Who pays for busted stuff?

I bought a Nak tape deck from a gent here; I made an offer, he counteroffered with a slighly higher price, including shipping. We agreed, and it was left up to him to select the shipper. You guessed it, UPS ground. So the deck finally gets to me, the box looks like it hasn't sustained any real damage. I unpack it and it looks terrific. I plug it in, and the "load" and "autoreverse" features will not work at all. I get a brief grinding sound and then nothing. At first I though I really ought to have made sure the transport screw was removed. It wasn't there, so a non-issue. I wrote the seller "the boyz in brown showed up tonight at 8:00 with the deck, overtime I suppose. The Nak is in as new cosmetic
condition, really nice. Now for the "but". The "load" and "reverse" features do not work, makes an odd brief grinding
sound and will not eject nor reverse the cassette. Am I doing something wrong?" The seller wrote me back (promptly) "Read the manual carefully. Everything always worked fine for me. Keep trying, maybe something went to sleep". Now to the question...the seller packed the item in it's original box (and did not secure the transit screw), selected the carrier, and now the deck needs repair. I can't see how I could make a claim with UPS since the deck looks prisitine and the box has normal wear. The gent insists that when he shipped it to me it was working perfectly. Assuming the deck does not "wake up" I'll need to get this serviced locally (if any of you have an idea what may be wrong I'd appreciate hearing from you), who pays for the repair?
Since the unit did show as advertised and the transport screw was left out, the seller is clearly responsible. There is no way to know how it got damaged but if you did not receive what you paid for, a perfectly working unit, you should have the seller pay for the repair or refund your money and take the unit back, especially since the transport screw was not in the unit when shipped. Its is the sellers job to deliver the product as advertised.
The seller because he did not fasten the screw.I had A Mcintosh Cd player shiped to me a few years ago with the screw not fastened,The sell was good enough to pay for the re alinment of the player.
Jeff keep after him .If he does nothing post his name.
Hi Jeff, I was recently in an identical situation. I bought a Nak Dragon here on Audiogon, it arrived in perfect cosmetic shape, no obvious damage to the box (like yours, mine was shipped in the original box w/original packing material), but when I tried to open the tape door, nothing. Some latch was obviously not releasing, power was on but no action by the door. I fooled around with it (gently) for a while, jiggling and reaching in to try and find an engaged latch, but couldn't solve the problem. I emailed seller, who originally had said he offered a money back guarantee. The door was working when he packed the deck. Since I decided that I wanted to keep the deck, even if I had to pay for the repair, I did not ask to return it for a full refund. Instead, I took it into a shop that sells and services vintage as well as new gear, and a week later had it back operating perfectly. Diagnosis: the "pressure pad lifter" was missing. Cost: approx $130, which included a cleaning, checking, and head alignment. Don't know how much the pressure pad lifter plus labor alone cost. Don't know what happened to the original pressure pad lifter; fell off in transit? Lost somewhere inside the deck? I assume if the latter, the repair shop would have found it and removed it. Anyway, I asked seller to contribute to the repair cost, which I said I thought fair, and he agreed without argument and shortly thereafter sent me a check for $35. I feel that that was honest and fair and am perfectly satisfied with him, the tape deck, and the way the whole deal went down. My deck was also shipped UPS Ground. Lesson: always double box, even if you pay more to ship. At least you then have a chance of receiving what you paid for.
If I had wanted to return the deck for a full refund, I think that the seller was obligated to accept it, since he had offered that from the beginning. If it had been anything other than a purely (I felt) mechanical problem with the door latch, like a function not working (eg the autoreverse or the autocalibration), I think I would have asked to return the deck, fearing that the cost of repair would be too high. I just felt the latch problem wouldn't be too expensive. $130 was steep, but then it was a vintage piece, not currently manufactured.
In my opinion, if the unit does not come as advertised, the seller is obligated to make good.
Without question (to me, anyway), the seller needs to make good, but it always helps if the buyer is understanding and flexible. I have only received one piece of non-working gear, and the seller wasn't particularly helpful, though I didn't push it much with him. I thought I was told sometime during figuring out how to deal with it that if a claim against the shipper is to be made, it has to be made by the person shipping the unit, not the reciever. Don't know if that's true or not. In my case, it was a Krell CD player which, although it seemed to go through all the proper motions, wouldn't read / play the CD. I contacted Krell who told me the unit was under warranty, and I shipped them the unit. Two weeks later, it was returned, not only completely functional, but totally cleaned up - it was beautiful. So, in my case, for $50 extra everything worked out great. My understanding is that Krell no longer honors transferred warranties, so it would have probably been $150 (or more) if it happened today.

