A simple request---Please pack audio gear well.

I just received a Rowland amplifer today via Fedex Ground. It came from within the state so it was a shorter transit time.

the amp came with a bent rear heat sink. I have not yet checked to see if it works operationally.

the amp was packed in a single, fairly thin walled cardboard box. the amp was not wrapped in plastic, so I spent 10 mins, poking out shipping peanuts out of the heat sinks.

There really needs to be guide here on Audiogon on how to properly pack audio equipment for those to follow.

Some of my suggestions

1. Never use peanuts, they are worthless, especially when shipping anything over 1 pound in weight. a 50 lb amp will render a .0001 oz piece of foam useless when it rolls on top of it.

2. double box things or use a thick walled box. Computer boxes are great if you can't double box.

3. wrap the item in something. never just pack it naked. use a garbage bag if need be. a pillowcase. USE something!

4. if you don't have something at home, use a packing professional, I have done this and the $20-$45 cost was worth the risk.

I am very worried about powering up this amp and will be using a pair of speakers I found at the flea market as the Guinea Pig while testing if it works.
Common sense already dictates this but you forgot to mention that unless a piece of gear is double-boxed with (I believe) 1 inch of packing material between the two boxes UPS won't pay a claim.

You got a seller who was lazy and didn't respect your purchase.
there is extensive instruction in the FAQ section:
Who paid for the shipping? If the buyer agrees to pay the shipping costs they are in a much better position to specify how the equipment should be packed and sent. If you want it double boxed and no-peanuts, then make it part of the deal.
Who paid for the shipping? If the buyer agrees to pay the shipping costs they are in a much better position to specify how the equipment should be packed and sent. If you want it double boxed and no-peanuts, then make it part of the deal.
Respectfully, everyone should read the FAQ guidelines I referenced above. They are detailed, specific, and if followed will mitigate pretty much any problem that comes up. Per the guidelines, who pays for shipping is negotiable (ie buyer or seller will pay), but irrellevant to the question of who's responsible for safe packaging and shipment. THAT, is always the seller's responsibility. I personally will not deal with a seller who doesn't subscribe to this rule.
Sorry to read of your experience. The seller was negligent in his packing.

There is really no substitute for original packing material. I won't purchase a used component without it.
In regards to who paid for shipping, well, I made an offer to include shipping and paypal costs, so I guess I paid for it. Not sure why that would matter as it should be the packer/sellers responsibility to pack it well.

I have emailed the seller about the bent heat sink, and have not heard back from him and don't want to point fingers or name names as of yet, as hopefully he will be reasonable in regards to a small refund for the bent sink, assuming the thing works operationally.

btw--the seller has considerable postive feedback and in it, is refered to as an excellent packer, so when I got the shipment today, i was pretty puzzled.
When you pack audio gear especially heavy gear, go on the assumption that someone will drop it from a height of 8 feet. That is the rule of thumb I use when I pack. You really must pack it "bomb proof" as I call it. Shippers will not take care of anything heavy.

Just my 2 cents
It is quite simple:

As buyers we do not want to pay alot for pack/ship, but we want the perfect pack/ship job. THIS IS NOT DIRECTED AT JUSTLISTEN. I KNOW YOU WOULD DO THE RIGHT THING. There are newish rules with UPS that state NO CLAIM WILL BE PAID for any damage to electronics that has used cardboard boxes from previous shipments, internal carton or external.

It used to be factory packaging was acceptable and maybe for some claims it still is, but anthing of value will likely be looked at much closer, pulling the lack of packaging, old or preused packaging to deny claims.

Here is what I do - doesn't mean it is right - but I will share.

When I sell something, I charge UPS Store packaging rates. I am sure to let them know the value, as this dictates packaging requirements and costs. A simple, smallish amplifier, say 40 lbs will cost close to $54 to double pack for insured shipping. I use UPS store to pack AND ship the item. Expensive packaging costs - yes. Counter rates higher than on account - yes. Insurance higher per $100 of value ($2.50 per $100 or less versus $0.45 per $100 at the station) - yes. If there is ANY DAMAGE, WHAT-SO-EVER, the claim is guaranteed since the UPS Store packed, shipping, and insured it.

