Nova Scotia

FedEx ordered to pay woman $740 after horse semen delivery delay

N.S. woman's horse failed to get pregnant after "priority overnight" package arrived late.

N.S. woman's horse failed to get pregnant after "priority overnight" package arrived late.

Federal Express used to advertise its services with the slogan: "When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight."

Chelsea McKendrick took FedEx at its word when she ordered an overnight shipment of horse semen for her mare.

Now, the Nova Scotia woman has won a judgment against the courier company for $740 — the cost of one sperm treatment for her horse.

In May 2016, McKendrick ordered horse semen from a farm in British Columbia. She entrusted FedEx and its "priority overnight" delivery promise to get the frozen product to her farm in Seaforth, N.S., within 24 hours.

It was supposed to arrive on May 3. It didn't.

The shipment arrived a day later. McKendrick used the product on her mare, but it didn't get pregnant.

The supplier in B.C. told McKendrick that two other semen shipments destined for Moncton on the same date also failed to arrive on time. The B.C. farm owner said she no longer uses FedEx.

Fine print

An operations manager for Federal Express testified at a small claims hearing earlier this month that the company hasn't been keeping the overnight promise since November 2015.

Since then, Michael Rhodes said, the company has committed to two-day delivery for items shipped coast to coast. Rhodes testified that the change is included in the terms and conditions on the company website.

But in his ruling, adjudicator Augustus Richardson said the change is "buried in a very large block of terms and conditions printed in a very tiny font."

Richardson ruled the company misrepresented the nature of its service.

"I do not think that the supplier of a service can negate an express representation contained in the very name of the service it offers by burying a caveat to that representation somewhere on its website."