In any case, if you really want the piece, I'd investigate the cost to get it fixed and work with the seller on making that palatable to everyone and pursue the claim against UPS as a second resort. -Kirk

I sent a McIntosh CD player to a person in Florida and it arrived damaged, broken glass faceplate and broken knobs.
It was shipped in the original FACTORY double boxes.
UPS decided to turn the claim down since there was no damage to the box. Well, I obviously did not ship it this way, as it left HOUSE of MUSIC (McIntosh dealer) in the plastic wrap from a clean and align.

I had the player returned, I found ANOTHER CD player that was in fine cosmetic shape but functionally not, took BOTH into the dealer and had them fix the broken one.

I sold the CD player for $900 originally, (about $500 more than it should have) spent $200 on the broken one, $85 to mend the two, and sent the player back!

Bottom line, he got what he expected, granted, it took about 2 months....

Dan (AudioGon and EBAY member)
My wife sold my old KLH Model Twenty-One Radio on Ebay for a whopping sum of $265. The unit was in perfect shape except for a slight fading on the top of the cabinet. It was shipped exceedingly well packed with 6" of foam surrounding the unit which was double boxed. It arrived though with damage to the circuit board that received the volume and tone control pots. The unit was 35-40 years old and just could not handle the trip, I guess. To make a long story short, I reimbursed the buyer for the repair and also through in additional money to cover having the cabinet pro refinished, to make up for the inconvenience (think that it was $95 total). The radio still lives and the buyer was completely satisfied, though somewhat shocked that an Ebay seller would go to this length to make it right. I was willing to go as high as $265 (the amount of the sale) to have the unit repaired.
Sending the deck back isn't an option I want to pursue for a few reasons. The deck is in perfect condition, I had to pay $60 to Canadian customs when it got here, and it would cost me a fair bit to ship it back I took the deck apart, hoping to find out what the problem is. Figuring since it plays tapes, rewind, forward etc. fine then the eject/reverse section must have it's own motor. Found the problem, a rubber belt (looks like an "O" ring) had come off between a sprocket and an idler wheel. Unfortunately I could not get it back on, more than likely easily repaired by someone experienced in such things. I'll have a tech but the belt on properly and hopefully that's the only thing wrong with the deck. Did the belt come off in shipment? I'd have to say it did. Would the transport screw have stopped the belt from coming off? I don't know.
I know how you feel. About a year and a half ago,I sold my Brston 2BLP Amplifier to a guy in Minnesota.After settling on a price,I sent it out U.S.P.S 1st class, insured. When he recieved it, the front rack ears on one side had been bent! (If you are familiar with the way Brystons' are built, you know you need a vise-grip to do this!) He called the Bryston service center in Vermont,and they told him it would not be covered under warranty, since it had obviously been mishandled.They quoted him a price of $100.00 for the repairs. He was understandabily upset,so was I ,because I sent it to him in perfect condition. To make a long story longer,I IMMEIDATELY sent him the $100.00 for the repair,and we both took up the claim with the U.S.P.S. After a month or so, they sent him a check for $120.00.He then sent it to me(which I thought was kind of nice!) Anyway, It just goes to show that sometimes people can work these things out in a civilized manner.
I purchased a cal audio labs alpha dac and delta transport on this site a couple of months ago. I told the seller to ship it via priority mail insured. The seller shipped it in the cal original packaging which is comparable to a double box. The packages arrived with some dings and tears in the cardboard but nothing major. The units themselves were pristine. After making all the connections there was no music. The transport made a ratteling sound. Atrip to my local hi-fi shop revealed that a voltage regulator had snapped off the board. The repairman said since the exterior of the unit showed no damage he could not see how a part could snap off the circuit board. When I emailed the seller he blamed me for selecting the post office as the shipper and basically said tough luck. Frankly, I expected more and asked for an adjustment on the price. He demurred and would not reimburse me. The repair cost me $90 and I am thrilled with the unit. I thought that the right thing to do would be to offer to pay half the cost of the repair. After this experience, I am much more wary of buying on these types of sites. All I can say is that everything is based on the good will of the parties and hopefully you will deal with an honest person with common sense and good will. Good Luck with your future transactions.
First of all, Jeff, glad to hear that your problem has been diagnosed and should be a relatively simple (inexpensive) repair.

