Question about shipping damage

I recently sold an amp and when the buyer received it he contacted me stating that the "speaker a" binding post were broken but the smp powered up and worked fine. Then I received another message from the buyer stating that one channel went out and the other was distorting.

I had taken the amp to a UPS store to have it packed and I watched the attendant pack it. She did a really good job of packing it with several sheets of bubble wrap and foam and then double boxed it (packing peanuts in the outer box).

The buyer even commented on how well it was packed. I insured it for more than the value so I think I'm covered.

My question is how to proceed from here. The buyer said the box was undamaged so I am mystified as to how the binding posts could get damaged and further more what could cause the amp to distort.

Has any one ever had this happen? If so what course of action did you take with UPS. Should I have the amp sent back and file the claim or contact UPS immediately and then have a pick-up scheduled.

Any direction or words of wisdom are greatly appreciated. Thanks.
As the seller, you are responsible for getting the item to the buyer in well packed condition and working and in the physical appearance of the ad. You did the right thing by having UPS pack the item and insuring for full or more value. You need to immediately contact the UPS store you shipped from and get the claims process going. Have the buyer take good photos of everything. All damage, write up a narrative of the problem. Show the packaging--was there any external damage, etc. Make sure the buyer keeps all that. UPS will send the driver to pick up the item with a call tag. UPS has been generally good with shipping damage in my experience. FEDEX not so much. You should be prepared to have this take a while and to stay on it and call daily. A pain but you guys should be fine. Just work together. Good luck!
I don't think they're going to pay for anything, absent a severly damaged outer box. Good luck.
Chayro's probably right. If there's no external sign of damage, UPS is going to deny any culpability. As to the "how" of the distortion, shipping entails the amp being shaken, vibrated, and bumped constantly for the entire journey. Especially if shipped by ground. I've had similar things happen to me three times shipping amps and preamps. No external damage but the product is broken/malfunctioning. I had to "eat" the cost of further repair every time.
UPS stores are actually net very good at packing. Right off 'bubble wrap' is crap on heavy items. It cannot 'hold' the amp in place, the amp has way too much mass. So anything sticking out will get wacked.. like the speaker posts.
IMO the UPS store is responsible for 'poor packing'.
Bubble wrap an amp is rediculous. Yo need solid foam to hold it.
Bubble wrap is for a few ounces. not 40 pounds of steel.
If the person at the UPS store is too dumb to know what to do to make the package safe then they are responsible.
Just because they think it is what they are supposed to do does not protect them. they are just idiots disguised as experts. They do not know crap about packing anything.

So sueing the UPS store.. and realizing UPS stores are useless at packing and know that you failed to protect the shipment and should just pay up is the other option.
Here's their latest commercial:

As you say, they packed the item.
They should be responsible.

As Daniel just said, you are in a good position because you had them do the packing. Call your store and get it taken care of. And ask the customer to put a big dent in the corner of the box before he takes the pics ;-). Just to be safe. Agree with Elizabeth--they do not do as good a job packing as you or I could.
Thank your for the insight and I agree on several points. I have refunded the buyer and spoke with the manager at the store and after appoligizing for not packing er. After apologizing for not packing it better, he told me he would handle the claim process for me and stated that they would make it right. How this will shake out I can't say but chalking it up to lesson learned.

After reading of horror stories in regards to both of the major shipping provider and aside from packing it myself what else should I do to insure safe travel? I have read in other forums where gear was shipped in original packaging and still suffered major damages.

