I just had an infuriating experience again, which just makes me want to start a dedicated wine shipping company so we can all get away from these idiots. More about that at the end.
Customer in Alaska ordered a case for $390. FedEx charges me $158 in shipping to send it there. It get returned to me for some reason with a label that says “improper shipment”. When I call FedEx I get some call center in India where nobody knows anything. They keep telling me, “it’s probably because you shipped alcohol”… Yes, I know. I’m licensed to do so, duh. No further explanation, nobody can specify the correct reason except reiterate the “improper shipment”. But here’s the real infuriating part. When I check with billing, they still charge me the $158 for the package despite the damn thing never even leaving the greater Los Angeles area before it got returned! That’s the most expensive local shipment in the history of shipments. When I demand a refund, they say “we don’t do refunds or credits during Covid-19”. When I demand a manager, they reiterate “we don’t do refunds during Covid-19”…
So what do I do now? Try to ship it again for $158, taking my total shipping cost to $316 on a $390 sale, or just refund this customer and only lose the $158? If the package comes back a 2nd time I’m really screwed - then I’ll have to refund him and swallow a $316 shipping bill.
God, it’s infuriating. And it has yet again reinforced this idea I’ve had a for a few years: What if there was a dedicated, temperature controlled DTC wine delivery solution? What is the one thing us DTC wine consumers can be flexible on? Wine delivery times. As long as they are trackable, arrive safe, stay in a cold chain or temperature controlled environment the whole trip, we don’t really care about how long it takes to get to us, right? This means you could “fill” a truck up until it makes economical sense to go an a cross nation delivery spree with 100-200 stops.
Maybe the economics of the model is non-sustainable and there are things I’m overlooking, but on paper it seems like it should be doable.