HELP FedEx Mangles Speakers - Refuses Claim

I received double boxed with ample foam padding top and bottom - large, expensive speakers that are crushed on the corners and bottoms. I took dozens of pictures while unpacking, have all shipping materials, filed claim, met with claims agent. I did it all correctly and was denied via form letter. Any legal referrals, appeals, BBB, class-action process help etc., is appreciated.
Were they shipped in the original packing boxes?
Was the shipment insured?
Assuming that you had the required 4" of cushioning on all sides (even if you didn't use the manufacturer's box) and insurance then I would strongly recommend filing a small claims action against Fedex. This is probably the most effective and quickest way to reach a resolution.
"I bet they were shipped ground?"
How else are they going to arrive at your door?
What a stupid comment.
No to original boxes. Shipped double boxed with lots of pads and wrap and foam and care.
Yes to insured - $3k per box.
Denied claim due to inadequate packing. And yes to fedex ground...Slik, what's your point? Have something to help or just want to be an I-told-you-so after the fact?
Both Fedex and UPS have a policy, clearly stated in their written insured coverage policies, related to damage coverage wherein they will not pay any claim if the original manufacturers packing materials and boxes are not used. Seems reasonable given 'packing experts' are impossible to find. The point is avoid buying for shipment any electronics, including speakers, that the seller does not have and will use the original packing materials and boxes. Buyer beware.
"I received double boxed with ample foam padding top and bottom - large, expensive speakers that are crushed on the corners and bottoms."

When you say large, do you mean heavy also? Ground parcel is usually not the method most mfr's send their 100+lbs $$$ speakers to the retail stores or to end user customers. They know the high risk of damage and they shrink wrapped palletized in original packaging and send them freight.

Truthfully, without orginal mfr's box and padding, winning a freight claim with these companies is virtually impossible.

Sorry about your situation. By the way, it is the shippers(sellers) responsibility to make you whole not the shipping company.

"Both Fedex and UPS have a policy, clearly stated in their written insured coverage policies, related to damage coverage wherein they will not pay any claim if the original manufacturers packing materials and boxes are not used....."

If that is the case, which I do not know, and is written, than they surely should not allow for insured service and charge for it if they know they will not honor it if the mech gets damaged.

Looks to me like , if that is common practice, you do have a point against them. They charged for insurance they knew they would not offer in advance regardless of anything else. It can take timme but I think in today's climate they would find it hard to make this position prevail, and they may be liable for charging probably millions on the overall picture of their services for a service they will not offer (insurance). Is that froud or misrepresentation?
Ground is a level of service.(The lowest) Could have been shipped many other ways.
Fed Ex and UPS have packing guidelines required to qualify for insurance claims. I don't believe original boxes is one of them, but it might help (more on this below). There needs to be at least 2" of cushioning around the entire box. But here's the kicker, the package needs to be able to withstand a fall of at least 4'! In my opinion, no piece of heavy audio has a chance of that happening without some sort of exterior (or interior) damage. Shipping heavy items ground is very risky.
As for original boxes- I had a pair of mono blocks delivered to me both with damaged transformer covers. They were in the original boxes. But, they were heavy, and the boxes were old and very used looking. Plus the original boxes, even when new, were garbage. There was no cushioning at all at the top, just doubled up on the box flaps! Needless to say, no insurance coverage.

"I bet they were shipped ground?"
How else are they going to arrive at your door?
What a stupid comment."

This is not a stupid comment. What Slikric3000 is saying that Fed Ex ground is probably the worst choice to make for shipping heavy items. And I agree.

Your other choices are Air or Freight. Freight, strapped to a pallet, is the best option for heavy items. Less risk for a human dropping it but still a risk of a fork lift puncture.
Also, the seller/ shipper has the responsibility to ensure the package arrives safely to you in as advertised condition. Like Bill mentions above, "it is the shippers (sellers) responsibility to make you whole not the shipping company"
Did you use PayPal for payment? If so PayPal usually takes side with the purchaser in these types of issues and will make sure you get your $$$ back.
I was very lucky. I had a pair of expensive speakers shipped to me overseas by FedEx. They were supposed to be shipped in the original box with the original packaging. I specified triple boxing. That saved me. The box was dropped and the impact crushed the corner of the box. I said a prayer before opening it. I discovered that one of the large original foam inserts was missing and the speaker it was supposed to cushion was shipped upside down with no padding at all on the bottom! The second box was also crushed but the inside third box saved the speaker from being crushed by a fraction of an inch.
From years of experience in shipping many turntables, amps and speakers, I will agree that there is no substitute for the original packing material, especially form fitting styrofoam isolation. But that is seldom at hand for speakers or vintage gear. UPS is the worst for incurring damage and denying claims (exception noted below), but FedEx is getting almost as bad.

