Remember Brad Ward? He's the guy we told you about last month who FedEx says scammed more than $70,000 in free shipping from the company using a series of fraudulent shipping accounts. At the time, Ward told us he had no idea what FedEx was talking about. Thursday, Ward submitted his official reply in federal court.
In it, Ward admits several of the Memphis shipping behemoth's less significant accusations while strongly denying FedEx's primary contention, that he profited by shipping customers' FedEx packages through his Lone Star Shipping Co. without paying for them, something the company says he was able to do by charging the shipments to accounts tied to deceptive addresses and credit cards that would later be declined.
Ward suggests that those accounts and shipments were initiated by at least one third party. That someone -- perhaps, he alleges, one of his mailbox customers -- used Lone Star Shipping and its address to facilitate the fraud against FedEx, something a seemingly prescient comment suggested might have been the case after our first story.
Ward admits to having FedEx signage in his window -- which you can see in this May-archived copy of Lone Star Shipping's website -- which he says he removed upon being served with the suit despite his not being an authorized FedEx shipper since 2011, and that he owes the company almost $20,000 from the delinquent accounts that led to that termination. He also admits that FedEx no longer picks up packages from Lone Star Shipping.
Ward says that any shipments he and Lone Star Shipping actually sent through FedEx were taken to an actual FedEx shipping center and paid for with Ward's debit card. Lone Star Shipping's website now says that it uses multiple shipping companies to insure the best service.
What Ward means by best isn't clear. Oliver Ray sent his father a Father's Day gift through Lone Star Shipping in June. Ray says he dropped the package off on a Wednesday and paid for FedEx shipping to insure the package got there by Sunday, June 15.
When his package didn't arrive, Ray became worried and began exchanging emails and phone calls with Ward. Ward insisted to Ray that he sent the package as requested, and that it had been delayed because, as Ray recalls Ward telling him, a shipping label slipped off of another package and caused it to get stuck at FedEx's hub in Memphis. When Ray called FedEx, it told him that neither Brad Ward nor Lone Star Shipping was authorized to ship packages with the company.
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When Ward finally sent Ray a tracking number, it showed that the package had not been shipped until the Wednesday after Father's Day, when it was dropped off at a FedEx location.
David Jones, who owns a Mockingbird Lane UPS Store, says that it is unusual for a shipping business to act merely as a middle man conveying packages to an authorized shipping agent. Customers have no recourse should anything go wrong. Several of Ward's customers, Jones says, including Ray, have come to his store with complaints about Lone Star Shipping.
Ward says none of his conduct was meant to deceive the public but was intended to "lead to increased business for FedEx that might have gone to an alternative shipper such as UPS."
A sign advertising UPS services can be seen in the same photo that shows the FedEx signage.