Another UPS Horror Story


I bought an Allnic T1500 amp here earlier this month. It was shipped in the original packaging by a UPS store from NJ to Seattle, fully insured. It arrived with a hole in the bottom corner and substantial damage to the amp (subchassis bent). I contacted the seller who refused my refund request and I processed a UPS claim.

UPS picked it up and did an inspection at their customer service center. They found no damage to the box (I have photos of the 6" hole in the bottom), did not look inside and have now sent it back to the NJ. Once again the seller has refused to refund my payment claiming he doesn't have the money to refund.

At this point the shipper will have my original payment plus the damaged unit, which might be repairable. Can a UPS claim be appealed? Can a UPS Store be sued in small claims?

I know I should never have given this back to UPS for "inspection". My best hope is that once it gets back to NJ they will ship it to the Allnic recommended repair shop in Pennsylvania and it can be fixed.
jarrett
If you used Paypal, you can still open a Paypal dispute to get your refund.
If paypal has available balance. Cliche.
UPS rarely pays insurance claims and always denies.
Don't count on it ! that unit might spend the next few months being shipped back and forth. I have seen this with a pair of speakers!! If something shows up broke, you get it fixed and see if the seller will help with costs. But never ship the unit back to UPS they are so stupid about these returns. Meanwhile your unit is bouncing around on some UPS package car or center (this is not good for electronics) this dose not help anything. File a claim sure, but don't ship the unit until you get your money first. Hey good luck .
I had a similar experience and Rogue sent me a new amp to replace the damaged unit

fwiw

good luck to you
sorry to hear about your loss.

i think if you've read the numerous other stories here,
you could have avoided the doubling of your misery.

first off, the seller is responsible for getting you the
item in working,non-damaged order. It is not acceptable
for the seller to throw up his hands and say, it's not my
fault

But secondly, and more important, you never should let
the damaged item leave your hands. have the inspection
done at your home by a UPS person. Also be aware, this
person, while he may sympathize with you and appear to be
your advocate, they are likely not the decision maker on
the claim being paid. Also, if my the amazing grace of
god, the claim gets paid, it is the seller who receives
the claims money. So, the jerk, who refused to help you
from square one, now has the broken item , your purchase
money, and the claims money.

once they take the package, it gets really mis-handled
from there. The box it came in as already been
compromised, and they take no steps once in their hands
to change that, meaning further and further damage

i've held the item which gave me time to try to work
things out with the seller, PayPal, and however else---i
let the package go using a Call Tag once things were
resolved.
Since the shipper buys the insurance from UPS he is the insured party and he has to file the claim with UPS, which is why they sent it back to him. Not that that does any good because UPS and other shippers are notoriously bad about paying for damage.

Here is what Audiogon has to say about your situation in the Support Center:

What if an item is damaged in shipping?

If an item is damaged in shipping, you should contact the seller immediately so that a Damage Claim is filed.

***The responsibility of pursuing a Damage Claim is solely with the seller,***

however, you will need to cooperate with the with the seller and the shipping company in any manner requestsed. Often, the shipping company will come back to pick it up, or inspect the package in your home.

•Keep all of the packing materials exactly as you received it.

•Do not attempt to use the item or plug it in, which may result in further damage.

•Do not attempt to disassemble or repair the item unless the seller first agrees.

•Take photos of the item and the packing materials as soon as possible.

If a seller and a buyer cannot agree on a course of action to follow, a Dispute may be filed with Audiogon here.

