BBB of the Mid-South, Inc.
3693 Tyndale Drive
Memphis, TN 38125
FedEx Office Corporate Customer Relations
FedEx Office, 27 Astor Pl, New York, NY 10003
att: Felicia & Taz
Mamie Allen, FedEx Office, Dallas Corporate Relations
March 4, 2009
To Whom It May Concern:
On January 17th, 2009 I, Warner King Washington II, patronized the FedEx-Kinko’s Store #0230 located on 21 Astor Pl., New York, NY 10003. I arrived and requested to have an oversized custom piece of art scanned in color and placed on a disc I provided.
The sales clerk that assisted me was pleasant and prompt. However, while I was checking out another clerk decided it appropriate to come over to an available computer behind the counter and begin doing something that appeared unrelated to work. I ignored this situation until he started getting comfortable in what he was doing and began resting his full forearm on my delicate artwork as though it were a placemat of some sort. I politely requested he refrain from leaning on my original work and he obliged. Moments later, another clerk joined in on this computer activity and she, as well, began to lean on my artwork as it lay on the counter. My friend who was accompanying me asked that the young lady not lean on my artwork. Annoyed with the fact that my work was being disrespected as I waited for confirmation that my image was burned to my disc, I sat my Black 16 Gigabyte iPhone 3G down on the Service Counter as I put my work away to avoid any damage. Acting as though I were interrupting their activities, the two employees moved elsewhere. The image was successfully placed on disc, I paid for the services rendered, and left the FedEx location. The time was approximately 4:15pm.
Less than 20 minutes later I realized I did not have my iPhone. By this time I was with additional friends and they all started calling my phone. I always have my phone set to ring audibly and vibrate, which draws attention no matter its location. I also had an application installed, which allowed me to locate my phone using GPS. This being the last activity performed on my phone to locate said friends.
While they were busy calling my phone to no response, I took another phone and called the FedEx-Kinko’s location. A woman answered the phone and I asked if anyone had “returned an iPhone.”
There was an awkward pause for a few seconds followed by, “No. No one has.”
Noting in my mind the response as peculiar I then responded, “Well, could you ask around?”
She reluctantly placed me on hold and returned no longer than one minute later and aggressively told me, “No one has an iPhone here.”
Feeling something was amiss from the initial response I informed her that I “pinged my GPS on my phone and it’s showing its current position at FedEx-Kinko’s location.”
I suggested that she take a moment to look underneath the counter since that was the last place I sat the phone. She informed me she had done all she could and I then requested to speak with someone who could do more. The lady on the phone then told me there was nothing else she could do even though I informed her I was sure the phone was there.
Appreciating the fact that she said she could not do anything more to help me or knew of anyone who could, I requested the number to FedEx-Kinko’s Corporate Customer Relations or it’s equivalent. I also stated I would be returning to the store to retrieve the information in person.
When I returned to my friends to see if they had any luck getting a response from my phone they informed me it was now “going directly to voicemail.”
This stood out to me because I always have my phone set to lock and shutdown after ten failed attempts at the passcode to access the phones full functions. That being said, if the phone receives an incoming call, it can always be answered, no matter the lock settings. Common sense and the intention of returning a found phone dictates one would answer said phone if it is repeatedly called; the person calling most likely being the owner of the phone calling from an alternate. I concluded that whomever had the phone at this point had no desire in its return to me.
I hastily returned to FedEx-Kinko’s and was greeted by Felicia, the Assistant Manager, identifying herself as the woman I spoke with on the phone earlier. I requested the Corporate Customer relations number as I previously mentioned and she rudely turned her back to me and asked the employees all at once if “anyone has seen ‘this guy’s’ iPhone?”
To which one of the employee’s, who was leaning on my artwork earlier, retorted matching Felicia in utter disregard for customer courtesy, “Oh, is it that same guy about the iPhone or whatever?”
