I believe, if you read the shipping documents, you will find the responsibility is placed on the seller/shipper, not the buyer/receiver.
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The seller is the person contracting with the shipper to deliver the package in good condition and insure the package adequately. Of course, it all starts with packing, and the seller should adequately pack the item, or pay someone to do it. It's all on the seller, so it is in the seller's best interest to insure the item is packed adequately, insured adequately and is shipped by a reliable company. It is also the sellers responsibility to work with the shipper in the event of a damage claim.
I believe, if you read the shipping documents, you will find the responsibility is placed on the seller/shipper, not the buyer/receiver.
The seller is responsible for getting the item to you safely, if you buy with Paypal or a credit card. If you wire money or pay with a check, good luck in ever seeing any of your money again no matter how badly the item has been mangled.
Some sellers like to break down the sales price into the component, Paypal fees, shipping, etc. This angers some buyers but the seller has to take these costs into consideration when setting his asking price whether he breaks them out or not. If it angers anyone, they should just hit the MAKE OFFER button and offer what they are willing to pay, noting that the offer includes all costs relating to the purchase, and not worry about what’s going into the cost.
Unless you have a specific agreement otherwise, such as FOB origin (Free on Board), the Seller has responsibility for delivery of the product to you undamaged in transit. They are the party contracting with the Shipper, so they have the contractual relationship with the Shipper
Buyers have real benefit from paying via PayPal or credit card, so they can enforce the agreement regarding Seller liability for safe transit.
If you are a Buyer or Seller you should have a clear agreement about whether the item is shipped FOB destination (Seller shipping liability) or FOB origin (Buyer shipping liability)
The seller absolutely has the responsibility until the buyer has the item in their possession. The buyer has every right to expect to receive an item sold to them in exactly the condition that was specified in the advertisement. If the seller specifies differently in their ad, I just stay away no matter how much I may want that item. If the seller can't be bothered with seeing a sale through to the finish, then let the buyer beware. That is why pick up in person or meeting is always preferable to me. It is also why I can not understand anyone ever throwing away factory packaging. It is expensive to safely pack and ship large, heavy items.
In manufacturing, skid size shipments are almost invariably FOB. Basically, the buyer arranges to have the items picked up at your dock.
As soon as the appointed shipping company touches that skid(s), any damage or loss is the responsibility of the buyer and their chosen shipping company.
The reason for this methodology of shipping is fairly clear. Cost, time, and losses. No one wants to be sued by a buyer for losses of a shipment, when it is actually the shipping company that has made a mess. and shipping companies are like insurance companies. Good luck getting the payout or damage or loss, when the time comes.
No manufacturer with a lick of sense wants to or can afford to be involved in dealing with having to re-ship or re-manufacture an item at their own expense and time. It can make a mess of manufacturing schedules and margins. And such a thing...invariably does just that. So FOB is the norm in manufacturing.
The shipper or manufacturer being responsible for the given item until it reaches your door, is a gift. Seriously.
Even if we might not see it that way. As most times the given shipping companies contract out the insurance aspect of the costs added to shipping, and that insurance company and their claim adjusters are there to really make sure that they don’t pay for the mistakes of the shippers, manufacturers and so on. (bad packing, bad handling, lies, fraud, and so on). Claims can be a nightmare.
I’ve shipped a good 10k+ parcels all over the world, but not to Antarctica. Yet. But pretty well everywhere else. Packing and labeling is critical. This is not a place to save $2-3-5 and a bit of your time. Overpack and over label.
ADULT SIGNATURE required for delivery of expensive parcels, and/or heavy parcels. In countries with shipping theft problems (eg, Indonesia), then it’s set for ’pick up at the local shipping depot, only’, and that adult signature requirement. ID has to be shown to sign for it.
Signature required is basically better than the insurance itself, as this tends to ensure that things actually arrive, and are not stolen by sloppy delivery methods, or outright driver theft. The countries with the highest wage disparity are the ones with the most prevalent theft-loss problems.
Eg, to ship to Indonesia, is a shipping depot pick up scenario, no delivery to the end user. And the id of the addressed and shipped to person is shown and then the ID’d individual has to sign for it. It forces honesty and defeats most methods used for item theft in shipping.
Package damage can be witnessed by the shipping company people and the recipient, at the same time, right on the premises of the shipping company. It fast forwards claims, if any. Always consider opening up the item right in front of the people at the shipping depot, if something feels off. If there is obvious damage to the package/item, refuse to sign and leave it right there, is the general advice.
