While FedEx’s corporate communications team works hard to keep legitimate gripes under wraps, small business owners and entrepreneurs are speaking out about the Memphis, Tennessee-based shipping company’s practices. From ignoring small business complaints, providing sub-par service and blowing off customers they deem as too small to deal with, FedEx is proving itself to be a company to be avoided by savvy small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Blowing off prospective customers

Graystone Industries conducts $300,000 worth of shipping transactions every year through UPS and the United States Postal Service. FedEx caught wind of that and wanted a piece of the Cleveland, Georgia-based pond and water garden supplier’s business. Every three months, it would call to set up an appointment. Graystone Industries set up four separate appointments with the shipping provider – and all four times, FedEx did not show up to the prearranged meetings, according to John Olson, CEO of Graystone Industries.

SmartPost makes sellers look cheap and lazy

Small businesses and entrepreneurs that are using FedEx are finding SmartPost just as terrible as the company’s sales team. Those who use Amazon to sell goods are forced to use FedEx SmartPost, with disastrous results, according to Sam Oh, founder of moneyjournal.com.

“There have been numerous claims of damaged packages, slow shipping, inaccurate/delayed tracking or the items never arriving to the customers when shipped with SmartPost,” Oh wrote in an email to the Springfield Entrepreneurship Examiner. “Although the Amazon listing will show ‘Sold by (your store name) and Fulfilled by Amazon,’ a lot of buyers do not understand what Fulfilled by Amazon means. This has resulted in numerous negative feedback comments, all related to shipping.”

FedEx insurance is a nightmare

Ponying up for two-day delivery with insurance also hasn’t worked for Oh. He runs an eBay store, and a customer had ordered two iPhones, valued at $800, which he shipped via FedEx two-day and had purchased insurance. The customer notified Oh that instead of iPhones, an empty box had arrived.

Oh contacted FedEx to further investigate the matter, providing contact information for the buyer, images of the items sent and offering surveillance footage of the items being packaged at the warehouse. But that was all for naught.

“A FedEx representative contacted me two weeks later stating that the buyer had thrown out the ‘empty box’,” Oh said. After calling several times and over several weeks, he finally learned that FedEx would not reimburse him for the lost items because the customer had thrown away the empty box. No superior ever contacted Oh, even though the buyer had provided a police report to get a PayPal reimbursement.

“Six months later, I still have not received a call back from FedEx regarding this case,” he wrote.

Small-volume customers get ignored

Oh found the stolen iPhone experience to be very representative of his overall experience as a small business FedEx commercial customer. “Since my volumes do not compare with the big players, I have been thrown around in countless loops. Prior to signing any kind of contract, they emphasize that they want to grow with you, but their post-sale actions do not represent their pre-sales zeal,” Oh said.

For example, Oh had been promised numerous adjustments to his rates, but it took over two months for them to be implemented – after he chased down his account representative after verbal and email confirmations had been made. “It became a problem because I could not offer FedEx two day and priority services during this time period. My account manager was not responding to emails, ignoring phone calls and was extremely short over the phone when I could reach him,” he said.

Oh wrote that he remains a customer only because the rates are significantly lower than other carriers.