I do ship via UPS, but only via their pack and ship option. Take your item to a UPS store and pay them to pack it. Items packed that way are seldom damaged, and when it does occur they cannot claim that your item was packed incorrectly. It costs a little more, but my buyers and I both agree that it's worth the cost.

USPS. That's right, the good ol' Post Office. All in all, I have fewer satisfaction issues with goods shipped this way than via UPS or FedEx. For small items, the flat rate boxes are great. Use Priority Mail and avoid Parcel Post if possible.
Let me also state that UPS/Fed-Ex will "always" deny the first claim. Just stay with it and try to prove they were
packed to withstand shipping with proper handling.
And THIS would be the reason why I dont buy anything that has to be shipped. No matter what precautions with shipping are taken, its basically a crap shoot as to whether or not what you bought arrives in one piece. I would much rather wait til what I want that can be picked up by driving myself to get it becomes available. All it took was seeing the UPS guy arrive in my driveway and THROW the box containing a Blue Circle amp onto my lawn!Just dont need the hassle that ensued.
@ Zippy Expedited/Extra-care Handling
FedEx Custom Critical

Maybe your just a stupid person Zippy

I am in the freight biz Zippy you nimrod
Thanks for responses thus far.
The packing consists of:
Inner box, speakers plastic wrapped and bubble wrapped with hard cardboard attached to the top, bottom and driver side, the inner box filled with foam to the brim and taped up.
That box is then double bubble wrapped on the outside then, the box is inserted into the 2nd box with 4 inch commercial foam slabs top and bottom - cut to snug up inside the 2nd box, sides are filled with foam peanuts for another barrier on the sides.

From all experience and knowledge here is sounds as if I am up against a challenge regardless, based on the fine-print and claim denial policies. I too have been burned by UPS but never by FedEx ground until now.
I am in CA if that has anything to do with the legal recourse. Keep the information flowing, please and thank you everyone.
You just GOTTA love these gorillas! Don't even get me started, with the experiences I've had with the Post Orifice! (
Packing IMO needs to be done assuming the package will be tossed out sidways of a truck and thus dropping 8 feet to concrete.
If your package cannot survive this.. It ain't packed well enough.
I use dense foam, like used in matresses. A local foam co has scraps i can buy for ten bucks for pile as big as I can haul in my car.
four inches of this on all sides pretty much takes it.

Horror stories of shippers includes one i saw with my own eyes at UPS:
UPS employee is pushing cart through door, well the large package was wider that the door. The guy doing the pushing just kept ramming the package as hard as he could, into the door frame, as if he could just crush the package enough it might fit. (the package could have fit through door if rotated)
I mean this is into the public area of UPS depot.
Soon enough the owner of said package came in and started yelling..
The boxes corners were crushed down five inches all around already.
I just stood there eye wide as this transpired.. amazed at the incedible stupidity of that UPS employee.
My understanding from Fedex: for pkgs valued at greater than $499, they are required either to a) open the box and inspect the packing or b) get a waiver from you not to open the box which means they will not accept a valuation higher than $499.

If they accepted the valuation (if a value was paid for as part of shipping cost) did Fedex inspect the packing? By charging for a certain valuation and taking the package it would seem they entered into a contract of insurance for that value. Ianal, but unless Fedex followed their own rules and inspected the packaging, it doesn't seem they can claim it was inadequate.

From my experience, some Fedex offices will require inspection of high value items and some are lazy and don't bother. Going forward, it really is not that expensive to ship speakers on a pallet using a freight service. A local UPS store (not UPS service) should be able to arrange that.
I sell and ship every day mostly off ebay.Both Fed Ex and UPS will deny a claim .Thats what insurance companies do.Fed Ex uses an underwriter on claims.Call them and protest the claim denile.They will come get the items and do a re-inspect.You may or may not get anywhere but its a start.The thing is it has to be packed by authorized agent using authorized boxes/packing,period.If not a claim will be denied.I stopped packing myself years ago because of this.
Hi, I had a set of VA Strauss, 150lbs each, shipped to me in original boxes (not double boxed) insured and they were almost destroyed by FEDEX. Corners smashed, woofer completely dislodged from its mounting, tweeter dislodged, they must have been dropped from a height to do this much damage.

