephone number for Northwest Research, a company specializing in "inventory research and management".  Believe it or not, Northwest Research and Bulward Auctions are located in the same, large warehouse.  I talked to two different, articulate ladies including Sharon Alstrom, Ground Help Desk Supervisor, who promised to look into the matter, requesting a search of the terminals involved.  (Of course, I shared this blog post with her.  She seemed to have complete access to the entire FedEx computer system.  I don't know for sure, but I think Northwest Research is actually the "Over Goods Warehouse" for FedEx ... and yet it is a separate vendor, not really part of the FedEx system.) On December 2nd Sharon sent an email stating: "Susan, I am sorry to report that neither terminal was able to locate the missing package. We are going to continue to search and I will update you if we are able to locate. I wish I had better news to report."

I have no idea what is meant by "continue to search".  All looking/tracing/searching has been the result of my diligence and perseverance, my continued efforts and telephone calls.  It has taken hours and hours of time.  I am still left with the sinking feeling that missing packages without additional FedEx insurance are not treated as significant or worth pursuing ... at least in a timely manner.  I can't help but to think that this package would have been found if a proper investigation was initiated when I filed the claim.  Curiosity is still a factor.  After all, how many packages end up in Utah?  Was percentage is found? What percentage is sold at Bulward Auctions? How important are messages from Northwest Research to FedEx managers since these people are employed by different companies? What information is listed when a lost package is opened? Where are they stored? How are they stored? How long are they stored? Who decides that a package cannot be returned and must go to the auction house?  In a telephone conversation with Sharon, Guardian Angel was referred to as a "unique object", not one that would go to Bulward Auctions.  So, what happens to "unique objects"?  I'd really like to know the answers.  I'd really like for Guardian Angel to be found.  It is hard to believe that someone stole a 39" tube carrying an art quilt of an angel!  It is UNIQUE, not a small piece of electronics that can be pawned for a couple dollars!  It is fair easier to believe that this package slipped through the cracks in a system that does not put a high value on packages that aren't insured for large sums of money.  

ANOTHER UPDATE, December 15, 2015

I just got off the telephone with Hope Iverson.  It was a most unpleasant call due to Ms. Iverson's assumption that I was in the midst of a "dispute" and was unnecessarily "upset".  She was returning one or both of the telephone messages I left last week on her answering machine.  I called because she first wrote the following email:

Good Afternoon Ms. Dingman;
 
I am reaching out to you on behalf of FedEx Executive Management in the Ground Cargo Claims Department.
 
The below email has been forwarded to me for review and response.   I would like to discuss this matter with you please let me know a convent time between 730AM-4PM I may contact you to discuss this matter. 
 
This matter has been escalated to the Executive Level, I am sorry for any inconvenience and look forward to hearing from you soon. 
 
Respectfully,
 
Hope L. Iverson
The email to which she referred was one I wrote to Sharon Alstron at Northwest Research.  That message was clearly attached to the correspondence and included a link to this blog post.  Since Ms. Iverson didn't return my call last week, I wrote an email to her on Monday.  It included a link to this blog post with all information and tracking numbers.  Yet, when Ms. Iverson dialed my number, she didn't even know the tracking number.  She blamed me for not including it on the answering machine message because her message requests this information. When I finally got her to look at her email, find my message, and click over to this blog post.  She didn't want to read it.  She asked if there was a "short" version.  Frankly, she was rude, unresponsive, and immediately on the defensive.  She told me that Northwest Research was part of the FedEx system even though it is a separate vendor. She told me that, if found, FedEx didn't own my piece; they only paid their spare of the liability.  She said my package "was lost", which is the first time anyone has admitted this (of course, not in writing.)  She said she'd continue looking for my piece. When I asked what was meant by "looking", she confirmed this meant more email messages.  She said all my other questions were internal matters.  She referred to my artwork as "merchandise".  She was not at all helpful nor the least bit nice. Ms. Iverson's negative attitude and lack of concern for the FedEx customer was almost shocking.  I was hoping that she'd at least express some amount of consideration for the situation.  I told her that I was still using FedEx as a loyal customer.  I promised to initiate a campaign to get anyone or organization with more influence to look into the manner in which claims are handled by FedEx.  


1 Comments:

  • At August 25, 2016 at 11:00 AM , Blogger penguintube Dylan said...

    Hi This is Billy Baldwin the actor from ecoolthings.com. So sorry for your trouble as we have been scammed, Duped, and deceive by FedEx. Fed up X has lost and damaged over $4000 dollars of rare Antiques donated to our charity. we have received false emails from Hope Iverson and Jonathan Dugan to call 877-622-1166 or 901 818 7500 Ex 1012/1011. all none working #'s. We are funded and operated by many actors running 7 sites and three store and to be duped by FedEx is truly a iconic feud! Please be aware FedEx has just recovered from many Class action Suits. There policies are deceiving. We ask our 20 plus million customers and 5000 plus who visit our stores daily in NYC, BE AWARE DO NOT SHIP WITH FEDEX OR WILL BE PART OF THE MILLIONS WHO HAVE BEEN SCAMED. Thank you! Have a great day!

     

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