Audiogon members poor packing and shipping damage


Need to get this off my chest and hope it will help other members avoid shipping damage claims. I recently purchased a preamp and a pair of Magnepan 3.7 speakers off Audiogon. I am going to keep this general and leave out the member names. Both items arrived damaged and IMHO the root cause is largely very poor and careless packing.

The 3.7's had the ends of the box secured with one narrow piece of strapping tape on each end which came off during shipping and the ends of the box flapping wide open along with the outer box loose where it should have been taped. With the preamp the seller did not bother to remove the tubes or install the protective screws on the bottom that protect the internals from shipping damage.

In both instances I have taken on trying to get the problems resolved, so far at my expense, and I am just aggravated at having to do this.

I would never think of letting any piece of audio equipment leave my house so poorly packed. I routinely take hours to carefully pack and also to document the entire process with digital pics so if there are any issues with shipping I have good documentation. If you read my feedback it reflects the extra effort I take. No one will ever be able to say there was shipping damage due to my poor packing job and no box I pack is going to arrive open.

I don't know how other Audiogon members feel about this or how many other members have experienced this problem but I just want to point out that sellers have an obligation to the buyers to pack the items correctly. As we all know shipping damage claims are a super pain for all involved and especially the buyer. Right now I've got one claim going with a major shipping company and it will be weeks if I am lucky to get a resolution and my money back and also get the 3.7's back from the factory.

Just a ton of inconvenience and aggravation when I should have been able to unpack, set up, and enjoy.
etmerritt33
I completely agree with you. It is the sellers obligation to properly package all items to withstand the stresses of shipping. I have routinely created custom internal packaging to replace broken-down factory shipping materials in order to insure the buyer received the item in the best possible condition.

I too have excellent feedback that reflects the efforts I always put into packaging.

I'm really sorry you are having to deal with this. It is completely unnecessary. A little extra thought and effort, plus a few dollars in extra shipping materials, could have prevented all of this hassle.
I also agree with you guys. I go out of my way to OVER package and make sure the item will arrive in perfect shape.

I need to get this off of my chest: I have been buying ALOT of LP's recently and can't believe the improper way these are shipped! Come on guys, it's not rocket science. Whether it's a piece of gear or an LP, please ship with proper boxes and packaging and taped correctly. GEEZ.
If the seller does not have the original packaging, he should be familiar with the way new products are shipped. In the case of a heavy amplifier, the manufacturer suspends the amp in blocks of foam in a sturdy box large enough to keep the amp well away from the edges of the box. The foam is rigid enough to keep the amp from moving, but resilient enough to absorb shock. This box is then placed in another box with enough packing material between them to absorb shock and keep the inner box from shifting around. If you must use foam peanuts, the ONLY appropriate place is between the two boxes.

I once received a Hafler D-500 (a very heavy amp) that was packed in a light-weight box with nothing but peanuts. The amp was, of course, damaged and protruding from a hole it blasted in the side of the box.

AAAARRRRGGGGHHHHH!!!!

What do you say to someone who sends an email asking about damage to the corner of an item nearly 4 weeks after it was delivered? Maybe it should have been reported when it arrived??? Just had this happen. I told him to contact the shipper at his end, and that I would help in any way possible from my end. Emailed him again, but no reply.
The item was packaged with great care. If there was damage, the package was dropped from a good height.
A couple of questions, first, was everything packed in original shipping cartons? Second, if there was shipping damage, why did you accept the items? The reason for the first question is that I place high value on original manufacturer packaging, yes it adds to the buying cost, but it's worth it. If you tried to save some dough by buying something cheaper that doesn't have all of it's original packaging....well, you learned the hard way.