//////////

It looks like you're going to have to file a Dispute with Audiogon.
"What has brown done for you?" have not heard that one lately,should be "What has brown done TO you" but that is a dead horse that is not going to get up and trot.
First thing,at the sign of significant damage,as in this case,the package should be refused and sent back to the seller,the name on the insurance form,that,as noted above,is the person to deal with the damage.
I think it may be time to consider using Escrow.com,they are partnered with PayPal now and can offer services for items under 5,000$.
Audiogon means well,but when the rubber meets the road your bucks are frozen and what little heat they can apply will not defrost your cash in your direction.
Lesson learned ..... Communicate with your seller and ask for pictures of the packing job and make comments and suggestions to protect yourself.On the sending end...overpack and insulate and use FedEx.Then overpack again and add more reinforcent.So let the "reinforcement be with you".I consider myself lucky on both ends of selling and getting sold to,but this is a profound reminder that your audio dreams can quickly turn into a nightmare especially if your hard earned dollars have been spent and the seller can't act in a responsible manner via a refund.
To close,as I opened,i will again caution against UPS as a transporter and ask what others experience,or thoughts with Escrow.com.My brain still sizzles with the sight of a small FedEx female driver pulling up to the front door and nonchalantly throwing a hundred pound package on her shoulder.I knew how heavy that box was and let her know it is fragile and she will have to carry it at least 75 feet...her response "No problem,we are good" and we were.
Yes, recently had a 55+, female UPS employee, about 5'4", struggle with two 130 pound packages, clearly labeled. Needless to say, at some point, they had been turned upside down and their tops crushed, probably while she struggled with them in my parking lot. A strong, big man would have struggled with them and UPS was out of its mind to have her deliver them in one of their regular trucks.

Shipper should have freighted them but UPS said they could handle it and save him some money. Fortunately, I found replacement cabinets for these discontinued, $12K speakers
so the seller saved himself about $50 shipping and the new cabinets only cost $1400. Oh well, a penny saved...
No pay from UPS, the international seller of $60K multi-unit speakers had "not packed them properly."

This has happened to me before with UPS. I've been told items fall off the loading conveyor going into the plane and, in the instance of an amplifier dropped hard enough to burst its stainless steel chassis, sometimes land flat. You won't even see the damage until you unpack or if really unfortunate, fire it off and it goes up in smoke.

I have found UPS to pay (twice) if the item is packed by one of their shipping stores, with additional insurance, so add 30% to that estimated cost and you may be able to avoid this issue. (but probably not).
My most recent experience with UPS was similarly horrendous. I sold a pair of pristine monitor speakers last summer and shipped them insured (in the original boxes, packing materials and with additional cushioning by me) to the buyer in NYC, who is about 200 miles away from me. One arrived with the tweeter damaged. The buyer notified UPS of the damage, the buyer carefully repacked the speaker, per my instructions and UPS picked up the package and sent it to their insurer. NOTE: that the insurer is a third party and not part of UPS and that a UPS store is similarly not part of UPS, rather they pay a fee to UPS to use the UPS name and the UPS shipping services.
The insurer denied the claim, saying the speaker had been improperly packaged. The damaged speaker was then returned by the insurer to the UPS store from which I had shipped it. Upon its arrival, I insisted that the store manager and I open the returned speaker package together. Upon doing so, it was obvious to the manager and I that the speaker had been mispackaged and that the manufacturers foam shipping protectors hadn't been installed as they rested at the bottom of the box under the speaker. As a result, the speaker had been bouncing around in its box and now had several chips and dimples along with the damaged tweeter. I was irate.
The store manager then began to take issue with my version of what had transpired, even going so far as to suggest that the speaker might have been damaged prior to my shipping it! Fortunately, I had taken numerous clear pictures of all speaker surfaces, their respective serial numbers as well as their drivers. The pictures were taken in two steps showing the speakers: 1. Prior to packing and 2. During the step-by-step packing process, showing my use of the factory materials and the additional packing materials. I showed the pictures to the store manager and he had no choice but to agree that what I was saying about the preshipped condition of the speakers was true. At this point, he told me that UPS claim issues are always very difficult to resolve and that they are time consuming. He volunteered to deal with UPS directly as he is prohibited from allowing direct customer contact with either the insurer or UPS personnel.
The resolution process took about 4-5 weeks and fortunately, the buyer was patient and understanding. During the claim resolution process I was required to also provide, for the insurer, additional information including: 1. the Audiogon trail of sale transaction emails and the purchase agreement with the buyer showing the price paid for the speakers, 2. documentation from the North American distributor of the speaker showing its new price and the price of its component pieces such as the drivers.
Finally, the claim was settled, but not at the value for which I insured the speaker (approximately half of their MSRP). Had I not accepted their lower-than-insured offer, they would've claimed the damaged speaker and provided me the insured value (approximately half of their MSRP). That would've left me with one speaker and about 1/2 the purchase price of a new one. Further complicating the issue is that the manufacturer will only sell the speakers as a matched pair and they won't separately sell a cabinet. The insurer was aware of this and thus made me a partial offer.
The buyer, was very gracious and agreed to accept the damaged speaker along with a new tweeter and remuneration from me for the cabinet damage.
Over this process, I learned that UPS will package your shipment at a cost of $20 per box and should there be damage that your claim will be immediately settled. Should you choose to go this route, I would be clear as to what documentation, etc. is required by them so that they will honor a damage claim.
This UPS experience was the single worst customer service experience I've ever had and I highly recommend that UPS not be used. If you have no alternative but to use them, I strongly suggest that you document everything and have a clear understanding with the UPS store of what a potential claim would entail.
Good luck with your claim.
Mike
"***The responsibility of pursuing a Damage Claim is solely with the seller,***

