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Shipper Struggles with Fed-Ex and UPS


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It is taking forever to work through the process with Fed-Ex to get approved to ship alcohol.   It now goes through Fed-Ex legal department.   It has been over eight weeks since I started calling.  Signed all the agreements two weeks ago, and keep getting told by the rep I was lucky enough to get an email address for that legal is still working on it and there is nothing she can do.

UPS would never return my calls.

I have a shipper for my in-state business-to-business transactions (through www.libdib.com... and also for the in-store purchases that I am allowed to ship on their behalf to their residence), but for the out of state shipping where I can direct ship to consumers, or otherwise work with a licensed retailer where we do the shipping for them, I needed a national common carrier.

Just letting everyone know to expect the common carrier approval to take several weeks and don't be surprised if you cannot get it done depending on the carrier.  

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FedEx rep for us is in Arkansas (???!) but we are north of Seattle.  She calls at 0500, not knowing there are time zones in America.  After 2 weeks, we got that straight.  But she only has voice mail.  "Too busy," she said.   We have her email, and I have asked for weeks for help expediting this.   We have engaged FedEx Customer Advocate,  and also @FedExHelp on Twitter -- all useless.   it's been 6 weeks since we started a routine process to cert a DSP to ship alcohol.  How hard can it be for FedEx??   With a copy of our DSP and state permits, they still asked for what they already had, without taking action.

UPS didn't know if they ship spirits, and went away.  

Hoping you have good luck soon, Patio29Dadio!   

 

 

 

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On 10/13/2019 at 10:08 AM, whiskeytango said:

Just ship it.  Dont ask don't tell.  

I wouldn't do that. If you get caught, not only will you be violating all the alcohol laws, but since liquor is a flammable liquid, you can be construed as violating federal transportation laws for shipping of hazardous materials. The fines can be enormous. You can lose your DSP or other licenses. You can be permanently banned from the industry.

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FedEx is still sitting on their thumbs, 2 months after starting to 'set up an account for spirits.'    DHL, however is squared away for int'l shipments as is a local ground carrier for regional shipments.   Agree with bluestar, the risks are considerable, and we continue to wait for FedEx, who used to be "the world on time." :-)   

Any alternatives to FedEx or recommendations?

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9 hours ago, et1883 said:

 

FedEx is still sitting on their thumbs, 2 months after starting to 'set up an account for spirits.'    DHL, however is squared away for int'l shipments as is a local ground carrier for regional shipments.   Agree with bluestar, the risks are considerable, and we continue to wait for FedEx, who used to be "the world on time." 🙂

Any alternatives to FedEx or recommendations?

Generally, the key with FedEx is regular contact with your officially designated representative by telephone. That's what they are there for. It took us 3 months.

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7 minutes ago, bluestar said:

Generally, the key with FedEx is regular contact with your officially designated representative by telephone. That's what they are there for. It took us 3 months.

Step -1 - Call the Fed-Ex 1-800 number and go through the options - none that address what you need - to eventually speak to a real person after being on hold for at least 10 minutes.  They will then listen to you and tell you that you have to be transferred to another department.  That is another 10+ wait on hold.  Then give that person your information and they will enter it into their system which should generate an order within their system for the Fed-Ex local representative covering your business address territory.  The order is for the local rep to contact you so the Alcohol Shipper paperwork can be completed.

Step-2 - Wait

Step-3 - Repeat Step-1 because it has been 2 weeks and nobody has contacted you.

Step-4 - Wait

Step-5 Repeat Step-1 because it has been 4 weeks and nobody has contacted you.

Step-6 - Wait

Step-7 - Finally you get a call from someone who is your local rep.  He/she will be a Fed-Ex employee located in the mega headquarters office in Arizona... so likely not local at all.  The good news is that he/she will likely have good communication skills and will know what to do.   That will start with he/she saying that she will email you forms to complete and sign.

Step-8 - Wait.

Step-9 - Forms arrive in an email after a few days.  Complete them and return them in an email as quick as you can.

Step-10 - Wait. 

Step-11 - Send emails to your local rep asking what is up.  He/she will tell you that Fed-Ex legal department is working on the agreement that will need to be signed.

Step-12 - Wait

Step-12 - The agreement comes via email.  Read it and sign it asap and return it as quick as you can.

Step-13 - Wait

Step-14 - Send emails to your local rep asking what is up.  He/she will tell you that Fed-Ex legal department is working on the final approval and thanks for your patience. 