I asked the second question because I do not accept damaged items. I have had items damaged in shipping from me in original boxes too, and I've taken returns. So I'm wondering what type of a person would just accept damaged goods. Yes, packaging takes time and effort, but even the best packaging can be damaged in shipping. If it's well packed in original shipping container and damage occurs, the seller should be able to collect on the insurance. DO NOT ship it back without contacting the seller, or the insurance he purchased would become invalid. I've been on both ends, believe me, shipping damage claims are a MUCH bigger pain for the seller.
06-21-12: Abucktwoeighty
What do you say to someone who sends an email asking about damage to the corner of an item nearly 4 weeks after it was delivered?

I had something similar happen to me. A fellow I sold a phono preamp to contacted me 6 weeks later and said it wasn't working right. I tried to contact Fed Ex and have them look into shipping damage, but the guy never replied to my e-mails. I just gave up. I'm not a dealer, I don't have an obligation after a couple of days after receipt as far as I see it. But I'm willing to try and help someone out if I can. The buy needs to have some responsibility here. I think they need to thouroughly inspect the item within 48 hours of delivery. If the buyer can't be bothered, why should I?
Bummer-
I usually look for items with original packaging and members with excellent feedback to help elimintae this issue. I have not had any issues, thankfully. However, I do receive the occational used lp packaged horribly-tape stuck to cover, flimsy packaging. But most stuff is from guys that take care. I agree with comments that if damage isnt brought to the attention of the seller ASAP it is suspect. After 4 weeks, I dont think I would do much to help...
Agree this particular can of worms just is always a problem.
Both poor packaging and late complaints.
When i ship i make certain the item can be used as a football in a really ROUGH game, or dropped 20 feet. Because both have happened to stuff i got.

The 'used as football' came from China, and the foam saved the item 100%, I was amazed.

And yeah the idiots who stick a heavy item in a box of loose peanuts wins the idiot award every time.
And shipping is the senders problem. Any damage ultimately goes to the sender as the fall guy, if insurance fails to cover it.

I buy scrap foam, solid, and have several inches around all sides if i do not have the original packaging.

As for late complaints? over a week after item received.. forget it. No longer my problem.
Equipment should be packaged to ensure safe shipping. Not all who sell are professionals though so, mistakes can happen more often than otherwise. Its a risk. Best for the buyer to confirm details of how gear will be shipped with the seller beforehand just to be sure.
You are a tough seller Elizabeth regarding issues after receiving a unit- So if there is any issue after 7 days beyond receipt of the product by the buyer, it's the buyer's problem and not the seller's? Seems a bit unreasonable to me. For me, due to a hectic summer schedule where I was out of town 2 weekends in a row, it was 9 days after delivery before I connected a newly purchased, used tube preamp in my system. When I connected it to my setup, it did not work properly, but there was no damage to the shipping carton or the preamp. It was packed properly, other than the tubes (8) being left in the preamp during shipping. I did not complain about this, although the tubes should have been taken out (in fact I did not think to mention the tubes being left in). I guess my inexperience with tubed equipment is why I did not think about the tubes being left in the preamp. I emailed the seller who is a real gentleman, great communicator and seems to be a very nice guy, and after discussing the situation with the preamp manufacturing service center, I'm shipping the preamp for service. The seller agreed to split the cost of service since the preamp is not working properly. I think this is reasonable and fair by the seller. I'm glad his attitude is not as rigid as yours regarding the days that have gone by since the preamp was delivered. I will say that it is "my bad" that I did not address with the seller, the fact that the tubes were not taken out of the preamp and boxed separately for shipping, but again it was my inexperience and forgetting one of the rules of shipping tubed gear. In fact, I should have remembered this rule since I once owned a tubed preamp (Cary SLP 05) with 8 tubes, and when I sold it, I shipped it with the tubes in separate boxes, the same way I received it.
Careful handling during shpping would be nice, but now days the entire world's in a hurry, time = money.

I put fragile labels everywhere, with heavy insurance, things get thrown harder.

I witnessed it numerous times from the conveyors, the trucks, to the doorstep.