Anyway, made the complaints and at one point was yelling on phone to the claim rep from Fedex. Got estimates and finally got a settlement check. Got a piano repair guy to do estimate considering the furniture grade and musical nature of these boxes.

Speakers got fixed up and sound great. FEDEX, forget it for shipping such items. Be persistent. Good luck, not an experience I would want to go through again.
I use fedex regulary . Whenever i pack a item and ask for insurance they open the box to see if it was properly packed. If they see it is not they will not insure it until it meets their requirements . If it is they will insure . So for them to deny because of improper packing does not make sense . I assume they must have opened the boxes to see . If they did not that was probably a employee mistake.If they insured it and it was damaged it is their fault .
the seller should have warned you about this.
Take them to small claims. I used UPS Store to ship an expensive item. It was damaged and they helped me with the claim. When it was denied, I loooked to the UPS Store to pay it since they sold me the insurance. They denied it too. I filed a complaint in small claims for $2500, and 1 week from the trial date, I got a call from UPS Store to tell me a check was waiting for me.
I had an incident in which FedEx opened the boxes of a pair of speakers that I had sold. They repackaged one of the boxes incorrectly and a speaker arrived to the buyer damaged, exactly where the foam had been incorrectly repackaged.

I received a check from FedEx. A couple days later, I got an email message from a new claims adjuster. She said she was denying the claim. She wasn't aware that the first claims adjuster had paid my claim.
AFAIK, in small claims neither side can have an attorney. Theoretically, this puts you on even footing with the giant multinational corporation.

It varies state by state - but you can elect to have an attorney present in small claims court in most states if you so desire but it is rarely cost effective.

"In a handful of states, including California, Michigan, and Nebraska, you must appear in small claims court on your own. In most states, however, you can be represented by a lawyer if you like."

Jaybo, there are so many sellers that flat don't care. I just went through this with a complete moron. The typical response "your package is the only one ever to have a problem". Great comments in this thread and all small audio businesses should read and learn.

Pbredi, you MAY have a good claim looking at the packing used.Did Fedex inspect the packing and sign stating adequate packing was used? If not what is the seller doing for you? Did you have a separate agreement?
For heavy items I insist on TRIPLE boxing with a lot of space -- more than 4 inches -- between the second box and the third box. This has saved me. I know, it is more expensive. But it is the only way for me to receive things safely overseas. I have had near misses but nothing has arrived damaged.
Has anyone even thought of this? Fedex will NOT allow YOU to file a claim in the first place. The shipper has to initiate and follow through on a damage claim. Not YOU. How did this even happen?

As stated before, the shipper is on the hook here. If it's denied, he owes you a refund. If it's paid, the check comes to him and he forwards you the funds. You have more of a fight on your hands with him than fedex. Let HIM do the legwork.

Would anyone be surprised if Fedex, UPS, etc., trained workers to mishandle parcels unless they were packaged by the parent company?

Are these strategies dreamed up by Harvard, Stanford, etc., MBAs to maximize profits? And their own executive salaries?

Would the shipping industry provide such bad service for no good reason?

Would anything surprise?
As I mentioned above. How was the consignee even able to file a claim with fedex? Anyone know the answer to this question?

Regarding the shipper - technically I used my FedEx online account linked to my credit card to pay for and generate the ground shipping labels. I emailed those printable labels to the individual shipper in NY. This is how I was able to file the claim and be in the driver's seat to deal with the damage claim issues firsthand.

FedEx pickup up the double boxes at a residence and did not open or otherwise inspect the inside packing.
If you think it is pretty much bomb proof packing then fight it to the end. They still have to prove to someone that it somehow does not meet there specs. Have them show you how they would have packed the boxes.
You have over 4" of good packing material surrounding the speakers and in this case it may be easy for you to prove your claim. It may be time for some legal action.
Pbredi, please tell us how this turns out.
The shippers are terrible. What I do is anytime I receive any major peice of equipment I take pictures of the box before opening, and also while I'm opening. This way I can show them that the box arrived damaged. If I have to sign for a package I always have the delivery man note even minor damage.
Thank you.
I will definitely update the post or start a new one referencing this so that all of you helpful people can see how it turns out.
I got very busy with work and this was sidelined but I did get back on the case.
So it has been a month I think since I escalated the denial of my damage claims to their claims department. I spoke with a contact at the corporate level and explained the whole long story, sent all of the damage and packaging pics again. I let her know this IS going to court if not resolved at this level.

