Yet Another Empty Box for Christmas
January 4, 2008 11:11 AM   Subscribe

What more can I do to maximize my chances of recompense with regards to an eee pc stolen during shipment from Newegg via UPS?

So, I was eagerly awaiting my first major electronics purchase in four years, a shiny galaxy black eee pc 4G 701. According to UPS it shipped on 12/27 and the clearly tampered and more or less empty box arrived yesterday. Grumble. Grumble.

I wasn't the person who signed for it and I haven't talked to that person yet, but my dad saw the delivery and did notice that the box looked askew at the time of delivery. When I retrieved the box, the tape was removed, but haphazardly put back, the box was waaaay lighter than the 5 lbs. listed on the tracking label and all the box contained was packaging paper and an empty eee pc box. To top it off, the package arrived significantly after business hours to an office address. Sheesh.

I immediately called UPS and sent an email to Newegg. The UPS person I talked to said that I would be contacted by an inspector today. I haven't heard back from UPS or Newegg yet today.

If the contents were stolen while it was in UPS's possession, are they likely to refund the value? What more can I do to get this resolved quickly? Should I file a police report through my city PD? Contact the BBB? I paid for the purchase with my VISA Platinum card, which has fraud protection, but I don't think it has purchase or theft protection. I recently signed up for USAA Renter's Insurance, which I figure is the worst case scenario. What steps do I need to do to get that rolling, or should I wait until I hear more from UPS and Newegg? Should I contact Asus?

I'm no Veronica Mars, but Newegg shipped my eee pc from La Puente, CA and a brickload of the eee pcs on eBay right now are shipping from right next door in Walnut, CA. I suppose somebody could just be getting a good deal on shipping by picking them up directly?

I know I'm drawing at straws, but this purchase is a majority chunk of a month's income for me, which means I've got more time than money to work the problem.
posted by Skwirl to Law & Government (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Yes, file a police report, but don't expect the police to do anything.

How do you know it was theft, and not fraud? (maybe a Newegg employee shipped an empty box). Why should you care? You paid for merchandise that you did not receive, and any credit card company worth its salt will reverse a charge for that.

Call your credit card company. They're on your side here; they want your business -- and your money (you haven't paid your credit card bill yet). Tell them the full story, give them the police report information; most likely, they'll reverse the charge right away, they'll mail you some forms that you have to sign, you mail or fax them back, and in a couple of weeks the whole ordeal is over.
posted by the cake is a pie at 11:21 AM on January 4, 2008

In my experience, dealing with UPS claims can be a lengthy but productive process. I use it alot for work and sometimes have things go missing when shipping to customers. UPS is pretty careful about things going missing, so they want to make sure you're not trying to rip them off. Ultimately though, you should see your money from UPS. Newegg also has spectacular customer service from what I hear, though I've purchased from them, I've never dealt with their customer service. I would think either way, you'll see your money again, but it will take some time. I think that you have done all that you can do at the moment.
posted by Phoenix42 at 11:22 AM on January 4, 2008

Hopefully Newegg and UPS will figure things out without you having to scream, but if they start pointing fingers, you're well within your rights to do a chargeback on fraud. You paid for something and did not receive it. If you do have to do a chargeback, and Newegg has been blowing you off to this point, that should get their attention.

IIRC, if the contents were stolen while it was in UPS's custody, they'll pay the shipper based on what the package was insured for. You've done the right thing in contacting both companies; it's really on Newegg to forward the investigation and get you your money back or a new computer ASAP. Don't be afraid to contact them repeatedly, and escalate if they drag their feet.
posted by tigerjade at 11:23 AM on January 4, 2008

Correction: they'll pay the recipient based on what the package was insured for.
posted by tigerjade at 11:25 AM on January 4, 2008

Second filing a claim with UPS. They will try to figure out if one of their employees stole it and act according.
posted by burnmp3s at 11:26 AM on January 4, 2008

Hi Skwirl, it's been a while!

All of the comments so far seem to have good advice... File a police report, try dealing with newegg and UPS, do a chargeback via your credit card company as a last resort.

I am curious that nobody has mentioned anything about the delivery itself though... It sounds like someone did in fact sign for it, but after the package was received was it stored securely, or left out in the open in an empty or nearly empty office environment?

