Ship me home

It is not so often that we send packages abroad to our loved ones but when we do, we make it a point that they are in good hands and in good shape just until they reach home. Thus, choosing a cargo forwarder is essential at the outset.

Barely two months ago, I packed my things after deciding to leave Abu Dhabi for good. I had two packages shipped via Makati Express Cargo, after soliciting recommendations from my siblings and friends on which was the most efficient cargo service to use. Due to my hectic schedule at work, I was only able to send the boxes one at a time – a week apart from each other.

Aside from my family and friends’ preference to Makati Express, I trusted this freight service because of the efficiency it proved on my previous experience.

Just two weeks ago, I received one of the boxes – it was the latter one I sent five days following the first box. I was too excited to worry about the former one I sent and was just pleased with how fast one of them arrived.

Last week I started to become agitated about my first package, which I reckoned to be overdue already. I decided to make a follow-up call to the Iloilo office, and as irritating as a female voice on the phone was, the answer was that the box was held for an unknown reason. The receptionist was surmising that it might not have been fully paid yet. As ridiculous as it may have sounded since I knew I paid in full for it to be shipped all the way from Abu Dhabi, I was still being patient and I gave the lady a reasonably ample time to investigate and revert to me.

An hour or so later I received a call just to learn of the same – no solid verification of why on earth my package was being held. My patience started diffusing like bubbles of soda in a can. I still had patience left though and was generous enough to lend her some more time to obtain confirmation from their main office. Prior to this, she advised me to call their Abu Dhabi office as she already “exhausted her efforts” to help me and could not do anything further. But she realized she was wrong when I reminded her it was her job to do so, not mine.

In the meantime I took up the problem online. Makati Express website has an online customer service through which you can chat with their call center team. After I found it to be not so user-friendly, I Tweeted their support team, sounding desperate already. Nobody replied.

I phoned the Iloilo office again and to my chagrin, there was still no concrete answer. The lady sounded as if she was resigning to the fact that there was nothing else they could do. Their record just said “hold” and there was nothing that they could do about it at the moment. As the shipper and their customer, I stated my right over my parcel – having used their service and paid in full to have it shipped. And since I owned it, I had all my rights to claim it from them at once. Scared by the thought that it might have been lost, I felt the need to check whether it was physically kept in their warehouse – whether they were telling the truth.

Accompanied by my brothers, I finally met the officer in charge and his secretary (the lady I had been speaking with on the phone). In front of us they were having an online meeting with the Cebu headquarter, and to their shame the Cebu office confirmed the box was wrongly held – which simply meant their record was wrong. Case finished. Yet it took us into such unnecessary trouble just to learn it was all a mix-up. To make the story short, we were finally able to claim it.

My parcel quietly sits in the dark warehouse of Makati Express Cargo - Iloilo
My parcel quietly sits in the dark warehouse of Makati Express Cargo – Iloilo

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the day the Iloilo team received it from Cebu port, they should have called my consignee (contact details provided, of course) to inform the package was received but was put on hold – such an effortless thing to do, nonetheless it could have made a big difference. They even had enough time to investigate its status prior to making a call. The box had been sitting in their warehouse for over a week and they did not budge until we raised the concern and insisted something was not right. How frustrating was that? To add insult to the injury, their Twitter reply came too late – two days later!

This rather long account of my bad experience with Makati Express is not to hurt the cargo forwarder or anyone connected with it. I would like to term it “a wakeup call” for any freight service company following such an absurd procedure. While shippers like you and me are happy about how swift Makati Express delivers a package (at times faster than promised) under normal circumstances, it falls short on a couple of things which can potentially damage itself:

-Lack of initiative to reach out to consignee when an issue arises regarding their package. Their office should take the initiative to advise the consignee and provide solution on how to move forward.

-Weak social media management. Judging from the zero Twitter response within 24 hours, I cannot imagine even one person running their owned media is ever present. Seriously, what are their social accounts for?

True to their brand, they indeed deliver fast. But there is something lacking in their customer service and it should be addressed immediately. I am not sure how frequent this case comes up; yet if this happens, it is certainly unacceptable.

As from my end, it did not cost me a huge sum to send my package home, nor my items in the parcel were that pricey; but the bottom line is – I entrusted my personal belongings to the hands of the cargo forwarder. I did not choose Makati Express for nothing. I trusted it. But the question is: Was it worth my trust? I’ll leave you to ponder.

 

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