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Thread: Ups insurance a ripoff

  1. #1

    Default Ups insurance a ripoff

    I recently shipped a Guild bass with UPS and it arrived with a cracked headstock/neck.
    I had the guitar in a very good fitted hard case and the headstock very well supported on the bottom and the top, strings loosened, in a good fitted box with padding inside around the case.
    It had to have been Stood on end and dropped.

    I have been fighting with UPS for 7 months now. They continue to deny the claim
    I have reported them to the BBB with no avail.
    They continue to say it was not packed properly.
    I looked on line at their guitar packing requirements and they recommend putting bubble wrap around the headstock to protect the tuners from damage.
    If I had done that, the headstock would have broken clear off.

    Any way, it appears that, unless you have “them” pack a guitar for you to ship, the extra value you place on your guitar for insurance is null and void.

    I considered taking them to court, but don’t need more stress i my life right now.

    I repaired the cracked neck, however the value of the guitar is now less than half of what it was and I am out the sale and the shipping $1,500.00.
    Not a happy camper!!!
    Just had to vent and warn all of you out there about increasing value on UPS shipments.
    It is a waste of money.
    Ken
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  2. #2
    Registered User J Mangio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ups insurance a ripoff

    Thanks for sharing.
    I recently shipped a Mandolin UPS, the insurance cost was as much as the cost to ship, thankfully all went well.
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  3. #3
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ups insurance a ripoff

    I refuse to use or accept anything from UPS-way too much damage occurs! I only use USPS or Fed-EX! Nothing I ever sent but stuff from others UPS has mangled so I specify USPS or Fed-EX! Never any problem from either of those and unless you have your instrument appraised good luck on getting your $ if damage occurs!

  4. #4
    Kelley Mandolins Skip Kelley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ups insurance a ripoff

    Ken, I’m sorry you had that experience! It’s also a pain in the butt to reach someone by phone at ups. I ordered a metal part and a heavily padded envelope that had been caught in a conveyor and one end of the envelope was torn off was delivered by ups. The envelope was empty. I couldn’t believe the driver dropped it off. When I finally reached someone on the phone, they said our records show it was delivered. Too bad. I called the company and they sent a replacement at no charge. There are good companies out there and then there are terrible ones. UPS is one of the poor ones. I will not ever use them.

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  6. #5
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ups insurance a ripoff

    I have a separate insurance policy for my instruments. That policy covers perils in shipping. I never buy shipping insurance.

    I did buy a mandolin once that was damaged in shipping to me. UPS came by my office and began to tell me it was likely damaged prior to shipping and I was victim of a scam. I pointed out the accordion pleats on the side of the box and how the mandolin was double boxed and in a Calton. Dude got his claim and I realized that Calton are not that great!

    Bummer!

    f-d
    ˇpapá gordo ain’t no madre flaca!

    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

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  8. #6
    Registered User Buck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ups insurance a ripoff

    A few random thoughts, none of which help the OP now.....

    UPS does not sell insurance. They will allow you to pay more for "declared value", but the terms of service clearly spell out that it is not insurance. That is a very long document and you have to be motivated to find the relevant portion, but it is there.

    I don't buy and sell a ton of instruments long distance, but I have done enough to be reasonably competent. I've used the three major carriers and USPS is the only one to have damaged an instrument during shipping. They're my least favorite for a number reasons. FedEx and UPS are about the same as far as getting stuff where and when I want, but UPS is much more convenient for me. With a UPS hub in Louisville, a shipment to a surrounding state gets there overnight even by Ground. I use UPS for 90% of what I ship.

    As painful as it is, I agree with UPS is this instance. The instrument was not properly packed. That's a classic "whiplash" crack and could have been avoided if the instrument was properly packed inside the case. There is a tendency to focus on padding the case inside the box, but how the instrument is packed inside the case is far more important. Among other things, the headstock should be completely immobilized. If it can move, it can break. Just "padding" it is no help at all. Use crumpled brown packing paper. You say the headstock was "well supported" but it couldn't have been and still broken like that.

