Buyer is claiming damage that was done by him!


Hi group,
I sold a pair of mint Harbeths. I shipped them in original double boxed carton with original bonnets covering them. I just received this EMAIL from the buyer. I know that many ruin these speakers trying to pry  the magnetic grills off incorrectly. What is my recourse with this issue?
Thanks  much for your input!

This is the EMAIL I received from the buyer!

Hi. I picked up the speakers from FedEx yesterday. They arrived with some minor dents around the front top corners near the grille on both speakers. When I opened the outer box, I've noticed that one side of the inner box wasn't sealed on top and as a result the speakers came out of the top foam speaker holder. I guess the damage occurred from speakers bumping against each other. The grill cloth is also ripped near the dents. I've sent an email to Harbeth asking how much replacement grills are going to cost. I could probably live with those dents but grills might be replaced at some point. I'm still waiting on my amp to come back from service, so I have not even plugged the speakers in yet. Hopefully the drivers are ok.    
yogiboy
Do you have pictures/video showing the inner boxes sealed on top before shipment?
No I don't. I've been shipping for years and never thought that it would be necessary to take a picture/video of the boxes!
What make you think that the damage was done by the buyer? 
I always photograph the gear before and as i pack them up easy to do with cell phones these days.
The only way to damage the grills is to remove the speakers from the protective wrap and try to pry them off.
I told the buyer to ship them back and I will give him a full refund.
Looks like I'll have to chalk this up as a loss!
Ouch. The lying POS bullcrap story. 
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I had the reverse happen.  Was a buyer and received a turntable where the dust cover clearly had been dropped , the stylus was broken off a the plinth was damaged due no transport screws being inserted and the motor bounced around.  

Fortunately, the buyer tried to screw over two other people and eBay intervened.  I have never looked at buyer protection here.  How does audiogon adjudicate this sort of stuff?
I requested the buyer to send me pictures of the damage. I also left him a message to give me a call. I have not received an answer yet.
I have a feeling that he is going to ask for me to pay for new grills that he ruined.
I'll have to wait for his response and take it from there!
I’ve owned many Harbeths. The grills have to be removed correctly with a magnet. I have seen many Harbeth with ripped grills and damaged wood on the edges where the grills are.
It sounds like the buyer tried removing the grills incorrectly and wants you to pay for his stupidity!!
I included a magnet puller to remove the grills. I guess he could not figure out how to use it. He had the speakers for two days before contacting me with the problem. It just seems fishy that both speakers have the same damage.
I am still waiting for him to get back to me with pictures of the damage!
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He did sign for them at FEDEX when he picked them up!
Man that is a tough one yogiboy, please keep us all updated as this is a lesson to learn for all of us.
Just curious, why would he try to remove the grills?
Many remove the grills. Take a look at the listings here and you will see some with the grills removed!
geoffkait
Just curious, why would he try to remove the grills?
Why would a chicken cross the road? To inspect the drivers.
I use mine with the grills removed.
It sounds like this guy is trying to squeeze you for some kind of a refund!
Uh, I’m aware people often remove grills. Maybe a photo would reveal of the speakers knocked together during shipment, which actually doesn’t make sense if only one box was open or became open somehow during shipping. How? If the grills were pried off I imagine that would show in the photo. Did he pry off both grills?
Ouch!
Tough call here, probably good job it is not eBay as they unfortunately side with the buyer no matter what.
Unless they have a very poor track record already and you are a mega seller.
Be interesting to see the photos.
Always sad when damage occurs either accidental or deliberate.

Not always a sure sign that they caused the damage just because it has been two days though, I work away a lot and the wife might sign for my gear but it might be a week before I get home and physically open, inspect and test the gear.

Hopefully you can resolve this with the buyer amicably.
I assume they had good feedback on here prior to this event?
He claims both speakers are damaged. I am waiting for him to send me pictures of the damage. He wants to get a price on new grills. I just don't buy his story. I buy and sell on audiogon and have never had a problem like this. My feedback is flawless!
Even if ONE SIDE opened up somehow, how could the speakers still bump against each other (as the other side was still closed)? The story doesn’t hold water, whereas the grills idea is entirely plausible.  Also, if there is no outside damage to the box (and he picked up from Fedex without any objection), then if the inner boxes are contained tightly within the outer, how could they move around at all?
His whole story makes no sense. If the outside box was damaged then I would buy it. The inner box fit tight with no movement. They where both original boxes that the speakers came in.
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When this happens, who is responsible for shipping???
So if the buyer damaged the speakers, I will end up with a pair of damaged speakers. What to do, what to do!
It is likely a no win situation right now, I assume he paid by PayPal  and he could always fall back on that to make a claim too.

Sometimes it really sucks selling ANYTHING online nowadays, way to many unscrupulous people around.

Looks like right now, you either bluff it out with them and refuse to pay anything and see what happens, might get your feedback dinged but might not pay out anything.
Or you end up paying return shipping and have now a pair of damaged speakers, double dent financially there.
Or you agree and pay for new grills, still a financial dent.

I would go with option A right now in your situation.
Thanks for the options. I think paying for new grills would be the option I would take!
Your call of course!
No idea what the cost of a pair of grilles are for these speakers, if a small % of value of the sale then yes it might be worth it. Or maybe offer half the cost of the grills?

I guess you need wait and see how they respond first to your pictures request and what their general tone and attitude is and take it from there.
I wouldn't pay for anything.  Tell him to send the units back.  My guess is he won't!
I'd suggest you wait for pictures before venting your anger here as just maybe your at fault and he is being honest. we are all Human and make mistakes so before you blame the person here why not look at their evidence first and then make a judgment. If after, it seems fishy then deal with it best you can. I'm sorry for this as damaged goods can-are a pain to deal with. 