It took a month, 2 calls every week to follow up. She said everything she saw lead to paying on the damage claim and that her upper Mgnt follow a standard that this claim met.

She told me they would send a truck to pick up the boxes/speakers and analyze. The truck came, speakers and all boxes went to them. The driver left me with a little numbered tag for my receipt. She then told me the check would go out that Friday the 26th. Nothing arrived by the next Friday, calls everyday to them directly were unanswered. Finally someone called me back and said the claim payment was set to hold for some reason.

I kept calling every 3-4 days leaving voicemails for anyone and everyone.
After then there were 2 confirmations that the check went out but weeks went by with nothing.

I kept calling, escalated to people's voicemails.

The check arrived on Saturday, finally. So they paid out in full (amount that I insured for) and reimbursed for the shipping fees, took the speakers. When they pay in full the item becomes their property per their claim policy. I don't know what they will do with them.

Thanks to all for your helpful direction and advice through all of this.
glad it resolved even if it took too much time. i think the MO is to delay delay delay in hoipess the claimant will go away. good for you. weird they took the speakers. seems like bs they keep your property.
I'm amazed that FedEx settled with you, especially since you were NOT the "shipper". You could have really gotten screwed. As a few others had stated early on, the responsibility of resolving this entire situation, belonged to the “seller” - which is also dictated per courier policy for filing claims. You shouldn't of had to deal with ANY of this aggravation.

FYI, in the future, whenever you receive ANY packages that look suspect in the least bit, you can either: 1) Refuse to accept the delivery. 2) Accept the package, but have the delivery person note (electronically, or hand-written) that the package condition is suspect for future claim referencing. 3) Open and inspect the package at the moment of delivery - which is increasingly becoming mandatory by various manufacturers/retailers, etc. - via posted external labeling or written policy - and have the driver haul it away.

Even if the internal item looks fine initially, but still requires further visual or functional testing later in your home, be sure the driver enters your initial concerns into the database as mentioned earlier. Have methods ready for opening the package when the delivery arrives to minimize the driver’s wait. Don't let the driver decline waiting a short period for inspection - due to delivery pressures - no matter what method of delivery. It is your right to inspect the delivery. As with option #2, the driver can either load the damaged package(s) back onto the truck, or schedule another pickup for returning to sender.

If you can reject the packages right away, due to “obvious” visual damage, have the original driver haul them off and return to sender. That's the best option and least hassle to you in the long run. Even if the suspect item requires further visual and functional scrutiny, at least the driver made note of your concerns for the record. Once you’ve performed all inspections and testing, if unsatisfied, take clear/hi-res pictures of external/internal damages and notify the sender, ASAP, and for THEM to file a claim ASAP. It is THEIR responsibility to resolve any issues with the shipping company UNLESS their ad clearly states the buyer assumes all shipping cost and liability.

If the seller pushes back in any way, politely inform them of the courier’s policy regarding claim filings with the shipper/sender. I’m always amazed just how many people are unaware of this fact. If that gets you nowhere, don’t hesitate to deploy applicable PayPal claims, credit card “charge-backs”, or various legal avenues. ALWAYS use payment methods which yield recourse and full reimbursement against possible bad sellers. Read Audiogon’s policy regarding buyer/seller responsibilities as well. It's the seller's obligation.
Metro04, you should send this to the DIY speaker guy I bought my speakers from. He wouldn't lift a finger and just blamed the shipping company for the loss. There was no claim to be had on my end since the speaker builder signed a waiver for the packaging used. Turned into a huge battle here until the thread was closed. Just when you think you can trust someone the door gets slammed in your face. Everyone take the advice above and protect yourself!
Thanks for great and thorough advice and steps to ensure protection and prevent loss. I was the buyer and the shipper in this deal. I used my FedEx online login and my linked credit card to schedule and execute shipping to myself so that if anything went down, I would be in the driver's seat to push a claim through. I have been burned by UPS damage and a unhelpful, poor packing seller previously.

FedEx tried to brush me off - stating I was the recipient and had no rights but when I informed them to dig deeper the dismissive claim person on the phone went pretty quiet (still sent me a denial letter afterwards). I worked with the seller at length to pack these and am positive the packing was above factory standards. Pictures were taken at every step of the process to prove packing materials used and protection against damage. Also, I took about 50 as I was unpacking them to reveal the mauling or all corners.