    Again, not meaning to rub salt in the wound, but the evidence clearly indicates a packing failure. That doesn't mean they didn't handle it roughly. They may very well have done so. When I pack a guitar, I mean for them to able to dribble the box and the guitar still won't be harmed. So far I'm 100%. Checkout bryankimsey.com for packing tips. His shop is temporarily closed, but there are photos and even video of the process.

    And as F-D says, I have an inland marine policy with Heritage. If a guitar breaks, I'll file a claim. They'll pay me for the repair and diminished value and life can go on. I've only made one claim in all the years I had the policy. That damage happened at an event, not in shipping, but the process of making the claim couldn't have been easier.
    Todd Yates

  9. #7
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    Default Re: Ups insurance a ripoff

    Another reason to get proper instrument insurance. I carry a policy with Heritage, and shipping is covered. I've had one claim with them so far (not shipping related), and the service was without any complication. Instrument was repaired and they paid the entire cost, as well as the devaluation of the instrument.

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  11. #8

    Default Re: Ups insurance a ripoff

    When I pack a guitar, I mean for them to able to dribble the box and the guitar still won't be harmed.
    Therein lies the problem. We tolerate extraordinarily shoddy behavior and total carelessness from the shippers. Then they charge extremely high rates for their so called "service". The standard of caring is not there. We would not tolerate that from any other business.

  12. #9
    Registered User Buck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ups insurance a ripoff

    Quote Originally Posted by CarlM View Post
    Therein lies the problem. We tolerate extraordinarily shoddy behavior and total carelessness from the shippers. Then they charge extremely high rates for their so called "service". The standard of caring is not there. We would not tolerate that from any other business.
    Certainly there are examples of bad handling caught on security cameras and posted on YouTube, but I'm not at all sure that's the norm. A musical instrument is relatively delicate compared to the typical items shipped. The break in the OP's photo can happen from a the box tipping over, no tossing required. Sure, maybe it shouldn't tip over, but that's not quite to the point of extreme disregard on the part of the shipping company.

    Even if the average handling is as bad as you suggest, what's the alternative? Do we just stop shipping instruments for sales and repairs? That sure doesn't fit my needs. I'm happy to use a high quality case for shipping and learn to properly pack the guitar inside the case and the case inside the box.
    Todd Yates

  13. #10
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    Default Re: Ups insurance a ripoff

    I work in a print shop and we've used both UPS and FedEx as carriers. We've seen significantly more damage to our cartons with FedEx than UPS, however UPS is worse than FedEx to misdeliver or not deliver at all.
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  14. #11
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ups insurance a ripoff

    (I've also never loosened the strings. That begs yet another problem. With the string tension, there's less problem with inertia in the event of a fall. And, yes, I pack the snot out of the peg head within the case!)

    f-ds
    ˇpapá gordo ain’t no madre flaca!

    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

  15. #12

    Default Re: Ups insurance a ripoff

    It’s tough with the extra stress the shipping companies are under. I pack the headstock in tight with wrap, paper, t-shirts, etc and ship on a Mon/Tues for overnight/next day...I don’t leave it to chance.

    I had a next day shipment of frozen fish coming from Alaska supposed to get here by 11am, it arrived 7pm, was still frozen but me and the shipper were pretty ticked at FedEx.

    I also have an external policy on my spendy instruments as you discovered the value declaration doesn’t cover damage.
    Northfield F5M #268, AT02 #7

  16. #13
    Distressed Model John Ritchhart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ups insurance a ripoff

    Just anecdotal but I shipped my Northfield Artist F-5 back to Marshall Michigan for a small repair. I did the packing inside the case and UPS did the box packaging. Northfield texted me when it arrived and said the box was missing altogether and the shipping label was taped to the outside of the case. They were appalled. Fortunately there was no damage to the mandolin. When I talked to UPS and complained about the condition of the shipment I was informed that they don't guarantee the packaging. End of conversation.
    We few, we happy few.