however, you will need to cooperate with the with the seller and the shipping company in any manner requestsed. Often, the shipping company will come back to pick it up, or inspect the package in your home."

Correct. But you should have never accepted the package in the first place. If you see damage on the box, never accept it until you open it. Yes, I know, UPS isn't supposed to do that. But UPS does a lot of things they're not supposed to do. Sometimes the driver is nice and wants to help out, or he may just be too lazy to drag a heavy power amp or speakers back to the truck. But if you show them where there may be legitimate damage, they always let me open the box. If they don't open the box don't take it. Next time use Fedex Ground. They suck too, but every legitimate claim I ever had, they paid.

"At this point the shipper will have my original payment plus the damaged unit, which might be repairable. Can a UPS claim be appealed? Can a UPS Store be sued in small claims?"

Yes, and you can most likely get your money back. Most people will tell you that its not worth it, for what ever reason they come up with. But, in fact, there's a lot of information about small claims court that the average person just doesn't know. They just assume its like a regular court and base their opinions on something they don't really know about. I would consider filing a claim with both UPS and the seller. Maybe just to UPS first and see if you can get them to write you a check just because they see you're serious. But before you do anything, you need to read one (or both) of these books.

Everybody's Guide to Small Claims Court (Everybody's Guide to Small Claims Court. National Edition) Paperback – March 31, 2014

How to Win Your Case In Small Claims Court Without a Lawyer Paperback – January, 2009

Follow the steps that these books lay out and you should be able to get a 100% refund plus all court costs. Given that UPS is a national company and knows they will probably loose the case, I would be stunned if you actually had to go to trial. But don't take anyone's word for it, just read the book.
Hopefully you used PayPal, and just take your refund. You do NOT have to wait for the seller to get his money problems fixed, that is his problem. If PayPal balks or hesitates, just contact the bank of the credit card you used. I have found that is the quickest route. That leaves you and your bank out of the loop, and PayPal and the seller can fight out who pays for it.

Here is the way to handle a situation like this:

Seller does not release the product until he has been paid. If you get a damaged product, you do not release the product until your money has been refunded. No package moves, to or fro, without payment, unless negotiated otherwise.
Your in a world of hurt.
"They found no damage to the box (I have photos of the 6" hole in the bottom)"

Where did the box with the 6" hole mysteriously disappear.
UPs has an insurance division last time I checked to handle claims like this. If UPS was responsible for teh damage, then you need to talk to a mgr there and state your case clearly. That should be all that's needed as best I can tell.

