Estes Express Lines - Estes Express Won't Pay Claim
On Sept. 18, 2012, our company received custom-made heat exchangers used in the manufacturing of research aquatics systems. Estes Express was the carrier. The crate looked fine when we got it. When the guys opened it the next morning, it was discovered that all 12 units were severely damaged--broken off knobs and switched, torn tags, scrapes and dings. Oddly, no broken pieces were in the crate. I called our local Estes office, Auburn, WA. They were not surprised at my call, only at the damage amount--$9,000.00. In fact, their claim rep. told me their standard operating procedure was to simply re-crate damaged goods and deliver it WITHOUT ANY NOTIFICATION OF DAMAGE. They sent an independent investigator out rather than let any one in the Auburn branch assess the damage. The investigator documented all damage. (Oh, we took pictures, too.) His findings concurred with ours. I got required information from the shipper and sent in a claim for $9680.00 on Sept. 26th. We had to pay our supplier for the ruined items, plus it's their policy to have items pre-paid, so we're exposed over $18,000 at this point.
Yesterday, I received Estes' response, saying they determined the product arrived as it was shipped. They offered a "settlement without prejudice" of $1481.77, citing their in-house rules and some creative math. So, I filed a complaint with the BBB. Their response to that was the same as their day-before letter. Funny how fast decisions are made when a company knows it is in the wrong!
Estes' handling of this claim is a slap in the face to all involved parties, including their own local branch. They know the items were destroyed in transit, yet refuse to "man up" and act responsibly. Who would want to do business with a company like that? Sadly, their local branch and drivers are the ones that take the heat, while some faceless "manager" in Richmond, VA is only concerned with money. We want our fair claim!
Monetary Loss: $9680.