|Problem: Buyer reports problem with purchase|
05-15-2003: 123zorn initiated process
05-18-2003: Sharper submitted response
123zorn describes the events as follows:
The System 6000 is a subwoofer system made to mate with the Celestion SL600 speakers. It consists of a crossover and 2 dipole subwoofers.
2-18-03 An initial offer was made to sell me a System 6000 and shipping options were discussed.
2-19 through 3-2 Additional shipping options and tarrif issues were discussed regarding cross-border shipping
2-24 Phone call @ 7:05PM EST from him confirmed final total costs.
3-4 PayPal payment made to him for $700US
3-5 PayPal payment of $21US to him made to cover conversion fees assessed by PayPal (this was following a phone conversation that he was concerned that the currency conversion fees were coming out of his payment, I agreed to transfer funds to fully cover conversion costs)
3-7 (3) boxes shipped containing System 6000
3-10 (3) boxes arrive in customs and become separated (UPS error)
3-12 (1) box containing crossover and grills arrives in good condition
3-14 I contact UPS to determine the holdup on the packages
3-17 I contact both UPS and the shipper regarding delivery of other two boxes
3-18 both undelivered boxes are shipped back to Toronto
3-19 both boxes caught by UPS and rerouted back to customs
3-24 Both subwoofer boxes are received at my office shipping room and placed in a corner for me to pickup.
3-24 UPS informs him that shipping costs will be refunded
4-2 After an absence from work, I inspected the boxes and found damaged goods. Damage was immediately reported to both UPS and him. UPS informs me that the items are uninsured, he insists that they are insured for $1400 Canadian.
4-2 through 4-11 in contact with UPS and him on a virtually every other day basis. UPS is uninterested in inspecting the boxes and tells me in 3 separate occasions to dispose of them. My shipping dock is getting unhappy with me keeping them there and I dispose of the boxes on 4-11 as UPS tells me to do. I take many digital pics of the boxes and the single damaged sub.
4-14 He finds documentation that the items are insured for $1400 Canadian
4-14 through 5-7 I am in regular contact with him and UPS and Crawford Adjusters Canada (UPS Canada's insurance agent) in an attempt to further the claim and obtain reimbursement for him for damage caused.
5-7 UPS Canada denys claim and he states again that he will only pay me for damaged goods when UPS pays him.
5-7 I state that this is unacceptable and state that he was responsible for delivery of a good condition System 6000 to me and that his dispute is with UPS Canada. I am not responsible for packaging nor shipping damage. I am willing to help in every way possible to get him reimbursed, however I need a guarantee of reimbursement for the repair of the item or full reimbursement for the goods + shipping and packaging. I receive no response.
5-13 I send him an e-mail about the need to pay me for damaged goods delivered, he does not acknowledge any responsibility for the delivery of items in good condition and says 'Its unfortunate that things turned out the way they did' and offers no reimbursement. I resend an e-mail stating my disappointment and requirements for payment, offering Audiogon Dispute Resolution and receive no response.
5-15 I receive a call from UPS Canada's agent (Crawford Adjusters Canada) stating that their determination was made and they would no longer converse with me regarding this claim. They stated that he had made no further claims or attempts to further the claim for damages. They state that since the subs were not packaged according to UPS guidlines, they would not pay any claim. I again send an e-mail to him requesting payment for damages and that I needed payment or I would start with Audiogon Dispute Resolution and move from there as necessary. He placed a phone call to me and stated that I was like a bull in a china shop in my demands and this was the cause of our problems (there was no problem until I requested payment for repairs up to the amount of transaction). He offered $275 US + the reimbursment for the cost of shipping as a reasonable basis for the item. I countered that I would be willing to put up for auction all the items and would take the difference between the auction price and the price that I paid. Both of us refused each others offer.
123zorn is requesting the following resultion:
I paid $721US for a good condition Celestion System 6000. The system was not delivered in good condition.
1. A full reimbursement of $721 US in a cash transaction to my PayPal account + the cost of shipping + the cost of correct packaging and I will return all items to him.
2. An agreement to fully reimburse, in cash PayPal transactions, all of the costs to repair the system up to $721 US.
The system has value as a whole. As individual parts, the value of the system is substantially less. I would not have purchased a significantly damaged system at all. Virtually any repair made to the system (including having a cabinet built in the UK by the same manufacturer) will degrade the value of the system as matching materials and coverings will be difficult. I believe that Scott insured the system against damage for more than the sale price because he knew that damage to individual parts would seriously impact the value of the system as a whole. His issue should be with UPS Canada and Crawford Insurance Adjusters Canada to receive payment for damages caused. I should not bear the cost of the damage and pay the price for the items were they in good condition.
I want a Celestion 6000 system in good condition. Should repair costs exceed $721 (they are likely to do so) I am willing to absorb these costs as tough luck. Right now he is holding all the cards. He has the money for a good condition system, he was reimbursed for shipping, and he is placing me in the position of getting him reimbured by UPS Canada as my only method of receiving payment.
I have extensive e-mail documentation of this transaction.
