Need to find a way out of Tforce package delivery hell
August 27, 2020 11:36 PM   Subscribe

I am currently dealing with a package delivery nightmare with Tforce (Transforce, previously Dynamex). The package seems to have gone missing. Every time I've called customer service I've been told a different story, or "We need to contact Dispatch to find out more information," and surprise, that information never comes. Asking to speak with a supervisor has gotten me nowhere, as they all seem to work out of an overseas call center and give fake Western names, such as "Diana" and "Brian." How do I find a path of escalation to figure out what happened to my package?

I ordered an item online and paid for expedited shipping as I wanted to receive it by a certain date. The expected date came and went. After a week of waiting, I contacted the online vendor's customer service. The vendor let me know that the delivery was being handled by a third-party transportation and logistics company, Tforce. They had a representative from Tforce reach out to me by email, and this rep told me my package would be sent out for delivery the very next day.

I dutifully stayed home the next day but the package didn't come, so I emailed the Tforce rep back to ask for an updated ETA. She didn't respond to that email, or any of the subsequent followups I sent. I continued checking the package's status via the Tforce tracking number. Every day, the "expected delivery date" would flip to the next day. On it went like that for a week. Since the rep who was in contact by email had stopped responding, I called Tforce's customer service line.

I spoke to a rep who said they would need to contact "Dispatch" to find out what happened to the package, but they would email me within the next 2 business days with more information. The rep also told me there was an attempted delivery several weeks before, but the package was "unsafe to release." The delivery driver did not leave any slip or notice, nor were there any attempts at re-delivery. I was told that they usually make three delivery attempts, but clearly this didn't happen.

A rep emailed a few days later, saying that the package was handed off to DHL, but provided no further information. I responded to the email asking for a DHL tracking number, since entering the Tforce tracking number into DHL's tracking system gave no results. Again, that rep did not respond to my email, or any of my followup emails.

Throughout this process, I continued emailing with the vendor's customer service agent to let them know that I was having a lot of trouble with Tforce. My package had been missing in transit for a month by then. The vendor's customer service agents were equally unhelpful. In hindsight, I'm certain Tforce was also giving them inaccurate information on their end. The vendor basically threw up their hands and said it was up to me to sort it out with Tforce. I let them know I would be filing a credit card charge dispute for item not received. They refunded my money, but said if the package eventually gets to me, they will charge me for it again.

A few days later, I received a message from the vendor saying, "We see you've received your package." Dismayed, as I most certainly had NOT, I checked the Tforce tracking info and the status showed "Picked up" with a happy green check mark. I called Tforce again, asking them what happened and why my package was marked "picked up." I let them know that I've been trying to track down this package for a month and would have loved to pick it up if only someone would've told me where to go get it! I asked to speak to a supervisor this time, someone who might actually have some authority or know-how to get answers. I was promised a call back from a supervisor within half an hour.

Needless to say, the supervisor didn't call back. So over an hour later I called again and explained the previous call, and this time the supervisor was available immediately. The supervisor dove into a bizarre story about how she had spent the past hour trying to get a hold of the driver who had my package. Mind you, this call took place past midnight in my time zone, so I'm not sure why she thought the driver would be picking up the phone. Also, why would the driver, who supposedly made that sole delivery attempt nearly a month prior, have any idea where the package is now? I assume packages that don't make it to their recipients are brought back to the depot at the end of the day and reassigned the next day? I can't imagine that the drivers are personally responsible for storing packages that don't get delivered?? I asked her these questions, and she could not explain. Nor did she know why it was marked "picked up." She promised to update me by the next morning, and provided me with her email address so I could follow up.

So to no one's surprise, she never sent an update, and she hasn't responded to my email followups. It's been almost another week. I am at my wit's end trying to figure out what happened to my package, I am concerned that the vendor will now charge me $$$ for a package that I never received because according to the package's tracking info, it was "picked up." Even if I pursue a credit card dispute, I have no proof that the item never made it to me. I called Tforce again today, and was told again that I will need to wait for a call back from a supervisor and that they will need to talk to Dispatch to find out why my package hasn't arrived. And again, the supervisor never called back, and is still not available. It's like Groundhog Day.

Best case scenario, at the end of the day, I want my goddamn package. I still need that item. It was very hard to find, and I ended up rescheduling the event that I needed it for, and the new date is in three weeks. Even if the vendor sends another one out (which they won't, because they think they've already delivered one to me) it's doubtful that it will arrive in time (and god forbid it ends up in the hands of Tforce again). Second best case scenario, I need Tforce to confirm in writing that they've either LOST the package and it is undeliverable, OR that they've sent the package back to the vendor, so that either way I can prove I never received it.

I don't know how to accomplish this. Every single person I speak to at Tforce a) has no readily available information on its whereabouts and b) never emails or calls back. I believe I need to escalate this somehow, but it seems impossible. I'm about 99% sure the customer service team is located and managed overseas, probably also contracted to a third party, and based on their abysmal Yelp and Google reviews and BBB rating, Tforce does not seem to care at all about further damage to their reputation. Even on Glassdoor, the top employee review states that drivers can steal packages, or show up to work drunk or high, and still keep their jobs because Tforce doesn't give a crap.

How do I effectively get through this customer service quagmire and find some actual help?
posted by keep it under cover to Grab Bag (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: I've also considered going on LinkedIn and messaging local Tforce management personnel regarding this issue, but don't want to come across as unhinged.
posted by keep it under cover at 11:39 PM on August 27, 2020

Is it possible the vendor could contact TForce? Since they are the one paying TForce, and potentially giving repeat business, I wonder if they might have a different/better avenue. Probably not, but it's my first idea: just let the vendor do some of the calling and tracking down for a while.

