Fails: eBay Laptop Battery Seller & Fastway Couriers

Two weeks ago, when still reviewing the Tektronix RSA306, I discovered that when using the Lenovo E431 with the RSA306, the run time would be limited to roughly two hours and that wasn’t enough to make sure I could squeeze in enough field measurements to try and track down an LTE 700Mhz base with RSAMap, especially if I have to be trying to learn a new software, get a GPS receiver powered from the laptop, and have to do the walking on-foot.

The easiest solution to this was to order a spare laptop battery for the E431, and knowing of my prior experiences with local eBay sellers using Fastway couriers, I decided to double-check that this one wasn’t going to be using Fastway.

A Listing is Chosen

I searched for a listing of a compatible battery, at a competitive price. I found one from an undisclosed seller – and I carefully checked their shipping policy:

shipping-polic

The third bullet point says clearly:

  • All item (sic) will be shipped via AU post

I also checked their eBay listing shipping information, and no mention of Fastway was made. The shipping location was stated as Altona Gate, Victoria – a metropolitan area, meaning I should get it quickly.

shipping-on-list

Paying promptly on Tuesday 10th March 2015, hoping to get it as soon as possible so I can give RSAMap a go (due to the 30-day trial limitations), I sat back and waited at home for the item to arrive.

Uh Oh! It Ships

Two days later, on Thursday 12th March 2015, bad news arrived in the form of a shipping notification from Fastway’s Fast-Label system.

fastway-newconsign

Despite all my diligence, the seller was not providing the service as described in his listing and opted to ship it with a service which I have had prior problems with. I crossed my fingers, since it had gone out already, and I couldn’t do anything about it at this point.

Where is the Package?

The package was lodged and collected on Thursday 12th March, and in general, Australia Post can manage a metro-to-metro delivery in 2-3 days reliably. As a result, I was expecting a delivery sometime Monday onwards.

I stayed home, waiting, from Monday 16th March through Wednesday 18th March, but no package arrived. No card arrived either. I had commitments, so I wasn’t home on Thursday – but surely a metro-to-metro shipment shouldn’t take this long.

I checked the online tracking, and it updated on Thursday 19th March to …

fastway-unacce

I was freaking out. Who gave an Authority to Leave? Not me! Further to that, it claims it was delivered – but to where, or whom, was not noted. I checked my front door, porch, garage, bins and backyard to no avail. The package was not there.

The timing of the ATL was also suspect – it was after 5pm. The local Fastway driver typically knocks off at 3pm, so that didn’t seem right.

I have lost packages in the past, claimed to be delivered on tracking, where PayPal would not side with me on buyer protection and been out of pocket. I don’t want a repeat of that.

Enquire with Fastway

Seeing as I had little option, I lodged an enquiry with Fastway. They responded on Friday morning with a boilerplate response, which provided no further information aside from the ATL being authorized by the sender.

fastway-enquiry

I found that to be very negligent by the seller to provide ATL without any prior notice. Any form of ATL will disclaim Fastway from being liable for damage to the package or loss, meaning there can be no insurance claim on this package. Unless the seller is willing to foot the bill himself, which I doubt.

I sent back an annoyed reply, which fell on deaf ears. This is not how you run a courier business.

fastway-reply

I had one form of proof which they didn’t really care to hear about. I had installed a basic surveillance system which monitors the traffic passing my door, and my front door, due to local crime issues. I checked the constantly logged footage, and found no evidence of any Fastway vehicle or employee visiting my house, or indeed anyone, or evidence that any package had been delivered.

As such, it would seem the package is lost, and or negligently mis-delivered and probably never to be seen again.

I contacted the seller, being annoyed with the way the seller was dishonest about the shipping method, and did not provide any prior notification of an ATL. The seller was unapologetic, but not unsympathetic. He claimed that I could contact him again for a refund if it didn’t turn up within a month. I could get the battery from China in a month – why should I be paying extra to have it sooner from Australia if I have to wait the month … but maybe he knows something I don’t.

A Happy Ending?

Just this morning, Monday 23rd March, two weeks after I placed the order … a box turned up unannounced at my doorstep.

20150323-1205-4016

As you can see by the consignment number, it was the package I had ordered, with the right consignment number and the ATL authorized by the sender. So at least that much is true. The package was dispatched from Laverton North, also a metro area in Victoria – next to Altona Gate. The package was labelled at the date which it claimed to have shipped, indicating the problem is with Fastway.

