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constructordeguitarras

Posts: 1692
Joined: Jan. 29 2012
From: Seattle, Washington, USA

How to deal with customer in receipt... 

I sent a guitar to California (where most of my guitars have gone) by UPS Ground Service (the way I almost always have sent them). Just as I was reading the email from UPS telling me that it has been delivered, I got a call from the customer telling me that it has big cracks in the back.

Naturally she is very displeased, as am I. I asked her to notify UPS right away, because I declared the full value to UPS so I believe it is insured. She told me that she doesn't have time to deal with UPS and just wants to send it back for a refund. She says she is sure the cracks didn't happen in shipping--which implies that she thinks I packed up a cracked guitar and sent it to her as one in good condition, which I would never do.

This is a someone who told me she couldn't use Paypal because she had a problem with them once. For all I know, she could have dropped it when she took it out of the case.

I asked What if I repaired it so it looks perfect? and she wasn't interested.

What are your suggestions?

_____________________________

Ethan Deutsch
www.edluthier.com
www.facebook.com/ethandeutschguitars
www.youtube.com/marioamayaflamenco
I always have flamenco guitars available for sale.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 24 2014 20:25:41
 
constructordeguitarras

Posts: 1692
Joined: Jan. 29 2012
From: Seattle, Washington, USA

RE: How to deal with customer in rec... (in reply to constructordeguitarras

Update: I found that I can file a claim myself, but I think it will require her cooperation with UPS who will want to inspect it. She sent me only this helpful picture of the cracks. (No, I can't see them either.)



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_____________________________

Ethan Deutsch
www.edluthier.com
www.facebook.com/ethandeutschguitars
www.youtube.com/marioamayaflamenco
I always have flamenco guitars available for sale.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 24 2014 21:09:24
 
gj Michelob

Posts: 1531
Joined: Nov. 7 2008
From: New York City/San Francisco

RE: How to deal with customer in rec... (in reply to constructordeguitarras

You should explain to your customer that you BOTH suffered a damage. She will be made whole with your refund, but you will not receive the benefit of the insurance you paid for, unless she collaborates.

Hence, while you have no problem refunding the purchase price she asks, the refund is conditioned upon her:
1. properly documenting the damage;
2. filing the claim with UPS
3. and generally collaborating in satisfying any formality UPS will require to make you whole (as the Seller/Shipper).

Again, to do otherwise would unjustly deprive you of the remedy you paid for, for the benefit of both.

Also, call UPS and find out exactly what they need to file a proper and TIMELY claim. These claims become time barred rather quickly.

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gj Michelob
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 24 2014 21:11:11
 
Sr. Martins

Posts: 3079
Joined: Apr. 4 2011
 

RE: How to deal with customer in rec... (in reply to constructordeguitarras

Have you thought about the possibility of her thinking that the darker wood lines are cracks?

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"Ya no me conoce el sol, porque yo duermo de dia"
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 24 2014 21:19:42
 
constructordeguitarras

Posts: 1692
Joined: Jan. 29 2012
From: Seattle, Washington, USA

RE: How to deal with customer in rec... (in reply to constructordeguitarras

Thanks, guys.

GREAT NEWS: She just called and said that her husband (guitarist Armik) started playing the guitar and he loves it so much that he wants to keep it as is! That sure saved my day! Of course I said that I will be happy to repair it any time.

_____________________________

Ethan Deutsch
www.edluthier.com
www.facebook.com/ethandeutschguitars
www.youtube.com/marioamayaflamenco
I always have flamenco guitars available for sale.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 24 2014 21:39:05
 
Escribano

Posts: 6423
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
From: England, living in Italy

RE: How to deal with customer in rec... (in reply to constructordeguitarras

Good! It all sounds a bit odd to me. Probably no cracks.

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Foro Flamenco founder and Admin
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 24 2014 21:46:32
 
constructordeguitarras

Posts: 1692
Joined: Jan. 29 2012
From: Seattle, Washington, USA

RE: How to deal with customer in rec... (in reply to Escribano

quote:

Probably no cracks.


Ha, ha!

_____________________________

Ethan Deutsch
www.edluthier.com
www.facebook.com/ethandeutschguitars
www.youtube.com/marioamayaflamenco
I always have flamenco guitars available for sale.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 24 2014 21:48:37
 
Leñador

Posts: 5237
Joined: Jun. 8 2012
From: Los Angeles

RE: How to deal with customer in rec... (in reply to constructordeguitarras

I could nearly guarantee it! lolol
We had a client freak out about "all the cracks in my beautiful limestone!!" They were veins in the stone. lololol

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\m/
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 24 2014 22:23:16
 
El Kiko

Posts: 2697
Joined: Jun. 7 2010
From: The South Ireland

RE: How to deal with customer in rec... (in reply to constructordeguitarras

i was wondering if the cracks were just in the finish and not in the wood itself ... things like that are impossible to evaluate unless you have the guitar in your hands to see what the real problem is ....
still a bit odd the way it went ... Why should he want a cracked guitar when he could have a non - cracked one ..
I hope is all solved for you as if there is any change , the UPS claim is timed as our lawyer said .... I still think you need some kind of official agreement ...