Thanks for the responses.
Problem is, many original packing boxes are entirely inadequate. I think many packages are designed to be shipped palletized in a large bundle and that's a different kettle of fish from shipping a single item. Marantz, Cambridge, & PS Audio are brands I've bought with woefully poor transport boxes. UPS says packaging needs to be stout enough to survive a 4 foot drop onto bare concrete, so think about how that relates to what's needed for a heavy amp, etc. I'm lucky in that I have access to very good packing materials through my job and I make most of my own shipping boxes from double wall corrugated cardboard. I glue the corners with wood glue and reinforce them. As Elizabeth mentioned, surrounding equipment with foam of adequate density is vastly better than bubble wrap. It is hard to source unless you have a Uline store close by and it costs too much. If you do use bubble wrap, use the heavy duty variety with fat 1" bubbles, not the thin stuff with 1/3" bubbles. Peanuts have no place at all in packing heavy audio equipment. When I need to fill the space between a double box, I use pieces of expanded polystyrene sheet that's used for wall insulation.
I go to a foam wholesaler. They always have tons of foam scrap CHEAP. As much as I can carry $8.

The foam is dense. White when new it soon (a year of so) starts to turn yellow.
Cuts with a knife. (needs to be sharp. and needs resharpening when cutting foam)
3" thick dense foam all around, and Yes you can drop your item 6 ft onto concrete and no problem.
(though depending on transformer and how it is stuck in there it may want to move in a different direction than the rest of the Amp case... Nothing you can do about that unless you open the case and support it.. usually big standard square types are in danger, toroid usually are bolted down really well)

i have shipped heavy amps using this sort of foam. Never a problem.

Retired now, but worked in the A/V industry for 20 years, and it is possible to ship 60lb amps with nothing but bubble wrap and peanuts in a single box. I did this many times, and never had a problem. You must use the heavy duty bubble wrap and the type peanuts that are difficult to compress. What is most important is that packing is extremely tight with absolutely NO internal movement when the box is shaken as hard as you can. Even the slightest amount will increase as the package travels due to shifting and damage to the actual packing. Enough movement will eventually cause the damage to the equipment with no evidence to the outside of the box.

I'm guessing the amp was a little loose inside the inner box, then increasing as it traveled causing the damage.

I do agree that it is better, safer, and more foolproof to use the methods stated by the other posters.
The attendant used 3 layers of thin foam and then three more layers of the large bubble wrap. She placed it in a tight fitting box. Then placed that box into a larger one filled with peanuts.

I thought it seemed well packed however as Elizabeth and the others said, it was not enough.

Just a thought, and I'm not trying to accuse anyone, but the buyer may have damaged the amp while unpacking or installing in his system, and now he's trying to cover the problem. I'm sure things like this happen, but there is no way to ever know. Best to just care of it as soon as possible, and then forget about it. Good luck!
UPS at one point had a policy on vintage electronics that unless the makers packing materials and boxes were used, no insurance money would be paid. I think that policy is still ineffective regardless of whether the UPS store paced the item.
I agree with TLs49, you are going to make bad deals now and then .
First of all, in regards to your original post, NEVER have the amp sent back, as that will void any insurance that you purchased. Always contact the shipping agent and they will send out their inspector to investigate and pick up the damaged item.

Second, you should be alright in claims if you use the original manufacturer's packaging, or have the item packaged by an authorized shipping agent. If you pack by yourself and do not use original manufacturer's packaging, you might as well save money on the insurance, as you will never receive any damage claim. Do not over insure, as the claim will only be processed to the amount that you can prove that you received for the item. This is to keep folks from ripping off the shipping agents by shipping damaged goods that they sold for $500 and insured for $1000 from making money at the expense of the shipping agent. Yes, sharks are everywhere.

Lastly, I have received full insurance payment for damaged goods when the box was undamaged. In my case it was a power conditioner in the original manufacturer's packaging (I always keep the original packaging). It was determined that the damage was caused by a "flat drop". In this situation, the box could be dropped straight down from a height of 6-8 feet and fall completely flush on one of it's sides. In which case the box could show no signs of visible damage, but sensitive electronic equipment inside could still sustain damage. In my case, the glass meter cover cracked. I was refunded the full amount. Good luck.
When I shipped a bike frame, UPS drove a forklift blade through the box and snapped the carbon fiber chain stay right off. They denied my claim through three appeals. Their (the outside company UPS contracts to deny...errr...process claims) reasoning was that I packed the bike myself and it was inadequate. Never mind that I used an original Competitive Cyclist heavy duty box, zipped tied the frame to an internal full size, heavy duty cardboard plate in 10 different places, and placed foam around frame, stays, and forks.