Disclaimer: I worked in systems development in UPS for several years so I know a little about teh company but it has been awhile.
I have a sneaking suspicion that the claim inspector in most cases will try to shift the blame to the shipper. I.e., if it had been carefully packed, e.g. Box within box, damage would not have occurred. It's a Catch 22. This supports a strategy of pick up locally only, especially if shipping all the way across country is the alternative.
The best insurance is in the precautions you (or your seller) take in packaging and shipping the item being sold.

The Allnic T1500 amp has a shipping weight of 48 pounds and appears to be well constructed but fragile with respect to damage that could occur upon an impact.

Original mfgs. packaging is usually ok for lighter items but, amplifiers, monitor speakers, and expensive electronics, IMO, should always be double boxed inside of a sturdy, heavy duty cardboard, or wood, outer box with at least an inch of foam or other impact damping material (not peanuts) between the inner (mfgs.) box and the outer box. The mfgs. box should have sufficient inner packing material to keep things in their place if (when) they are jostled about but, the outer box is the one that should be designed to take a hit and, along with the one inch of foam between the boxes, to safeguard the mfgs. box in the event it is dropped.

IME, any type of floorstanding speaker that you cannot afford to have damaged should be strapped to a pallet and shipped by a trucking company.

It has long been my belief that the seller owes the buyer the purchased item in its as-described condition and that the item is the seller's responsibility until it arrives safely to the buyer. As others have pointed out, the shipping industry supports this in that the seller/shipper pays the shipping company for shipping and insurance, and claims are made by, and paid to, the seller/shipper, not the buyer/receiver. The only control the buyer/receiver has is to review the packaging upon delivery and, if badly damaged, either not accept delivery or arrange to open and inspect the item in the presence of an agent of the shipping company to look for obvious damage before accepting it. Another consideration is that (I have been told) UPS/FedEx have certain insurance limits (I think maybe $5K) above which they internally require special inspections and presumably apply extra scrutiny to the drivers to take precautions. For items valued near or above the threshold amount, paying the extra insurance may provide you with extra care by the shipping company and the driver/delivery person.

I understand that, in this case, the horse is out of the barn already, and I am sorry for your troubles, but the above practices have worked out well for me and I thought might be beneficial to the discussion.

One final thought is that the seller's attitude and response to you are unacceptable here so if, after an honest attempt to give the seller a chance to own up, I agree with others that you should file a complaint with A'gon and take whatever other avenues you have to rectify the situation.
I had someone tell me they double boxed items so the outer box is too big to throw and catch.

It may be a good tactic but it certainly makes you think...
it's not the throw and catch you have to worry about, it's the 6' fall from the high speed conveyor onto the concrete floor of the sorting center. Onc3 you realize that is the major risk, you can pack accordingly. IOW, after packing, the item should be able to survive a 6' straight drop onto concrete, hitting on a corner. Also make sure that the item cannot shift AT ALL inside the box. Last time I sent a high value item by UPS, insured for $3K, they shook it like a maraca (I knew that the cable could not be damaged) and when they heard it shift the tiniest bit, they opened it and added more padding. Also remember that the insurance is mostly good only when they lose something, which is not very often. Otherwise, they will fight like the dickens to avoid payment. In that regard, the post office is MUCH better.

And there is no doubt that it is the seller's responsibility to pack it safely and make sure it arrives undamaged.
This original Allnic packaging is double boxed, although not with any real space between the inner and out boxes. I have a few Allnic pieces and they seem to make it from Korea to Seattle just fine by USPS.

Crawford Insurance is who UPS uses for inspection, although I doubt anyone actually looked at the box.

I agree that I bought a working item and received a non-working one and its the sellers reposnisbility to pay.
Jazzcourier pretty much nailed it - overpack and hope for the best. I have had better experience with FedEx and USPS rather than UPS. If you must use UPS, the UPS Stores are a waste of money, pack it yourself, drop it off at a UPS depot and you will be better served for far less money...

-RW-
One final recommendation - it it is at all feasible, DO NOT SHIP. I have driven up to 500 miles to pickup a piece of gear and found the time and expense well worth it.