Sharper describes the events as follows:
Thank you for the opportunity to respond.
1) 10 DAYS UNINSPECTED & UNATTENDED AT THE SHIPPING DOCK
To me, the overriding fact is that he did not inspect the subwoofers upon receipt and knowingly left them in a high-risk area for 10 days before indicating that one was damaged.
As he stated, the subwoofers were received on Monday March 24th. I emailed him upon noticing on the UPS web site that they were delivered. He replied that they were at the shipping dock and that he “won’t be able to pick them up for a couple of days as my wagon is in the shop waiting for parts.” This means he knowingly left the subwoofers at the shipping dock for days. He then sent me an email 10 days later on Wednesday April 2nd indicating that one subwoofer was damaged.
The shipping dock is not an area to leave valuable property. It is not under his lock and key and direct control. It is an area where:
a) boxes are loaded, unloaded and moved around by others (not him), and
b) other people have access to the area.
All indications are that he was not the one who received the shipment at the shipping dock. Furthermore, the people working there, as he admitted, were unhappy with having the subwoofers there - hardly incentive to treat the boxes with care.
This is negligence in the true sense of the word. He neglected to inspect them on arrival. He neglected the subwoofers by leaving them in a high-risk area. We don’t know, therefore, where and when the damaged occurred.
2) THE PACKAGING IS THROWN AWAY
In the second week of April, we were working on making a formal claim with UPS. Unbeknownst to me, he had separately been in conversation with UPS and he claims that he was told he could throw away the packaging, as the packages were uninsured – so only a maximum of $100 could be claimed.
He did not contact me to confirm or deny this before throwing away the packaging. However, the subwoofers were in fact, as he noted, insured for full value.
On April 22nd or 23rd, I called UPS to follow up on the status of the claim. They said it had been denied because the subwoofers had been moved from where they were delivered and the receiver no longer had the packaging. Though I see that he did not include that in his statements, UPS can easily verify this.
He again acted in a negligent manner by throwing away the packaging and not confirming with me that the packages were insured.
3) NO OFFER WAS MADE
When I called him on May 15th to explain my position, I did NOT make an offer to reimburse him for $275US. I do not believe that I am at fault here so there is no reason that I would make an offer.
What I did try to explain to him was that the value of one subwoofer in the deal was only $237.50. The deal was $600 (+ $100 shipping) for the two subwoofers and a crossover of which the crossover was $125. This means the value of the two subwoofers was $475. Half of $475 is $237.50. That’s all I said. There was no offer to reimburse him.
UPS was late with the shipment and they refunded me the cost of shipping. I attempted to send the refund to him via PayPal but he had to decline the payment as, I believe, he said his credit card was not attached to the account. I will send him a money order for $100, as I do owe him that.
4) THE ONUS IS NOT ON ME
He has not received the result he wants. After leaving the packages at the shipping dock for 10 days and then throwing away the packaging, he is now trying to shift the responsibility on to me. He wants me to refund him in full and says it is up to me to deal with UPS. He does not accept responsibility for his negligence.
Please let me know if any additional information is required.
Sharper's proposed resolution:
While the purpose of a dispute resolution process may be to find a so called "happy medium", I do not feel one is warranted in this case. Frankly speaking, I strongly believe that I am NOT at fault here so I am not offering any refund. This is not being rigid; I'm just standing up for myself.
As I stated in my response, I will send him a money order for $100 for the shipping. I do owe him that.
It is very informative that he is now changing his position.
1. For the first time he is claiming that UPS is not responsible for damages, but I am. Again, I state clearly and unequivocally that the shipper is solely responsible for the damage to the subs. He, through UPS, very prudently insured these subs against damage so that he could recover costs were the items not delivered in good condition. Since he is making a claim against UPS for the damages, he is acknowledging that UPS is responsible and should reimburse him for damages during shipment. UPS has stated that these subs were not packaged according to their guidelines and therefore they will not reimburse him for the insurance claim. This damage was not caused by me, nor am I the interested party in these claims, however I am fully aware of the implied threat by him that ‘I will only refund you whatever UPS refunds to me.’
These subs were received by our loading dock, and placed by UPS in a corner of a locked room with highly limited access until I was able to pick them up. During the timeframe in which these subs were stored in this climate-controlled room, they were never moved nor opened until I inspected them. There is no negligence; there was no maltreatment of the boxes at my office. He never made this accusation before this time, because he has absolutely no evidence or basis for his statements. Clearly this is an attempt to shift blame to my organization's loading dock for Scott’s packaging and UPS’ handling of them. Just as an aside, none of my organization's staff ever touched the boxes. UPS delivered them and placed them into the corner of the locked room and there they stayed.
