I sent 3 parcels from Namibia, one to South Korea (Seoul National University), one to the USA (Bonakdar Art Gallery New York), one to India (Bangalore University) with accompanying, descriptive delivery notes. In all cases I consulted the local customer service agent regarding appropriate documentation through personal visits to the office as I had a recent experience about parcels being held up due to 'inadequate' customs documentation.
The latter parcels were eventually cleared after the sender asked me (the recipient) to provide the local FedEx office with documentation about the contents. Those documents I provided were almost exactly the same as the documentation that was already attached, the only difference being the declared value in local currency and explaining what a "relative humidity meter" (a scientific measuring instrument) is. The South Korea and US parcels were returned to Namibia from the two respective countries based on an excuse that it did not have commercial invoices. I am not sure about the India delivery - I have enquired today from my Indian colleague - as there was also the same issue.
However, my Indian colleague tracked the delivery and interceded when he saw that it is being held up. In both cases of returned consignments the document envelope/package contained materials without real commercial value that were sent for information purposes and had descriptive documentation attached. The local office tried to reach me, though I was at a remote location for the past 2 weeks without any communication services. When I was able to respond to their requests, I was informed that the consignments are being returned to Namibia.
In both cases the consignments will have to be resent at the same cost as before. In no case were the recipients contacted, despite the US parcel being shipped on the recipients account and contact information for recipients being provided. It was my first experience using FedEx as I usually deal with DHL, but in all cases I was requested to send it via FedEx as the recipients usually receive consignments via their service. This was a totally unacceptable service with the problems likely to be due to internal FedEx bureaucracy that has nothing to do with customs regulations in the various countries.
The latter is likely to be the FedEx excuse as most customers probably do not realize that customs officials have the right to open and inspect parcels where there is any doubts regarding contents or value, though in some cases the recipients presence may be required when such action is being taken. I was requested by a colleague at the Canadian National Collection of Insects to send research specimens on loan via their FedEx account, but will never use FedEx again.
Reason of review: Order processing issue.
Monetary Loss: $4000.
I didn't like: Delivery pratice, Logistics.