Jump to content
Maestronet Forums

UPS DOA


mcarufe
 Share

Recommended Posts

It is always a bummer when this kind of thing happens. I've had UPS break 2 bows (and lose one) in the last 10 years, but fortunately, they paid my claims without too much hassle. I haven't had a claim in about three years, so their policies may have changed, but the info below is from my experience dealing with them.

With UPS, the claim must be filed by the sender. However, the claims adjuster will need to visit the receiver to inspect the packaging. Make sure that your client saves all of the packaging and boxing for them to look at. The main reason for them to deny a claim is when it was improperly packaged. I am assuming that you shipped the violin in a case and had the violin padded within it, all shipped in an oversize box packed with packing material. If so, then there shouldn't be too much that UPS could say regarding improper packaging. However, if the fiddle was shipped without a case, all I can say is good luck.

By the way, whenever I receive a package (it doesn't matter who the shipper is) that is damaged, I make the delivery person wait (and refuse to sign for it) until I have opened and inspected it. Sometimes it makes the delivery person impatient, but this helps me avoid claims hassles. If you do get a damaged package, make the delivery person sign a note that it was delivered damaged. The other thing that can help before opening a damaged package is to get out your digital camera and photograph the box, the damage, and the damage (if any) to the contents.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I once had a customer claim that a violin was damaged in shipping. He said that the fingerboard fell off. Upon sending him the claims form that he had to fill out for the insurance to pay for the damages the story changed.

I've had similar things happen twice but yet no one has filled out the claims forms "under penalty of purjury." This was USPS not UPS.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The shop I was at tried to send a cello to somewhere with FedEx and it got crushed. All they did was go to the sender and inspect it, and they bought it from the shop. Sent a second cello to the same place to replace it, it got crushed. Same thing happened. Finally got a 3erd cello there.

But they went pretty quick about buying the broken instrument since it was labeled as such and packaged rather well. hope fedex is enjoying those instruments they bought. they spent about $15,000 on them.

Good Luck

we did have other problems shipping other things with UPS though, they tried to tell us that a string bass that was in a soft case(it was padded with bubblewrap and those annoying foam bean things) was about 150 pounds. I've never seen a bass that heavy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the support. I called the client and the packaging was still there. I hope it helps that not only was the violin in a hard case but UPS did the packaging not me. I also made the UPS person see the instrument and I strummed it. So now they will make me chase them and jump through some hoops. Do you think it would help if I went directly to the place where I shipped it instead of calling UPS?

Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

we did have other problems shipping other things with UPS though, they tried to tell us that a string bass that was in a soft case(it was padded with bubblewrap and those annoying foam bean things) was about 150 pounds. I've never seen a bass that heavy.

Most courier/transport companies would use cube weight when determining the charges on something like a string bass. They calculate the volume and calculate x pounds per cubic foot for very light weight things like basses. This is a legitimate and necessary practice.

Of course, this doesn't excuse rough handling,crushing,fork lift holes and other horrible things that can happen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I shipped most of my workshop in 20 boxes, form Ireland to America, and back again.

I paid for full insurance both ways.

Going over with the Irish version of UPS was a nightmare.

It was cheaper coming back with UPS, they provided a near perfect service.

There was no damage.

Call UPS and just ask them exactly what to do, they're very good.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is always a bummer when this kind of thing happens. I've had UPS break 2 bows (and lose one) in the last 10 years, but fortunately, they paid my claims without too much hassle. I haven't had a claim in about three years, so their policies may have changed, but the info below is from my experience dealing with them.

With UPS, the claim must be filed by the sender. However, the claims adjuster will need to visit the receiver to inspect the packaging. Make sure that your client saves all of the packaging and boxing for them to look at. The main reason for them to deny a claim is when it was improperly packaged. I am assuming that you shipped the violin in a case and had the violin padded within it, all shipped in an oversize box packed with packing material. If so, then there shouldn't be too much that UPS could say regarding improper packaging. However, if the fiddle was shipped without a case, all I can say is good luck.

By the way, whenever I receive a package (it doesn't matter who the shipper is) that is damaged, I make the delivery person wait (and refuse to sign for it) until I have opened and inspected it. Sometimes it makes the delivery person impatient, but this helps me avoid claims hassles. If you do get a damaged package, make the delivery person sign a note that it was delivered damaged. The other thing that can help before opening a damaged package is to get out your digital camera and photograph the box, the damage, and the damage (if any) to the contents.

Is it a new violin?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have recently had a bad experience with UPS. A cello was shipped to me and it arrived with the top broken into 6 pieces and the neck broken off at the neck root. I called UPS and they came and picked up the broken cello and then issued a report back to the sender telling him that it was not properly packed. This is apparently a standard claim made by UPS. There is even an independent website that has been set up dealing with complaints by people with rejected claims. If you Google UPS and unpaid claims you will find a lot of people who have issues with UPS. One solution to the problem may be to have UPS pack the item, thereby avoiding potential difficulties with improperly packed claims rejection.