Step-15 - Wait

Step -16 - Send another email to the local rep asking if someone died.  He/she will not laugh and will thank you for being patient.

Step-17 - Local rep emails to tell you congratulations you are approved.  But instructions say that you will need to affix special labels to your shipping carton and those are being mailed.

Step-18 - Wait.

 

I am on Step-18 so I don't yet know if there are more steps.  But at this point 3 months is about where I am. 

 

Meanwhile UPS has never called me.

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Neither Fed Ex or UPS will ship your spirits DTC.  https://www.breakingbourbon.com/article/the-confusing-state-of-shipping-bourbon-and-a-case-for-change

there are many forces at play with this issue, and we as small producers would love to see it happen, but only "Direct from Distiller" . It is a complex issue, which includes the possibility of an "Amazon"  wiping out every liquor store in the country, as well as driving the price of all distilled spirits prices down to little more than a commodity. 

you think there is a problem now with fake craft, wait till DTC comes on line and a few big players start dumping Faux Craft with free shipping.

its kind of like not really wanting what you wish for. 

Prost

 

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we're on steps 11 or 14 as above.   "legal dept" is working on it though, they told me (!).    The "speed of business" and "the world on time"  seem foreign concepts.     Maybe their attorneys are all on the Cast Away island with Tom Hanks.   FedEx is like Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot."  Perhaps tomorrow.   Perhaps tomorrow.   :-)  

Hoping for the best, for us and each of you as well! 

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2 hours ago, et1883 said:

Neither Fed Ex or UPS will ship your spirits DTC

What I understand is that Fed Ex will allow direct to customer shipping only in those states that allow it assuming you have the permits to do so.  There are about five today. 

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On 10/21/2019 at 7:14 PM, Patio29Dadio said:

Step -1 - Call the Fed-Ex 1-800 number and go through the options - none that address what you need - to eventually speak to a real person after being on hold for at least 10 minutes.  They will then listen to you and tell you that you have to be transferred to another department.  That is another 10+ wait on hold.  Then give that person your information and they will enter it into their system which should generate an order within their system for the Fed-Ex local representative covering your business address territory.  The order is for the local rep to contact you so the Alcohol Shipper paperwork can be completed.

Step-2 - Wait

Step-3 - Repeat Step-1 because it has been 2 weeks and nobody has contacted you.

Step-4 - Wait

Step-5 Repeat Step-1 because it has been 4 weeks and nobody has contacted you.

Step-6 - Wait

Step-7 - Finally you get a call from someone who is your local rep.  He/she will be a Fed-Ex employee located in the mega headquarters office in Arizona... so likely not local at all.  The good news is that he/she will likely have good communication skills and will know what to do.   That will start with he/she saying that she will email you forms to complete and sign.

Step-8 - Wait.

Step-9 - Forms arrive in an email after a few days.  Complete them and return them in an email as quick as you can.

Step-10 - Wait. 

Step-11 - Send emails to your local rep asking what is up.  He/she will tell you that Fed-Ex legal department is working on the agreement that will need to be signed.

Step-12 - Wait

Step-12 - The agreement comes via email.  Read it and sign it asap and return it as quick as you can.

Step-13 - Wait

Step-14 - Send emails to your local rep asking what is up.  He/she will tell you that Fed-Ex legal department is working on the final approval and thanks for your patience. 

Step-15 - Wait

Step -16 - Send another email to the local rep asking if someone died.  He/she will not laugh and will thank you for being patient.

Step-17 - Local rep emails to tell you congratulations you are approved.  But instructions say that you will need to affix special labels to your shipping carton and those are being mailed.

Step-18 - Wait.

 

I am on Step-18 so I don't yet know if there are more steps.  But at this point 3 months is about where I am. 

 

Meanwhile UPS has never called me.

Yup, that sounds about right. You have to keep pinging your local rep, they are your only point of contact. My situation was worse. Part way through, my local rep left the company, and I was in limbo. Luckily, after, a newly assigned rep eventually got us back on track, only a few weeks lost. Yes, you need those special labels, they will come by FedEx, of course! You will also have to learn how to properly navigate the use of their web portal for shipping alcohol, you need to have it appear as a selection on your account. That did not work for us on day one.

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FedEx called to leave a voice mail that we are squared away - now waiting for FedEx to deliver the mandatory items.  #soon

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