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UPS WON'T PAY FOR BROKEN FIDDLE


LARRY CADLE
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DOES ANY ONE HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS ON GETTING UPS TO PAY FOR A BROKEN INSTRUMENT? I RECENTLY SOLD A FIDDLE

ON EBAY FOR 300.00 IT WAS IN EXCELLENT CONDITION AND

PACKED WELL WHEN I SHIPPED IT. WHEN IT GOT TO IT'S DESTINATION IT HAD A BAD CRACK IN THE BACK , IN THE

SOUND POST AREA.

UPS PICKED UP THE FIDDLE FROM THE PERSON I SHIPPED IT TO, KEPT IT ABOUT A MONTH AND TOOK IT BACK TO THAT

PERSON. THEY NEVER NOTIFIED ME OR ANYTHING. I FINALLY

GOT TO TALK TO SOMEONE AT UPS AND THEY TOLD ME THAT

SINCE THE OUTSIDE BOX WAS NOT CRUSHED IT COULDN'T BE

THEIR FAULT.

JUST WONDERING IF ANYONE ELSE HAS HAD ANYTHING LIKE

THIS HAPPEN? THANKS

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I had photos of the back of the instrument prior to shipping, the package was prepared by Mail Boxes etc. (a UPS subsidiary) and marked fragile.

I got them to admit that it was possible that the box was dropped, but not damaged. They paid $900.00 but it took 6 months.

When the representative came to deliver the check, they asked for the violin, and then stepped on it to ensure that it could not be repaired.

steve

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Seems like UPS have been rather naughty lately. They've now been hit with a $14 billion lawsuit:

http://cnnfn.com/1999/11/19/companies/ups/

Cheers,

Steve

: I had photos of the back of the instrument prior to shipping, the package was prepared by Mail Boxes etc. (a UPS subsidiary) and marked fragile.

: I got them to admit that it was possible that the box was dropped, but not damaged. They paid $900.00 but it took 6 months.

: When the representative came to deliver the check, they asked for the violin, and then stepped on it to ensure that it could not be repaired.

: steve

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Wow! Having read the stories posted about

deliveries I consider myself lucky.

I recently had an instrument sent to me internationally

through UPS and got it in tact with only the

soundpost rattling inside - otherwise no problems.

I did however take two precautions -

I went personally to the airport to collect it

at the freight terminal rather than waiting for delivery (I calculated it would be quicker and

cut out the possibility of local "less careful"

sub-contractors handling the delivery).

... and secondly I opened the package and case

immediately in front of a UPS representative

as witness in case there might be any such

problems. But I don't know what would have

happened if I had found the instrument in

more than one piece!

I also had an unbelieveable experience with UPS

delivering a package of sheet music - again

internationally. They promise 5-6 days (and so

it should be for the price one pays). I was told

the package was sent in mid-August and received it

early October. Once I was told they could not

deliver ( I had given both address and phone number)

and the package apparently returned to sender.

Again it was re-sent and despite two addresses and

two phone numbers, constant checking by use of

what the call "tracking number", I heard nothing

but reassurances and eventually found the package

"dumped" at the door of the alternative address

without so much as a contact by phone. The whole

episode caused both me and the sender a lot of

unnecessarily wasted energy and I resolved to

avoid using the service again.

The ultimate ironly being that another three weeks

later a second package arrived completely unannouced

and (again without a phone call) to the second address

containing a complete replica of the original order.

On contacting the sender they claimed to know nothing

about it and told me to keep it or give it away.

omobono.

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Hello, Al,

(BTW, Marsha related her UPS horrors in an e-mail to me--they are informative reading.)

Do you most often find "crushing" damage, or what I would call "acceleration" (dropping or throwing) damage? It seems that the usual violin shipment is in some sort of case, packed within a standard 9"x16"x34" carton, using packing peanuts and no additional bracing. The violin I received recently in this manner arrived strung up, nearly to standard pitch. It was in good condition, but I was somewhat surprised. Hardshell case notwithstanding, I still think I would prefer to use bracing and to let the string tension off to minimize acceleration stresses....Any thoughts on this?

Regards,

Mark W.

: Hello:

: I've always been able to get UPS to pay, after their first refusal. When something is damaged and the box looks ok, I take a tire iron to it before I call them.

: (grin)...kidding!

: An expert at getting UPS to pay is Marsha, sunsiray@westriv.com.

: Good luck,

: Al

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Hello Mark:

When a violin is shipped with the bridge up and string tension on, care to secure everything is needed: packing firmly under the fingerboard, packing under the tailpiece/fine tuner, packing around the bridge and between the bridge/fingerboard....bridge/tailpiece, packing between the scroll and the case insides packing so the violin is not supported by the scroll in any way,

and the violin firmly packed inside a case so the instrument can move in no direction...bubble pack between the top and the bow holders. Then, the case inside a cardboard box with foam peanuts firmly packed all around.

The inertial hammer effect is what ruins a violin, if not packed well. If the neck can be broken out, it will; if the post can be made to go through the top/back, it will. A package can be dropped flat on concrete from a three feet height, and the neck break off! Most packages are dropped flat in shipment. The vioin can be broken to bits and no sign of damage on the outside of the box, without proper packing.

