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...


Not audio related, just my experience with UPS.

1) Received a WWII .22lr training rifle. A rare model with only a few survivers in this condition. It was double boxed and inside a hard case, we got it with the barrel sticking a foot out of the box and both sights sheared off and the stock in three pieces.

2) AK47 clone packed in two boxes in hard case with tire tread print across the box. Upon opening, it had bent barrel! They managed to break an AK!

3) They lost a transfer containing a HK mk23, they could not account for it's whereabouts. Told us "Too Bad" they will look into it. 3months later , nothing. We got BATF involved and low and behold, they "found it behind some machinery" it had been opened and had several rounds fired through it. 

Shipping with either UPS or FEDX ground is the same- damage when things are loose and can be stacked or tossed. Things on pallets fare better, but only marginally so. The thing about insurance with UPS or FEDX is if you pay insurance but don’t follow the packing regs, they will deny payment. So buying insurance does not protect you.

THose UPS offices that are also mailbox places? They are not UPS they are a private business and just get UPS pick up. They have NO IDEA how to pack an expensive thing or a heavy thing. They are a business of shipping, not packing. If you want to get real UPS service go to the REAL UPS office- usually near an airport or in a major facility. UPS main offiices don’t know how to pack things either so don’t count on them. DO it yourself. You need 2 inches between whatever you ship and the outside of the box for the entire trip or the insurance doesn’t work.

Packaging- I see expensive stuff sent to us for repair improperly packed constantly. NEVER use peanuts as peanuts settle and whatever is floating in it settles to the bottom of the box, now sitting directly on the bottom cardboard and subject to whatever strikes the bottom. DON’T use styrofoam! It turns to dust and coats everything in the box with styro dust. If anything on your item is sticky or tacky, the dust will stick to it forever.

Always use the box within a box method (as mentioned above by the UPS driver) and use chunks of foam or bubble wrap between the boxes.

If all else fails use bubble wrap, the big bubble kind (not that tiny bubble kind they sell at office stores). Wrap the thing you want to protect with 6 inches of bubble wrap on all sides and turn it into a giant ball if you have to! Then put that in a box and not the crappy cardboard at lowes or Home depot, (that stuff instantly comes apart) go get real cardboard boxes at UHaul. Using two of them, box within a box and bubble wrap between them to 2-3 inches works well.


Rant over.


I’ve used UPS many times without a problem, and when I read these horror stories I wonder if I’ve been playing Russian Roulette.

Whenever I ship, I always overpack using bubble wrap, solid styrofoam and double box. - pureclarity

I bought a CD player from an outfit in Florida that rolled it up in a mile of (big-bubble) bubble wrap; there was almost a foot of padding on all sides.

Simple and impressive: you could have dropped it out of an airplane and it would have survived.

I’ve had good luck with ups, but the best I feel is FedEx. - dinov

I agree.

Best way to ship any electronics is in a Pelican Case packed with dense foam and not loose fill. As far as speakers LTL in wooden crates on a pallet. UPS, Fed-X, USPS are parcel carriers and not freight. Why would anyone attempt to ship anything over the weight one person can lift is only asking for trouble. These shipping companies have adopted the deny and ignore policy like many insurance companies hoping you will give up and go away. Once I delivered a Sony tv just before the new style flat screens came out. It was an eBay purchase and the seller wrapped it in a blanket and it arrived destroyed. I told the new owner, UPS will never pay a claim while his face was in shock. Retired Teamster