Veronica Mars would also be looking at people who had contact with or access to the package in a semi-private environment. Of course, if it was stolen after being signed for, neither newegg or UPS have any responsibility, and your renter's insurance may be your only recourse - though I'm not exactly sure this falls under typically covered rental insurance stuff - but I hear that USAA is pretty good to their customers.
posted by terpia at 11:38 AM on January 4, 2008

I would tell your particular Visa-issuing bank that you want to do a chargeback. Don't fool around with UPS or Newegg if it takes more than 5 minutes for them to agree to do a refund and re-ship the PC.
posted by iknowizbirfmark at 11:40 AM on January 4, 2008

Also, if you get a bunch of crap from UPS about someone else signing for it, just tell them that it's not your problem. Give them the information to investigate, but don't let them try to make it your problem if something happened before the package reached you. And if they give you trouble, still, just do a chargeback.
posted by iknowizbirfmark at 11:47 AM on January 4, 2008

Do you know the person who signed for it? I'm with terpia--while it's probably not the case, you should at least do your "due diligence" in checking when the box arrived, who signed for it, and whether it felt empty when they received it, because I imagine it'll come up.

Marginally related: don't call 911 when filing your police report, since it's not an "in progress" crime! My experience is that the police are really good at filing reports, but that's where it'll end. However, that's probably all you'll really need. They may poke around a bit and ask some questions.
posted by fogster at 12:23 PM on January 4, 2008

Best answer: As Newegg was the shipper, they will likely have to be the one to file the claim for it. Even if UPS lets you file the claim, they won't pay you. They'll pay Newegg. You may be able report it to UPS, but I believe you'll get your recompensation from Newegg. This sort of deal has happened to me at work. UPS doesn't want to receivers to manage to keep the material AND make a claim. Double dipping at their expense. Plus if they had to pay you, they'd have to pay you retail. They'll only refund Newegg what Newegg paid for the item...wholesale price.

One thing I've seen before, although I'm sure UPS would never admit it, is if something makes it's way out of the shipping box, they put it back in and retape it. I've seen this happen where 2 items end up getting swapped and put in the wrong boxes, thus going to the wrong destinations. On the whole, it's amazing UPS does what it does with such accuracy, but they do lose stuff on occasion.

Start with Newegg. See what they say first, then follow-up with UPS. Newegg will be the ones that will ultimately have to make everything right for you.
posted by MrToad at 12:31 PM on January 4, 2008

I say give Newegg/UPS a chance to fix things before you start dealing with police report or chargebacks. But if they are giving you a hard time then look into the chargeback.
posted by vegetableagony at 12:40 PM on January 4, 2008

Response by poster: I followed up with Newegg and at least getting the claim started on that end was really painless. PPD's website is pretty useless as far as filing a report goes. (Good advice about not calling 911, although I would never do that.) I don't know if I'll deal with the po today, but it raises the question: How does one go about filing a police report if one does not know the city in which the crime took place?
posted by Skwirl at 12:54 PM on January 4, 2008

If this happened to me I would simply call Newegg and tell them what happened They follow up with UPS who opens an investigation. The bottom line is that you get a new shipment. Document your communications and if someone along the line decides to obstruct things the credit card company will reverse the charges. It is their responsibility to deliver the product to you.

I gather that you have already made calls. Sit tight another day or so, call them back and if they aren't moving a call to the credit card company will goose them.
posted by Manjusri at 1:05 PM on January 4, 2008

I'd be very surprised if Newegg didn't help you solve this problem. They've served me well over the past few years.
posted by kidbritish at 2:31 PM on January 4, 2008

As for the police report... call up the sheriff's department in Washington or Multnomah county (or whichever county the delivery was made in) and ask to file a report.
posted by terpia at 3:37 PM on January 4, 2008

Regarding the chargeback suggestion:

I used to work for a credit card company. I was not in the chargeback division but had to know something about it. Our company said you had to start the chargeback process within two billing periods and would not start it until you'd actually gotten one official bill about it. (People would call upon seeing things in their online banking, and we told them the issue might resolve itself before we even billed them.) I don't know if this is the way it works with every credit card company in the US, or just the one I worked for.

Also, note that the credit card company will probably see it as your word vs. Newegg's. Perhaps you are the perp by filing a false claim. I don't believe this for a second, mind you, but the chargeback dept will have to think about that possibility. Depending on how often you request chargebacks, how many transactions you usually put on your card, and probably a host of other things I know nothing about, they will decide who to believe. It's usually the credit card holder, though I couldn't give you an exact statistic.

So my suggestion is to try working with Newegg and UPS first, but decide within about a month whether or not you're getting anywhere, and then go to your credit card company if you're not. But hopefully Newegg will be as great as everyone tells me they are :)
posted by RobotHeart at 6:00 AM on January 5, 2008

Response by poster: Follow up: Newegg took care of the claim easy-peasy, so all my hand wringing was for naught. In fact, it happened so fast and behind the scenes that I didn't get a chance to request a change in shipping methods for the replacement, so I had a little more hand wringing hoping that it wouldn't happen again. No worries, though, it arrived okay! Yay!
posted by Skwirl at 12:59 PM on January 11, 2008

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