In my experience, a 20-30-40 pound amplifier should be packed well enough and arranged internally well enough, to handle a 3-5 foot drop onto a cement floor with no damage, and the said drop, on any corner or side of the package. It’s the transients, the hard stops, that’s the problem.
Bubble wrap is your friend, here. Have lots of friends. Use lots of it. It lowers the level of impact transients in peak g forces (from a 5 foot drop) and prevents most chassis twisting, damage, etc, for items with massive transformers, etc. I say 5 feet, all the time, as that’s what it might be when a 6 foot tall delivery person is holding the box at chest level. You should hear and see these guys transfer parcels to a truck when they are busy at the given shipping depot. Like a person’s first visit to a slaughterhouse. Frightening.
Additionally, the packed item must be able to handle multiple hits like that, and it should be able to handle a flip down a flight of stairs. IMO and IME, anything else is bordering on underpacked and badly built. Seriously.
Most audio gear is NEVER shipped this way when new. Most audio gear is handled by dedicated shipping companies who handle skids of this stuff all day long and are experts at handling new electronics.
Most audio gear boxes and packaging from major manufacturers are designed for this level of gentle handling by the dedicated electronics shippers.... and are ~not~ designed for international or domestic UPS, USPS, or FED-EX shipping.
Eg, shipping a $5k surround sound amplifier at 50lbs, in it’s original box... is a crap shoot at best, as that packaging was designed to get it safely to the store via the dedicated electronics shipping methods and not for shipping through general public channels. Nor was the amplifier designed to handle the beatings that normal public shipping will put on it. most times they can take it, but one bad drop can make a mess.
This is where the Extra $20 of work in packing and then the signature required bits become ultra critical.
Oh yes, for the odd time shipper, who wants the best boxes for shipping audio electronics, clothing companies (the gap, etc) have the best boxes, in size and quality. Those are the dumpsters to dive for $10-15 ’impossible to source’ water safe coated and 200lb double wall boxes - of the right sizes and shapes.
So far, all the seller is responsible. Amazing change from this same sort of question fifteen years ago! If I had the time I would find it so you could see the opposite attitude back them, when the money changed hand without recourse way more often. PayPal has changed the game.(And I think rightly so, even back then I argued it was the seller's responsibility and onus, and got numerous attacks for even saying it out loud. Today, as mentioned, some folks want cash only, no PayPal, probably for this very reason. They want no responsibility for shipping problems. And if you go back and read early PayPal problems, (aside from fraud) most were about the seller angry for 'getting cheated;' because the item was damaged in shipping and PayPal sided with the buyer, thus the account blocked..
As an example of an experience I had. I bought a CD player some years ago. Player was advertised as used but in functional condition. The seller agreed to pack well and send the manual. A $300 price and the seller stated he can take it back in 3 days if there was a problem. He said he sold many audio pieces and I should not be worried. When the player came, the CD drawer would not work. A quick look in the manual stated the CD player must be shipped with a screw that keeps the drawer in place. Since the shipper did not double box the player, did not put the screw into the drawer and did not provide enough packing, the drawer had broken. When finding out the cost of repairs was more than the cost of the CD player I wanted to ship it back. He took it back reluctantly (after I told him about the screw and lack of proper packing) and I paid for shipping. These kinds of stories are more numerous than one might think. So who was at fault here, and whose time was wasted? It should be noted the seller wanted me to file a claim, even after I pointed out he was to lazy to do a quick research and find out how to properly ship a CD player.
Absolutely...the seller is responsible for packing (properly), shipping and insurance and that the item arrives intact. If there are shipping issues, it's up to the seller to deal with the shipper. Years ago, I sold a very nice carbon fiber platform to someone on AudiogoN and the item was "lost" by the shipper (either FedEx or UPS). I promptly refunded the buyer's money and then dealt with the shipper, eventually recouping my money.
I also purchased speakers from a dealer on AudoigoN and they arrived damaged. I returned them at the dealer's expense and he shipped me a new pair. So, until the buyer receives the item intact, it's really the seller's responsibility throughout the process.
My worst CD player shipping story was for one of my favorite (typical $40) eBay five disc changer.
The five disc player was wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper. (no box, nothing else, just paper.) Lots of extra tape though. Apparently the unit was returned to the seller by USPS, most likely the paper ripped off. Oh, yeah the rear feet were also ripped loose, but taped back in place. Plus the drawer was shattered (it did open, but then the bottom would fall away...) After a short excuse filled email from the seller,(he said he was away, his 'no longer working for him' employee did it, The unit was tested fully etc) he said ship it back for a refund. naturally this would exclude the $35 shipping he 'after the fact' charged me instead of the listed $22..
