Subject: Serious Customer care complaint
I am writing to complain at our treatment as long term and loyal customers over many years.
We send out regular consignments of the same size and weight every week to our various customers and many are returned as part of a hire pattern. The charges have been stable over time with only the annual increase being notified and therefore easily accommodated within our charging structures. We have worked with Fedex depots and drivers to make the system as smooth as possible and have been generally happy with the service – and sometimes it has been excellent.
A few weeks ago – in the middle of our annual peak trading period ( from 8 weeks before Easter until after Pentecost) we were told that our account was being ‘upgraded’. We and our customers wrestled with the new system – particularly the return shipments – however what came as a shock was the unnotified price increase that came with the first invoice on the ‘upgraded system’.
Our regular baptistry consignment is 5 parcels weighing about 80 kilos and up until the change in system it cost around £36 ( see attached spread sheet)per consignment. We charged £50 to allow for the eventualities that inevitably occur. This price has been pretty stable for years. Our first invoices showed prices for the same item varying between £66 and £184! Since we charged our many customers over this period only £50 because we had no notice of this price increase we made a loss on each consignment of between £16 and £134. Margins are tight and so this amounts to a loss of significant revenue at a peak trading period.
The other key consignment is our Galilee/Round baptistry. Fedex staff and treatment of the baptistry has indicated to us for some time that this needed to be phased out – which we indeed were but there are a few loyal Eastertide customers that required it for their particular situation. Before the changed system we had two regular prices: £29 and when cubed £77. We had increased the shipping prices to £140 to accommodate this (hopefully nudging customers to the Nonagon above) and were trialling the flatpack Galilee with a view to replacing it. The invoicing for this item was coming back at either £65.51 or £302! We only charge £180 for the hire of the equipment.
Please note that when I sat down and did a rate quote for each of our consignments the rates were significantly lower than what we were actually being charged.
We immediately contacted our account manager who referred us to our sales manager, we told him something was wrong because the bills were wrong – totally different from previous bills. To be fair to Sundhip he has been an excellent customer care manager in the past and he took time and trouble to investigate and seek some resolution to the issue, but in the end came back to us saying that in the main these prices were correct. We repeatedly referred him to our invoicing going back months and years – invoicing on which our shipping prices to our customers are based – he said this was not relevant: the current pricing was correct. We complained that this amounted to an unnotified price increase in the middle of the year ( not at the beginning of the year as usual), his response was that it was not, the pricing was the correct pricing we should have been paying all along. There was no acknowledgement, explanation or apology for the implied Fedex mistake of under billing of the last 6 years and more. I have emails that show that around 6/7 years ago Fedex put forward a proposal and rates to engage all our business volume which was successful and has been the basis on which we have operated until this recent ‘upgrade’. We do not accept this response.
During this period I wrote a letter setting out the issue raising our concerns in a systematic manner and asking for the matter to be escalated. I was informed by Sundhip that the matter had been escalated, but no one else has ever contacted me. I have chased Sundhip on the matter of escalation as my only contact until I am sure he is fed up – but no one has communicated with us on this issue other than Sundhip. My most recent attempts were made in the week of 22nd May I was finally told very late in the week that a phone call could be arranged with a senior manager for Friday afternoon – the day I had taken off having not had a day off since Christmas. I now must wait until this manager returns from her fortnight’s holiday in the coming week for a phone call – is there no one else capable of handling this issue in Fedex UK? Why should I have to repeatedly request this conversation – should it not be offered?.
We are astounded at the appalling treatment we have received at the hands of your company and the complete neglect of your customer care systems – something that is endangering our business and cashflow:
We are being subjected to widely varied charges on the SAME consignments – even on the SAME shipment going out and returning! This looks like a problem with the system – maybe double counting? But no one is being prepared to admit there is any problem within the Fedex system and willing to tackle it. But there clearly is a problem.
Mitigation might have been an improvement in service however the service has deteriorated during this period.