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 24 2014 22:26:44
 
constructordeguitarras

Posts: 1692
Joined: Jan. 29 2012
From: Seattle, Washington, USA

RE: How to deal with customer in rec... (in reply to El Kiko

Interesting idea. It could be that the cracks are in the finish. Or even just grain lines.

Oh, well. I have done a lot of repairs without charge for things that were definitely due to the customer. I try to keep them happy and the guitars in good order.

_____________________________

Ethan Deutsch
www.edluthier.com
www.facebook.com/ethandeutschguitars
www.youtube.com/marioamayaflamenco
I always have flamenco guitars available for sale.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 24 2014 22:48:03
 
HolyEvil

Posts: 1240
Joined: Nov. 6 2008
From: Sydney, Australia

RE: How to deal with customer in rec... (in reply to constructordeguitarras

quote:

ORIGINAL: constructordeguitarras

For all I know, she could have dropped it when she took it out of the case.



Please do not ever say this to a customer. This is the worst sort of customer service.
Because you don't actually know what happened, so it could be her or it could be actual cracks during postage, and you have to give her the benefit of the doubt.

I have had experiences when something I bought died or malfunctioned in 2 days and the person I talked to said 'how do I know you didn't drop it' and that pissed me off so much.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 24 2014 23:58:16
 
machopicasso

 

Posts: 989
Joined: Nov. 27 2010
 

RE: How to deal with customer in rec... (in reply to constructordeguitarras

quote:

What are your suggestions?


Curiously, Ethan, do you stipulate at the outset that if a guitar arrives damaged that the customer work with you and file a claim immediately with the shipper?

If not, that might be a good idea going forward, just so there's a protocol in place.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 25 2014 8:48:46
 
constructordeguitarras

Posts: 1692
Joined: Jan. 29 2012
From: Seattle, Washington, USA

RE: How to deal with customer in rec... (in reply to machopicasso

You are absolutely correct, and thanks, MachoPicasso. I am going to start doing that, using the messages that GJ provided above. Thanks again, GJ.

And HolyEvil, I appreciate your message, too. This was a special case where the customer kept saying she didn't think it happened in shipping, and I knew for a fact that I shipped a pristine guitar. Anyway, I didn't say that to her.

_____________________________

Ethan Deutsch
www.edluthier.com
www.facebook.com/ethandeutschguitars
www.youtube.com/marioamayaflamenco
I always have flamenco guitars available for sale.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 25 2014 15:45:50
 
gj Michelob

Posts: 1531
Joined: Nov. 7 2008
From: New York City/San Francisco

RE: How to deal with customer in rec... (in reply to constructordeguitarras

quote:

I am going to start doing that, using the messages that GJ provided above. Thanks again, GJ.


Welcome....
and if you do that in your T&C, check with UPS whether the damage must be revealed before the driver leaves. It seems to be a condition with a few carriers. If so, spell out in capital letter to your customers that they need to unbox and inspect the instrument while the delivery driver is on the premises and -in the unlikely event damage is found- to report it to the same immediately.

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gj Michelob
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 25 2014 16:31:04
 
constructordeguitarras

Posts: 1692
Joined: Jan. 29 2012
From: Seattle, Washington, USA

RE: How to deal with customer in rec... (in reply to gj Michelob

Thanks again, gj. T&C? Oh, terms and conditions. Got it.

_____________________________

Ethan Deutsch
www.edluthier.com
www.facebook.com/ethandeutschguitars
www.youtube.com/marioamayaflamenco
I always have flamenco guitars available for sale.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 25 2014 18:09:00
 
El Kiko

Posts: 2697
Joined: Jun. 7 2010
From: The South Ireland

RE: How to deal with customer in rec... (in reply to gj Michelob

Dear Mr gj Michelob ,.

You will have to type him up a standard terms and conditions disclaimer thingy in that strange jargon that only Lawyers understand .... I put it to you , ladies and gentlemen
of the jury ., that this guitar was .....murdered for the insurance money ...
dan , dan , dan ....
.
motive means ., and that other thing yo need....it all adds up to one thing

and here it is ....This is the worst case the court has ever seen ....