This is why I always ship with full insurance on the items being shipped. This usually requires the shipper to repack or confirm packaging but that way if there is an issue there is recourse for reimbursement if damaged during shipping.
As fate would have it even getting full insurance sometimes can’t save you. Because it’s much more difficult to get the postal services to pay off on damage claims. It’s not automatic, you know. They’re not giving money away. This is a case in point. The postal service can simply say, it was damaged because you didn’t pack it properly. If you had packed it properly it wouldn’t have got damaged. Make sense? There’s also a time limit of three months to settle IIRC.
geoffkait. 

In Canada they will not insure anything over $1 k that was not packaged by them or opened and packaging confirmed by them ,it's  the same for the UPS Stores as well as FedX here. Not sure how the USPS works as I'm not there.
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This does sound fishy as described by seller but there's one thing I don't understand.  Why would he inadvertently damage one speaker grill and then move onto the second grill and damage it in the exact same way?  It just seems like if the damage was his fault only one grill would be damaged. 

Tough call.  I've heard of people doing dumber things than that. 
It just seems fishy that both speakers have the same damage.


Reminds me of when I go to x-ray some guys hands. Both hands. Broken bones. "How'd you do that?" I ask. Meaning the left one. 
"Punched a telephone pole." (!)
"Okay," I say, "How'd you break the other one?"
"Hit it again."

Some of us, however average we may be in every other way, nevertheless operate at truly exceptional levels of stupidity.

And this guy, not content to break one, goes ahead and breaks the next one the same way, to then turn around and blame it on someone else? And act like they think anyone would actually believe such an unbelievably preposterous story? 

We're talking Gold Medal Stupid here. 
I’ve owned many Harbeths. The grills have to be removed correctly with a magnet. I have seen many Harbeth with ripped grills and damaged wood on the edges where the grills are.

It sounds like the buyer tried removing the grills incorrectly and wants you to pay for his stupidity!!

I was a Harbeth dealer and had a couple customers, (after being told how to remove them) still damage the grills and corner edges.

If I was a gambling man, I’d say that’s what happened...

Oh, and btw, I've done business several times with Brett, (yogiboy) and it couldn't have been better.
More curious than anything but I did ask earlier if the buyer had good feedback prior to this sale.


Does not change the events but just curious.

And we all make mistakes, it's the subsequent actions that count.
Yes he does. I am still waiting for him to send me pictures.
Since I manufacturer audio components, this stuff does happen.  I had tubes in original boxes wrapped in bubble wrap that were placed within the audio chassis so not much room to bounce around.  One tube was shattered and the other was blown (looks like the gas leaked out).  $300 down the drain.The exterior box had no visible damage at all.

I doubt the buyer did all that damage but what do I know.

Good luck.
UPDATE-
The seller sent me pictures and the grills are ripped  and the wood is chipped on the top corners of both speakers. It looks like all the other Harbeths that I have seen when the grills were removed improperly.
He is going to get a price on new grills and let me know what they will cost.
It looks like he got me by the ole short hairs!

 
Instead of taking a whole loss why can’t you give the buyer little discount to see if he’s going to keep them?
That's what I want to do. He will let me know how much new grills will cost and I will give him a refund!
This problem does not appear to be caused by the buyer.  More care should have been taken to prepare the boxes for shipment.  However, how could an unsealed inner box cause this problem when they were double boxed and the outer box was in tact.  Not sure how the corners could have gotten dented.  

If it were me, I would send them back for full credit and buy them elsewhere.  Why should a any buy accept a damaged product caused by shipment.

Wasn't this shipment insured?
Larry

Did you actually READ any of this thread?


UPDATE-
The seller sent me pictures and the grills are ripped and the wood is chipped on the top corners of both speakers. It looks like all the other Harbeths that I have seen when the grills were removed improperly.
He is going to get a price on new grills and let me know what they will cost.
It looks like he got me by the ole short hairs!
Why exactly ?

Have you subtly broached the subject that you believe he may have caused said damage by his own actions?
Maybe if you let him know you suspect foul play he may back up a little?

Do you know roughly how much you are talking for new grills?
If so what does that represent as a percentage of your net sale?
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I did and he denies it. I told him that I will give him a refund for the price of the grills. I would like to avoid having the speakers shipped back to me! I will find out tomorrow what new grills cost.
Have you considered, that this may be a negotiation tactic? Maybe he is hoping for a partial refund, equivalent to the cost of the grills, he would come out ahead by having you fund his mistake. He did state that he was getting a price on replacement grills and that he could “maybe”live with the damage.
Just a thought, FWIW
As one who worked for the USPS for nearly forty years,and yes I still have some brains left, the buyers story seems dubious to say the least. My first question to you would be were the speakers insured by FedEX for their full value. If they were and the buyer is claiming that they were damaged, it is FedEx's responsibility to pay the buyer. Therefore the buyer would be required to submit a claim with photos of the speakers and all the boxes. If the outer boxes were not damaged, the buyers story of damage by "speakers bumping against each other" or any other "damage in shipping" story holds no credibility, and FedEx would tell the buyer to take a hike. If you want to be a nice guy, which it sounds to me that you are, and if the price of the grills are reasonable, you may want to refund the buyer the difference and call it a day. However, grills are expensive, I would tell the buyer to deal with FedEx.