I have purchased/received/shipped many frames and the only way this frame could have been damaged is if they ran a forklift though it or possibly drove over it with a semi-truck. Since there was a big hole in the box right where the chain stay was snapped, I would say any rational human being would acknowledge that UPS was responsible. Unfortunately, UPS looks at claims purely as a cost to be minimized by denying and stalling, rather than an element of customer service.

Advice: find a way to punch out of the contracted company that is processing the claim. I tried three times and was unsuccessful. Eventually, by dumb luck, I managed to contact a high level UPS executive through business contacts, explained it was a personal shipment, but that I was very frustrated with the claims process and the outcome. He took my info, told me someone would contact me in 30 min, and they would help resolve it. In 3 days we got it resolved to my satisfaction.
The claims department is an outside service that handles UPS claims...they can send you paperwork that you can fax (!)back to them to plead your case.
Geez, like a carbon fiber bike frame really needs a forklift to pick it up.
I won't ship my vintage Cinelli!!!
I will tell you my horror story, I had UPS store ship an amp for me in the original double box that it was shipped to me in brand new. I insured it for the full value and had disclosed exactly what was being shipped. The buyer got the amp and the box had obviously been dropped, the tube cage had come off and wrecked the tubes and scratched the casing. I filed a claim with UPS who picked up the amp and delivered it back to the UPS store where I shipped it. I reimbursed the seller for amp and shipping.

UPS denied my claim saying that they didn't pack it and that the packing was insufficient given the weight of the amp, that it should have been on a pallet. They didn't say that when I shipped it or took my money for insurance. I have appealed to UPS, found a UPS corporate person that didn't help much because they said since it was UPS Store, not UPS that bore the responsibility. I threatened to sue the owner of the store and even have a voice mail with the employee who took my amp saying I was right, it was packed properly. They sent me a check covering the cost of the tubes plus the cost of having it checked by a technician. It was just checked out and I am going to be picking it up and putting it up for a local only transaction.

What I find obnoxious is that UPS/UPS Store can take your money for insurance and not pay if something happens. I still might sue them in small claims court just for fun.
Geez, like a carbon fiber bike frame really needs a forklift to pick it up. I won't ship my vintage Cinelli!!!
Iso - yeah, I don't blame you. Is it Reynolds steel or True Temper? I owned a vintage Motobecane with Reynolds 531 steel frame and some of the most ornate lugs. Picked it up at a garage sale, paid $100 for it and it had Campy Grand Record group. Loved that bike, but regrettably sold it when I started racing to fund a more appropriate race bike. If I had a little more disposable income at the time, I would have kept it.
Jm, hate to say it but it doesn't matter if you use the original packing. Shipped a pair of Zu speakers in the original factory boxes for an upgrade which arrived at the factory with one speaker badly damaged at the corner.