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 25 2014 20:05:42
 
gj Michelob

Posts: 1531
Joined: Nov. 7 2008
From: New York City/San Francisco

RE: How to deal with customer in rec... (in reply to constructordeguitarras

more or less...

A. We can ship the guitar using a carrier of your choice; in this case you, the customer, shall be solely responsible for cost of freight, insurance, damages and risk of loss, FOB [Luthier's address].

B. We ship our guitars via [ UPS/FEDEX etc.] fully insured for the value paid by customer.
According to shipping company’s rules, in order to make a claim that an instrument was damaged during shipping, the customer must; (i) inspect the instrument in the presence of the shipping company’s employee delivering the package, (ii) file the claim within the carrier or insurance time limits.
In the event you should find that any damage has occurred, you agree to collaborate in the preparation and filing of the claim with the insurance, as such carrier shall direct, by documenting the damage (photographs, description etc.) and by providing the insurance company any information it requires to process the claim and issue a refund.
We will return to you the amount actually paid for the instrument only in the event the insurance does not refund you or only refunds a portion of the purchase price (in which case we shall refund to you the difference between the insurance proceeds and the purchase price). However, you agree to direct the insurance to pay to us any duplicative refund, after we have refunded to you the purchase price in whole or in part, and if necessary execute an "assignment of claim" or any other document required for the purpose.
C. We carefully inspect the instrument before shipping. However, although rare, any apparent manufacturing defect must be reported to us, within Five (5) days of delivery of the instrument.

D. Before you return any instrument to us, you must follow our "return policy" procedure and receive our authorization to do so.

E. We shall not be responsible for any deterioration, damage or any other malfunction caused by ordinary wear and tear or customer’s negligent use.

_____________________________

gj Michelob
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 25 2014 21:09:48
 
aarongreen

 

Posts: 367
Joined: Jan. 16 2004
 

RE: How to deal with customer in rec... (in reply to constructordeguitarras

Glad it worked out for you. Customer service is the most important thing you can do to protect your reputation but you also have to protect yourself. I certainly would not be refunding money until the situation had resolved itself through verification by me of the condition of the guitar and should it be damaged, the insurance claim I put in.

That being said, you are not protecting yourself at all, and in fact wasting money if you buy insurance through the shipper (IMO). They don't even call it insurance, they call it "declared value" and they write the rules so that unless they run over it with a forklift, they won't have to pay out. They might even weasel out of it in that case too.

What you should do is get shipping coverage through the insurance you have on your shop and contents. My policy, through Heritage, covers up to 20k per shipment, when I need more, I call them up and get a temporary increase in coverage. I never insure through the shipper.

Aaron
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 26 2014 0:31:04
 
constructordeguitarras

Posts: 1692
Joined: Jan. 29 2012
From: Seattle, Washington, USA

RE: How to deal with customer in rec... (in reply to aarongreen

Aaron, thanks, I think you're right.

I once had insurance through the American Craft Council and it was reasonably priced. Of course when I made a claim due to flooding from the bathrooms upstairs from me in the building I had my (cabinet) shop in, the adjuster came out and kept saying that everything wasn't that bad, still usable, etc. (when they were that bad and not usable). But they eventually paid up. I'm looking into getting that again.

_____________________________

Ethan Deutsch
www.edluthier.com
www.facebook.com/ethandeutschguitars
www.youtube.com/marioamayaflamenco
I always have flamenco guitars available for sale.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 26 2014 1:02:38
 
gj Michelob

Posts: 1531
Joined: Nov. 7 2008
From: New York City/San Francisco

RE: How to deal with customer in rec... (in reply to aarongreen

quote:

That being said, you are not protecting yourself at all, and in fact wasting money if you buy insurance through the shipper (IMO). They don't even call it insurance, they call it "declared value" and they write the rules so that unless they run over it with a forklift, they won't have to pay out. They might even weasel out of it in that case too.


Well, I disagree. "Declared Value" is a form of insurance (pay a premium to cover the declared value of lost or damaged goods up to $50,000). It is generally the best way to deal with these problems. I had many a case that I always settled well, and even had a personal experience; I received full refund for an instrument I shipped with Fedex to a luthier for repair and was delivered in need for more and more serious repair. Regrettably, it was a bit of a struggle, as it always is when dealing with Insurance claims (they try to argue in favor of paying for repairs v. refund), but ultimately we sorted it out satisfactorily.

The key really is "inspection upon delivery".

Generally if a Guitar is damaged during shipping, so is its case (thus ruling out that the damage occurred before the guitar was handed over to the carrier) It is important to document the damage well, with photographs.