Pack well or pay later.
You are a tough buyer Foster_9, I think Elizabeth's rule of 7 days is adequate. The buyer has to assume some liability in this transaction and checking the gear out promptly should be expected. After all, we are not dealers selling new product here, we are hobbyists selling used gear. I think a week is sufficient time for a buyer to check out for damage. If over a week, I'd be willing to help the buyer recover possible damage claims....but you snooze, you lose in the used market. Overall I think if you don't have time to listen in a timely fashion that should become a factor in your purchasing decision. Maybe you need to buy from a dealer instead of a hobbyist. After all, how long is the seller suppose to be strung out? 10 days? 2 weeks? 1 month? 3 months? 1 year? In a previous reply here, I said I had a buyer come back to me 6 weeks after purchase and say he finally got around to trying the phono stage and that it was not working. It worked perfectly when I shipped it, how long should I wait for a buyer to honor his end of the bargain and check out the gear?

This is off-topic, since the OP did not indicate that there was a time delay before opening his new toys. If the items arrive and damage is immediately noted, the seller should hold full responsibility.
How is it that UPS / FedEx didn't pick up on the fact that the 3.7's were so poorly packed? My local shops routinely tell me the packaging has to be able to withstand a 4 foot fall on to a concrete floor… without damaging the contents. In response I typically tell them to E-mail their CEO suggesting they install rails on their conveyer system. I always go way beyond the bucket with my packaging. I’m sure the buyers must think I’m looney when they open the item.
Jmcgrogan2 we'll agree to disagree. I agree completley that your buyer contacting you after 6 weeks was ridiculous, but flexibility within reason is not a bad thing.
You have to ship things bomb proof. I use original boxes and another box with foam in it for anything I ship. When you buy something always use a CC linked to paypal and use your credit card company to get you a chargeback. If there is a claim for damage, the shipper pays the seller and the seller reimburses the buyer. I agree tubes should always be shipped in their own containers just like the way they are shipped from the dealer. Then double box for safety.
Lets to to the UPS. It is not for no reason that UPS generally only pays damage claims on electronics if the item is shipped in the manufacturers boxes and uses all he manufacturers packing materials. Even then, you have a hassel since older items did not have the packing and shipping standards that are practice today. A must is double boxing and let the UPS store do the boxing of the original boxes and packing materials. So, any buy is risky unless picked up and the seller demo's the item before your cash is in his hand. By the way, UPS can deny, out of hand, any shipment that did not use the original manufacturers packing materials and boxes.
If I do not have the original packing materials I pay FedEx or UPS to pack the items in order that if I need to place a claim they can't claim that the item was improperly packed.
A good seller packages items to withstand the worst conceivable handling for the item being shipped. This should be considered a two-way street in that there is nothing wrong with the buyer taking an interest in how an item is go be packaged, especially something heavy, big, and/or fragile.

Buyers should ask how the seller intends to package their newly purchased item, whether the original manufacturer's packaging will be used, and what shape that packaging is in. If an item has been shipped many times, the once good original packaging may no longer be adequate. I received a "new demo" NAT Symmetrical preamp (an expensive, large and quite heavy preamp) in a "wood box." Believe me, there is a world of difference between the Lamm amps I have received in their foam lined, braced, wood boxes, and this crappy NAT packaging. The preamp was essentially riding loose with minimal pieces of broken styrofoam inside of a broken thin particle board enclosure. There were not even any braces at the corners or edges - sheet rock screws drilled through small metal angles and, in some cases, drilled directly into the edges of the thin particle board, were the only supports holding the box together! And yes, the preamp was damaged when received. In this case I had asked the seller specifically about the quality of the packaging and was assured by the seller, who is an audio dealer, that the packaging was excellent. Within a day I had contacted the seller and sent digital pictures of the damage. After some negotiation, the preamp was returned.