Ignoring the fact anyone would try and find a possession, not to mention one that retails for $500, I mentioned to Felicia that there was a surveillance camera pointed directly at the spot I last saw my phone. I asked her if she could review the taps and gave her the approximate time of 4:15p to narrow the search. She said she was not allowed to do that and only the store manager had that capability. With that, Felicia began to walk away. I regained her attention and asked when I would be able to speak with the store manager regarding this issue and when the tapes would be reviewed. Felicia unprofessionally responded, “Why? It’s not like were going to show YOU the tapes.”
Acknowledging that this situation was unnecessary and I would speak with the store manager on another date, I suggested I leave alternate contact information – which included an alternate phone number, my email address, and mailing address- should the phone show up. Felicia grabbed a piece of paper and wrote down the information I provided and informed me the store manager would contact me about reviewing the surveillance footage.
On January 20th, 2009 at approximately 11:15am, after no word from FedEx-Kinko’s store manager or of my phones return, I called Store #0230 and requested to speak with the store manager. I was greeted by a gentleman calling himself “Taz” and identified as the store manager. He informed me that he has “just received the note on his desk” and would review the tapes and get back to me. I inquired if there was anyway I could see the footage for the approximate time of 4:15p for the duration of five to ten minutes to which he said, and I paraphrase, “not really, maybe if you had filed a police complaint.”
I informed him that I had done just that earlier that day but would prefer not to involve the authorities if needn’t be. Taz informed me he would look at the tapes and while he attempted to end the conversation I requested a time frame to which I should hear back from him. Taz stressfully exhaled and said, “call be back around 4pm today, I should have time to review the footage by then.” I thanked him and ended the conversation.
I called at approximately 4:15pm, noting to myself that up until that point my phone had been absent three days. When I was forwarded to Taz, he said he was just about to review the footage and would call me right back. I responded with an alternate number where I could be reached.
Some twenty minutes later, Taz calls with an explanation not mentioning the surveillance footage. The story Taz, Store Manager, told me was as follows:
On Saturday, an employee of Starbuck’s Coffee which is located adjacent to the FedEx-Kinko’s found my iPhone and returned it to an employee of FedEx-Kinko’s for safe keeping. The iPhone had been located and that it was in the employee’s locker. That employee, however, was unreachable at the moment but would be returning the following day and I would be able to come into FedEx-Kinko’s after 4pm of that day [Wednesday] to retrieve my phone.
After hearing this, I couldn’t help but point out to Taz the discrepancies in this convoluted story. To begin, I was never at Starbuck’s and if they found it there, what would possess them to leave their premises and turn it in to a completely unrelated store next door? Taz, backtracked and said, “Oh, No. The Starbuck’s employee happened to be in FedEx-Kinko’s because the two employees are friends.” I countered with the fact that when I left after paying for my scan, there were the clearly marked uniformed employees of FedEx-Kinko’s, a young man of eastern decent making copies in the back of the facility some 10 yards away and around a half glass wall, a young Asian girl in the computer stations and two Caucasian males (whom both had their own iPhones) waiting for a pick-up order ten feet away from me. There were no Starbuck’s employees standing around. Nor where there any customers waiting behind me. I also stated that the relation the iPhone had to the register, not to mention it being a black phone on a cool grey counter top, would be hard to miss by any employee who would be paying attention to the cash register. Not to mention, if the phone was returned and I left several ways to contact me for just this reason why was I not notified immediately let alone it being three days past? And if the employee was unreachable, how were they so sure it was in the employee’s locker for “safe keeping?”
Taz attempted to backtrack again and I interrupted and simply requested my phone available for return immediately. Taz informed me that he was leaving and that he was handing it over to Felicia from this point on.
I mentioned to Felicia that if they knew an employee had my property, why could the not cut the lock off the locker and be done with this situation? I reminded her I had a police report I could show and that there must be some way of getting building security or maintenance to cut the lock. Felicia said she would try to contact someone and would call me back. She called me back approximately ten minutes later and said that was not an option and I would have to wait. She informed me my phone would be there by 4pm the following day. I asked if she would be present to guarantee the return of my phone and she said, “Yes. I will be here.” I asked for the Starbuck’s employee’s name that found my phone so that I may thank that person. That information was unavailable.
