Riverside, CA asked in Civil Litigation and Insurance Bad Faith for California

Q: Any recourse for a shipper - FedEx denies claim "No damage to contents" but contents broken, box crushed, but unopened?

We ship acrylic computer enclosures (insured) and nearly every time one is damaged, we file a claim that FedEx denies - most times they don't even inspect the package. Then, we call, ask to speak to a supervisor, send photos and the claim is approved. This has been going on for many years. Just had a custom enclosure broken, including the wood base, and the denial said, "We inspected the shipment and found that there was no visible damage to its contents." So, I sent photos to a supervisor and she wrote back, "Thank you for sending the photos. The claim was originally declined based on the inspection report that was provided to me. However, with the addition of the photos, I am going to reopen and pay your claim." This pattern seems consistent with a policy to (fraudulently?) deny claims and hope shippers won't take the time to call in, finally get to a supervisor, then take and send photos. Since 2011, we've done this 11 times out of maybe 15 damage claims.

1 Lawyer Answer
Jason Kelly Smith
Jason Kelly Smith
  • Irvine, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Sounds like it could be a good candidate for the California Unfair Competition Law as being a course of practice that is unfair, unlawful and/or fraudulent. (See California Business and Professions Code sections 17200 et seq.) There might even be some recourse under state consumer protection laws.

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