I also agree with Elizabeth's 7-day rule. If you will not be available to take shipment, then have the seller delay sending the item. What if it arrives pancaked? Do you want the delivery person to simply drop it off on your porch? A responsible buyer should arrange to be available to receive shipment or at least to verify the condition within a day of arrival. The item should be auditioned and verified to work properly within a day, and no more than 3 days, of receiving shipment. Buying a used item from the internet is different than taking a shipment of a pair of jeans from Macy's. The buyer needs to understand the two-way communication necessary to create a win-win for both parties. Ideally, both buyer and seller need to be on their game, not only to prevent scams, etc., but simply as a matter of mutual respect.

Ask about double boxing if you belive that may be necessary. Lamm industries does not recommend shipping using any other method than FedEx Saver - which is a 3-day air method. The big shippers use third-party truckers for ground shipping and there is no QA as to how the package will be treated. Sure, air shipping methods cost extra money, but my experience is the items are handled with more care and arrive sooner (so less time in the shipper's hands), resulting in less risk of damage.

Finally, never ship big speakers solely in the manufacturer's packaging. Put them on a pallet and have them trucked. The incident of damage is just too common. Even for medium speakers, provide a minimum of auxillary packaging to protect them from drops etc. The heavier and bulkier an item is, the more likely an incident where it is dropped or falls off the dreaded conveyor.

These are my personal observations and practices and except for some early lessons learned the hard way, they have served me very well.
In the case of audiogon, where delicate items costing thousands of dollars or more are shipped regularly, its even more important than in many cases that things be done right.

A $10000 amp or pair of speakers is too costly and risky for buyer and seller to not pack properly. The cost to do so may be significant but a small % of the total cost. WHoever ends up paying for it based on negotiation, terms, whatever it has to be done.

Its both parties responsibility but the buyer is theone most likely to suffer in the case of a problem, so a smart buyer will make sure everything is in line with the seller to best assure safe shipping and perhaps insurance before the item is shipped, ideally before even payed for. If a seller would not cooperate with me on this, then I would look for another seller.

Ronald Reagan in his infinite wisdom did say it best: "Trust, but verify".
Everyone knows that shippers have the potential to really mess things up. Any package should be packed as carefully as possible. You'd have to more than a few screws loose if you just stick something haphazardly in a box and send it on its merry way.

I received something I'd won online that was used but I was happy to get it. The box it came in was bigger than the integrated itself. A few (literally) peanuts were in it. The front panel was hanging on by a single screw. A total of 11 screws were loose in the box and the unit. The unit was open on two corners. The wiring had torn away from the volume pot and there was a huge dent on the back of the unit where the speakers terminals were that matched the dent on the outside of the package where it must have been dropped from a considerable height. The reviewer who had it stated he had reassembled it properly before shipping it. Yeah, right. I was able to resurrect it with the help of a local electronics shop.

Buyer (or winner) beware.

All the best,
Nonoise
Ok Elizabeth, Mitch2, and Jmcgrogan2, the more I think about it, 7 days is the right amount of time. The more I think about it from the seller's point of view your're right. I take back what I said Elizabeth. I got lucky with this seller.
Double boxing is the minimum you should insist on. I asked my shipper to do this when he shipped a pair of speakers to me overseas.