And for gear like turntables, I simply will not ship at all. If it cannot be picked up, no sale will ensue...

-RW-
I love UPS
For items that might be damaged (I've had several tube amps destroyed by ground shipping) I ship FedEx 2nd day Air & over pack it - not cheap but a lot less handling involved.
"03-29-15: Syntax
I love UPS"

I think you forgot to take your meds.
Never had any problems in 40 years.
Jarrett,

Your cautionary tale is regrettable but not unfamiliar. IMO, your issue is not with the seller, but with UPS (only). The seller had it packed and shipped by a national carrier. How was he to know it would be damaged in shipment? Why should he now receive back a damaged amp? That's hardly fair! I agree with Rlwainwright that pickup is the best option. That way you can, in most cases, audition the item before you pay for it. I look for sellers within 400 miles of my home so that I can do just that. I know this advice doesn't help now but buying an amp from 3000 miles away DOES increase your chances of having the experience you describe.

No need to make responses that I'm overly cautious and many have had "wonderful experience" buying here on Audiogon and shipping thousands of miles without issue. Every transaction has the potential for disaster. I have never had a problem buying here but if a problem develops, it can be a nightmare and you end up blaming everyone. But again, your issue is with the shipper not the seller. I hope this ends well for you.
I'm sorry but a stand up dealer would replace the unit and deal with UPS. Why should it be your problem to deal with damaged goods through shipping when you didn't ship it regardless of how well it was packaged? Many years back I shipped a TT that was double boxed and shipped as it was originally. It arrived to the buyer trashed, apparently dropped. I suppose I could have said to the buyer the tt is insured, you deal with UPS. I didn't I left it up to him to tell me how I could make it right for him. He requested a refund which I did. It's just bad business to leave the burden on the victim, in this case the purchaser. A cautionary emphasis would be that prior to accepting a package make certain there is no obvious damage and if so, do not accept! Rarely will you get the opportunity to open and inspect prior to signing. I do expect that the seller did require a signature for delivery? Justlisten sums it up nicely, NEVER ship back to UPS, that is just going to create a greater quagmire to an already unpleasant experience.

So far as UPS is concerned, since that incident I have not used them for ANY shipping, it was the 2nd incident for me. They finally paid up the insured amount but only after I pushed them hard and provided photos from the purchaser including an onsite inspection at this home and several phone conversations with their claims department.
Actually, this is the first instance of equipment damage I have experienced through any carrier and I have been doing this for 50 years.

As I see it, I was sold a working piece of equipment and I received a non-working unit. Either it was packed properly and UPS damaged it or it was not packed properly and the seller/UPS Store is liable. I suspect that the seller packed it himself since it was in the original Allnic shipping cartons and then dropped it at the UPS Store.

The amp is supposed to be back at the UPS Store Wednesday so I will wait until then to hear what the seller intends to do. Since the amp is certainly DOA, regardless of UPS' ridiculous "no external damage" assessment, one would expect the UPS Store to file an appeal but who knows.

I will be filing today a New Jersey Consumer and BBB complaint against the UPS Store and I have filed a small claims case in Seattle against the local UPS office. The small claims may be pointless but it's only $20 to file and you can do it by mail.
Jarrett- Your post is a little ambiguous, so pardon me if you know this. You may need to file small claims against UPS Store, which is an independent business, and UPS itself.
Jarrett, so it sounds as if you paid with check, wire transfer or money order.
Next time use a credit card through PayPal and you won't have to deal with this issue.
Yes, you may still receive damaged goods, but you would have your money back by now.
Dealing with the shipping company and insurance is not the buyer's problem.
So the package has made it's way back east to Horsham, PA. Now the expected delivery date back to the UPS Store is April 6, one week from today. It's about 60 miles from Horsham to Lanoka Harbor NJ and UPS of course has no information why the delivery date has been pushed out so far.
Yes, I did file a small claims against UPS. I intend to also file against the UPS Store but that's in NJ and I am in Seattle.
UPS- Unlimited Package Smashers
"03-30-15: Jarrett
Yes, I did file a small claims against UPS. I intend to also file against the UPS Store but that's in NJ and I am in Seattle."