We have repeatedly raised this issue with our staff contact, with evidence and comparison of previous and current bills, also complaining about the difference between the rate quotes and the actual bills coming in. The response has been:
There has been no price increase
Past invoicing patterns are not relevant to the new invoicing
We are being invoiced correctly
When we have asked for the matter to be escalated to a senior level, we have been told this has been done but no senior staff member has contacted us or discussed the matter with us or asked for further information. This is a dereliction of customer care
Finally, we were told in a Friday afternoon phone call that in actual fact our type of business is no longer wanted by Fedex. Our parcels are too big, and it is only because we have stayed with Fedex over many years that the service continues. We were told that if our account was reviewed it was likely that we would be told our business was no longer wanted and we must go elsewhere. This leaves us with the very clear impression that our treatment is about getting rid of us the nasty horrible way – by treating us so badly that we will leave of our own accord. Is this the case?
Fedex could have contacted us in advance of the upgrade and explained that the invoicing might change, a new rate card could have been agreed, we could have given notice to our customers of a rise in shipping cost if that was indeed the case and everything could be have been implemented in an orderly fashion and all would have been well. Alternatively Fedex could have approached us with the difficulty that our items now fall outside their usual terms and plan our exit in an orderly time and manner maybe retaining some of our business that still falls within Fedex current terms. What we have actually received is a shambolic and dishonest service which has put our business at risk with large price increases without notice, widely varying prices that do not match the rate quotes or each other, and repeated denials that anything is wrong when it patently is.
As the CEO and Customer Experience Director of Fedex UK we would like you to take a lead in this matter and ensure that we receive proper customer care, and just and ethical treatment. We must inform you that after several weeks of getting nowhere and fearful for the security of our business we have moved all our shipping to Parcelforce – who are charging us, incidentally, the same or less than what you were charging before the change. And have a much more transparent charging system in place. We have also decided not to pay any further invoices until the matter is resolved. We are currently calculating what we would owe on the old system and will set that aside to pay to you as we always seek to treat all our suppliers properly. We will be happy to arrange this payment with a senior member of staff resolving the matter.
Please be aware that your reputation is at stake and we are going to ensure that all within our wide business network and beyond are aware of your actions in regard to this matter.
We look forward to your considered and prompt response.
Every good wish
Glynn Davies MP
Russell George AM
Philip Davies MP
Mid Wales Manufacturing Group and Chamber of Commerce
Bradford Chamber of Commerce
Local and national media contacts
After using FedEx for over 6 years we have had major problems with them over Easter. Hopefully, customers will not have noticed. However, FedEx implemented a new online booking procedure and, in short, it was chaotic and their pricing and billing system has become erratic and unreliable. What is clear is that it has been a cover a for a price hike.
To send a Nonagon pool now would cost £140 there and back whereas it used to cost £100. To send the old Galilee pool, we were recently charged over £300 instead of £120! We are urgently looking at other carriers and it is likely that we will have to use a pallet service as the default carrier. This has three immediate benefits: it is cheaper; the delivery is within a much narrower time-window; the baptistry is easier to repack for the return to us. The down-side is that a customer must be able to receive a pool on a pallet. The carrier will have a tail-lift on the lorry and a pallet truck and will deliver to the foyer on the level. For customers who can receive and return on a pallet, we are looking at other carriers who can cope with such large consignments.
As all this may wish you could buy the pool, we are putting together a way for customers to buy in instalments over more than the 3 months currently offered.
The lease scheme is better value than hiring if you use the pool more than 3 times per year, and whilst it is a 5 year lease, there is an opt-out at 3 years.
The Galilee baptistry, which was very popular because it was quick to set up and had a double-liner system has become too expensive to send with FedEx because the curved panels result in big, bulky boxes. Hitherto, FedEx were the only ‘parcel’ carrier who would deal with boxes of this size, now they seem to be charging silly prices. To help matters, we have redesigned the pool to give the new Flatpack Galilee. At the same time, we’ve made changes to the dimensions – the new flatpack Galilee is 78cm deep (the same as the Nonagon and Croydon pools) because some felt the depth of the Galilee a little on the shallow side. It is also a wee bit longer and broader. at over 7′ long and 5′ wide internally, this is a very spacious baptistry that stores well.