I never sent it back. I can use some of the parts since I own several of the similar model. Others same thing sent in bulletproof boxes, lots of protection. I will never forget the paper only one though. eBay, who would ever think??? (SARCASM, for those with no sarcasm gene)
Elizabeth. I sympathize with you. Just cannot understand why someone does these crazy things. I am a firm believer in this policy. If you made a mistake in selling me something, that is fine we can work it out. But if you just screwed me over by blatantly not giving a sh*t. I will give feedback that the seller will NOT like. And I will always tell truth about what happened. Your dirty laundry will be put out there...
There’s a Catch 22. Even though the seller insures the item for full value you can still lose. The shippers, as one might expect, are rather reluctant these days to pay off on claims. The judgement of fault is determined by, guess who? The shipper. Hel-loo! What’s Catch 22? It’s if the item was damaged during shipping the seller didn’t pack it well enough. Hel-loo! 😬 I bet you thought USPS paid off all claims.
I think anyone reading any audio forums has realized shippers never want to pay, and they always blame the packaging.
I tell folks pack it so you can comfortably drop the package on a corner from ten feet up. And no problem.
As mentioned it is the cushioning inside the box that matters. The more weight, the denser and thicker the foam needed.
But IMO the drop from ten feet is to be EXPECTED.
My favorite horror story UPS style: I was at the main depot terminal UPS off Bluemound Rd near the Milwaukee County border with Waukesha County(not some store) and as I waited in line, A UPS employee pushed open a swinging door with a skid on wheels, carrying a very large box. The box was WIDER than the door.. However the employee refused to accept it would not fit. And began to pull back, and try to bang the box HARD ... into submission, over and over, As I and half a dozen customers watched. finally after about ten tries to force the box through the too small opening. The owner of the item walked in and started yelling. (by then my need to stay was no more,and I left. Not knowing what finally happened. I do think if the box had been rotated 90 degrees... it would have fit through the door. UPS....ups..
I've always posted giving a fair price that does not included the shipping or insurance. I always state i will not ship with out proper declaration of price or adequate insurance at buyers expense. I do this to cover both our asses if something happens during shipping. I also do not include any of the above in the price so to not inflate the price for a local buyer who may wish to pick it up. I always use Canada Post - US postal service at the express package level. I do this because like some one said above it requires an adult signature at the delivery point and it usually goes through customs easier-fast. I also have had better luck with the national postal services then the UPS- FedEx's but your mileage may vary here. I also always give the buyer my full name and address for return if something is amiss. Any deviation from this and I state its at the buyers risk for loss or damage (like i'm not going to get fussy on a $20 item but over $100 and i'm wanting insurance). Like others have said its not a done deal until the buyer has the item and is happy its arrived as the state it was agreed on. Always take the return unless agreed prior to the sale. Oh i don't accept PayPal as a form of payment as well i'm not comfortable with another institution having access to my banking. One last thing I never sell unless I have spoken to the buyer by phone as well as email much less issues that way.
I'm honest with condition when I sell and over pack every item. I think most of us are hobbyist and really like to share our hobby and discus our hobby I've met some wonderful audiophiles during the buying-selling process. These are the ones I prefer to sell to people like myself who love the music and hobby not the resellers and people looking to make a buck. If your honest from the start then if shipping issues do arise its easier to come to a solution that satisfies both parties.
Note i have used my local UPS store for packing and I find they pack very well here so not all UPS stores are below standard. And bubble wrap is your friend if done right.
I sold a bunch of equipment this year, including a turntable and a big-arsed pair of Thiel 3.7 speakers.
It seemed to be to be a sort of joint-responsibility, depending on how the sale is done. For the speakers, my add said buyer responsible for shipping. Now...if the buyer decides to cheap out on a form of shipping with higher risk...is that really my fault?
In this case, I supplied all the information I could to the buyer as to the best shipping practices to increase the likelihood of safe shipping. I went to the speaker manufacturer to ask how they ship, and recommended that to the buyer (who chose that method - i.e. pallet shipping, and strapped on the way suggested by the company).
I took care of my end of the bargain. As per usual, payment was made first. Now they were his speakers.
I meticulously documented with photos the condition of the speakers before packing, and documented every step of packing for each speaker, showing now safely they had been packed, no damage occurring on my end. And sent those to the buyer. It was now up to him to arrange the shipping. Again, given I had done absolutely everything I could, and shipping choice was up to him, it seemed to me (and to the buyer) that I did my duty, now he does his.