So just how did it end up on my doorstep on a Monday when it claimed ATL was performed the Thursday before? Was it a good samaritan, returning a misdelivered package at their own expense? Or was I expecting too much?

I checked the footage, and I was shocked. First the garage door footage:

fastway-garage

A person, dressed in Fastway uniform is seen entering the vicinity of my house at around 10:03am on Monday 23rd March. No van is seen, and no hand-held scanner either. It seems he may have parked outside and did this delivery “on foot”.

On leaving, one frame captures him glancing at the camera, as if to realize he has been caught in the act of lying.

The front door footage corroborates on this.

fastway-frontdoor

The courier is clearly seen dropping off the package with no attempt to properly attain any proof of delivery. He tried his best to avoid looking at the camera as well, in case his face shows. I have a doorbell on my door, which he did not press, and he had obviously no intention of collecting a proper proof of delivery. He did not have his scanner with him.

Note that the timestamp differences between the two streams is due to the relative RTC time error between two computers which run the cameras – but both are NTP synchronized once a week, so the drift is <1 minute at the most.

The presence of an ATL only authorizes one to leave the package if they could not obtain a signature as proof of delivery, not instead of!!!

In short, my local Fastway driver is dishonestly marking packages as ATL when they had not been delivered at all.

Conclusion

Trying to buy this battery to extend my run-time, so I could utilize a 30-day trial of RSAMap (worth about US$4,500 outright) for a RoadTest was futile. The delivery itself cost 14 days from ordering, which was so much as to be moot now, as my trial is up.

This proves Fastway is the terrible company people claim they are – scoring a result of 1.3/5, where 1 is the lowest possible score. Taking eight business days to perform a metro to metro delivery is hardly acceptable.

But what is worse is the outright lies in claiming a package was ATL’d when no delivery attempt was made, causing needless stress and concern. It may help their drivers appear to be delivering packages within their “service charter” but it is all just an illusion.

The fact that the ATL system can be so easily abused by a driver is a cause for concern. An ATL with no location recorded is just not acceptable. I mean, a majority of people have a smartphone or camera nowadays, and it wouldn’t take much to take a photograph of the location with the package in the photo (although the driver can just steal the package after taking the photo). At least that would prove the driver was at the location he claimed to be when the ATL was done. GPS technology could be used as well, not allowing for a delivery to be signed off as ATL unless within ~200m of the address location.

The combination of the eBay seller being dishonest about the service he uses to ship his items, and the provision of an ATL which I never agreed to, created the perfect combination which could cause buyers to lose their money (as I have before).

Not happy, Jan! I cannot recommend Fastway, and if you get inadvertently roped in with Fastway, you better cross your fingers.

Postscript: The Plot Thickens

As it turns out, my original battery was an L11M6Y01. I chose a listing with this code in it, but the battery will not charge. Lenovo’s DRM produces this amusing message at start-up.

20150323-2103-4019

In Windows, their own start-up utilities catch this too, and while the display shows AC connected, it also shows “not charging”.

notgenbattSo the battery arrived, at last, but it’s purely useless to me. What a disappointment.

About lui_gough

I’m a bit of a nut for electronics, computing, photography, radio, satellite and other technical hobbies. Click for more about me!

This entry was posted in Computing, Electronics, Opinion and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Fails: eBay Laptop Battery Seller & Fastway Couriers

  1. sparcie says:

    I think part of the problem with fastway is the way they are structured.

    The main company runs the depots and transports packages between depots. All the drivers are franchisees and are contracted to do the deliveries.

    Back when I was working as a computer technician we used fastway quite a bit, we noticed your quality of service really depended quite a bit on who happened to be your driver.

    After a few incidents we stopped using fastway so much. One driver was even kicked out in our area, rumoured to have been selling drugs out of his van. We found other couriers were better and seemed to treat the drivers better.

    Sparcie

  2. freddyzdead says:

    You must have been spitting chips after going through all that, and then finding that Lenovo has whitelisted the battery. I’ve been caught with them and their tricks with WiFi cards, but I didn’t know it extended to batteries as well. That’s it; my opinion of Lenovo is now right down in the sewer, along with HP. Never again buying anything from either of them. No excuse for that.

Error: Comment is Missing!