The box arrived with one corner badly compacted. It was obviously dropped. I did a prayer. I opened the 2 boxes and discovered one speaker was improperly packed with a large foam buffer missing. The speaker had fallen on the impact to within a whisker of the bottom of the box. The double box saved it from being damaged.
I knew you'd come around Foster_9. :)
The bottom line is that the buyer does have to take some responsibility in the transaction. S/he needs to verify any issues in a resonable amount of time. Even after 6 weeks I offered to help the buyer recover some insurance money, but I guess he stopped responding once he figured out I wasn't just going to take the unit back and refund his money. I mean c'mon, 6 weeks!!! I'm not a dealer lending out equipment to demo.
Sounds like the buyer just changed his mind. I would not respond after that long.
One of the reasons why I usually use Fedex, rather than UPS. The US mail is close to the worst, I ordered a sealed copy of Janis Ian's 'Between the Lines' circa 1975 from a third party vendor. My wife found it left tucked against the mailbox on the street during torrential rainstorms yesterday. This is why the USPO should go out of business.
I have had much more transactions that didnt swap feedback and of hose numeroys deals from delicate tables to 600lb pallet shipped speakers I had only 1 issue and it wasnt end of world. Its clear the vast majority here do a fantastic job and as buyers we have to verify with conversations or photo evidence packing is acceptable if dealing with newer or less experienced sellers. If you get a bad package shipped to you then you share some of the blame, its that simple. Rant as you wish here but this thread will be lost in days, then what?
You gotta do your own homework or be prepared to gamble a bit.
You as a buyer should share none of the blame. It is the sellers responsibility to get the item to you in good shape, unless the shipper is clearly at fault. Always use paypal tied to a credit card and have the credit card company get a chargeback for you. When I buy gold it's the sellers responsibility to make sure it is shipped to me on time and undamaged. When I sell back to them, it's my responsibility to get it back to them. Sellers need to learn to pack items (even over pack it) bomb proof so that problems do not arise. They need to be responsible.
Mitch2,HERE HERE!
A couple of random thoughts and one rant, to wit:
It is the sellers responsibility to get the item to you in good shape, unless the shipper is clearly at fault.
Actually, Audiogon terms clearly state it's the sellers responsibility to get the item to you in the condition advertised. Period. The end. Whether the shipper or the seller messed up, it's the seller's responsibility to make the buyer whole.
After all, we are not dealers selling new product here, we are hobbyists selling used gear.
Would that that were true, buddy!!!
Always use paypal tied to a credit card and have the credit card company get a chargeback for you.
Obviously, you've never sold something via paypal to a sleazebag who suffered buyers' remorse, or worse yet, shorted the speaker terminals or some such abuse, and then did a charge back. I'm just one of those hobbyists like Jmcgrogan2 and I've learned through bitter experience not to take pp funded via a credit card. The seller has NO PROTECTION. You don't even get the gear back.

Remember the U-tube video of the FEDEX driver THROWING a plasma TV over a fence to make a delivery. I once saw my usually friendly, reliable UPS guy tumble a SOTA TT end over end down the length of the van so he didn't have to pick it up!!!

When packing, you have to think hard about the physics involved. Take Newton's First Law (an object at rest tends to remain at rest and an object in motion tends to remain in motion, unless acted upon by an outside force) and multiple by the 20 or 30 or even 50 THOUSAND pieces AN HOUR that a UPS or FEDEX facility handles and divide by the 6' drop onto concrete that the packaging is supposed to withstand. The result in that the likelihood that a delicate piece of electronics or a high end TT gets to its destination intact is totally dependent on the packer really truly making the darn thing bomb-proof. FRAGILE stickers are challenges to the drivers. Reinforce corners. Put heavy speakers on pallets. Suspend items w foam blocks all around. Fill voids w peanuts or bubble wrap. Make sure the item cannot shift even one mm cause once it starts to move, it's all over. (see Newtown's First Law quoted above). PRAY. Sacrifice the fatted calf (or the nearest republican). PRAY again.