Vendors do not like chargebacks, by the way. They're costly to a vendor, so they have incentive to make sure you're happy.
posted by amtho at 11:45 PM on August 27, 2020

Response by poster: Amtho, the vendor did contact Tforce but after some time they gave up trying to intervene. The customer service agent did not seem to care enough about the lost revenue or business to help me figure it out, and I almost can't blame them. It has been the most infuriating experience.
posted by keep it under cover at 12:00 AM on August 28, 2020

Chargeback. You've done more than your due diligence on this one.
posted by kdar at 12:34 AM on August 28, 2020 [1 favorite]

If, by some miracle, you get the package I would imagine it will be in poor condition. Bouncing around for a month + sounds bad. I would charge back. If your cc needs documentation, show them all the emails about it.
posted by AugustWest at 12:50 AM on August 28, 2020

Agree with kdar. Chargeback and be done with it.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:44 AM on August 28, 2020

Best answer: Do a chargeback.

I actually worked for a company that used Dynamex and other similar services for delivery of retail goods. IF you do a chargeback, the vendor will file a claim for the lost package, the delivery service will deny the claim because they have it scanned as "picked up" and nobody will take it further because it's considered part and parcel of the extremely low, often abusively low rates that the vendor pays such companies for delivery.

And the delivery company likely has very few actual delivery drivers, They are likely contract workers that show up on days they are available, load their cars (or whatever vehicle they personally drive) and then need to go deliver those packages sometimes without even any sort of route planning service or anything to help with efficiency and they usually get paid per package delivered, so the incentive is high to claim all packages were delivered by the close of the business day when in reality it might sit in their car till they can get to where ever the package needs to go. Or if some noise starts coming form the customer maybe they just take it back to teh depot and claim that they tried to deliver it, but noone was available. In short, the job really sucks and is exploitative, so try not to have it out too hard for any delivery guys.

Now that I think about it, since it was marked "picked up" rather than delivered or left at door or whatever, I wouldnt be surprised if it turned up on the vendor's dock as a return. These carriers tend to hold and palletize items for return (refused packages, undeliverable packages, damaged packages. actual return packages picked up from customers if the delivery service is contracted for that. Depending on the size of the vendor, the returns might not get back to them that often because they might do it on a scheduled basis so as to not have a mostly empty truck going out.

But anyway, you tried more than you had to and its well past time to just do a chargeback. Also, in my opinion, any company that tries to wash their hands of a missing package problem sucks. They pay the delivery service and they have more leverage as well as established contacts that are in local dispatch docks and not call centers located out of the delivery market. IF they cant be the liason for you with the delivery company and make you use some call center, that's just a big neon sign saying GOT PAID, DON'T CARE and they hope you forget and go away. A better vendor will go to their contacts for the delivery service's area local to you and either locate teh package (either by getting in touch with the driver or like actually looking through packages on the shipping dock) or not locate the package. Package is located and gets to you or it's not and the vendor files a claim with the delivery service and refunds you (regardless of whether the claim with the delivery service is resolved in their favor). That's how it should work. I've never heard of a vendor's customer getting anywhere with filing a claim themselves with a delivery service, except maybe with the USPS. may dog protect usps, for if they cut last mile delivery, many more people will be dealing with these contract driver companies for deliveries.
posted by WeekendJen at 2:45 AM on August 28, 2020 [4 favorites]

Chargeback. You don't need it in writing from Tforce that your package has been lost. You can detail the story like you have here and your CC company is very likely to take your side even if Tforce has marked it delivered. I wouldn't spend another second on them, asking for something they don't have the power to deliver (either your package, or a statement on behalf of the company that they lost your package).

And as much as you want the item, I would not do business with the original seller, either. They should not have put the onus on you to work with the shipping company. You couldn't control that choice and aren't able to put any pressure on them to fix their mistakes. They displayed extremely poor customer service. I'd leave a public review about the experience and wash my hands of the whole situation.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 4:52 AM on August 28, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: OP got a refund, so they can't do a chargeback unless the vendor charges them again.

If this is *literally* the only source of the item then keep calling Tforce. The manager of the local terminal is usually a useful person to contact. I cheerfully use the Internet to stalk them, and then call relentlessly. (The main customer service number is, as you discovered, about as useful as shouting down a well.)

If there is *any* other supplier, then go there.

I do see where you said you need this item for an event in three weeks, which you have already rescheduled, and so it looks like you're in a bind. If so, I would order a second one, but keep hammering on Tforce for the first one.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:38 AM on August 28, 2020 [1 favorite]

You paid for a package and expedited delivery. It doesn't matter at this point if the package turns up or not as you clearly did not get expedited delivery.

If the vendor charges you assuming it's been delivered, charge back immediately, because whatever they think they done at this point is not what you paid for. They can come ask for your assistance, and you can explain how the package was delivered/not delivered/whatever and ask how they will be picking up the item for no cost or effort on your part if you did actually receive it.

It is not your job to prove that the package was not delivered, either. Proving that is impossible. It is the parcel service's job to prove it was. So if they attempt to charge you based on the parcel service's obviously untrustworthy word, push back.

Back away from the shitty parcel service. You are not their customer and have no leverage with them, and they're only making you angry. Instead, the above tactic ensures that the vendor does not get your money and the parcel service's actions are of no consequence.
posted by How much is that froggie in the window at 8:39 AM on August 28, 2020 [2 favorites]

You got a refund, right? So order a new widget from the vendor. If the missing one ever does show up and the vendor tried to charge you for it, ship it back to them (via Tforce, obviously)
posted by misterbrandt at 6:51 AM on August 29, 2020

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