January 21st, 2009 I returned to Store #0230 and requested to speak with Felicia. The employee working said she was not in but asked if I were there for the phone. I said yes and she went to the back office, made a phone call from a desk phone, closed the door, and then emerged with my phone. She handed it to me without saying a word and walked to greet a customer. I powered my phone on to see that it had been restored to factory presets. This confirmed that my phone had not been cut off to save battery but was indeed tampered with. I had an appointment set up at the Apple Genius Bar in SoHo and made that my next destination. While at the Apple Store Genius Bar, I had the Apple Genius run a diagnostic on my iPhone. The report confirmed it had been restored several times over the course of its absence. When I returned home, I called AT&T customer care and spoke with both Deborah and Vickie (full names available upon request) who both informed me that my data and internet usage had been active over the several days my phone was absent.
On January 24th, 2009 at approximately 1pm I contacted FedEx-Kinko’s Corporate Customer Relations and was transferred by random switchboard to Mamie Allen at the Dallas Branch. I informed her of the information above and stated I strongly felt that I was being misled and that the story I was told would probably not match the story that the surveillance camera tells. Mamie agreed and said she would contact the FedEx-Kinko’s location and inform them they would need to explain this situation to her in better detail because of its absurd nature or the issue would be escalated and investigated further. A couple days passed with no word, so I called Mamie at her extension and was greeted with Bonita Kegler who was covering for Mamie while she vacationed. I left a message for Mamie to respond when she returned regarding the situation outlined above. A few days later, Approximately February 2nd, I received a call from Mamie. She wanted to know what I wanted in the form of compensation for this matter, again with no mention as to what the surveillance footage revealed. I broke down my position as follows:
I am a freelance Illustrator and model and my iPhone is a vital part of both of my businesses as a private contractor. I cannot begin to mention how damaging it was to go without my phone for several days. It delayed my response with clients and agents and in turn cost me directly and indirectly. I had to spend time calling Apple and AT&T to cancel phone plans and report it stolen, not to mention the money it would cost to replace the phone or the time spent repairing relationships with my clients or trying to locate contacts that I had stored in my phone which wasn’t backed-up to my computer yet. As a model my lowest hourly rate is $150 per hour and I bill my art commissions the same.
Calculating my hourly rate with an estimated workday of 8 hrs over the course of 4 days compounds rather quickly. However, I would prefer a year’s worth of unlimited oversized color scanning and printing instead of monetary compensation. Mamie said a year might be a tad much but perhaps 6 months as there is a limit to how much they can award a claim like this. I suggested then she take my hourly rate as I outlined above and with my potential loss adding upwards of $4,800; a credit account be set up that I may be able to debit from it whenever I visit a FedEx-Kinko’s (now FedEx Office) center. Mamie said she would check on that and call me back. Mamie called later that day with Felicia on the line and asked if I would be fine with a conference call. I agreed. While on the phone, Mamie asked if I would prefer she stay on the line, I said yes. Felicia apologized with unconvincing sincerity for the situation and offered to mail a written apology along with debit-like cards for me to use, which would be the equivalent of what I asked for after she checked with her superiors. I gave my contact information and accepted the apology.
It is now March 4th, 2009 and I am as yet to receive the compensation promised to me. I stopped back into Store #0230 and spoke with Taz again regarding the situation approximately two weeks ago. He said he was “going to give me a card to use” for black and white scanning. I clarified I was promised oversized color scanning and printing. I also asked if he were “going to give me a card to use” why hadn’t I received it yet, it now being over a month after the situation took place still with no explanation as to what was seen on the surveillance footage. Taz was of little help and so I thanked him and left the premises.
I am now bringing this to the attention of the Better Business Bureau in hopes that with addition assistance I can finally resolve this situation satisfactory.
Thank you in advance,
Warner King Washington II