UPS reviewed and denied the claim twice despite a letter from Zu confirming the use of factory boxes. It appears their tactic is to stall and deny and then see who wants to keep going. I'm pursuing the matter in small claims court.
Spoke with the store manager on Friday and he assured me they would make it right. Fingers crossed but if in the case I'm out the money at least it won't be a huge loss. But a valuable lesson for sure. I was talking to a friend about what happened and he told me of an experience he had where he sold an amp and they buyer claimed it was damaged when he got it. So my friend asked him to send it back. When the amp came back my friend noticed that it had been taken apart. Turns out the buyer cannabolized it for needed parts and didnt even bother putting the screws back in. My friend won the PayPal dispute but it took a while. Unbelievable!
Germanboxers, The Cinelli is mid 60's and is Columbus SL. I also have a mid 80's Biemmezetta Chronostar (also SL) with the shortened chain stays, so the seat tube is dished in to allow for tire clearance. The frame is fully chromed with translucent paint on the three main tubes, which they named Chromolova Orange, pretty flashy:) I also have a un-built Alan Carbonio 7 frameset with forks.
Those old Motobecane frames sure were beautifully built!! I had an old Dawes like that. I also had a Motobecane Prolight with the Vitus aluminum frame. Image a frame and forks that are just glued together!!!
Franks, I wonder if Fed Ex has a better track record.
JWM, don't know but that's who I've been using since this occurred.
Reynold 531 brings back many fond memories. I had a Raleigh with Reynold 531 double butted and Campy. Later when I moved to So. Cal, bought a custom DeRosa with Columbus SLX and DuraAce. DeRosa has 30K+ miles and just collecting dusk in the basement now. Still have 5 brand new sew-ups ... just lost interest after moving back to MA.
As a former US Service manager for two EU HiFi Brands, we American employees were astonished by the feedback from EU every time we requested heavier, better packing for our multi-thousand dollar amps. Our amps were constantly damaged in shipping in the US, and could never understand why they said "we never have damage claims inside Continental Europe using either UPS or FedEx".
Doing some digging we discovered that overseas, the actual DELIVERY DRIVERS ARE PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ITEMS DELIVERED! Each driver may even be self-insured! No wonder they don't have damage claims there. Our UPS and FedEx drivers are obviously former airline baggage handlers, tossing 100lb amps off the backs of the trucks.

Most times the exteriors of our boxes were unscathed, so NO CLAIMS were ever allowed (if the exterior of the box is intact, the only explanation for damage is insufficient packing), although the amps had taken enough G's to dislodge the transformers off their bolts or the guts of the 845 tubes were rattling around inside the glass envelopes!

(I remember we had a brand new, heavy tube amp we needed to ship to a reviewer, and upon pickup, the petite FedEx driver proceeded to roll the box end over end to the truck since it was too big to fit on her hand truck).

ARCAM used to print USELESS IF DROPPED on their boxes in huge letters...
I remember we had a brand new, heavy tube amp we needed to ship to a reviewer, and upon pickup, the petite FedEx driver proceeded to roll the box end over end to the truck
I saw the UPS guy do the same with a turntable he was delivering to me!!!
02-11-14: Swampwalker

I remember we had a brand new, heavy tube amp we needed to ship to a reviewer, and upon pickup, the petite FedEx driver proceeded to roll the box end over end to the truck

I saw the UPS guy do the same with a turntable he was delivering to me!!!
Me too when FedEx guy delivering my SF Power 3 monos. They were 115# each and no idea why he didn't use the hand truck. Thank GOD there were no damages.
The attendant used 3 layers of thin foam and then three more layers of the large bubble wrap. She placed it in a tight fitting box. Then placed that box into a larger one filled with peanuts.

The problem with this approach is that any blow to the box gets transmitting to its contents. There has to be open space between the inner and outer box so the blow can't be transmitted. So the packing is to blame.

FWIW you were under no obligation to refund the money! This was the shipping company's problem, not yours. It did not help that, with obvious damage, the amp got plugged into the wall and played. There could have been internal damage too.
I sent a mc 2100 amp to calif from ny
as usual ups screwed it up and broke the glass

I was told "this was shipped in a used box "
the buyer had the box shipped to me from audio classics (both inner and outer boxes !!

usps said since the boxes were shipped to me (empty) then filled and sent to the buyer ,the boxes were used !!!!

can you beleive this nonsense , and seeing as they (the ups store) shipped them I couldnt even talk to the claims office!!! because they were the actual shipper !!!

never again !! i bought the customer a new glass (thank god he knew how to change it )

and usps denied everything !!!

from now on I will drive my items to my customers !!!