For nearly 10 years now we’ve run the baptistry hire side of our business as a service to church congregations of all denominations because we think it is an important part of mission for churches.
We’ve taken a long, hard look at baptistry hire and come to the conclusion that there is a group of problems centring on sustainability.
Sustainability- transporting them to and from is dead money for the customer. Sustainability – transporting pools around by courier leads to more wear and tear on them and the need to keep making new ones. Post-Brexit, raw material costs are creeping up. Sustainability – the business. This year we carefully looked at the figures and worked out that we were barely breaking even on the hire side. And there is the sustainability of us as people – there is a lot of work in organising the logistics, packing and repacking pools, making and repairing pools, and so on and we are not getting younger.
We will carry on renting out the pools but we have formed a new way for customers to get their baptistry. With leasing, customers will pay a far lower weekly rate and not have the transport costs between hires. Nor will they have to worry about whether another church has damaged the kit as you will have complete control over the pool with you. If the liner does get damaged, we factor in one replacement liner during your lease. You will have a baptistry at your church all the time and the facilities on hand to offer baptism more often.
Leases can be for 3 or 5 year periods as you prefer. If you currently hire 3 times a year, then it would be worth your while to look at leasing. Leases are available now (speak with Ruth).
Rentals as we do them now would carry on but the cost would reflect the true cost of putting on such as service. We know that for special one off events and for particular Church circumstances a hire service will still be required, but we also know that to sustain the service in the long run we will not be able to do the work ourselves. So we are planning to pay staff to do the work and offer the service. We want to pay a real living wage and to do this our hire prices will rise from Pentecost onwards. The Apostle hire will go up to £300 plus £120 delivery, the Croydon and Galilee will hire at £235 plus £100 delivery and the Nonagon will hire at £225 plus £100 delivery.
Distance can limit the number of people who join your services and in Brighton, one church has felt God call them to get more local.
Church of Christ the King used to meet in one building, with a morning and an evening service. They had a dedicated congregation but they also wanted to offer people more opportunities to come to church.
The first step the Church took was having ‘zones’. Zones are groups meeting locally across Brighton between services offering more support and giving people more options, as Christian Finer explains. The idea blossomed, it got people thinking and Christian suggests that:
“Getting the people in the church thinking in a geographical way was the biggest change. It concentrated them on thinking about their neighbours and how they could bless their community – thinking about their own areas more deeply.”
This emphasis on care has driven the work to get out to different communities and, as the church has grown to work over different sites, they’ve worked hard to keep everyone together too. A mixture of social media, video content and regular events at the biggest site helps everyone feel their shared mission.
The first site to have its own service was Shoreham. With a half hour journey into Brighton and no fast public transport, it was a great choice. People coming in from Shoreham were able to enjoy a service round the corner and a great result was that now they could invite their friends to come along much more easily!
The Church has expanded to two services in central Brighton, two in Shoreham, two morning meetings in East Brighton and most recently two meetings in Hove. The fruit from all that hard work is there to see in the friends who’ve joined their congregation and the additional baptisms they’ve performed.
Baptism has changed along with the rest of their Church. Baptisms now happen over all their sites now, rather than just centrally, there were 57 baptisms last year.
Because of the need to drive their equipment out and set up tanks, often in hired premises, having a set of portable Baptistry UK Nonagons worked well for them. Christian agreed: “they are compact enough to go in with the rest of the stuff when we drive out, and they’re ok on space when they’re stored too”.
There was a special moment reaching out into communities this Easter. Christian says “I was there for the baptism at Easter. What was nice and a bit different was that we had two Chinese people get baptised, they shared their testimony in Mandarin for their friends and then we got it translated for everyone else in the room.”
That baptism marks a new beginning for them. Working locally has make the Church of Christ the King accessible and offered people a sense of being part of something bigger as all across the city baptisms take place simultaneously.
Then he brought me back to the door of the temple, and behold, water was issuing from below the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was flowing down from below the south end of the threshold of the temple, south of the altar.