On your general question, there seems to be a consensus that if the unit didn't arrive in the condition advertised, then the seller should work with the buyer to make it right. I concur. The only exception I can see to this is what happened to Erwbear in the above post.

If the Buyer INSISTS on a shipping method other than what the Seller is comfortable with, then I feel that the buyer assmes any shipping damage related expenses. Of course, the seller should clarify this with the buyer BEFORE shipping the item. Somthing like: "Okay, at your insistence I'll send this out USPS, but if it is damaged in transit, you will have to take it up with the Post Office. Do you still want me to send it out via USPS?"

If the seller chooses the shipping vendor, then shipping damage claims would fall upon him since he made the selection.

As always, clear communication is paramount.
I shipped a mint condition Meridian player and when it arrived it didn't work and had some cosmetic damage. I had argued with the buyer a bit about shipping UPS ground because I think they are rough handlers. He didn't want to pay the extra, so I agreed. I insured the package, and it was obvious that UPS had caused the damage. I decided to refund the buyers money and deal with the claim myself. In hindsight I think I should have told the buyer that because had insisted on the cheapest way to ship it should be his problem. I did nothing wrong, the unit was double boxed in original styrofoam packing, plus I added my own bubble wrap around the player. Of course those low down dirty rats at UPS denied the claim on grounds of improper packing, so I filed a lawsuit against them, the only problem is they somehow managed to not get served, so the other day I went to court all prepaired and I was told that the date would have to be rescheduled. UPS is the worst 2 faced company I have ever dealt with, and I am not going to give this thing up even if I have to hire a lawyer. If you ship something expensive via UPS ground and they damage it, no matter what the packing or insurance, you better plan on having to sue them to get your money.
For those who choose to ship via USPS -- my memory tells me that the item becomes the property of the addressee once USPS takes possession. If so, the seller is not obligated to "make things right". The other aspect of shipping USPS is that sending an item that is not as described to the buyer may constitute mail fraud. Can anyone confirm this?
sd: since you asked, the us federal crime of "mail fraud" constitutes the use of the us mails in a "scheme or artifice to defraud". 18 USC Sec. 1341. "...the term 'scheme or artifice to defraud' includes a scheme or artifice to deprive another of the intangible right of honest services." 18 USC Sec.1346. so yes, one may commit mail fraud by intentionally describing an article sent via the usps as in "flawless condition" when it is not or by failing to describe a material defect in such product. the chances of one being prosecuted for a single instance of "puffing" the condition of a piece sold on the internet, however, is less than zero. -kelly
Thanks Kelly, as always you are the clear answer for tough legal questions.
Greatpost Cornfedboy.What are the chances of getting prosecution if its the second offence.
You do.

As already stated the chances of legal action are nil and the seller already told you it was OK when he sent it making it clear you are stuck.
i bought used wheels once, which were sent ups. they were bent, not noticeable to the naked eye, but *wery* noticeable when on the balance machine w/tyres. :<( the seller put in a claim to ups when i complained. i told him i doubt they'd pay, that the wheels had to have been bent when shipped - there were *no* markings on the packaging, & there was *no* way this type of damage could have occurred from shipping - this was the damage due to a pothole or curb, or someting similar. amhik! ;~) but, he insisted they were straight when shipped. ups paid, no questions asked, even when i told them i believed they were damaged prior to shipment. go figure...

doug s,

Hey guys, don't ship UPS anymore unless its 2 day air. UPS went public a few years back and since then has had mucho labor problems: more competition, increased workload and pressure to deliver quicker driver delivery, escalating executive compensation packages and a slew of mergers (check the SEC filings...), which has all translated into this creedo: the longer its in their hands, the worse. I'll send cable UPS Ground, but WAY too many problems with anything else. Go FedEx 2d day. More expensive, but worth it.