End of rant. Swampwalker out.
I know what I am talking about. I have over 100 psoitive feedbacks on ebay and no negs. I had a buyer return an item and strip parts off of it. I had a police report made and paypal sided with him. Then ebay suspended him. I later replaced the parts and sold the unit for more money than I would have gotten in the first place. It is still the buyers responsibility to get the unit to the buyer in the condition described unless the seller is a ripoff. I will never rip off anyone even though I feel buyers are more crooked than sellers. Only someone without the means to even be in this hobby would have such a careless way of doing business. It's either right or wrong. Rant all you want. Like that's going to help boost your sales!
Sorry, meant to say it's the SELLERS responsibility in the 7th sentence. You also have a right to get your gear back before paying back paypal after they reimburse the buyer. Always sell items as is.
I am going through a similar thing at the moment with an
Audiogon seller. The item was not double boxed. It was
packaged with a few Styrofoam popcorns that did not provide
any protection for it. The AC adapter was cracked on arrival.
And the contents were rattling around inside the black box.
The main unit was obviously tampered with -- the back was
removed contrary to the manufacturer's warning and it was
replaced back-to-front. The item will not power up. The
seller denies all responsibility.
Turkeys there are many on Audiogon.Did these turkeys have good feedback.I would have kicked ass on such turkeys!!
Leave these Turkeys bad feedback!!
I just left negative feedback -- the first time I have ever felt it necessary to leave anything but positive feedback. I am waiting to see if Audiogon posts it.
in fairness, weird stuff does happen in shipping--i.e. meticulously packaged gear from reputable sellers which arrives mysteriously broken. been on the wrong side of that myself. however, it never ceases to amaze me how many dimwits will simply throw an expensive piece in a box without any cushion or padding, or (my irrational pet peeve) without bothering to wipe off the dust and jelly stains. in a more advanced culture, say singapore or qatar, these people would be horsewhipped or beheaded.
Loomisjohnson,
I had two mishaps recently. In one case some very expensive speakers were shipped without one of the large foam cushions. Luckily, the triple boxing I arranged saved the day -- by a fraction.

In the second case, the packaging was simply inadequate -- a small unpadded thin cardboard box inside a thin plastic post office envelope. This was inviting damage -- and the damage was done. The seller called me nuts today and has refused to take any responsibility. He says it took me a month to report this so my report has no validity. Well, it's true. It took me a month -- because, as I explained to the seller, I live in a remote area and I have to make travel arrangements for pick-ups. Having had bronchitis for the past two weeks did not help matters.

I finally picked the unit up and immediately reported to the seller why it took so long. Of course, since damage was being reported, he said the long wait made my claim invalid. This conveniently allowed him to avoid the issues -- the cracked AC adapter -- the back of the unit being taken off and replaced front-to-back -- the DOA unit. I call this seller "the seller from hell" in my negative feedback -- which is being looked over by Audiogon. We'll see if they post it.
Yep, it's all in the packing. My Allnic arrived from Korea, well packed and no problems, sooner than a microwave oven we ordered at the same time through Amazon. The microwave box was bashed, and the oven was bashed. It wasn't in a shipping package, it was just the manufacturer's box. The UPS guy- maybe he assumed I wouldn't notice the bashed in box, but he was not happy when he had to show up a couple days later to retrieve.
Maybe, as buyers, we have to converse with the seller about how they are packing- it shouldn't be our responsibility, but it could save some grief.
I think some of these problems should just be looked at as part of the discount inherent in buying used equipment. If you're not buying from professionals, then you shouldn't expect professional level service. At best you should expect well intentioned, talented amateur level quality.

It's important to remember that even for simple tasks repetition leads to increased competence. If someone has never shipped a tube amplifier and they don't have the original packaging, then what are the real chances of them doing it right the first time? At best I say it's a hit or miss proposition. Now if it's the third of fourth time they are shipping one I would imagine they've worked out the kinks.

As a practical matter as part of negotiation include details of your expectations about shipping.

Question -- as a buyer do you pay more for items that include the original packaging? Also, for expensive items, doesn't it make sense for both the seller and the buyer to obtain the manufacturer's packaging even if it adds a few hundred dollars to the price of the transaction?
If you know how to pack, you can use original packing and still add to the inside then double box it or box it better than the original dealer did. If someone ships something to me packed with a careless attitude, I'll put in a claim, send it back and buy another one from someone else. It's simply being responsible on the sellers part.
Most packaging is more than adequate. It's just too bad that the shipping giants are allowed to get away with the harsh handling of packages. Time is money, and they have no time to be careful. They only see $$$, and their carelessness then becomes our fault.
06-29-12: Onhwy61
Question -- as a buyer do you pay more for items that include the original packaging? Also, for expensive items, doesn't it make sense for both the seller and the buyer to obtain the manufacturer's packaging even if it adds a few hundred dollars to the price of the transaction?