Everything went great, fortunately.
As for the turntable, I wasn't going to ship that thing, so it was local sale only. That really helps. My pal who has sold many more items, including turntables, advised me on how he does things. As he put it, the last time a guy came over to pay for and pick up a turntable, the buyer wanted to see the turntable of course to inspect it (not just encounter it all packed up). Once inspected, my pal suggested if it looked fine, time to pay. Once the money had changed hands, my pal said: "So, would you like some help packing and carrying YOUR turntable?"
I took that approach when I sold my turntable. It's good to have clear boundaries and agreement.
As a seller I perssonally take responsibility for packaging items properly to survive shipping. All electronics are double boxed. Unit is first wrapped in bubble wrap. The first box will have a layer of 1.5" upholstery foam on the bottom. The bubble wrapped unit is placed in the box. Then more foam is fitted all the way around and on top of the unit. Any remaining voids will be filled with packing paper. I like for the second box to have at least 2" of room all the way around the first. Enough for a layer of 1.5" foam all around, and some packing paper to fill any gaps.. This is good for units up to around 50 lbs. I would increase the padding as units get heavier. Heavy duty cardboard is used for boxes! I have never had an issue with shipping damage with this method.
Establishing good communication between the buyer and seller very important. If they do not want to talk to you about the product and what they fill is necessary on shipping, insurance and who pays what. What the responsibility of buyer or seller is before transaction is complete. DO NOT BUY OR SELL
In my opinion, the seller needs to do his/her own packaging as they "should" know what is required for proper protection. I would NEVER use UPS to ship anything of value. If UPS knows something is damaged, they will drop it off and leave as quickly as possible...unless a signature is required. I had them damage a vintage Marantz receiver and left the package and left the building within seconds. FedEx is the best.
However, anyone is capable of damaging a product...even if properly packaged. The seller/shipper is the one who needs to initiate the claim.
Never, ever have someone ship a turntable with using the original packaging. I've had someone ship a turntable with the platter still on the turntable. When I received the shipment, the turntable looked like someone beat it with a heavy chain. The seller claimed he knew how to properly package a turntable...!!!!
I worked for the old post office years ago and loaded trucks and I have seen how stereo equipment was handled ,first hand.Not in the way it should be.Depending on the weight of said package.I also worked for UPS in the claims dept and before that i worked in a electric parts supplier....So i know a little.Since I retired I have bought alot of stereo equipment new and used .From ebay and dealers...I must say I find the dealers do pack a hell of a lot better that many sellers on ebay.I find if it wraped good and double box usally there is no problem.Plus PayPal helps alot with damaged packages...i myself have had a number of turntables come damaged...If they dont have orginal packaging its a gamble on wether or not you receive it in good conditions....
I always have the buyer pay for shipping and the $3 charge for signature required at delivery time. If they don’t pay then I don’t ship. I had some guy try to tell me that he never received the shipment and I asked are you sure? Of course he said he didn’t. Then when I went out online to check the shipment, it was delivered and signed for. When I told the buyer this, of course he responded that he just received it, but in reality he received it 2 days prior. Even if I calculate the shipping light, signature is always required.
Like all matters in a contract, the parties can agree to anything they want regarding shipping. So a clear understanding is the most important first step. Failure to talk about the details beforehand is sure to lead to problems down the road. Don't rely on what you might read here about who ought to be responsible...make a specific agreement.
While the parties can agree to what they want regarding shipping, the seller is the only party who can document the shipping process. And documentation is fundamental for any unanticipated problems. So, when I ship, I carefully photograph the item in good light on all sides and angles. If it's electronic, I photograph it plugged in and turned on to show working lights, etc. I also take pictures of all accessories, like remotes, cables, covers. Then I take pictures at every step of wrapping and packing. When the shipping cartons have been sealed, I take pictures of the cartons from all conceivable angles, including all corners, seams and address labels.
Similarly, the buyer is the party who can document delivery condition.
Good idea to discuss those expectations in reaching an agreement, too.
Opinions and wishes are useless here. Only the Legal contract says who is responsible.
This contract is basically the Postal Service Act (US) and almost every country has one.
If there is a business to business deal or business to customer or even a C to C if you use a postal service the same law applies.
You cannnot make your own terms that rule against the law. What is fair and just is a whole other subject.
Most cases end before any ruling is given. The legal cost and effort to get justice if something went wrong are steep.
Luckely if you pay by credit card or PayPal you as buyer has some extra leverage. They have applied the postal act in there own terms.