It’s a phone call no one wants to make and one we very rarely receive. Tudor Roberts at All Saints Lydiard picked up the phone the day before his baptism service to tell us his pool was leaking.
Ruth says “It’s the call we dread. We do everything in our power to prevent this happening and consequently it is a very rare event. But when it does happen my heart sinks into the bottom draw! Because all we can do on a Saturday is pray for a miracle. It is a funny thing but as I prayed (and I prayed!) I had the really strong sense that God was doing something really special here and I should leave it in his hands. On Monday morning I was so humbled by what God had done.”
Tudor kindly shared his story with us:
“We booked a pool from you two years ago and did a baptism in our churchyard. That was in a United Service when we were part of a local ecumenical project and the Baptist minister did it. I helped put the pool up then and I remember thinking ‘I’d like to do that in my church’.
“Well, two years later we have Joshua Harris who’s 13 – his mother Becky Harris is one of our worship leaders and chose to have a thanksgiving service for her children and wait till they were older rather than baptise them as babies. There was a Confirmation coming up at the end of March nearby at Rodbourne Cheney, so I said, look it would be great if we could do a confirmation preparation course in advance of the confirmation service on 25th March. Having been to Africa and taught the Rooted in Jesus course in Kenya, I used that with adults and with the youth group.
“Out of that course, two adults who’d previously done the Alpha course wanted to be confirmed. Joshua really wanted to be baptised in his own church not elsewhere. So we got the pool in for him, and I was asked “Are you sure it’s going to be alright?” And I may have said “I’m a Vicar, you can trust me” or something like that!
“We also offered a rededication of baptismal vows for people who had been baptised as a baby. Joshua Scellier, who I’d baptised as a baby, said “I‘d like to do that” – he’s in Year two at school. In the meantime, we had lots of young people doing our 12 wk course in the weeks before the service and most of them turned up at the baptism.
“By Saturday 21st March, the baptistry pool was up and ready. On that morning we had our puppet practice and a couple of the kids said, ‘Tudor… it’s leaking!’ I rang up Baptistry UK and they explained that we needed to empty and refill the pool. That afternoon with help from Becky Harris, we emptied it. I wasn‘t best pleased as I saw there was water on the floor in the church! Becky tried to look on the bright side and said maybe it was a fulfilment of the prophecy in Ezekiel that water will come down from the altar.
“We then refilled it but not so high. Becky said I’m going to pray and get my parents to pray and we hoped it would make a difference. And it did because the next day, when we went in, it was much better.
“Everything before this service that could go wrong went wrong. The data stick with the songs on would not work; we managed to get it working eventually. Someone forgot the bread for Holy Communion and I forgot the Baptism certificate. Then during the service an elderly lady collapsed and a paramedic had to be called – luckily she’s fine as it was a hypo glycaemic attack. It was very Vicar of Dibley.
“But what was most amazing was the atmosphere of joy in the church. So many teenagers there were gathering round the pool. We called the two boys being baptised big Josh and little Josh to tell them apart!”
One of Tudor’s parishioners said to him “I thought it was very beautifully done in terms of making both big and little Josh feel that it was a special service for them. It was lovely to have the young people up watching it at the front and it felt like God’s family celebrating something very special this morning.”
Tudor continues, “I think it was a real turning point moment for the church. So by the time I spoke to Baptistry UK on the Monday morning, all my negativity had disappeared and I was so thankful. Our youth work is now growing and we’re hoping to employ a youth worker from September and we’ve just started a new children’s service at 9.15am once a month at which we had 40 people and another service at 10.30am with lots of time for praise and testimony – it just took off and people are asking what’s happening.
“The baptism wasn’t the only thing but it was one of the things that helped an ordinary church like us get new hope in the Gospel.
“Interestingly, a number of other Anglican churches in the Deanery are now looking at baptism by immersion. We may end up buying a pool for the Deanery. Becky said that it just showed how God answers prayer. The immersive baptism was one of those things in recent months that has produced new growth and new hope in our church; some of the other things we’ve done in the last year is we’ve got a new piano, our new toilet is opening soon and now we’re hoping to get a drum kit and a youth worker, we feel reinvigorated in our work.