Seller - happy the extra expense helped the buyer.
Buyer - happy he paid the extra expense to recoup his money.

I should say, another side benefit is there is no complaining back and forth about proper packaging, crapping wrapping, etc, etc. As well, with a claim, UPS store employees handle ALL of the paperwork. You only show proof of purchase and value.

LASTLY FOLKS - DO NOT OVER INSURE PACKAGES YOU SHIP! UPS will ONLY pay for the claim UP TO PURCHASE PRICE. YOU HAVE TO SHOW PROOF OF THE SALE (your ad, email, etc.). Don't spend extra money or commit insurance fraud!!

I just had a similar problem. I ought a cdp off of Audiogon a few weeks ago. The seller had good rep and was selling a barely used unit. It was double boxed and shipped in the original box, well packed. Well i had bought off of Ebay a few weeks before that another used cdp unit and it was not as well packed and when played skipped.

So the delivery guy hands me the package and i hear a metal sound scraping. So i get it in house see the box has some crunched edges so i get my digital camera out and take some pics. I fire up the cdp and nothing it wont play the cd. The outside of the unit is in mint condition. So the seller sends a pick up notice and files with the company. They email me asking about the package, seems they dont believe him. I send them a note explaining what happened then i realize i had taken some photos of the box. So i send a second email with the pics. Seller tells me thats what forced the company to pay for the drop "ped" shipping.

So shoot some digital pics of the box before you open it. Cheap insurance.

Sage advice.... I too have used the UPS stores and other pack and sends for just this reason. It costs, but i don't worry. I just received a watch winder I bought from a guy in state. He had the UPS store pack it. I must say they outdid even my! Wrapped in bubble wrap, then cardboard, then more bubble wrap. Int the first box, then foam peanuts and a second box.

Yeah, I paid for it, but my winder made it here in perfect condition, and that was worth the extra $100 to me!


Speaking with a former electronics dealer, now a part of a major manufacturer of pro and counsumer audio gear, he told me when he was a dealer the greatest obstacle he had to overcome were common carriers.

Not recessions, manf. price hikes, inflation, or seasonal activity. Carriers.

His experience and on site tours of two major Fed Ex hubs showed him that in two locations the cnveyor belts used to do the sorting of the incoming & outgoing parcels took 4 - 5 ft. drops in at least one place during the transition at both Northern hubs.

4 to 5 foot drops are remarkably large drops. If the package doesn't drop well and rolls or bounces off of the lower conveyor belt, yet again the package falls further onto the (I assume) concrete floor!

I doubt seriously that makers of very heavy gear package them well enough to sustain themselves without issues by dropping a few off their loading docks in testing their packing.

Those two hubs he noted as having visited were Ft Wayne, In, and Ann Arbor, Mi. There may well be others.

I know of one person who used UPS and UPS packing to transmit some item and it was damaged upon arrival at the recipients address. UPS denied the claim initially, indicating improper packing of the item as fault. The shipper pointed to the check box where he had paid additionally for UPS packing on his receipt.

UPS then, paid the claim.
Comments and tips,
1."Overinsuring" is not necessarily insurance fraud. I just sold and shipped a preamp that now sells new for $5K. I did not sell it used for that, but I insured it for that. UPS treats items insured for $5K or more as higher value items and requires special procedures for drivers, and I believe for handling the package all the way down the chain. The higher value insurance in this case was a small price to pay for supposedly more careful shipping service.
2.Anyone who doesn't want the problems associated with damaged goods and dealing with shipper's insurance, should get in the habit of double boxing electronic components they sell. I routinely purchase a second box a little larger than the first from the UPS store, and double box all component sales, whether the buyer pays for it or not - geez, it only costs 6 bucks! As stated above, try to get about an inch of styrofoam or bubble wrap in the space between the boxes, especially for heavier stuff. Most buyers will also appreciate that the original Mfg's box inside is not the one getting beat up.
3.Something I have learned from other experienced Audiogonners is that most believe it is safer to ship via air, even the 2 or 3 day variety, as the package is reportedly treated better than a "ground" package.
4.I believe I have had relatively fewer shipping problems by subscribing to the idea it is the seller's responsibility to deliver the item safely to the buyer, then treating the packing, insuring and shipping as carefully as I would want it treated for items I purchase.
Just my experience, YMMV.
My earlier question about who paid for the shipping costs goes to the point of "you get what you pay for". If how the item is packed is important to you, and I can't imagine why it wouldn't, then you should be very precise in your purchase offer to specify your requirements and may be even go so far as to back it up with dollars. Sure it's the seller's responsibility to adequately pack the item, but as a buyer do you only want an adequately packed item? Again, if it's important, then specify in detail and pay for it.