  17. #14
    This Kid Needs Practice Bill Clements's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ups insurance a ripoff

    Here is a photo of a mandolin that was shipped to me via UPS from Canada. Never again.
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    The last mandolin I shipped was with FedEx. Their employee took a guitar shipping box they had and customized it for the mandolin. I couldn’t have done it better myself, and the cost was reasonable. I had the neck well protected inside with bubble wrap. The mandolin arrived safe and “sound”. I am a believer in taking a small amount of tension out of strings when shipping.
    "Music is the only noise for which one is obliged to pay." ~ Alexander Dumas

  18. #15

    Default Re: Ups insurance a ripoff

    I'm convinced instruments were "happier" back when they stayed in their own hometowns.........

  19. #16

    Default Re: Ups insurance a ripoff

    Quote Originally Posted by CarlM View Post
    Then they charge extremely high rates for their so called "service". .
    Do they charge extremely high rates? The gold standard service would be that we paid an individual to individually courier an instrument in a single vehicle from door to door. Think about what that would cost. For sufficiently valuable objects I imagine that happens. But if we use standard shipping companies and have our instruments travelling unsupervised along with every other package in the system at the same rates then we sure as hell aren't paying for a high quality service.

  20. #17

    Default Re: Ups insurance a ripoff

    Quote Originally Posted by JimCh View Post
    Do they charge extremely high rates? The gold standard service would be that we paid an individual to individually courier an instrument in a single vehicle from door to door. Think about what that would cost. For sufficiently valuable objects I imagine that happens. But if we use standard shipping companies and have our instruments travelling unsupervised along with every other package in the system at the same rates then we sure as hell aren't paying for a high quality service.
    Interesting way to look at it.

    A couple times on my eBay sales, I ended up selling guitars to well-known rock stars. Both times they requested FedEx overnight. Once to a studio. Once to a venue. It has been 12-15 years or so, but it seemed to cost around $400, IIRC. Of course, the buyer pays for it. No damage or problems either time. Very smooth.

    On a somewhat related note, a friend of mine worked for a time for the Medical Center as a live organ transport courier. (not sure what his official title was?) He would actually pick up the (heart, liver, etc.) organ in a cooler and drive it straight to the hospital where it was needed, sometimes 4 or 5 hours away. Often, he would drop it off directly at the doctor's house, sometimes at 4 or 5am, if the job required it. Again, IIRC, he was making about $400 a delivery, depending on distance. No telling what the hospital or customer was actually billed for the service.

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  22. #18
    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ups insurance a ripoff

    I had UPS deny a claim when they packed the whole guitar, in the case and in their own box! USPS is the only one to lose an instrument. Had a Kimble A5 lost for about a week before it showed up in a destroyed box. Fortunately the mandolin was fine. Had good luck with FedEx so far but others have plenty of horror stories. I just don’t buy and sell much anymore. Too much hassle and it’s not fun. And I have what I want....

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  24. #19

    Default Re: Ups insurance a ripoff

    A very long time ago, at college, I received an empty, open package, once containing cookies my mother had sent. There was an actual, printed sticker stating that: “contents became contaminated and had to be destroyed”

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  26. #20

    Default Re: Ups insurance a ripoff

    I had issues as well several years ago where they would not honor my claim. They also said that the guitar I sent was poorly packed even though it was packed better than the way that they recommend. The only way to get satisfaction is to file a a claim in small claims court in the city/county from where you sent your instrument. The court will schedule a hearing date, and you have to ensure that UPS is served. This can usually be done by certified mail. What will probably happen, as it did with me, is that UPS will contact you a few days before your court date and settle your claim. In my case, they paid for the repair of my guitar, as well as the money I lost because I had to reduce the price of the guitar in order to sell it. They don't want to spend time in court trying to defend their stupid policies. You'll find that they would just assume pay you off because they know that you are serious about this.
    Last edited by banjoboy; Oct-06-2020 at 10:16am.

