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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For those of you who ship with SYR, do you schedule a pick-up, drop them off at a FedEx staffed facility, or drive them to the nearest FedEx hub?

The reason I ask is this; I've used SYR in the past and use it exclusively now (though I don't know about the future). I went to ship a large number of frogs today. It took me an hour and a half to package everything carefully. I walked into the same FedEx-staffed facility I always use, ten minutes from my home. The guy behind the counter saw "Wildlife - Live Harmless Amphibians" on the box and told me "We don't ship those". I directed him to the info that SYR supplies showing that they DO "ship those" and he said "Yeah, I've read that before, but we've been told not to ship any live animals"

I say to him, "I do it all the time, from this office".

He says, "Some have slipped through in the past, but they're not supposed to".

I think, "No problem. SYR has a phone help line. I will get them talking to each other."

I call SYR and get a phone tree. The website says dial extension "1". The automated phone message says that "1" is not a valid extension. Now I'm starting to stress because final pick-up is in 30 minutes. I go through the phone tree and leave a message at every extension, but basically there is no customer service. No one answers. Aaargh! I send an email. No answer as of tonight.

I ask to talk to a Manager and am told the same thing. They tell me I have to drop it off at the hub, an hour away! I have to be somewhere local soon, so that's not an option. I call the hub and tell them the situation, and the guy tells me he has to ask his manager and puts me on hold for over 5 minutes. When he comes back he says I can schedule a pick-up, but that it will cost me 4 bucks per package. Of course, I can't do that because I haven't told the customers that the package will not be arriving on the day agreed upon. I call all the affected customers, reschedule all deliveries for a day later and call the hub again. I schedule a pick-up from my home. I ask when the driver will be there. They say sometime BETWEEN 12:30 AND 6:30. So now, I'm taking a half day off work tomorrow to wait around for a pick-up from a driver that BETTER accept these packages.

What kills me, is if I had just ignored the Lacey Act and not labeled these packages, the guy would have sent them without asking any questions at all, but because I followed the law, including every recommendation SYR put on their website, I am jumping through hoops to send a package I've already paid for.

So who dropped the ball? Was it FedEx because they were obligated to ship and wouldn't. Or was it SYR because their website doesn't say anything about shipping from a hub? Or is it me because SYR does warn about that and I just can't find that fine print? Either way, I'm super disappointed with SYR's customer service or lack thereof.

Dear SYR, when your service works it's invaluable, but If you sell a service that you have sub-contracted to another company and that company acts like they've never heard of you, at least be available to clear up the misunderstanding. I had to bring the packages home and unpack them, I will have to spend an hour meticulously packing them back up tomorrow. I chose today to ship on purpose, incidently, because the weather was much more favorable.

Not cool.

So those of you who use SYR (I'm looking at you S. Harrington), how do you avoid this?
 

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I have used them several times. However, unlike you, my hub is 10 min away. I just drop them off, they are scanned and I am handed a receipt. Takes about 30 sec. I have also had animals sent to this same hub and I am always asked if it is snakes or lizards and that they get a lot of them through there.

Incidently, I much prefer the hub because I can drop off up to 8:30pm and pickup at 9am.
 

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Reptileexpress.com is better staffed and better priced.
 

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I have ran into the same situation. The close Kinko's (fedex authorized shipping facility) will not accept live animals, I have to drop off at the Fedex hub here in town. It is far less convienent as it is way on the other side of town.
 

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Ive had the same problem shipping chameleons...going to the nearest hub was not an option for me...since live animals cannot be insured by FedEx, I relabled the box as "fragile"...also informing the person behind the counter that it was glassware..end of problem...the animal arrived at its destination next morning in excellent condition...
 

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I have ran into the same situation. The close Kinko's (fedex authorized shipping facility) will not accept live animals, I have to drop off at the Fedex hub here in town. It is far less convienent as it is way on the other side of town.
Same issue with fedex/kinkos a few years ago. Used them forever to drop animals off and one day.............same story. Fedex hub will also check to make sure that the company you use is cleared to ship animals.
There are a few mail box/office places around that take ups and fedex packages. Just ask them what time the delivery guy stops by to pick up packages. They have never asked what is being shipped.
It is not SYR issue that Fedex place will not accept your package. It is just a policy that seems to be gradually getting enforced.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It is not SYR issue that Fedex place will not accept your package. It is just a policy that seems to be gradually getting enforced.
I guess I agree with that. I just wish the SYR website made reference to that in some way. The way it read implies that all FedEx staffed locations are obliged to take the package because of the contract between FedEx and SYR. If the site had said that the packages need to be taken to the hub, I would have planned accordingly.

What's odd is that I'm not even new to SYR, and yet I never knew that the individual locations could refuse shipment of live animals. What would that site do if they received animals for hold?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I just wanted to drop a note to thank Kevin from SYR for helping me out. The guy emailed me, then called me later and really bent over backwards to make sure I was taken care of and I had shipping options, should this happen in the future.