Excellent question Onhwy61 and one I brought up before which was never answered by the OP. Were these damaged items shipped in original packaging?

As a buyer and seller, I only buy/sell items with original packaging. Yes, it adds more to the price as it should, but it is worth it when considering the shipping risks that are undertaken. Yes, I know that original packaging doesn't guarantee shipping success, but it makes success much more likely AND helps when having to file a damage claim.

I feel little sympathy for those who try to save extra money by buying items without proper packaging who later get a shipping *surprise*. Cheaper is not always the best way to go.
Sabai - I'm not positive your negative feedback will ever be posted. I have similar experience once, gave the seller a well deserved negative feedback (for the first time in 8 years !) but he instantly disputed it.

AudiogoN took the sellers side (even though I supplied them with a detailed explanation and images), claiming that over 3 weeks has passed since the seller had shipped the unit he had no control over what was happening with the unit in that time. They did not even want to listen when I told them that I'm from Poland (which makes the shipping take longer) and showed them the paper with the date unit was delivered to me.
Cheaper is not always the best way to go.
No way to argue w that, since it's true but I will caution that original packing is not always all its cracked up to be, esp if:
1. Its old.
2. It's been shipped back and forth across the country 20X
3. It's been left in a damp basement and the corrugated has started to soften up.
Not trying to be negative or trolling, just wanted to point out that there a constraints on the utility of original packing. I once bought a CDP w original packing that was so worn out, the entire carton had to be covered in packing tape to keep it from decomposing on the spot. Luckily it was overpacked into a new carton w 2" of peanuts in between!
Its rather simple, if your a buyer pay with paypal.If damaged you go to PP site and request a refund..your done except shipping it back.Seller deal with insurance claim.Once you have proof through a tracking number PP refunds 100% of the time..as a seller I only have authorized UPS pack and ship,if damaged they deal with it,again Im out of it
Swampwalker...lol!! You are right of course, I guess I've been fortunate in that I've never received any original packaging that was in such horrible condition and I take proper precautions when storing my equipment boxes. It does make you wonder though, just what kind of people own some of this high price gear. Not just boxes, I've seen equipment with huge dings, dents, scratches, discoloration, etc. I'm constantly amazed how folks can spend so much money and care so little for these items. I guess the answer is to some a couple grand is not so much money. ;)
Elberoth2,
I think this will be the same outcome in my case. I live in a remote area and it took weeks for me to to have it shipped over and to arrange pick-up. The seller is not interested at all in hearing the reason for this delay -- of course. If he hears it then he will have to respond to the issues -- item damaged on arrival -- poor packaging, which he denies -- and item tampered with -- back removed and improperly replaced -- for who knows what reason. He actually did respond to the latter point -- by claiming the shipper must have tampered with it !! My only recourse may be to try to post the details on the forum.
Sabai, post the details, and I hope you used paypal and put in a claim. I would not buy a thing from anyone on here that are making excuses for an item being old, shipped 20X, old original boxes etc. Those people are irresponsible sellers with no ethics or just trying to get rid of junk at the expense of someone else. Conveyor belts travel at 25 mph so you need to double box even if using original packaging and re-enforce the inside and outside of the inner box on all sides top and bottom.
I have so often commented about UPS, but will reiterate. I cannot imagine how they stay in business. They are more expensive that FedEx Ground and only note the "shock in their system" to account for damage done in their shipping.

