Damage control

I’ve had my share of shipping nightmares. One incident, in particular, stands out.

At the time I was making a lot of very expensive chessboards. These were intended to pair with some top quality sets of chess pieces being made by a company in Alabama. After experiencing a number of delivery problems, I began shipping in plywood crates with tons of padding and Styrofoam linings to protect the boards.

On one occasion, the company returned several boards that arrived in deplorable condition. They had been carelessly tossed into a cardboard box that looked like it had been run over several times. There was no padding and most of the boards were broken and otherwise damaged beyond repair. I immediately called the company, which said the boards had been repacked in the same plywood crate they arrived in.

The carrier denied any repacking had been done. Since neither the shipper nor I had any proof (pictures or any other documentation) that the boards were indeed properly packaged, all claims for damage were denied.



  • Walt Wogee says:

    A few years ago while working on a major addition to our log home I ordered a 10′ high hickory freestanding spiral stair case from a very reputable company in Main for about $13000. The manufacturer wrapped the stairs in foam and cardboard and then created a heavy fiberglass cocoon to safely incase the whole thing for shipping to our home in CA.

    When it arrived everything appeared to be OK. I hired a crane to lift the package to the deck in front of the great room in the addition. I had to carefully use a grinder with a cutting blade to cut the fiberglass away so we could unpack the stairs for installation. As I was removing the cardboard and foam wrapping I discovered a 1/2″ deep hole by 2 inches long punched into the side of the stairs near the bottom. It seemed obvious that someone had punched through the all of the protection with the tip of a fork lift to do the damage. My wife and I were sick when we saw the damage to our beautiful and expensive stairs.

    The manufacture was very apologetic and even offered to send someone to fix the damage or pay me for my time if I decided to fix it. There was nothing we could do to the shipping company. It took me a couple of years to get my nerve up to patch the hole. I ended up inlaying a matching piece of hickory and sanding it carefully so it all blended in on the curved surface. Some Watco Wipe on Poly provided a matching finish and unless one looks close you would never know it had been damaged.

    I had many sleepless nights trying to decide how to repair the stairs and worrying about whether it would all look good when I finished. I almost always end up fixing things and doing my own work aroung our home. When I have had to hire workers I usually ending up showing them how to do the work and lending them my tools.

  • Gregory Pace says:

    A Picture with your phone, and the packaging description on the bill of lading would have helped (also it gets signed by the carrier). On the show “Peoples Court” they always stress “Proof” and of course that is the shipper responsibility.

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