New Brunswick

Mishandled packages provoke complaints against big-name couriers

Some rural New Brunswick residents say their packages are being mishandled, and large couriers like Purolator and FedEx often leave things outside, where they can be battered by bad weather.

Rural New Brunswick residents say careless treatment leaves their packages exposed to all kinds of weather

Ayla Poitras has a custom-made mailbox to protect packages, but Purolator has left shipments out in the elements anyway. (Submitted )

Some rural New Brunswick residents say their packages are being mishandled, and large couriers like Purolator and FedEx often leave things outside where they're battered by bad weather.

Kim Harris of Miramichi said she has had a lot of concerns about delivery by FedEx.

Packages have been left on Harris's doorstep and could have been damaged by the weather.

Purloator says its employees are supposed to secure parcels to the 'best of their ability.' (Brent Lewin/Bloomberg)

"They weren't marked or wrapped, so a parcel was left on my step with other boxes,"  she said. "It wasn't marked that it was a new package and it actually sat in the snow for four days."

Harris said it's happened multiple times. She has filed a complaint with the company.  

"I have things delivered here probably weekly," she said. "We're getting on a routine now. One big complaint that I had was the gentlemen who — I work out of my home — so the gentlemen that was delivering would just walk right in."

Harris said she had to address the intrusion because even though she runs her business from her home, it's still her home.

Just common sense

Kim Harris says her packages have been left outside in potentially damaging weather. (CBC)
For Harris it boils down to common sense. If it's raining or snowing, couriers should leave parcels in a bag.

She said it took her six months to fix the problem.

Harris, a photographer, said a large print worth about $400 was left on her deck, propped against boxes destined for recycling. The print was sealed on the inside but unmarked, and it stayed in the rain for days.

"When it was recycle day, I had all my cardboard on my deck and he just leaned the box up against those other cardboard, so I had no way to tell if that was a new parcel or not."

Rural versus urban

Harris is not alone in her frustration with customer service in rural New Brunswick. Ayla Poitras said she's had packages left on her doorstep by Purolator despite having a custom-made mailbox large enough to fit packages.

"We ended up ordering some stuff off Amazon and this was the first time we had Purolator drop anything off at our place," she said. "And I came home from work, I think it was like 5:30 [or] 6, and we had a package just sitting on our doorstep. We had so much rain that day."

Harris said it worries her that the package was left lying out in the open.

"If I had of gotten home an hour later it would have gotten soaked through," she said. "It was just the fact that it was inconsiderate. And what if it had been something precious or fragile or anything like that. They just decided to leave it on the step where anyone could come and grab it."

Poitras said the company is being paid to deliver the packages should be leaving notices instead of dumping them in the open.

For her, it boils down to whether the company cares.

"This time I wonder if it was because we were out in rural New Brunswick and they just didn't care," said Poitras.

She said she would rather drive to a Purolator location than have her packages left exposed to potentially damaging weather, wildlife or theft.

'Best of their ability'

In a statement issued about the complaints, Purolator said that with parcels that do not require a signature, employees are supposed to knock on customers' doors "and take steps to secure the customers' shipment to the best of their ability."

The company said residential signature requirements are up to the discretion of the shipper.

"Deliveries in residentially designated areas are delivered as signature-not-required, which means a package can be left for the receiver without this person having to provide their signature to accept it," the statement said.

Purolator said customers can have packages redirected if they know they won't be home, or have it sent to a Purolator location for holding.

FedEx spokesman James Anderson said they are aware of Harris's issues. 

"FedEx Ground services providers demonstrate professionalism every day in safely and securely delivering millions of packages to our customers," Anderson said in a statement Friday. 

He said the company will be taking the appropriate action to make things right.