Thanks for the info on UPS' new policy. I like the idea of having them pack.
I like the last post. Well done.

Upon agreement of an especially expensive piece of equipment, I do share my thoughts on packing with the seller.

This includes double boxing, etc. I have yet to have a seller not appreciate my concerns; they usually already were 'on it'.
Just power it up without making a connection. I had the same problem with a Classe DR-9 amp many years ago worked fine I just went down to my maintenance shop and had them bend it back.
Double check on the UPS angle. Last I read on these respected pages, the UPS stores are individually owned and operated - there is no uniform standard for packing or charges.

More important is that once you turn your precious toys over to the UPS store, they become the shipper. So filing and collecting a claim is between the UPS franchisee and UPS.... hmmm

In the you are kidding department - I just spent four months chasing FedEx to pay up their minimum insurance ($100) on a package that they simply lost - yet the burden of proof lay on me.

More then anything, the long term success of this hobby requires a third party insurer who will sell riders and honor claims. Be nice to see Audiogon take the lead on this, plenty of money to be made!
OK, you folks are making me nervous. I am waiting on my brand new KCT to arrive, but it is stuck on a UPS plane in BF USA.
"Exception due to weather" is their holdup. It is aledgedly double boxed as told by the seller. Hopefully UPS has the screen door closed on the cargo hatch and they are not using it for a step stool while they finsih loading the plane with anvils. Aarrrrgh...
My earlier question about who paid for the shipping costs goes to the point of "you get what you pay for". If how the item is packed is important to you, and I can't imagine why it wouldn't, then you should be very precise in your purchase offer to specify your requirements and may be even go so far as to back it up with dollars. Sure it's the seller's responsibility to adequately pack the item, but as a buyer do you only want an adequately packed item? Again, if it's important, then specify in detail and pay for it.
. . . an excellent point, and I think this approach is necessary because we've seen that few sellers bother with attention to standards such as those published on the site. I've purchased from sellers with extensive + feedback who shipped items with entirely inadequate packaging. It was left to me to wait for settlement of claims.

Regarding UPS packaging - I've received several shipments packed by ups stores and NONE of them were packaged adequately to withstand UPS's normal handling. They used bubble wrap for a 70 lb Rel subwoofer for cryin out loud! There are only 2 shipments that were packaged by a UPS store that didn't sustain some damage. 2 others were total losses. In one case (Rega Speakers) I asked the seller to ensure the packaging was "bullet-proof". He had the UPS store "add some extra padding" to the original mfg shippping cartons. UPS tossed in some peanuts and bubble wrap (literally tossed, and it was not enough to fill the box even half way). Those speakers arived damaged because the mfg carton was pretty worn down and had too much give.
you cannot use bubble wrap or peanuts for amplifiers and speakers!! This is how heatsinks and face plates get bent. You also can't ship in single wall boxes - which apparently is all the UPS stores stock.

One thing I do to assess what kind of attention a seller will give to packaging is to read the feedback comments. If there are are comments like "great packaging" from most buyers, I'm usually comfortable. If not, I spend a good deal of time specifying the kind of packaging I expect.
awhile back i bought an equipment rack with a beautiful (but very heavy) corian top. the seller had fedex come over to his home to pack the item up, but they simply dumped a huge amount of peanuts (which filled up 2/3) of a huge box and put the corian top (which may have been in a plastic bag for protection!) in with the iron-framed rack.
the box was sturdy enough, but the top should have been boxed separately (as the seller intimated it needed to be). when i unpacked this beast the FRONT corner of the corian was chipped off. however, there was NO WAY i was going to get this thing back INTO the box and send it back. the seller agreed to file a claim, but instead he gave me a further discount. so, after picking up the last of the 3000 or so peanuts (!!) i carefully glued the chipped piece back into place, and the rack, which fits perfectly where i wanted it to go, has real oak panels, and a top which rivals marble or granite. but i hope that other buyers can learn from my experience.

you should be worried, as should we all.

