UPS. Friend Or Foe?

Recently shipped two speakers and the stands all in very good (8/10) condition to a buyer in another state. One speaker and the stands were in the factory boxes. The other speaker was boxed by UPS. The buyer sent pictures and stated they arrived damaged. One of the speakers had a rattle but no visible damage, the other speaker, (the one UPS boxed), had visible damage. Not surprisingly, the stands arrived unscathed.

All items were picked up by UPS in that city and taken for inspection.

And the results were...UPS is not at fault because they have a policy, buried in very fine print, that it is the shippers' (sellers') responsibility to ensure proper packaging.

My wife and I also found out the local UPS stores are legally not affiliated with UPS!!!

We are currently attempting to discuss this with the owner of the local store.

Sad but true...


No one has mentioned our beloved United States Postal Service (USPS). Here they go under the bus.  Had to ship my XA25 to Pass Labs In Auburn, CA for a minor repair.  $276 later including $5000 insurance, it was shipped on Jan 3, with arrival expected Jan 6.  A couple of weeks later my dealer got a note from Pass that they hadn't received the amp yet.  In the meantime I tried tracking and it was in the Auburn PO.  I go to the PO that I shipped it from to try a trace without any luck. I called Pass Labs and was told that the USPS won't deliver unless it fits in a mailbox.  Also the PO won't answer the phone when they call.  Sure enough I tried and after 4 two minute rings that ended in a disconnect I surrendered and tried the dreaded 800 number call.  45 minutes and two service complaints later I was told that I would be contacted within 3 business days.  After two business days on a Sunday night I get a call from USPS that the caller was looking at my package and that it would be delivered the next day.  Sure enough it was...3 weeks late.  In one piece however. The question now is how does it get shipped back to me.  It will be interesting to see who Pass chooses.  

I’m sorry to hear of your experience. I would agree double box or triple box audio equipment…with adequate packing inside. The UPS stores I am aware of only sell plastic peanuts or bubble wrap for packing. As these are 99% air they have limited use. They are for light items and heavy items will typically not survive if they are the only packing. UPS guidelines require that packages be able to withstand a 3ft drop on any side, corner or edge.
If you paid a UPS store to pack and also insured an item, I would think the store is responsible to meet the UPS packing requirements. So if UPS doesn’t pay for the damage, then they should. Since they’re local for you, small claims court should be an option.

For any claim there has to be visible damage to the box. I would also guess that any damage to the contents that is not visible - like a rattle - wouldn’t be covered by insurance. I would add that to me it is very logical that UPS would require the shipper to adequately pack an item to receive an insurance claim. So I wouldn’t consider that to be ‘buried in very fine print’. To me as a shipper it is extremely crucial that I pack an item adequately to make the journey safely under normal circumstances. I try to go the extra mile. But then I don’t usually buy insurance.

Sorry to hear your'e going thru this. IMO they both suck.  Each company 'lost' an expensive integrated amplifier during shipment ... somehow. However, to  Fedex's credit they are  quicker to process claims. UPS customer service is the WORST to deal with and it's no wonder.. it's a leadership failure. I will never use UPS again.

I recently drove 4 hrs to buy an amplifier rather than risk it being damaged, lost or stolen via these two delivery companies. Hope it works out for you in a good way.

UPS was the most unreliable shipper that I (tried to) use(d) when I was shipping my products when I was in business.  Shipments arrived damaged, were late or just flat lost.  UPS blows big wads.

Domestically, USPS did less damage.  Internationally, FedEx delivered every time (300+ shipments).

Shipper, beware.