“Now I understand why Baptist ministers get so happy! We’ll continue to do baptisms for babies of course, but we want to use immersive baptism too now. We’d be happy to use Baptistry UK again.
“The whole service felt different because of the number of young people around and the sheer atmosphere of joy in that part of the church. Our Church origins go all the way back to the 12th Century… but this was something new for us.”
With many thanks to Tudor for sharing his experience with us, it’s a wonderful story of how, even if something goes wrong, baptism can offer rebirth for the whole community, creating a joy and enthusiasm that’s truly invigorating.
We include a puncture repair kit with any hired pool, and if you want complete reassurance, our Galilee and Apostle pools are able to work with a double liner, meaning that – even with a puncture – we’ve never had a leak with a double liner.
We’ve a short blog today to share our thoughts on different kinds of piping. There are three main types: lay flat pipe, hose pipe and crushproof pipe. So what are the pros and cons?
Lay flat pipe is what you’ll find when you hire a baptistry from us: it makes your postage cheaper as they’re lighter and flatter to transport. However, we replace them regularly as they don’t have a long shelf life. So we’d suggest a lay flat pipe if storage space or the ability to transport the baptistry are your main concerns.
Hosepipe is the easiest to source and you may already have a hosepipe to hand. It maintains water pressure and is made from durable material so it works well.
Crushproof piping will last longest, it’s tough and durable and doesn’t usually kink. It comes in 30 metre rolls so it’s best if your toilet or drain is some way from the baptistry. However, it is the most expensive piping of the three. Where crush-proof really excels is in emptying the pool with a pump, you still need a hosepipe to fill it. It allows the pump to get up to full speed because there are no kinks to stop the water.
You can also upgrade from lay flat to crushproof piping for £15 when you hire a baptistry from us.
We’re here to talk if you want to ask anything specific about your booking, just ring us on 0345 230 1381.
We put the nonagon up recently and, when we came to put the liner on we found the liner too big and a side too many – we’d accidentally forgotten a panel and made an octagon. As the panels went together just as well with one missing, we tried it with one extra. Ten sides worked too and it gave a pool that is catching on. It is wider than our ‘workhorse’ pool the nonagon but not any deeper. As the first church to try it and buy it was in Croydon, the name stuck. It is a cost-effective way to get a large baptistry tank (nearly 7′ across) that can be stored easily and doesn’t required the larger steps of our deeper baptistry (The Apostle).
The photos below are taken of the pool as it had arrived back. The two boxes with panels in had not been taped up and were open as seen. The green kit box was unsealed too. The other taped-together blob contained the two foam mats (which should have been protecting the side panels) and the liner (which was wet and had leaves on it). The crate contained all the other kit chucked in pel-mel. The pipes were still full of water and there was 1cm of water sloshing about the bottom. Aside from being cavalier, it loses the bond. The bond cheque gets presented and the extra time taken in drying, cleaning and checking the kit is deducted.
Please repack the pool and equipment carefully, not only is it the decent thing to do, it might mean that the next church has no pool because it has been damaged in transit. It is a very good idea to delegate a couple of people to unpack, set-up, take down and repack. Problems are most commonly encountered in large churches where there is no person taking responsibility.
There is a one page guide, with pictures, on repacking. There is a number to ring. Please take care of the baptistry and your bond.
A new baptistry is born and what better way to test it than to let three kids loose on it during the heatwave! The UltraFlat baptismal comprises four flat but flexible GRP panels that bend and bolt together to form a rigid circular frame. A very quick and very cheap portable baptistry. This four panel version is 150cm (5′) across. You could add a fifth panel and the pool would be 188cm in diameter (just over 6’3″). This baptistry dismantles into flat panels that can be easily stored. And what’s more this baptistry costs less than £400. You can buy extra pieces of equipment but a lot of the additonal kit can be easily sourced locally from a hardware shop. A very tough, simple, flat, storable, flexible and cheap baptistry!