I don't want to turn this into vendor feedback, so I will just say that the problems I was ranting about before are no longer problems.
 

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I recently purchased frogs and was told that SYR was going to be offered. When I read about their policy it says that they only guarantee DOA if the package ARRIVES LATE. So essentially if you get a dead frog, but it was on time then you get no refund (from them). That's in addition to opting to pay for insurance in the first place. If you don't get insurance then you get nothing, so I don't see the point in using them. I thought that their service seemed bogus so we agreed to not use them. Maybe I'm missing something here...
Whether you use a third party shipper or not FedEx will drop your box full of frogs anyways... right in front of you, and then proceed to chuckle about it. And if it arrives on time then its inconsequential if the box topples bottom over top or not. It is up to the shipper to package the frogs for success and hopefully they offer their own guarantee.
As was mentioned by someone else, FedEx doesn't do any kind of guarantee on live animals so refrain from telling them whats in the box if you can avoid it (over the phone). As I've recently found out, even if your package arrives 90 minutes after FedExs "guaranteed delivery time" if the tardiness was due to lets say, the weather, or the airplane sliding off of the runway (yes, they told me that) then you still won't be refunded your shipping charges. Your best bet on getting a refund is a result of a mechanical failure which they could also "blame on the weather".
My two cents.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Actually, the shipping insurance that SYR offers is pretty good. It cost's $2.50 per $100 of insurance. As a seller, I pay for that myself. It's true that they only cover DOA's that arrive after 10:31, but if you pack correctly the frogs can survive a lot of abuse (that is not a challenge, FedEx). In my opinion if a frog arrives DOA and on time, it probably could have been packed better.

Where it comes in handy is if the package is delayed or lost. If the package is misrouted etc, and the frogs don't survive the additional day(s) in the box, then SYR returns your shipping cost and pays for the value of the animals. If the package arrives late (after 10:30 or 12:00 in outlying areas), even if the animals are fine, you can report it to SYR and they will refund the cost of shipping.

Case in point, I had a package show up hours late due to weather. The frogs, when they showed up, were happy and healthy. I called SYR, they looked at the numbers and refunded me the $70 immediately. Since I pay for the insurance out of my pocket on all packages, I keep the refund. That refund alone will cover the insurance on the next 10-15 shipments I send.

So to me, as a shipper, it's worth it. Funny, I started the rant and now I'm defending them.
 

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Whether you use a third party shipper or not FedEx will drop your box full of frogs anyways... right in front of you, and then proceed to chuckle about it. And if it arrives on time then its inconsequential if the box topples bottom over top or not. It is up to the shipper to package the frogs for success and hopefully they offer their own guarantee.
It IS up to the shipper to pack correctly. That is why FedEx requires people to submit a "test package" (no animals) before they will let you ship reptiles. Using SYR is a work-around for this hurdle. But it doesn't change the fact that you have to pack animals well to get them where they're going on time and alive.

As was mentioned by someone else, FedEx doesn't do any kind of guarantee on live animals so refrain from telling them whats in the box if you can avoid it (over the phone).
Do a search on Lacy Act here and you'll note that shipping animals without labelling the box extrernally is illegal. Many people choose to ignore this law. But I can't afford to do so. And IMO, we, as a hobby, can't afford for people to ignore this law.

My 1 cent.
 

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It IS up to the shipper to pack correctly. That is why FedEx requires people to submit a "test package" (no animals) before they will let you ship reptiles. Using SYR is a work-around for this hurdle. But it doesn't change the fact that you have to pack animals well to get them where they're going on time and alive.



Do a search on Lacy Act here and you'll note that shipping animals without labelling the box extrernally is illegal. Many people choose to ignore this law. But I can't afford to do so. And IMO, we, as a hobby, can't afford for people to ignore this law.

My 1 cent.
Laws were meant to be broken. :rolleyes: That's my 1/2 cent. LOL
 

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I'm willing to bet, more than half the people here, don't tell them ( FedEx ) what they are shipping. :eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
That would be unfortunate as I know of at least 3 cases in which people received notices of insufficient labeling as pertains to the Lacey act, and 1 in which the buyer was fined $1000 for accepting a package that was unmarked. The odds are high against getting caught, but the consequences can be steep.

I have a question, though. Doesn't the Lacey Act only apply to packages that are sent across state lines? If I ship something within the state of California, do I have to adhere to the same rules?
 

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I just wanted to drop a note to thank Kevin from SYR for helping me out. The guy emailed me, then called me later and really bent over backwards to make sure I was taken care of and I had shipping options, should this happen in the future.

I don't want to turn this into vendor feedback, so I will just say that the problems I was ranting about before are no longer problems.
I recently had an issue shipping with them as well, but they really do have good customer service. They quickly returned calls and I could tell he was researching things while we weren't talking on the phone. The package arrived fine, but we kept in contact figuring things out for probably 2 weeks or so and he offered almost immediately to refund the shipping when I first called. I was overall impressed.
 

