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UPS Shipping Damage Story

Here is the text of the message I posted to the rec.woodworking newsgroup on August 25, 1999

Update September 9, 1999: UPS Canada does not ship the damaged piece back free of charge!  After a heated argument about customer service, the strip-mall shipping place refunded the full shipping cost plus the $150 insurance payout.  It's now his job to get that back from UPS. It appears the best plan is to have the cradle fixed locally in Vancouver by a skilled cabinetmaker or furniture restorer. That saves 2 shipments, wasted time and another round of import taxes and customs brokerage fees.

Original message:

My sister in law was due with a baby, so I got up my courage to build my first real, fine piece - an old-fashioned baby cradle, done in cherry.

Hundreds of hours later and using every powered and non-powered tool in the shop (and those of two neighbours), it's done. I bought a special new cardboard shipping box, with a garbage bag full of foam peanuts. I shipped UPS via one of the local strip-mall shipping places.

I got a call while in Zurich from my wife saying the cradle arrived but found ends snapped into several pieces, broken off from side pieces. Detail of full destruction unknown.

Now, I made the corners with 1" box joints and that mother was strong and well-packed - I'm suspecting some idiot at UPS backed into it with a forklift or something.

UPS is shipping everything back, refunding my shipping costs and paying the insurance which only really covered the cost of the wood - I tried to keep the declared value low since the happy mother has to pay GST tax upon receipt in Vancouver.

So someday soon the box will arrive and I'll see what I can repair and what has to be re-done. It's been long enough now that I can actually type this note without picturing some UPS warehouse grunt slowly having the life choked out of him.

Anyone else have a bad shipping experience?  Sorry for the vent, but I feel better having told the story to people who can truly share my pain.

P.S. I'm shipping it back in a custom-built wooden crate.....

P.P.S. Thanks from a 1-year lurker who has learned everything from Norm and the wonderful folk on rec.woodworking.

P.P.P.S. When it arrives, I'll put before-UPS and after-UPS pictures up on a web site.