Federal Express Corporation faces a proposed class action that alleges the company “has a very poor record” for delivering packages within the timeframe promised to customers, who often pay extra for priority overnight service.
The 11-page breach-of-contract case alleges that although priority overnight service, for instance, is substantially more expensive than second-day service, FedEx Express, in recent months, has made only 71 percent of deliveries on time despite routinely charging more for promised delivery speeds.
The case moreover alleges that although FedEx Express states on its corporate website the terms and conditions for express package services, stating that customers who seek a refund in the event of a service failure must provide notice within 15 days of tendering the package, the company neither communicates to nor provides customers with any documentation containing these terms and conditions at FedEx Office Stores.
Instead, customers who think to scroll down to the bottom of the payment screen on an in-store pin pad are met with a message stating merely that they agree to FedEx Express’s terms and conditions, while being provided with no hyperlink to the actual terms, the filing claims.
According to the lawsuit, this means customers who pay for priority service in-store without charging it to a FedEx account, i.e. paying via cash, credit or debit without providing any account information, are “simply not bound by FedEx Express’s purported terms and conditions,” which also reportedly state that a customer agrees not to sue FedEx Express as a class plaintiff.
“Time is of the essence in the express transportation package business,” the complaint, filed in Tennessee on September 23, reads. “FedEx Express breaches its contracts with customers when it fails to deliver packages on time according to the promised delivery speed.”
Once a FedEx Express customer reaches the payment screen in-store, on the right-hand side of the screen is a scroll bar that can be moved with the customer’s finger or a stylus pen, the lawsuit says. Per the suit, it is only after scrolling down on the payment screen that a customer can view a statement that reads simply that they agree to FedEx Express’s terms and conditions, with no other details provided.
The lawsuit argues, however, that FedEx Express can have no reasonable expectation that a customer standing at a service counter and looking at a pin pad screen amid the check-out and shipping process will identify the scroll bar and then scroll down to the bottom of the screen to view the terms and conditions statement. Importantly, the complaint says, a customer is not required to scroll down and see the terms and conditions in order to press “Ship” and be directed to a payment screen.
At any rate, the bottom of the pin pad page “contains no information about the purported terms and conditions” aside from a message that relays only that “terms and conditions apply,” according to the case. There is no hyperlink to a document containing the terms and conditions and no way for a customer to access them or a summary, the lawsuit says.
“Most FedEx Office representatives interfacing with customers purchasing express package service at FedEx Office stores are unaware of the purported terms and conditions of service. Upon information and belief, FedEx Office does not train its representatives to notify customers of the existence of the purported terms and conditions.”
The complaint contends that at the point of sale there is “plainly” an intent for a paying customer to enter into a contract with FedEx Express to provide the paid-for priority delivery services. The suit argues that FedEx Express’s terms and conditions do not apply to this contract given they are not provided to the customer, and since the customer does not assent to them.
The plaintiff, a Honolulu, Hawaii resident, claims to have paid $516.89 to FedEx Express for priority overnight delivery of a package to Anchorage, Alaska. According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff’s package, rather than arrive the next day, Saturday, July 17, 2021, arrived on Monday, July 19. FedEx Express failed to refund the plaintiff for any portion of the amount he paid for express package service, the suit claims.
The lawsuit looks to cover all individuals and entities who, from September 23, 2019 until the resolution of the case, bought express package service at a FedEx Office store in the United States without charging the purchase to an account and for whom FedEx Express failed to deliver the package on time according to the promised delivery speed that was paid for, and for whom FedEx Express failed to refund the amount paid for express package service.
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