  27. #21

    Default Re: Ups insurance a ripoff

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post
    Interesting way to look at it.

    A couple times on my eBay sales, I ended up selling guitars to well-known rock stars. Both times they requested FedEx overnight. Once to a studio. Once to a venue. It has been 12-15 years or so, but it seemed to cost around $400, IIRC. Of course, the buyer pays for it. No damage or problems either time. Very smooth.

    On a somewhat related note, a friend of mine worked for a time for the Medical Center as a live organ transport courier. (not sure what his official title was?) He would actually pick up the (heart, liver, etc.) organ in a cooler and drive it straight to the hospital where it was needed, sometimes 4 or 5 hours away. Often, he would drop it off directly at the doctor's house, sometimes at 4 or 5am, if the job required it. Again, IIRC, he was making about $400 a delivery, depending on distance. No telling what the hospital or customer was actually billed for the service.
    Imagine the response if the heart or liver were rammed with a forklift and dropped off the end of a loading dock and the container arrived broken and smashed. It would not be acceptable. Why is it acceptable with normal shippers? We may not have much choice because they all operate that way but that does not make it right.

    Imagine an instrument company taking that attitude. We will build you a mandolin but not guarantee it is put together right, not be smashed during the building or be set up right and oh by the way you just have to accept it because that's the way it is and we are under so much pressure. Oh and you still have to pay for it. There would not be many mandolins sold under that kind of circumstance. We see pictures of hillbilly instruments put together by shade tree luthiers like that and laugh about them and make fun of them but with shippers it is just accepted as normal order of business.

  28. #22

    Default Re: Ups insurance a ripoff

    Quote Originally Posted by CarlM View Post
    Imagine the response if the heart or liver were rammed with a forklift and dropped off the end of a loading dock and the container arrived broken and smashed. It would not be acceptable. Why is it acceptable with normal shippers? We may not have much choice because they all operate that way but that does not make it right.

    Imagine an instrument company taking that attitude. We will build you a mandolin but not guarantee it is put together right, not be smashed during the building or be set up right and oh by the way you just have to accept it because that's the way it is and we are under so much pressure. Oh and you still have to pay for it. There would not be many mandolins sold under that kind of circumstance. We see pictures of hillbilly instruments put together by shade tree luthiers like that and laugh about them and make fun of them but with shippers it is just accepted as normal order of business.
    I think damage to packages is the exception and not the rule. I don't think there is a single shipping company that is indifferent to how packages are treated but I do know instrument companies and dealers that do take that attitude. The description of the damage from the OP is clearly indicative of a poorly packed instrument. The instrument gained momentum within the package. Had it not been able to do that then I bet it would have made it safely. Its naive to think that a package is going to be given the white glove treatment. If anything, be more diligent about packing it. Ask people that ship regularly the best way to package something. I'm willing to bet that there are far more successful shipping stories then there are bad. I ship a dozen or more packages a day and can only think of two claims that I've had to file in the past couple years.

  29. #23
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ups insurance a ripoff

    I'm not making any comments one way or another about the op's packaging.

    I'm just saying I have not received a single box in the last few months that hadn't sustained at least some damage. USPS, Fedex, UPS. And that includes two mandolins. Luckily, they were both okay. In the case of one of them (my first mando), I feel like that was a miracle. To me this is worse than it was in the past.
    Sue

  30. #24
    Registered User jefflester's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ups insurance a ripoff

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard500 View Post
    A very long time ago, at college, I received an empty, open package, once containing cookies my mother had sent. There was an actual, printed sticker stating that: “contents became contaminated and had to be destroyed”
    I bet they were sent through a chipper and then dissolved in acid!

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  32. #25

    Default Re: Ups insurance a ripoff

    Quote Originally Posted by CarlM View Post
    Imagine the response if the heart or liver were rammed with a forklift
    Which is why they don't travel by Ups. The more interesting question is that if there were a shipping company that guaranteed individual handling, extra care, complete restitution of any damage etc for say double the price of the mass market shippers then just how many of us would use them?

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