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Boondoggle- sorry that you had phone issues on Monday. That was the day we got our phones turned back on after our facility fire. Your voicemail ended up in [email protected] voicemail box, not an SYR box.

Apparently nothing is ever smooth when it comes to installing phones or internet. It took a bit to get the vmail direction routed correctly. I was not happy to hear about the issue at all. I got [email protected] on the case as soon as it came to our attention.

The Kinko's/FedEx Office locations are no different than The UPS Store locations with drop off issues. Each location makes its own determination on accepting perishable shipments, whether that be apples or live reptiles. It doesn't seem logical, but there is nothing we can do about it. When we run into a pushback, we find customers an alternate drop off location, or we schedule a driver pickup.

As for the insurance, we are the ONLY service offering Live Arrival Insurance for reptiles. We had to create a strong program, with strong benefit and value, but at the same time protect the program from fraud.

A package that arrives on time (typically by 10:30am) should be packaged well enough, and contain healthy animals, that live arrival is not an issue. It is when the package gets delayed that live arrival issues come up. That is what our program covers. Up to $3000 in value on the site directly, and $10,000+ by arrangement.

The minimum $2.50 coverage gets you a shipping refund if the package is late for any reason. FedEx does NOT offer a shipping refund under the Live Reptile Certification program. For regular merchandise shipments they do offer a on-time guarantee, EXCEPT for any one of 1000 different exempted reasons. Weather, mechanical, etc, there are dozens of reasons why they won't refund.

If you book the minimum coverage of $2.50, we refund your shipping cost if the package is late, period. No silly loopholes.

For those remembering the old days of Delta Air shipping and Live Arrival insurance, those days are gone, have been for a few years now. Too bad they aren't clear about that : )

We have always shipped our animals to shows like Daytona, and paid thousands of dollars to cover them for $50,000+. Felt safe, and wise. Ugh.

Turns out, Delta offers a "Declared Value" option, which is expensive, and sounds like insurance, but that is all it is, declared value. It is NOT any kind of insurance. We figured this out before the last Daytona show. They (accidentally) revealed that Declared Value is not insurance, and "you would have to insure your animals separately, under your own policy", and there is no payment from Delta under declared value. Crazy. Declared value allows you to say "this shipment is worth $XXX dollars", and that is it. No coverage, and no payment in case of loss.

I am really excited about our SYR Live Arrival Insurance program, and it continues to gain steam.

I am also proud of the customer service that we offer. I don't believe that any other shipping service offers the same level of service and features that we offer. I check emails and voicemails up to the moment I go to bed (1am+) and Kevin is on the phone first thing in the morning.

I'm sorry that we missed your call Boondoggle, it won't happen again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I am also proud of the customer service that we offer. I don't believe that any other shipping service offers the same level of service and features that we offer. I check emails and voicemails up to the moment I go to bed (1am+) and Kevin is on the phone first thing in the morning.

I'm sorry that we missed your call Boondoggle, it won't happen again.
In my opinion you should be proud of your customer service, Robyn. When I spoke to Kevin, he explained to me about the phone snafu and I was more than satisfied with the help I got. I called up, pissed at something that my local FedEx was arbitrarily deciding, and you guys made me a priority. The first thing Kevin did was give me his personal cell phone number. That's saying something.
 

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That would be unfortunate as I know of at least 3 cases in which people received notices of insufficient labeling as pertains to the Lacey act, and 1 in which the buyer was fined $1000 for accepting a package that was unmarked. The odds are high against getting caught, but the consequences can be steep.

I have a question, though. Doesn't the Lacey Act only apply to packages that are sent across state lines? If I ship something within the state of California, do I have to adhere to the same rules?
People should keep in mind that the fines are defined by the value of the animals in the shipment.. it is easily possibly to move yourself from one fine to a much higher one... All you have to do is have the value be more than $350 dollars... It is also possible to not only be fined but to lose the animals that were shipped illegally as well as any material possessions determined to be part of the violation (car etc).... Both the shipper and the recipient may be liable for mislabled packages (if preknowledge of it being unlabeled is known).

I know of several people that have been busted doing this and at least one that as a result ended up with an increased vigilence for quite awhile with packages being repeatedly opened and inspected while in transit.

You can be prosecuted under the Lacy act even if the animals did not cross state lines by simply violating a federal regulation..
See http://www.nationalaglawcenter.org/assets/articles/springsteen_lacey.pdf

As for the in-state labeling question, I would check with either fish and wildlife or a lawyer that works with the Lacy Act violations. I do know that if the unlabled box ends up going through postal shipments, you would be in trouble if caught as that violates postal regulations which are a federal regulation.

Ed
 

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You guy's are starting to scare me now :eek:! So how are you supposed to ship by your self, do you always need a middle person? :confused:
 
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