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!

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Dec 25, 2015 #1083914

That's really sad higher ups r like that , I was doing a driver review on Estes express hoping to find a good company to work for so I can get off nights at my current job and my god page after page of complaints can't believe the complaints really sad wow !!!!.....

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Nov 14, 2014 #900117 Seattle, Washington

The Better Business Bureau is a corporation that exists as a purely voluntary rating system -- they have no governmental authority whatsoever, and if a company gets a bad rating, and does not care? So what? The BBB has no teeth at all.
If you believe you've been wronged and can prove it, a better option is a lawsuit.

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Dec 03, 2012 #577325

To "Freight Consultant": No speculation at all. We, and the local Estes branch, knew what happened. The inspector concurred. You obviously didn't read the original post. Specialty manufacturing companies, like ourselves and our supplier, operate on LEAN and JIT systems. We don't jack around because we have contracts and deadlines, and, more importantly, reputations we carefully protect. It benefits no one to lie. I totally agree that our supplier should have insured the shipment for its cost to us. (They insured it for their cost, hence why Estes paid them.) We insure all our shipments for their full finished value. We've been in business over 20 years--we're not amateurs.

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Freight Consultant

Dec 01, 2012 #576595

Sounds like this claim was made on pure speculation, with no actual proof of what caused the damage. If I was the inspector, I would deny the claim against the carrier. Could have been damaged prior to crating or even after it was uncrated. Word to the wise, insure your high dollar shipments and this won't be an issue in future.

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Nov 05, 2012 #565102

The upshot: Estes treated us like dirt--wouldn't budge one inch. So the shipper stepped up and got involved. Also, I called the claim rep. at the local branch and basically told her everyone at the local branch knew what happened and they needed to do the right thing. So, Estes paid the shipper (Of course, much less than paying us) and the shipper reimbursed our costs. Also, an Estes driver told us always to write "Approved pending further inspection" on the receipts. :eek

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Nov 05, 2012 #565082

I love the comments from this "Really?" person above. This company has the worst track record of anyone I have worked with. these things happens when you have "low wage" people working for a freight company. You probably work for Estes, so how do we know who you really are? Also, that person stated that the crates DID NOT HAVE ANY DAMAGE!

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Oct 15, 2012 #555775

Our company uses Estes Express almost exclusively since we have a national contract with them. They are notorious for re-wrapping a pallet and concealing damage. Fortunately, we have an outside freight auditing firm that we use and they will go to bat for us on concealed damage claims. Good Luck, keep pushing to get that claim paid

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Oct 12, 2012 #554327

To "Really?"
You didn't read my report. The crate looked fine at the time of delivery, which is why they were not opened until later. The independent investigator's report agreed with ours, that the crate somehow left the truck/dock, came opened, and the equipment rolled/skidded across asphalt. We have used the supplier/shipper for 20 years, and this is the first time we've had damage. Again, you didn't read--custom-made equipment used in research = delicate & expensive = good packing. Also, I have absolutely no reason to lie, and I resent your implications.

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Oct 11, 2012 #554079

People can go to a web site and bad mouth a company and its all true? Right? If the shipper didnt crate up your expensive product so it would ride across contry on the ruff roads then why didnt anyone blame the shipper? why blame the trucking company that delivered it to you? If the crates looked funny at the time of delivery why then did anyone open them up while the driver was there? seems funny to me?

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