This a very good thing for you. File a small claims suit in Seattle. The law is that wherever a company does business, even if its far away, they can be sued in a local court. UPS would have to send someone to Seattle. If they don't, you win by default.
So the amp is back at the UPS store. Here is an email I just got from the seller, petro1511:

"So they are calling in a fraud/security inspector. To open the box because they say the hole in the box is not the same as your pictures. And now the security guy has to open the box. And they also say you wanted the money for the claim and the amp. The inspector would be there end of the week they will call me. And BTW they don't want to deal with you anymore. Guy will open box. Inspect amp and then we go from there. You've done enough, I will deal with them and try to get a total loss claim."

It looks like UPS is claiming I damaged the amp myself and put a hole in the box to justify it. Gets better all the time.
Who paid for the insurance? Normally it is the seller/shipper. Whomever paid for the freight/insurance and has their name on the claim form, that is who should be dealing with the claim and UPS.
The seller needs to refund your money yesterday!!
Let him and UPS handle their problem.
Yes, the seller had the insurance, which I covered in my total payment.
The seller's name is on the UPS paperwork, that means he is responsible for handling the claim. Which means that any money refunded will go to him.
As a buyer, what happens between him and UPS is not your business. The seller did not send you the T1500 before you paid for it, you should not have released the T1500 back to UPS until you had your money returned. That's the way the system is designed to work.
Fussing with UPS and the insurance is not your problem, it is the seller's problem. I have dealt with this from both sides, the seller is screwing you, not UPS.
Ask the seller for a copy of all of his communications with UPS.
Jmcgroan2 is correct. It is the sellers responsibility to deal with UPS. You should receive a refund from the seller and be done with it! Been there done that!
"04-01-15: Jmcgrogan2
Who paid for the insurance? Normally it is the seller/shipper. Whomever paid for the freight/insurance and has their name on the claim form, that is who should be dealing with the claim and UPS.
The seller needs to refund your money yesterday!!
Let him and UPS handle their problem."

Just to clarify that, its not really insurance. Well it is when you buy it, you find out its really not when you have a claim. They just charge you a fee based on your declared value. Its not an insurance contract of any kind.

"04-01-15: Jmcgrogan2
The seller's name is on the UPS paperwork, that means he is responsible for handling the claim. Which means that any money refunded will go to him."

For the most part, that's true. The buyer is responsible as well. They don't have to do as much, but there's a basic amount of cooperation that is required of the buyer. If you can get the seller to work with you and deal with UPS, one of the things that I do put the buyer at ease, and make the claim goes faster, is to tell the shipper that any refund goes directly to the buyer. I also give them all the info regarding the claim, so that they can check on things, wherever they want, without having to go through me. It also makes the claim go quicker. By not taking the refund check, It removes any type of unethical motive on the shippers behalf. It cuts the investigation time down.

But really, this is not something you should be worrying too much about. If you read one of those books I recommended in my first post, you'll just get all of your money back plus all expenses using small claims court. I wouldn't loose a minutes sleep over it.
Zd542, yes, the buyer should certainly help out the seller process his claim, and I have done that. However, the shipping company does not pick up the package and take it away until I have my money back.

Just as the seller doesn't ship until he is paid, the same process works in reverse. The package doesn't leave the buyer's care until his funds have been returned. It's really not that complicated.
What would you do with no UPS??
"04-01-15: Jmcgrogan2
Zd542, yes, the buyer should certainly help out the seller process his claim, and I have done that. However, the shipping company does not pick up the package and take it away until I have my money back. "

I didn't know you could do that. For the most part, though, I use Fedex Ground and not UPS, so they must have different rules. What do you do if the buyer doesn't accept the package? I'm guessing that you just wait until the box gets back to you first, and then file a claim.
"What would you do with no UPS??"