They hold the sellers responsible until you have received the package in good condition. Some Risk involved here when the package is in good condition but the goods inside are not. Different subject.
If you did not revieve the goods you can file a claim and in most cases you as buyer get your money including shipping cost back.
As private seller that I have been many thimes I will think twice about shipping a valuable package to any one. Pick-up is preferable.
Companies will account shipping losses in there cost price.
The risks are low these day’s. We have door to door tracking and realible companies at least in most parts of the world.
I feel quit safe safe as buyer. As seller I am less protected by law.
I learned the hard way that in the event of loss or damage, the buyer is at the mercy of the seller to do the right thing. Problem is that claims departments can be a RPITA to interact with
My solution was to open my own Fedx account, which puts ME in control. Simply provide the seller with shipping label
I did miss out on buying an amp when the seller did not trust this new to him process
When I sell, I provide pics of the item AND packing material
Tweak1 that i a GREAT way to handle shipping!
Another personal story this time about UPS and ’Signature’. I bought a used Kimber KCAG pair of IC, I paid about $300. Sent and UPS claimed signed for.I was at a loss. I did not get it. Well, it turned up as I asked my neighbors.. The person directly above me, just happened to walk out into the lobby when the UPS guy was buzzing. He handed her the package and asked her to sign, She did, nothing you could read mind you. She took it upstairs, opened it, and THREW THE BOX AWAY. tossed the now crumpled and twisted up IC into a drawer in the kitchen. As far as she was concerned, end of story. When I asked, She was yeah I have that thing. And handed me the IC. I ask where is the box? Tossed. I read UPS the riot act. They didn’t care, nor did the UPS driver. What the idiot thought who lived above me? no idea.
At least she did not throw away the silvery gizmo she had no use for.
Signature required, just means someone to sign at the delivery point. No concern of who.
ADULT SIGNATURE REQUIRED, is almost 2.5 times as expensive, as it requires the driver of the UPS truck to check the identification papers of the person signing and match them against the name on the parcel.
Expensive parcel?...always opt for ’adult signature required.’
The seller buys insurance. Now, he may ask the buyer to pay for the insurance or even include insurance in the price but that’s different. The onus is on the seller, not the buyer. If the thing is damaged upon arrival the shipper will undoubtedly want to see the thing at the buyer’s location. But as I said good luck getting anyone to pay for damage due to Catch 22 - If it’s damaged it wasn’t packed well enough and therefore the seller is at fault. It wouldn’t make sense for the buyer to be responsible for insurance. If it doesn’t make sense it’s not true.
It depends on your "contract" with the Seller - whether you accepted risk of loss from the Seller’s location, or whether the Seller did.
As a seller, I always, make sure the Buyer accepts risk of loss, during shipment, from my location, when the carrier picks up the package. And I place the shipment in the name of the buyer, so the buyer may settle any claim for damages with the shipper, directly.
UPS Store is the ABSOLUTE WORST !!!! They wrap everything in bubble wrap and send it.... 90% chance of damage. And UPS employees play football with the packages... I have only had claims with UPS.Agreed. UPS is a joke. I'm amazed at how many dealers ship via UPS.
As I read through these, it becomes obvious that, whenever possible, meeting the seller to pick up the item yourself reduces a lot of potential headaches and actually reduces expenses. I drove from Newport News to just south of Philly to meet the seller of the pair of Maggies I bought a couple of summers ago and even with the investment of driving 12 hours, tolls, fuel, etc (and being handicapped, it wasn't necessarily a pleasant trip), there's really no good way to package 6 foot tall speakers and ship them without damage no matter how much $$ spent or what carrier you use. Don't know how Magnepan does it, but I'm very happy Jerry Norrell was willing to travel to meet me and kind enough to load the speakers into my car...
The sellers part is not over until it arrives at your door in tact they shipped it and it had better arrive in tact and packed well. Your part is to let them know immediately if there is an issue. Or to not accept the package if it’s damaged. Make the ups or FedEx person stay there till it’s open if you like and take pictures of it before you open and as you open to help the seller with their insurance. Yes the shipper needs to pay for insurance as they are the ones who will get stuck. Open a case with PayPal & Audiogon immediately.
I think most audiophiles should adopt this policy when dealing as a seller or buyer and the equipment is either fragile and/or old or just very expensive and/or hard to package well. I am amazed how many people buy top dollar audio gems and expect it to be shipped every time in perfect condition. And many will not make the time to travel and meet halfway to get these precious pieces. My audio room is my sanctuary away from the mad, mad world. I would drive 100 miles to get a kit of gear that helps me relax and enjoy music!!