what happens if Fedex tries to deliver when I am absent? should I somehow warn them?

I have just made an order from an organization which, as some subsequent googling has established, is notorious for being very unpredictable in terms of when they fulfill orders. Well, so I asked for Fedex overnight standard, but in practice who knows when they will actually hand it over to Fedex. And I will be absent from home for a few days on vacation.

Well, so let’s consider the scenario where it is not shipped/received by me on time and I leave. Suppose they will follow Murphy’s law and ship it precisely while I am absent. What happens next? What will Fedex do to me and to the package on account of me being absent? If they leave the valuable gadget lying in the snow at the door, that sure wouldn’t be nice…

Suppose, alternatively, I will try to contact their customer service ahead of time and tell them to postpone shipping. But, suppose their customer service is non-functional and they ship anyway. Is it possible in this situation for me to somehow contact Fedex and tell them to delay the delivery by a few days?

I repent in sackcloth and ashes for my ignorance, but frankly the Fedex website isn’t doing a good job battling it. I would have thought the above to be simple and common questions, but the people who wrote their FAQ seem to think otherwise.

FedEx will not deliver without a signature unless specifically instructed to do so. If you’re concerned that a package will be delivered when you’re not home to sign for it, can you contact the person sending you something and tell them to specify that the package can be delivered without a signature? If so, FedEx will leave the package at your door. Of course, you may not want the package to be left.

Fedex will, after an unsuccessful delivery attempt, leave you a note. You can call the number on that note and tell them when you’ll be available for delivery, or ask them to hold it at their local depot and you can pick it up there.

Not true. I’ve had many a FedEx package sitting on my doorstep when I’ve gotten home, with the words SIGNATURE REQUIRED prominently displayed on the bill of lading, per FedEx’s own policies. Both FedEx and UPS routinely leave packages, regardless of whether a signature is required.

Given a choice, anything sent to us is sent via US Postal Service. When we send out packages, it’s only via the Postal Service.

Duckster, so is it malfeasance by the Fedex contractors? Is there a way to fight it, report it or whatever?

Also, why doesn’t Fedex introduce some technological fix to this? E.g. why don’t they add an option where they (more specifically, a robot) would call you ahead of time to make sure you are around? Even if a single truck delivers to many people, they could still plan the deliveries so that to maximize the likelihood of finding the recepient at home.

Don’t know. I never pursued it. At home we use the Postal Service because we’ve found they ship better, faster, cheaper and more secure than either FedEx or UPS. At work we use all three, but in that case everything shipped must be personally signed and the carrier is held responsible for any loss, down to the individual. You see, in this case Uncle Sam often places very tight restrictions on contractors.

There are some possibilities and I’m no expert on this but, for the sake of timliness, will give ya my limited (albeit questionable) understanding…

For valuable shipments, the shipper can require a signature so the expensive item isn’t left where it can be stolen or damaged by weather.

If no signature is required, odds are the FedEx guy will try to leave the package where it won’t get damaged (e.g., at the carport door).

You might be able to get the shipment re-directed. Could be an extra charge. Note: Not all services (such as ground-service) feature this service.

For future note, there is a deliver-to-Kinkos (now called FedEx-Office) option in which you can pick up at your convenience (within certain constraints). Shipper may or many not want to do this.

Some FedEx services offer a specified delivery date.

FedEx insures packages for $100. For more expensive shipments, one can get optional insurance.

You can also ask a neighbor to take the package inside.

Bottom line…lots of options and someone will probably come along and provide more accurate details. For the sake of speed, I’d call FedEx and see what is available since time is of the essense.

In my neighborhood one of the delivery persons told me that he would leave packages on the door of a single family residence but not on the door of an apartment across the street. I’ve no more information of this practice.

He did tell me that nearby there was a shipping center and persons used that address for their receiving address.

Adding that you should be able to request a tracking number from the seller. For Fed-Ex I’ve found their system to be fairly accurate.

Oddly enough I had a FedEx package for some CDs I ordered from Borders Books. I tracked the package online and it definately says “Signature Required.” So what happened?

FedEx didn’t deliver it. The tracking says it was left at nearest post office. The next day the mailman delivered it and crammed the CD in the mailbox, breaking the case. The CD itself was OK.

So I paid for a signature required and got none. I complained to Borders and they gave me 25% off for the lack of security and damage to the case.

I am not sure what packages FedEx is allowed to turn over to the post office, but that can happen as well.

And sadly it’s a symptom of our times that there are thieves who are swiping packages that are left at the front door of residences. When permitted, the delivery person is supposed to leave the packages out of sight from the streets, but they don’t always do that. And yes, regardless of signature requirements, I’ve had packages left at my front steps. It happened this week and the deliverer did not even bother to ring the doorbell.

This sounds like SmartPost to me, which is a completely different service from FedEx Express (or Ground) and afaik doesn’t offer a signature required option. Did you specifically select FedEx Express with signature required when you ordered? Most merchants don’t let you be that specific (especially for low value items like a CD); they’ll let you choose the speed and then they pick the carrier and service type to get it to you within that time frame.

FedEx does not require a signature when delivering to a residential address unless an optional Signature Required service is selected and paid for by the shipper. See http://fedex.com/us/update1.html.

Even when a signature is required, my experience has been that the drivers will often leave a package without getting a signature if they feel like it. I haven’t had to sign for a package from FedEx or UPS in many years, even when I knew that the shipper had opted to require a signature.