On other fronts,

I won't dispute some of the above posts as to more 'declared value' being a determiner of how an item is handled, but when I worked for a air freight carrier, which by the way uses trucks too, the ONLY thing I was instructed to look for in handling packages were the slated delivery time and then the destination address.. Nothing further.

Nothing on the packages showed the declared value to us, nor did we take the time to look for such info.

An item labled "FRAGILE" "GLASS" ETC... received no special handling. Always being in an atmosphere of "hurry up" the big & heavy’s were the only things gaining added attention... for they usually need another pair of hands. big stuff on the bottom, little stuff up top. that was the norm in loading. Be it containers, trucks, or planes.

The care or attention level a package recieved was solely set by the person whose hands were on it at the time, there attitude, and how they felt that particular day. True enough though, time sensitive packages did obtain some priority, but no special handling. They just got pushed to the front of the line mostly. No special treatment otherwise.

A seller's past history is only some idication not an assurance or guarantee. neither is declaring a higher value on the goods being shipped. Although well intentioned or precautionary, it is money well wasted if that price can not be justified. Remember, claims agents work for the carrier. Their job is to ‘adjust’ the claim, not simply pay it outright.

Adjusting is the key word here. Adjusting to current, and true value. Emotions and attachments aside. I’ve personally been on both sides of that fence in the past, so I do have some insight there.

if a claim is pursued the carrier will ALWAYS request the declared value be justified by a 'BILL OF SALE' & "copies of the instruments used for the purchase"... copies of MO'S, cc'S, ONLINE TRANSFERS, ETC. PERIOD.

Save those receipts! Make several copies as claims departments will often lose them and request they be re-sent. Such were some of my experiences. Faxing and re-faxing, mailing and re-mailing is just a part of it all in trying to finalize claims.

An invoice reflecting the sale price and those ancillary costs required for ascertaining a true and validated cost for appropriate recovery, (if possible), including the transportation to and from the repair facility AS THOSE COSTS ARE THE RESULT OF THE TOTAL LOSS CAUSED BY MISHANDLING, needs be the last item submitted though they will ask you to do it far earlier. Don’t be in a big hurry here or you may be recovering less than is your due.

If in fact the component can NOT be repaired or replaced, a statement to that effect from a manufacturer/technician needs be had and copies sent along with the INVOICE for settlement.

One might also contest the original expense for shipping as the safe and proper conveyance of the product/item was not accomplished, breeching the contract for shipping and thus putting the carrier libel.

The current value is what should be or might be, paid. Not the original cost, (save those items bought new) and needs be submitted, PRIOR to SETTLEMENT, once EVERYTHING is clearly seen.

Collectors items, and antiques should be insured via some outside resource for a carriers claims adjuster is not inclined to place as high a value on such items as would the collector.

Given the above, and other insightful posts here, it is incumbent upon ‘US’ as sellers AND buyers to communicate our ‘special’ requests for packing. Assuming or presumptions won’t get it done and place the ones making them in perhaps, severe peril. Questions as to “how” a thing will be packed should be taken as an honest and sincere interest in the buying & selling transaction. Nothing further. Never an indictment but a matter of course.

No packing is immune to brutal or inconsiderate handling. BUT every effort needs be made to thwart those incidents. some statements from different carriers' claims adjuster regarding the carriers policy for paying a claim point to the container the item is shipped in be "new original" factory packing. Not previously used for shipping purposes! So very often a carrier will by default say "The pakcaging was at fault".

Some carriers even demand a deductible be removed from the declared value, in the amount of some hundreds of dollars for items not being shipped by the original manufacturers facilities. Others severely limit a declared value to only $500 toatl. Some have policies that preclude high end gear being shipped by them at all! (save from those being shipped by the manufacturer)

To that end I have looked locally and online to find some better methods and products for packing and have come up with two things. Closed cell foam and plywood.

Also carriers who are not in the mainstream and there fore do not handle near the volume of package other more well known commercial shippers do. If special treatment/handling or some greater care is being sought, try some of those carriers who simply ship in less numbers. I’vve have recent good success going just that way. Yes, the prices were competitive too.