Use FedEx for my transactions, which is what I do already.

The rest, I'd let Amazon figure out!

John
04-03-15: Zd542
I didn't know you could do that. For the most part, though, I use Fedex Ground and not UPS, so they must have different rules. What do you do if the buyer doesn't accept the package? I'm guessing that you just wait until the box gets back to you first, and then file a claim.

Actually, the normal claim process you cannot take the box to UPS/FedEx and ship it back. They have to send an agent to your home to inspect it and pick it up. I had this happen just about two months ago. The seller made arrangements for FedEx to come to my house and pick up the damaged unit. I had the seller return my money before I agreed to wait around for hours for FedEx to arrive. After all, he would not have shipped the package to me if I hadn't paid him first. The process works the same in reverse.

So yes, I assisted the seller in filing his claim. I took photos of the box and unit, and spent 6 hours waiting for FedEx. However, I get my money refunded first. I have done this from the other end too. That is what being a good seller is all about. A buyer should not get screwed due to a shipping problem, that is the risk of the seller, who packed and took out the insurance.

If a buyer refuses delivery because of a damaged looking box, I would ask them to take photos for me, then I would refund their money before I received the unit back. The seller waiting to process a claim through his insurance should not tie up the buyer.

In my example, I received my money back a couple months ago. The seller received the item back, confirmed that it was malfunctioning, and sold it again, as is, stating that the left channel was malfunctiong, for just over half of what I paid for it. He is still waiting for the insurance claim to clear. Should the buyer be forced to wait 2, 3, 4 months or longer for a claim to process? I don't think so.
Well in my case the seller, which I didn't know upfront, has no money to refund back. I spoke with his arresting officer in NJ and his wages and everything else get garnished by the court.

Also, since the amp was damaged beyond repair, my holding on to it and not giving it back to UPS would have really not made any difference. I would just have a 60 pound doorstop sitting around.

UPS is supposed to be inspecting the amp today.
Next time use a credit card through PayPal. Problem solved.
I even got my money refunded when I bought from a crook and never received my purchase.
Paying with cash, check, money order is too risky these days, I only do it if I know the seller well.
The seller is responsible to work with you period. Do not let him off the hook.

Never, never, never, ship a heavy and expensive amp with UPS or Fedex. Always go to a trucking company like Pilot Freight and arrange for dock to dock delivery. You drop it off at the dock and the buyer picks it up at the dock. Your amp will be shrink wrapped to a pallet all by itself and it will stay on that pallet until the buyer picks it up. I do it all the time. It is the only way to ship a heavy and expensive piece of gear. UPS and Fedex will break it. It will get abused. It will get dropped, turned every which way from Adam, and dropped again.

They are not set up to handle heavy and fragile gear folks. I had too many broken amps show up to ever use them again on heavy gear.
"Actually, the normal claim process you cannot take the box to UPS/FedEx and ship it back. They have to send an agent to your home to inspect it and pick it up. I had this happen just about two months ago. The seller made arrangements for FedEx to come to my house and pick up the damaged unit. I had the seller return my money before I agreed to wait around for hours for FedEx to arrive. After all, he would not have shipped the package to me if I hadn't paid him first. The process works the same in reverse."

I know that they send someone out to look at the damages and to pick up the package. I just never thought about keeping the box until a refund was issued. I just figured them taking possession of the item was a prerequisite for any type of claim to be paid to you. That's good to know.

Just to note, I use Fedex ground for shipping audio components and the few claims I did have, got paid. And for the right amounts. Once it was established that there was, in fact, shipping damage, and confirmed what the real value of the item was (the items new list price, along with the price from the add or auction that it sold for), we got paid with no problems. I at least have to give them credit for that. Fedex did end up doing the right thing with all my claims. I think where some people have problems, is when they try to take advantage. I know people that always declare a value that is far more than what the item is worth. (I'm not saying that's the case here, its just a general observation.)