My damage claims have been limited to one: a fork lift ran through...they paid immediately!! Most damage to my stuff has been when returned by a customer and our instructions not followed for packing.

So, inertial hammer effect is the cause of most damage.

Best regards,

Al

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In my opinion, most of the damage can be attributed to improper packing. If any of you wants to ship violins by courier in the future, I would suggest the following: (1) Use a strong carton. (2) The carton should be big enough so the space between the box and the violin case can be filled with foam chips or newspaper. (3)Line the interior of the violin case with foam to give extra cushion and to prevent the violin from bouncing inside the case.

Shipping violins by UPS outside the U. S. is entirely at yopur own risk.(In Canada and some European countries) UPS doesn't have insurance to cover damage. You could buy insurance from other company, but the cost for a $1,000 violin is over $100. The cost of sending a violin plus insurance from coast to coast in the United States by UPS is less $15. This is dirt cheap. If you don't like UPS you could try parcel post, FedEx or any other courier. I found that UPS is the most dependable.

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Hello David:

Just a short comment on using foam in the case.

People have shipped to me using foam to cushion the violin in the case. About 1 in 10 shipments are damaged. I think the reason is that foam doesn't prevent the inertial hammer effect. The violin, when carton is dropped, is well cushioned on the downward movement. Then, the compressed foam gives a huge re-bound to the other foam. When the violin stops its re-bound the damage occurs. I use non-compressable packing in the case...like folded or rolled paper towels.

Cheers,

Al

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Are you serious? Fifteen dollars? How do you get them

to ship for $15? Shipping from Austin, Tx to Houston, Tx was going to cost me $15 plus insurance which was $10 per $1000. I suppose if I had good insurance to cover damage during shipping it would have cost less, but for standard UPS insurance, that's the going rate. I found this more expensive than my just driving to Houston to drop the instruments off...

M.

: In my opinion, most of the damage can be attributed to improper packing. If any of you wants to ship violins by courier in the future, I would suggest the following: (1) Use a strong carton. (2) The carton should be big enough so the space between the box and the violin case can be filled with foam chips or newspaper. (3)Line the interior of the violin case with foam to give extra cushion and to prevent the violin from bouncing inside the case.

: Shipping violins by UPS outside the U. S. is entirely at yopur own risk.(In Canada and some European countries) UPS doesn't have insurance to cover damage. You could buy insurance from other company, but the cost for a $1,000 violin is over $100. The cost of sending a violin plus insurance from coast to coast in the United States by UPS is less $15. This is dirt cheap. If you don't like UPS you could try parcel post, FedEx or any other courier. I found that UPS is the most dependable.

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: DOES ANY ONE HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS ON GETTING UPS TO PAY FOR A BROKEN INSTRUMENT?

UPS is subject to general jurisdiction pretty much everywhere because they have a major operation in all states. If you can demonstrate that the violin wasn't broken before (e.g., pictures) beyond a reasonable doubt, then sue them in your local small claims court for the damage, the shipping, and attorney's fees. You would probably want an attorney's help in setting up the claim and developing the evidence, but a local legal clinic or perhaps a musician lawyer could help.

The crushed box helps lots. They didn't argue about my broken bows when I pointed out the tire tracks!

If you're shipping to a cognizant buyer, then knock over the soundpost. Most cognizant buyers like to mess with the setup anyway!

Steve

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I had an expierience w/ UPS- they broke a $1000.00 bow that was packed in a bow case and then in a box w/ 4" packing on all sides. It took 1 year and many phone calls. The inspector first said it was packed fine but after not hearing and no money for two months a phone call to UPS resulted in a comment of "it was packed improperly. To make a long story short I finnaly wrote the UPS headquarters and told them the story and also brought up the fact that they are their own insurance investigators and that I saw that as a conflict of interest and that I would ne reporting this case to the appropriate offices and would'nt you know I got a check in a week. Dave

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I worked briefly for a package carrier very similar to UPS and I would imagine that things are pretty similar at all of the package companies. Marking your package "Fragile" means nothing to the average spare truck loader/unloader. After your box is on the truck no one gives it a particularly close look until it arrives at the terminal. Its then thrown, slid, drop kicked, or jump shotted out of the truck and onto a conveyer belt and someone will look at the zip code and route it to another truck.

Inside this truck are a couple of guys who are basically playing a game of 3-D Tetris with your package. Boxes are frequently coming in faster than they can thoughtfully deal with. Your box is then made part of a layer of boxes that builds towards the back of the truck trailer.

Frequently the blelts get jammed and boxes are quickly picked up and thrown clear in order to keep the belt moving.

Most packages can stand up to this process pretty well but a violin is not a particularly good candidate for this treatment. Most package services have weight limits but even a 70 lb. box tossed carelessly on top of a violin could be catastrophic.

Unfortunately I don't have an answer for you as to the best way to ship or get your money back. Best just to document the condition of the violin as thoroughly as you can. Insure the shipping and then if possible have the reciever open the package in front of the delivery guy.

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