The timeframe of my examination of the boxes is not at issue here. During the 10 days where the boxes were placed in a locked room (7 business days), I was out sick for a number of them and when I was physically able to work, I could not pickup the boxes since my wagon (the only car in which they could fit) was towed to the shop for repairs. There was no malice or attempt to harm him in this delay, nor did this delay damage the subs or the claim against UPS in any way. UPS was happy to process the claim when reported. I reported the damage to him within minutes of reporting it to UPS and received his acknowledgement of this report quickly as well (all on April 2). His failure to thoroughly address this claim until 12 days following its report is far more damaging to his claim than the 10 days it spent in the corner of a locked room, in a facility which has 24hr. active police protection…
2. I had been in constant communication with UPS virtually every other day from April 2 through May 7 to ensure that his claim against them was met. I have names and telephone numbers of staff that I worked with in this process. In every instance, I followed UPS’ instructions for the maintenance of packaging materials, except I initially ignored their statements to go ahead and throw the boxes away. UPS told me on 3 separate occasions, on 3 separate phone calls, on 3 separate days, that they were not interested in inspecting the packaging and to go ahead and throw the packaging away. So the day of the 3rd specific statement by UPS that it was OK to throw the boxes away, I threw away the exterior boxes and retained the interior boxes and packaging. I then took the damaged sub to a cabinet-maker’s shop to get damage repair estimates. I still retain the interior boxes in hand along with all packaging materials.
The exterior boxes were too large to go in my wagon, so I could not transport or keep them. However, I did take an extraordinary number of pictures of the exterior packaging, interior boxes, packaging materials used, and damage caused. These were provided to UPS Canada’s agent, to UPS Canada, and to some to him (he had limited storage space at his e-mail location and did not want all of them). At first UPS Canada said they could not evaluate the claim due to lack of the packaging, however after my repeated calls to them, they checked the background of the claim (spoke with UPS USA that told me to throw the packaging away), saw the pictures (extensive), and spoke with me regarding the types of packaging materials used, they denied the claim due to improper packaging. They told me specifically that Styrofoam peanuts and bubble wrap were insufficient packaging materials for use in items that weighed 91lbs each (the weight of each sub). Even though these subs were double boxed and packaged in Styrofoam peanuts, this did not meet their minimum packaging requirements. For packages of this weight, UPS requires double boxing (these were double boxed) AND sheet Styrofoam or other stiff foam as packaging materials in order to accept a claim for insurance. UPS accepted that the damage was caused during transit, however it stated that the packaging did not meet their guidelines and this is why they are denying the claim. Lack of packaging materials for inspection is not the issue here, it was the choice of packaging materials that lead UPS to deny his claim.
I stated, in my first listing of events, that I disposed of exterior packaging only following UPS’ clear statements for the 3rd time to dispose of such packaging on 4-11.
3. I believe that an offer was made, however if he was attempting to show that the sub was worth only $237.50, it failed. His argument regarding the value of the sub is specious. How about if someone has a broken Krell amp and the cost to repair the broken part is as much as the value of the entire amp? I believe in that instance that the value of the amp would be minimal to nothing. How about if the amp had one bad channel and the cost to fix the channel is as much as the value of the amp? Would the amp be worth 50% since only one channel was inoperable? I very much doubt that the market would value the amp as such. I don’t believe that 50% operability of a pair of dipole subwoofers is valued at $237.50… If I could buy a single Celestion System 6000 sub for $237.50, I would be most happy to do so and would have bought a pair many years earlier. In any instance, he says he didn’t make the offer…
Shipping costs were part of the deal. The original value placed on the subs was $600US. I was willing to pay as much as $700US in total, including shipping. In our discussions on costs on 2-24, he stated that the cost of shipping was going to exceed $100US and attempted to gain agreement for greater payment, I stated that I was unwilling to pay more than $700US total, although I did later agree to pay for currency conversion costs of $21US. He was refunded $144.44 Canadian for shipping. I refused his PayPal transaction since it was a credit card payment, and I do not take credit card payments via PayPal (he was made aware of this on multiple occasions). He has since made no other attempt to reimburse me via any other method, although he does have a PayPal account to which he could have easily transferred these funds from his bank account and then transferred them to my account without using a credit card. A payment in USD equivalent to $144.44 Canadian would be appreciated as partial compensation.
He does not appear to be disputing the facts as presented in my original listing of events. He is only disputing his responsibility for shipping and is attempting to shift the blame for the failure of packaging the items in a UPS approved manner.
I agree that there is unlikely to be a happy medium here. He is refusing to acknowledge that proper packaging would have resulted in a full payment from UPS for his damage claim against them. He does not acknowledge that his failure to properly package the item is the root cause of this problem. The packages were insured for far more than the sale price, so it was clearly anticipated that damage to the items would result in a payoff to the shipper well in excess of the price that I paid for the subs. In no way can I be held responsible for the packaging of the subs, this was his responsibility alone. He packaged the subs, took them to the UPS shipping center, paid for shipment, paid for insurance, and now is holding me responsible for failure to meet UPS’ packaging guidelines. Lack of packaging materials is a non-issue as proper materials, according to UPS standards, were not used to meet their insurance guidelines for packaging of such a heavy item, as well as their specific instructions to me that it was proper to dispose of packaging.
As of 05-20-2003, Audiogon is requesting input from members regarding this dispute.