In smaller centers UPS uses a lot of independent shippers as initial shippers to get the item into the UPS system. In the case of the broken cello, UPS tried to push it back on the independent shipper and the independent shipper said it was a UPS matter not theirs. After a long and very time consuming process the person who shipped the cello to me got paid by UPS, but he had to go through hell to get the claim honored. I eventually got my money back from the seller a few months later. Many others from what I have read have not been so lucky. It is good to hear that some people here have had UPS has honor damage claims. I would suggest that if a damage claim is rejected, just keep at them until they pay and never ship without full insurance.

Terry

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On a couple personal instruments, I have paid a little extra to list them on my homeowners policy. That's cheaper for a whole year's coverage than paying the shipping insurance. My understanding is that my policy will cover me if they are lost or damaged in transit, without any nonsense about how well they are packed. Don't most businesses have available the option of buying that type of coverage for shipped items?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do you ship an instrument with the bridge up? That seems like a bad idea. I always make it a point to request that the bridge is down before shipping, and that the top is protected. Should it be expected that most customers can't replace the bridge properly?

As a player, I would not be very happy getting a violin from a dealer, with the bridge down. I know that bridge placement can be crucial; a mm or 2 one way or the other can make a tonal difference. I don't think that a dealer should expect the customer to get bridge placement right.

There's also the issue that the sound post is more likely to move about if the bridge is down. So that even if the customer puts up the bridge in the right place, the sound post may no longer be in the right place.

Over the years I've had quite a few violins shipped to me, and they have always been shipped with the bridge up.

Regarding shipping violins back to a dealer, I have been asked by only one dealer to take the bridge down before shipping an instrument back to the dealer. I did that with great care, making sure I didn't scuff the top during bridge removal and made sure loose tailpiece and pegs were stowed securely in the case.

If a dealer does ask a customer to take down a bridge before shipping back, that dealer would want to make sure that the customer does it carefully, leaving no loose pieces (bridge, tailpiece, pegs), rattling around, banging against the instrument. In other words, unless the dealer knows the customer will be careful or unless the dealer is willing to give very explicit instructions about taking the bridge down and stowing the resulting loose pieces, it might be a bad idea to ask a customer to take down a bridge.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On a couple personal instruments, I have paid a little extra to list them on my homeowners policy. That's cheaper for a whole year's coverage than paying the shipping insurance. My understanding is that my policy will cover me if they are lost or damaged in transit, without any nonsense about how well they are packed. Don't most businesses have available the option of buying that type of coverage for shipped items?

Actually Richf, I think that most standard homeowners policies are quite limited when it come to insuring instruments--especially valuable instruments. Besides having to pay a large deductible (often $500 or more), I don't believe that a claim would be honored if the instrument was not in the possession of the owner (like in the possession of UPS or other shipper) or in the process of being sold. Also, I believe that many of the standard homeowners policies have restrictions about professional use. That said, many of the companies offer riders (called Personal Article Policy or Inland Marine Rider) that does cover damage and loss. However it is best to check the individual restrictions regarding shipment insurance and professional use.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I did ship with bridge up because it was for a student and I wanted her to be able to play it right away. It was a nice old German fiddle of no historic value but still a nice instrument. UPS picked up fiddle today from client and I assume it is comming back to me. I did have it insured and UPS packed it as well. I went to the Mailbox store today and the store owner said the should not be a problem but the whole deal would take about two weeks. This did teach me a lesson to rethink shipping and I need to consider much of the valuable information gained here. Thanks for the input.

Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I did ship with bridge up because it was for a student and I wanted her to be able to play it right away.

I also ship customer and transport to trade show with the bridge up so that the soundpost won't fall. I tune the fiddde a step lower and wrap the bridge (between belly and strings) with dense foam until it's like a little cheese roll. Add a piece of tape to the roll and the bridge can't fall down.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Josh, concerning coverage under a rider on my home owners policy, I sure hope you're wrong. I had specifically asked them about loss and damage in shipping. Otherwise, on really expensive items, UPS/FEDEX insurance is crazy expensive. So what do the high-end dealers do, just carry these things around the country?

On the bridge up / bridge down controversy, I prefer bridge up. Sometimes a good violin can be very sensitive to small changes in the soundpost position and afterlength. If you've spent a lot of time getting it just right, you hate to go back to square one. A buyer of a good instrument that is knocked out of whack might not believe the violin could ever sound good. And a different luthier might not want to question his/her own ability to provide the perfect setup.

Richard

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I also ship customer and transport to trade show with the bridge up so that the soundpost won't fall. I tune the fiddde a step lower and wrap the bridge (between belly and strings) with dense foam until it's like a little cheese roll. Add a piece of tape to the roll and the bridge can't fall down.