Knox Foam near Knoxville Tn among others I’m sure, offers free samples of their closed cell foam in a variety of thicknesses and consistencies. For under $50 an awful lot of foam can be had. Enough to more securely pack a bunch of components. I do mean a bunch too!

The plywood can be had far easier, and re-used more than will cardboard! Local home improvement stores will even cut the stuff up for you to enable you to make a box … if you are really concerned OR if it’s a “keeper” item and no other containers for it can be had, like for post production or discontinued models.

Trust me here, given the costs of some makers double boxing cardboard offerings and the outlay for them running Prices exceeding $100 - $130 for factory double boxing is not uncommon. IF available. If shipped, even an empty brand new cardboard box might arrive wet or with other issues.

Plywood and foam will serve one far better and for far longer, costing much less! ..and there’ll be no shipping price to get them being added on.

The whole idea is to limit our being at risk. Shipping is risky business always. On the whole however I have to admit the majority of items I’ve shipped and received in the whole of my experiences with such, resulting in exceptions remains under 25%, regardless the carrier. Seldom was/is the packing the reason for the incident. Plywood, differing densities of foam, and some thoughtfulness go a long way to providing for a positive experience.

Take nothing for granted. Ask questions. Make those demands/requests for packing and choice of carrier with some thoughtfulness. Keep copies of receipts & bills of sale. Take photos.
Photos will help out a lot.

Paying sometimes thousands of dollars for gear requires additional expense for greater care in transportation. I used to not be a very good ‘tipper’ if at all, when eating out. I was told by a former waitress I was dating that if you can’t afford to tip well you can’t afford to go out to eat.

Same thing applies here in regard to buying preowned or new gear. Save what you can on the sale price with the seller… but don’t cut corners in the areas of packing & shipping… OR “receiving”. Making every 'reasonable' effort sure helps one to lower the anxiety and serves to promote safer shipping.... as 'claims' ain't 'gim-me's'. We all play a part in the transaction.
It is recommendable to use the factory supplied packaging box: they are made for transport. For example in case of Accuphase, I always use the factory supplied box because it is the only way to ship the units. In these boxes there is a high probability the units will survive shipping. I thought JDRG units are being shipped within wooden crates or flight boxes?

Jeff Rowland Design Group (JRDG) do ship in ATA (Air Transport Association) flight cases. Compared to cardboard boxes with inserts these are relatively bullet-proof and certainly much longer lived since they are designed for re-use.

I "roadshowed" for many years with a fleet of these and never had a problem with any of my gear.

BUT nothing will truly protect delicate electronics from hard shock. Meaning that the cosmetics may be preserved but a solder joint gets busted loose.
That's a great post Blindjim. Some info in it you rarely hear. Thanks for taking the time.

Thanks... that info, just like learning to play poker, cost me some amount. I'd hate to see other's pay as dearly.

The notion of the flight cases is quite a good one too.

.,.and most recently, I've even heard tell, (though have no actual exp.) that carriers charge extra for wood crated items... Why? Splinters.... go figure.
I've even heard tell, (though have no actual exp.) that carriers charge extra for wood crated items
Blindjim (System | Reviews | Threads | Answers)

UPS charges extra for wood crated items. I was charged extra each time I shipped my wood-crated Lamm LL2 Deluxe preamp.

I didn't consider the upcharge a big deal. The wood crate with foam liner provided excellent protection for the preamp.
Tvad, approx how much is the upcharge? (ie as a % of bill)
Tvad, approx how much is the upcharge? (ie as a % of bill)
Bdgregory (System | Threads | Answers)
I don't recall.

Well, there you have it. it's extra for more protection. All the way around.


'Course there's always duct tape... or cut out cardboard + duct tape so the 'wood' isn't exposed.

I guess it always comes down to the same old question, "Just how important is it?"
Bubble wrap we like.

