"Concealed Damage" and FedEx Claims

After several happy years of buying and selling on AudiogoN, I'm in the middle of my first FedEx claims process. The item in question is a Copland CD player shipped FedEx Ground from Boston to Los Angeles with a FedEx "declared value" equal to the asking (and selling) price on AudiogoN. The original shipping box, original inner packing, and thirty pound player arrived with "no visible damage to contents," but the buyer reports that the player does not recognize a CD in the drawer and will not play it. I've filed a claim, but there now appear to be two problems: One, the buyer was out of town when the unit arrived (it was delivered to the mailroom of his work address), so the 15 day limit on reporting "concealed damage" had passed by the time he opened the box and figured out the unit did not work properly. Two, when FedEx came to inspect the damaged player they looked only at the shipping box and the exterior of the player. These were in excellent condition. They did NOT test the unit to see that it no longer worked properly and I am told that they have NO intention to do so. I found this a bit troubling and have now asked four different operators at FedEx claims how they can determined "concealed damage" on a CD player without ever attempting to play a CD. My uninformed thinking is that FedEx has no intention of allowing the claim (because of the 15 day limit on reporting damage), so there was no reason to inspect for anything other than visible damage (where the reporting deadline for a claim is nine months). Questions for the group: Have YOU had any experience with "concealed damage" and the FedEx claims process? Have YOU had any experience with FedEx and its 15 day limit on reporting "concealed damage." And, most importantly, what would YOU do as an AudiogoN seller in the event that FedEx denies the claim? Thank you one and all.
Sold two pioneer ld players and shipped them both via fedex ground. Had both units tested at a local repair shop to certify that they worked. Both units would not play upon delivery. FIled claims with fedex immediately for concealed damage. Got the run around like you did. Ended up paying for both repairs out of pocket while waiting for claims process. Finally filed a claim in small claims court. Fedex paid for repairs and court cost. The thing that decided the case in my favor is that I had a third party inspect the units prior to shipping. It was worth the $45.00 per unit.
Regardless of what happens with Fedex you should certainly have the buyer go get a repair estimate. That will give you both a better indication of the size of the problem you're dealing with, and the repair bill may be minor. I would say in this instance since the buyer left the unit uninspected for so long, impeding the claim process, you should probably both split the cost of repairs. Had he opened the box and tested the player immediately you would have been on better grounds in terms of filing a claim. Had the claim been denied, I think the seller, you, would then be responsible for the repair bill, as you sold the buyer a "working unit". Good luck with this.
I just had a similar experience shipping a cartridge via UPS. I had the dealer put my "old" cartridge in a cartridge box. I then bubble wrapped it and put it in a shipping box. My buyer reports that not only were the stylis and cantilever broken...they were missing?? UPS said that if the outer box was not damaged or destroyed which they weren't.Then there is no basis for a claim with them.I sent the buyer a full refund but ouch!!
Possible buyer remorse/scams?
I'm very committed to having a satisfied counterparty in any deal I'm involved with. If the concealed damage had been reported immediately, I would have done any reasonable thing to satisfy the buyer, including a refund. However, waiting that long to reply is stretching it a bit. I would still assume the buyer is on the up-and-up and try to make right, but I think the notion of splitting the fix 50/50 would be reasonable if the buyer is of the reasonable type. If there's too much objection, I'd question the motives and story.
You may want to contact the CD player manufacturer to ask whether the player and it's factory shipping container were formally tested and if so what standards they passed. You can them compare those results against FedEx standards to see whose are higher.

Not being familiar with your player, I'm wondering if there was any sort of shipping screw/device that needed to be addressed before and after shipment?
I started using FedEx Ground last year and had good results
until May, 2002. Of the 7 packages I sent or received using
them between May 1, 2002 and September, 2002, they damaged 2
(refusing to pay a claim on 1 package which they claimed was
"improperly" packaged, although it was in its factory packaging), LOST 3, left 1 at the wrong address (later recovered) and 1 was delivered on time to the correct address. With a track record like that I don't know how a
company can survive!!! I WILL NOT USE FEDEX GROUND AGAIN.

FedEx Express continues to provide exemplary service, but
the old RPS Trucking firm which became FedEx Ground seems
impossible to convert from a sow's ear to a silk purse...
I think that Fed Ex is slowly trying to revamp the company ( aka "disaster" ) that they had purchased. The problem is that they took over a company that had its' head up its' ass and had tried to continue operating it in the same fashion. As time has progressed, they've made gradual changes but are still a long way from getting it right.

As of right now, i think that Fed Ex Ground is slightly more "careful" with how packages are handled than is UPS. Their prices are also SLIGHTLY lower than UPS. In terms of delivery time, account management, customer support, insurance claims, etc..., they still have BIG problems.

UPS is still smashing packages on a regular basis but at least they "typically" get them there on time. Obviously, there are exceptions to this generalization. They will give you a hard time about damage claims and hope that you don't follow through on them. Their prices are higher for transit costs than either Fed Ex Ground or the USPS but also offer what i think is better tracking and customer support. That is, the customer support is better until things get REAL "sticky".

The USPS handles packages pretty well, delivers them on a timely basis and their rates are not that bad. However, if one is going to ship an item that is of high value, their insurance rates are astronomical and make them far more expensive than either of the other two carriers mentioned. Then again, they typically DO pay out on damage claims so long as the item was reasonably well packed and you know how to process a claim. I guess it is better to pay more for insurance via the USPS and have things get processed than to pay less for insurance at UPS / Fed Ex Ground and not be able to get a claim approved without pulling out your hair and / or filing a law suit. Sean

PS... Just my thoughts based on past experiences as an individual and a business owner.
We have had the same problem with UPS they refuse to pay any claims. It takes 20 to 30 phone calls and about 10 months to retrieve 250$.

THE OTHER BIGGER PROBLEM is that we have purchased units from Audiogon and Ebay that were CLAIMED TO BE IN PERFECT CONDITION! but when recieved did not work or were damaged.
Investigation showed that that unit never worked or the damage was old.
Got something broken? sell it on the net and then claim shipping damage. A Scam as old as the hills.


When you say "original shipping box, original inner packing", does this mean that the player was not double-boxed inside a larger outer carton? I will not ship gear in just its original single carton - I always obtain a separate outer box, about 4" larger all around than the original box, and pack the smaller box (wrapped and taped inside a plastic garbage bag) within the bigger box with a very healthy lining of crumpled-up newspapers stuffed in-between the carton walls. Also, many CD players and the like are shipped from the manufacturer with some sort of removable foam or cardboard insert inside the tray mechanism to help prevent damage to it or the laser pickup assembly during transit - did you research/remember whether such a precautionary prophylactic was originally standard from Copeland but may have been subsequently discarded by you or a previous owner?