shipping tips

"m pretty new on the 'Gon and I am in the middle of dealing with a shipping disaster...LOTS of damage to carefully packed speakers. Any tips on subjects like whether to have dealer or carrier pack? or which carriers to use? Avoiding a claim by a buyer that equipment didn't work upon arrival? Handling insurance claim negotiations ("Well, sir, you didn't pack this equipment properly"). Any tips would be appreciated.
1. If you ship UPS read their packing requirements carefully.

2. If you've accepted paypal read their requirements carefully. There's a checklist that includes countries you're not protected in as well as the most broken rule...ship with a confirmation receipt ALWAYS. You have to meet all their requirements to be covered (which is to stay you're still wide open for a scam but...)

3. I once had an inspector come over and the best thing I did was to be very friendly to him, offer a cold drink and chat about his job...The buck stops with the inspector who has lots of leeway deciding whether or not to cover you.
In the future if you ship UPS have the UPS store pack and ship, more expensive but they cant fight you on poor packing, large speakers ship BAX Global, good luck and sorry to hear your bad fortune.
Ship FEDX ground insured. Pack heavy items (30-+LBs) with 2-3 inches styrofoam .shipper processes claims. GOOD LUCK!
Call buyer to "feel him/her out" . Do they appear to be honest/sincere or are they part swappers. Buyers are really getting good at scamming buyers..
Lots of good advice already.

Large speakers and turntables are the hardest things to ship IMHO. Always use the manufacturers original shipping carton as the inner carton and pack this inside a much larger outer carton. Forget peanuts, unless they are used in concert with newspaper that keeps them from migrating. I prefer the inner box to not be rigidly attached to the outer box, so that a small bit of independent movement is allowed. If you have any question in your mind about the usefullness of your packing, then the item has a good chance of being broken. I too use BAX for large shipments. I hate shipping anything through the US post office; there is no accountablility.

When dealing with claims, the squeeky wheel gets the grease. Initiate the claim immediately. Always be respectful and firm, very firm. Continue to escalate the claim to higher levels of management, when possible. Take pictures of the damage. Lots of pictures, more than you will ever need. Get e-mail addresses and send them freely to everyone that you speak with on the phone. They will try to wear you down, be patient, they can be worn down, as well.
Thanks for all the good advice. "Part swappers"...never even heard of that...what's that about? How much importance do you place on the other party's prior feedback in weeding out potential rats?
Positive feedback is nice but meaningless.
Agree with Pbb and the other comments.You can usually do your qualifying on the phone accurately[sp?]I've found.Assuming you speak the same language.....I just sent a B&O 3000 turntable[1986] across the country,packed to perfection.Makes you feel good when the buyer is happy with your work,cheers,Bob
Double boxing with peanuts all around has saved me more than once!
It's a good question, and one I wish more newcomers to online selling considered with your seriousness.

I favor rigid foam insulation between inner and outer boxes, or at least some kind of material that cannot migrate en masse, leaving voids. Ditto to Viridian's remarks about decoupling the inner from the outer boxes. That said, I would judge the single most common packing error to be this: box too large/packing material too loose. A heavy TT, amp, or speakers can easily shift around amidst loose packing material, rendering the material useless.

When in doubt, use more packaging and fit everything snugly.

I've found that with the confidence experience brings, I can tell if a buyer's concerns are legitimate. Combined with the knowledge that your packing job was competent, a simple phone call will establish if your buyer is dealing in good faith.

Generally speaking, Fedex shipments receive gentler handling than UPS (lower overall volume), but note that Fedex Ground is often handled by low-pay local subcontractors, or worse, employees of those subs. Expect a corresponding quality of service.

I have happily shipped many high-value items through the USPS, but I admit that, with credit to careful packing, I've never experienced what a damage claim with the Post Office might be like.

Others tell me that claims can be a nightmare regardless of who the shipping agent is. Better to avoid them entirely, if possible.
there have been similar threads in the past with lots of good advice. Here's one of them:
A simple request---Please pack audio gear well.