Peanuts NO!!!
there aregood use for peanuts- between an outer and an inner box, or between multiple, smaller, well packed boxes inside one larger box. Otherwise, yes, bubble wrap or rigid insulation foam are the way to go.
I took an idea from a seller of refurbished Marantz receivers on Ebay( who has a good reputation) and bought a large sheet of styrofoam from Home Depot, 1/2" thick( @ $10.00). I cut the styro into the shape of each box side to fit the inside of the box and doubled each side (This basically becomes like a triple boxed item) After putting the component in a sealed plastic bag, wrapping it a few times with large air bubbles, and placing it in this inner styro box, I found that the component ships very well and can take quite a beating from our friends at either fedex or UPS ground.
I am now packing all my gear that does not have it's original packing (and some that does but is inferior IMO...like my VAC 160 monoblocks) with 2" egg crate packing foam. Cut to size and doubled up where appropriate. Completely filling the empty space around the component. It works like a charm. About $11 for a 24"x48" sheet where I live. Can be expensive, but it's worth it.

DIY boxing & packing with substantial improvements via ply & foam, are IMO, the way to go. Especially if one has an item they wish to continue modding, or upgrading with the maker. Additionally, for those selling expensive one off, or no longer made products.... and for overall peace of mind.

Personally, I could care less what sort of packing (orig. or DIY) an item arrives safely within... Just so long as it DOES ARRIVE WITHOUT EXCEPTION (S).

Peace of mind is a priority for me. sometimes it has a price tag. it's price however pales in comparison to the cost of trying to regain it if some misfortune occurs, and outlay was not previously expended appropriately.

has anyone any experience with those who sell flight cases custom made for gear? Like Pelican, etc...???
Bubble wrap is great for light components, but alone isn't enough for heavy amps or speakers. Their corners will cut right through it and be destroyed the first time the package is drop-kicked. I've been the recipient of amps poorly packed in bubble wrap. Speakers too.

I have found that the solid foam insulation from home depot is great. it comes in various thickness (1" - 2") and also different densities (white vs pink). They sell it in panels 2ft x 8ft for anywhere from $5 to $12 depending on thickness and type. It also comes in 4ftx8ft size. It cuts to size very nicely.

If I use peanuts, I put them in a poly bag and seal it up with tape. It helps prevent shifting, and is also much friendlier to the receiver.
Blindjim- I just received an APL 3910 in a flight case and it arrived just fine. IIRC, they are doing a joint purchase of flight cases for 3910s (I expect that they fit most of the recent Denons) over on the apl forum.
I just bougt a Mac mc2105 it was TRIPLE boxed with a layer between each box, not flimsey boxes either these were nice heavy boxes. This thing could've been dropped from 100' and been fine.

Texro: From a 100'...? Lets try it! :-)
I just received a pair of 50 pound speakers (2 boxes) from about 100 miles away that were both smashed. Packager used quite a bit of the smaller bubble wrap, along with pieces of large styrofoam around the outer edges. The box (one box per unit) was not of high quality. Looks like I lose, because UPS will say the packager was at fault. I'm guessing the seller won't agree to a refund. Was only a few hundred dollars, but I guess I can use the damaged goods in the basement, where I happen to be nearly never. He had the right idea, and it may have worked, if he had used a sturdy box, where it wouldn't have had a chance to stretch, leaving the contents to be jarred about loose. I think the folks at UPS dropped them off the trucks, right on the top, front, edges. Smashed.
bucktwoeighty- bummer. Don't let the seller off the hook. Its his obligation to get them to you undamaged. Small bubble wrap is good for tubes, CDs, cables. Worthless for heavy items. UPS will be correct. Does not excuse their dropping them, but their standards are that the packing should allow the item to survive a drop onto concrete from 6'!! Something to do with their conveyor system. If you bought them here, the conditions of sale are very clear- its on the seller. If can't get re-imbursed by UPS, his loss, not yours. good luck.
What Swamp says is correct...

According to a higher up at manley, I was told the main thing to overcome in high end audio is the carriers. this person informed me of two places in the Fed Ex or maybe it UPS, whose major distribution hubs in Michigan & indiana have drops of 5 or 6 feet, from one conveyor belt to another.

IF during that drop the package bounces off the lower belt? It drops further onto a concrete floor!

RE 100 ft.?
Pack it back up & let's start at 20 ft. and work our way up! Video tape it and I'll buy a copy of that event!
Okay, maybe not 100', but for sure 90' :-)
Man the thing could have took a nuke.
Could have run over it with a semi
Could have given it to a gorilla...oh they already did that.... UPS
Wanna sell that box?