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CalAttorney2, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 10221
Experience:  I am a businesses law attorney, with experience advising and representing owners and investors.
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I am a small business owner and I have a shipment waiting at

Customer Question

I am a small business owner and I have a shipment waiting at port. The OBL was sent via fedex to my broker HOWEVER fedex delivered it to the wrong company and apparently don't care about attempting to retrieve the parcel . I have opened a trace with them and it hasn't been helpful. The company that they misdelivered it to (it was signed for by someone from the company) has said they have the parcel. In a nutshell if fedex doesn't retrieve this I'll start to incur storage fees. I need to know if there is a way to file a compalint against fedex if I incur charges because of their mistake and negligence (btw, yes it was addressed correctly) and is there a way to file a police report in this case?
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 5 months ago.
Dear Customer,I am sorry to learn of this situation.The initial way to deal with this is by initiating a complaint with the courier (FedEx) directly. (You do not say whether or not you were the one that contracted directly for the shipment or if you are only the beneficiary of the shipment, but this is important - whoever it is that actually paid for the shipment (made the shipping contract with FedEx) needs to file the complaint).The reason you will want to have that complaint filed is that most carriers (FedEx, UPS, etc.) have very strict limitations on their liability written into their contracts that require customers to go through their claims process first (before filing a lawsuit).If this process fails, then you can sue for breach of contract and damages (including any cost of shipment to get your product from its current location to where you need it to go). In most cases you can take advantage of small claims court to do this, where you can sue quickly and easily without requiring an attorney.This is not a criminal matter, so contacting law enforcement is not going to assist you (they will simply tell you that you need to deal with this in civil court).In many cases you can limit your damages by paying for the product to be shipped by the company that currently is holding it, and then filing a claim for reimbursement by the carrier - that way you both get your product faster, and you limit your risk of loss. But that is only a strategy for you to take into consideration.
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I am the shipper and although my account manager had escalated this, no mention of filling a claim had been made other than her telling me FedEx wouldn't pay additional charges I'll incur if this shipment goes into storage?
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 5 months ago.
You can initiate a claim online (I'm not sure what your account manager has already initiated, so I am not sure what sort of information to offer outside of this, but it is relatively straightforward to start): important thing with the claims process is to ensure that you (1) meet all deadlines (so read through the procedure and identify the deadlines you are going to have to meet - most claims are lost for failing to meet deadlines); and (2) review what your shipment is actually covered for (again, these contracts usually limit liability, but they are still responsible for their negligence/mistakes, so review the contract for your specific package, not all packages (even from the same carrier) are insured or protected at the same level - so see what level of insurance/protection/liability this package has.
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Do you have any I know knowledge about OBLs original bill of lading for shipments coming in by sea? The sender of the shipment is saying I need to file a police report (which is why I mentioned it) in order to get copies of it. He mentioned a consumer court but I see that exists in India, not in the US
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 5 months ago.
If the original bill of lading is actually lost (which I am not sure is the case in your situation - based on what you posted, your entire shipment is accounted for, it is simply in the wrong place), you can get a "duplicate bill of lading" from the shipper, which is issued along with an "indemnity bond" - a document that disclaims any liability for the OBL should it resurface or be produced by another party.
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Also, all I see here is a way to get the cost of shipping refunded. I don't see anything about negligence so do you mean file a claim here initially and use the claim as documentation to sure them in small claims court?
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 5 months ago.
If your contract limits you to recovering only the cost of shipping, that is going to limit your recovery to those costs alone - like I noted above, these carriers contracts limit their exposure very narrowly (leading to unfair results), so it is important to work to limit your exposure (as I noted above, taking measures to recover your goods independently is a good idea).
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I told the shipper about the indemnity and the copy OBL and they said I need to file a police report in order for them to attain this. How do I file a police report for something like this- and who am I filing it against, fedex who misdelivered or Aramex who is holding it (and they acknowledge they have it...somewhere) and since it's in NY and I'm in PA how do I do this?
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 5 months ago.
If they are requiring a police report, then you can get one rather easily - it isn't going to amount to much as far as an actual investigation (this isn't a criminal matter, but calling the local police and making a report will at least generate a file number that you can provide to them).You aren't necessarily making a complaint against anyone in particular, and I'm still not sure why they want you to do this.Alternatively you can go ahead and either file, or threaten to file - then file, a small claims action against the shipping company to see if this gets them to take a more proactive stance in getting this matter resolved for you.(Do make sure you are keeping careful documentation and records of your communications, even if you talk to someone on the phone, always follow up with a "confirmation letter" (or email) right away, summarizing what you talked about, who you talked with, what you agreed on, and what further action would be taken - this serves 3 purposes: it can serve as a record if you have to litigate the matter; it can help avoid confusion or misunderstanding; and it can help motivate other parties to assist you (sometimes simply receiving a well documented letter is enough to motivate the other party to move more appropriately (this situation seems like one in which someone is going to get a hold of your case file and realize this is a fairly easy fix and take action on it, the more documentation you send out detailing this, the more likely it is to cross the right desk).

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