A Down East wreath maker known for placing wreaths on veterans’ graves has sued a major shipping company for allegedly overbilling it by more than $357,000.
The complaint filed on Nov. 20 in U.S. District Court in Bangor
by Worcester Resources Inc., the parent company of Worcester Wreath Co., alleges that Federal Express Corp. overcharged it for shipping balsam fir products purchased during last year’s holiday season.
The alleged overbilling took place in December 2016 and January 2017 for wreaths purchased through Amazon. FedEx was to have billed Amazon, not Worcester, for the cost of shipping the wreaths, according to the complaint. The complaint does not say how many wreaths were purchased
and shipped through Amazon.
The giant online retailer negotiated shipping rates with FedEx that were “considerably lower than Worcester’s normal shipping rates with FedEx,” the complaint said.
Worcester allegedly discovered the billing error in mid-December 2016 and tried to get it corrected but the bills kept coming. FedEx took some payments directly from Worcester’s bank account, the complaint said.
When Worcester initially withheld other payments, FedEx threatened to suspend its account and stop shipping its products.
“The company attempted to resolve this matter with FedEx multiple times before filing a lawsuit, but unfortunately those efforts were unsuccessful,” Worcester’s attorney, Erik Black of Bangor, said. “We are hopeful that this lawsuit may bring about a quick resolution of this problem, but we are also committed to proceeding to a jury trial if necessary to achieve justice.”
FedEx, based in Memphis, did not reply to a request for comment. FedEx has not yet notified the court of the name of the attorney who will defend it against the lawsuit. FedEx has 21 days after receiving the complaint to respond.
The complaint was filed less than three weeks before the Wreaths Across America convoy, founded by Worcester Wreath Co. to honor deceased veterans, is set to leave Washington County to place wreaths on the headstones at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
This is not the first time the Washington County firm has taken a much larger company to court. In 2012, it successfully sued L.L. Bean in Maine’s Business and Consumer Court.
Superior Court Justice Andrew Horton ordered the Freeport retailer to pay Worcester Wreath $657,448 in a dispute over balsam goods production in the 2008 holiday season.
Horton ruled that L.L. Bean had ordered more wreaths and other balsam products that year from Worcester than the retailer could sell. The judge found that because Worcester had ramped up production and purchased the components needed to make those products, the Harrington company was entitled to compensation.
Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled Erik Black's first name.