This case really sounds like seller's incompetence in packing, however. I certainly have experienced this. Once when I still used UPS, I went out to their office to pick up a turntable. I took one look at the package with holes and open flaps and refused it. I am not sure that is even an option anymore. The seller was outraged. I told him to learn to pack.
This is turning into an excellent thread to help newer members understand the risks associated with buying and selling online, and steps they can take to avoid problems. The collective experience here is impressive. Unfortunately, we are mostly "preaching to the choir," since the folks on this thread are not the ones causing the problems.
IMO, the collective quotes below are priceless as a guide to staying out of trouble when buying and selling on this site;
I routinely take hours to carefully pack and also to document the entire process with digital pics so if there are any issues with shipping I have good documentation. If you read my feedback it reflects the extra effort I take.
It is the sellers obligation to properly package all items to withstand the stresses of shipping.
A little extra thought and effort, plus a few dollars in extra shipping materials, could have prevented all of this hassle.
I go out of my way to OVER package and make sure the item will arrive in perfect shape.
If you must use foam peanuts, the ONLY appropriate place is between the two boxes.
I place high value on original manufacturer packaging, yes it adds to the buying cost, but it's worth it. If you tried to save some dough by buying something cheaper that doesn't have all of it's original packaging....well, you learned the hard way.
I do not accept damaged items.
If it's well packed in original shipping container and damage occurs, the seller should be able to collect on the insurance. DO NOT ship it back without contacting the seller, or the insurance he purchased would become invalid.
The buyer needs to have some responsibility here. I think they need to thoroughly inspect the item within 48 hours of delivery.
I usually look for items with original packaging and members with excellent feedback to help eliminate this issue.
When i ship i make certain the item can be used as a football in a really ROUGH game, or dropped 20 feet. Because both have happened to stuff i got. And yeah the idiots who stick a heavy item in a box of loose peanuts wins the idiot award every time.
Best for the buyer to confirm details of how gear will be shipped with the seller beforehand just to be sure.
I put fragile labels everywhere, with heavy insurance, things get thrown harder. I witnessed it numerous times from the conveyors, the trucks, to the doorstep. Pack well or pay later.
The buyer has to assume some liability in this transaction and checking the gear out promptly should be expected.
UPS generally only pays damage claims on electronics if the item is shipped in the manufacturers boxes and uses all he manufacturers packing materials.
So, any buy is risky unless picked up and the seller demo's the item before your cash is in his hand.
If I do not have the original packing materials I pay FedEx or UPS to pack the items in order that if I need to place a claim they can't claim that the item was improperly packed.
there is nothing wrong with the buyer taking an interest in how an item is going be packaged, especially something heavy, big, and/or fragile.
never ship big speakers solely in the manufacturer's packaging. Put them on a pallet and have them trucked.
It's both parties responsibility but the buyer is the one most likely to suffer in the case of a problem, so a smart buyer will make sure everything is in line with the seller to best assure safe shipping and perhaps insurance before the item is shipped, ideally before even paid for. If a seller would not cooperate with me on this, then I would look for another seller.
You'd have to more than a few screws loose if you just stick something haphazardly in a box and send it on its merry way.
The bottom line is that the buyer does have to take some responsibility in the transaction.
You gotta do your own homework or be prepared to gamble a bit.
Audiogon terms clearly state it's the sellers responsibility to get the item to you in the condition advertised.
I've learned through bitter experience not to take pp funded via a credit card. The seller has NO PROTECTION. You don't even get the gear back.
in fairness, weird stuff does happen in shipping--i.e. meticulously packaged gear from reputable sellers which arrives mysteriously broken.
I think some of these problems should just be looked at as part of the discount inherent in buying used equipment. If you're not buying from professionals, then you shouldn't expect professional level service. At best you should expect well intentioned, talented amateur level quality. It's important to remember that even for simple tasks repetition leads to increased competence.
I will caution that original packing is not always all its cracked up to be, esp if:
1. Its old.
2. It's been shipped back and forth across the country 20X
3. It's been left in a damp basement and the corrugated has started to soften up.
As a practical matter as part of negotiation include details of your expectations about shipping.
I feel little sympathy for those who try to save extra money by buying items without proper packaging who later get a shipping *surprise*. Cheaper is not always the best way to go.
In summary, as a buyer it is best to;
1.Buy from experienced sellers, or accept the potential for additional risks,
2.Communicate directly with the seller and take an active role in how your new item will be packaged and shipped, and
3.Be available to inspect the item upon arrival and promptly contact the seller if there are problems.