This sound like a good idea. I don't think it would have prevented the assualt that happened in my case as the force of impact or crush factor was enough to break the bridge in half. I will better see the full extent of the damage when it is back in my hands.

Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Josh, concerning coverage under a rider on my home owners policy, I sure hope you're wrong. I had specifically asked them about loss and damage in shipping. Otherwise, on really expensive items, UPS/FEDEX insurance is crazy expensive. So what do the high-end dealers do, just carry these things around the country?

Richard

My personal experience in dealing with customer's claims on their homeowner's insurance has not been very good. There always seems to be some loophole, reason, or exception that is found to deny the claim. It is good that you have specifically asked your insurance company, but make sure that it is specifically written into your rider/policy that it covers damage from shipping (or whenever the instrument it is not in your possession). I've seen claims rejected for this very reason. Also, given all of the major natural disasters in the country in the last several years that the major insurance companies have had to pay out for, some companies are dropping clients after two or three claims (even minor claims). Just make sure you know your individual limits on your insurance policy, and you should be fine.

Regarding what dealer's use--many of their business insurance policies have specific insurance for shipping written into their policy.

Check out Heritage Insurance at http://www.musicins.com/ for specific insurance policies for musicians. There are other musician-specific insurance companies out there as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My personal experience in dealing with customer's claims on their homeowner's insurance has not been very good. There always seems to be some loophole, reason, or exception that is found to deny the claim.

I think Josh is right in stating that business activities will not be covered by homeowner's insurance.

Homeowner's insurance, at least the one I have from a major US company, is not intended to cover instrument shipping to or from my home, where my role is that of customer. I asked about that specifically when I needed to cover a shipment. The homeowner's insurance office said that they expected the business, ie, the dealer, which owned the instrument (or possibly the shipper) to cover insurance.

If you believe that your homeowner's insurance covers something like violin shipping to a business that owns the violin being shipped, I would suggest, like Josh, that you get that assurance in writing. Insurances are in business to collect premiums, and then, based on the fine print, they get specific about what is and is not covered only when a claim arises. Be careful about assuming too much of your homeowner's insurance.

I wouldn't be surprised if a rider that's supposed to cover shipping might cover shipping between two private parties but not between a private party and a business.

I always insure with the shipper whatever I ship back to the dealer, in accordance with the value the dealer wishes placed on the instrument.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just found this very interesting and comprehensive discussion on insurance on the Joseph Curtain Studio website: www.josephcurtinstudios.com/about/insuranceissues.htm . I have the Fireman's Fund Prestige account, which looks like one of the better ones. But I still need to confirm their coverage during shipping with my agent. It never occurred to me that it would matter 'who' I was sending a violin to. Of course, the insurance company will never let you see the fine print of your contract with them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rich,

Thanks for that article. That's really interesting, if not downright scary. It makes one realize that if you have a valuable instrument, you'd want to sit down with your insurance agent and go through every line of the policy, and go through every contingency about the fiddle's use (like loaning it out), just so you know what you can and cannot do with the instrument and still have it covered by insurance.

addendum:

This thread has made me realize that, for me, as a player and customer of violins, there are two major insurance issues:

1. Insurance coverage on the instruments that I own.

2. Insurance coverage on the instruments that are sent to me for trial. This second category breaks down into two sub-categories: a. Insurance coverage on an instrument (which I don't own) while it is in my possession. b. Insurance coverage on a violin on its trip back to the dealer, if I decide to return it.

For topic 2b (insurance coverage on shipping an instrument I don't own back to a dealer), I've always assumed that, unless the dealer tells me otherwise, I'm responsible for insuring the instrument for its full value for its trip back to the dealer.

Topic 2a (insurance coverage on an instrument while it is in my possession for trial, but which I do not own) is something I haven't given much thought to, but maybe I should. I'm almost certain my homeowner's insurance would not cover damages to any such fiddle because the insurance would assume that the dealer, as the owner and prudent business person, has insurance on it. I guess I, too, have assumed that the dealer has insurance on the instrument while it is in my possession, and my responsibility would be limited, if not totally zero, were there any damage or loss. I'm thinking that's a pretty naive assumption. I'll make a point from now on, and ask the dealer what my liability is. I suspect the answer might be, if you break it or lose it, you own it and pay for it. To tell the truth, I would rather not ask that question because it might just scare any dealer away from sending me a fiddle; it might start a concern in the dealer's head about why I might be assuming something bad is going to happen to the fiddle while it's with me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

... To tell the truth, I would rather not ask that question because it might just scare any dealer away from sending me a fiddle; it might start a concern in the dealer's head about why I might be assuming something bad is going to happen to the fiddle while it's with me.

You could point him to this thread and explain that the subject was raised here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.


×
×
  • Create New...