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
Yes I did. All the pictures were shown in my listing!
  
The last dozen sales, I take pics of how the items are packed, serial #’s, outside pics of the boxes, and a short video of the piece playing. I always send with insurance and adult signature required. I always send the pics and short videos to the buyer and he has to agree he is ok with everything. These procedures have saved me numerous times: buyer said he never received the item but I checked and the shipper had his signature, somebody tried to state the vintage piece didn’t work and he was going to do a swap with his non-working piece so when I told him I will only take it back if the serial #’s matched, he decided to keep it, and a few other instances. These all used PayPal. I’m selling a 150lb turntable now and will only sell it locally after the person hears it and pays cash. Sold a pair of 140lb Ushers that were in perfect shape with boxes and I refused to ship. The guy drove 1000 miles round trip to pick them up. Doing it this way both parties know what they are getting with no surprises.
Brett
From what I can gather you are a great person to do business with and I understand your wanting to make this right by offering the buyer the money for the grills.

I feel for you here as it is a tough situation and as a multiple seller both here and on eBay myself, customer satisfaction is paramount and your reputation is everything.

I think we are all in agreement from the information so far that this was buyer inflicted and you are in no way to blame for the damage.

It maybe a bitter pill but you could be right that refunding a portion to help cover grills is the best way to get out of this mess even though it is galling when you know it is not your fault.

Unfortunately been there and done that but through eBay as they really do always side with the buyer 99% of the time.

From what I have read so far I would do business with you any day sir!

Good luck and I hope the grills are not too expensive.
 @uberwaltz  
Thanks much!
Certainly feel OP's pain here and believe he is being generous in his responses to buyer.  Had similar on a deal on another forum which left a sour taste. 

My experience with Paypal is that they side with buyer everytime there's a report of item 'damage' to save themselves hassle of dealing with buyer's credit card company, but an important part of this is to report supposed shipping damage to Fed Ex. They will usually send someone to view the boxes at recipient's location to determine if the damage was possibly shipping related, and if so they can help resolve it, but even if not, this is important data for further interactions with the buyer and can make some who claim shipping damage soften their stance.

Now it is still possible the buyer is being straight up and the damage did occur after you sent it but before he received it, but I'd get the shipping company's examination on this just for the record. As shipper you can initiate this and they'll contact the buyer to arrange inspection.  The suggestion to send pics of corner damage to Harbeth is a good one too.