_____________________________

gj Michelob
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 26 2014 1:21:21
 
El Kiko

Posts: 2697
Joined: Jun. 7 2010
From: The South Ireland

RE: How to deal with customer in rec... (in reply to gj Michelob

yep thats it .... thats how its done ... now make the print smaller ......

ammendments....

there are a few ...but i may be wrong .....
by proving the insurance company any information it requires
by providing the insurance company any information it requires ..

C. We carefully inspect the instrument before shipping.
C. We carefully inspect every instrument before shipping. (multiple instrument purchase ...you have to live in hope )


also I notice there is no provision for the repair of small defects caused by either transport or climatical effects . as a gesture of good will ., but postage ...to and fro ...


on a serious note , i urge you , the constructor , to go down this line as a small but useful contract will save your ass with an awkward customer whoses wood is slightly darker than he wanted ....and other such suchnesses..

on a non serious note ...what happened to my murder case ? i didnt get to my big closing that would swing it all my way

F . There is no Sanity Claus....

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Don't trust Atoms.....they make up everything.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 26 2014 1:22:12
 
gj Michelob

Posts: 1531
Joined: Nov. 7 2008
From: New York City/San Francisco

RE: How to deal with customer in rec... (in reply to El Kiko

quote:

by proving the insurance company any information it requires
by providing the insurance company any information it requires ..

C. We carefully inspect the instrument before shipping.
C. We carefully inspect every instrument before shipping. (multiple instrument purchase ...you have to live in hope )


Yes, misspelled "providing". Thank you for catching that. As to using "the" or "every" instrument, it is a matter of personal preference, it will no affect the outcome.

On a less legal note, however, I am sure we all agree that receiving a luthier made guitar we ordered to our specifications and waited for 3 months, and had sweet hopeful fancies of how it will sound in our hands and how it would improve our tone and skills.... damaged.... must be one very stressful state of affairs!

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gj Michelob
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 26 2014 1:41:16
 
HolyEvil

Posts: 1240
Joined: Nov. 6 2008
From: Sydney, Australia

RE: How to deal with customer in rec... (in reply to constructordeguitarras

quote:

ORIGINAL: constructordeguitarras

And HolyEvil, I appreciate your message, too. This was a special case where the customer kept saying she didn't think it happened in shipping, and I knew for a fact that I shipped a pristine guitar. Anyway, I didn't say that to her.


yeah she shouldn't have said that. I'm sure any self respecting luthier would not knowingly send out a damaged guitar. It's a business based on reputation.

an idea for the future to solve this, is maybe you pay for shipping again and fix the guitars at no cost to her, or she pays for shipping and you make her a new guitar and the damaged one you fixed and sell for a lower price (a lot of poorer guys out there including myself don't care about fixed cracks, unless its a willie nelson hole). This way I think both party wins. Both have to lose a little and win a little.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 26 2014 1:52:58
 
El Kiko

Posts: 2697
Joined: Jun. 7 2010
From: The South Ireland

RE: How to deal with customer in rec... (in reply to gj Michelob

i know i was splitting hairs a lot but as you know , the devil is in the detail , and one word can change an outcome ...

still a good murder trial would be the way , anyway i think it was Coronel Mustard in the dining room with the candlestick

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Don't trust Atoms.....they make up everything.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 26 2014 2:05:10
 
wiking

 

Posts: 63
Joined: Apr. 11 2014
 

RE: How to deal with customer in rec... (in reply to constructordeguitarras

I'd be willing to bet the cracks she was referring to was actually the wood grain. She may have unpacked it herself before her husband got home. Once her husband pointed this out she was so embarrassed that she couldn't admit to the mistake, so she just dismissed the whole case by insisting she keep it as-is. Now she knows!

Also for what it's worth: I've been back-charged by a fraudulent buyer on PayPal who claimed to have never received my item, when they actually did, and then got to keep their money as well, at my expense. They do not protect sellers at all. I very rarely sell anything through it anymore unless it's shipping within Canada and with signed delivery confirmation. Avoiding PayPal is totally legit.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 26 2014 5:55:48
 
Ruphus

Posts: 3782
Joined: Nov. 18 2010
 

RE: How to deal with customer in rec... (in reply to wiking

Yep, I suspect grain taken as crack too.
No good style of the lady to not admit and apologize.

quote:

ORIGINAL: wiking

Avoiding PayPal is totally legit.


Absolutely.
They are a bold example for not getting enough in a goldmine. With all the cockaigne and margin, still scamming off additionally through doctored currency exchange rates in both directions, and through incorporating money of orphaned accounts, etc.
Never again for me.
-

In respect of the paragraph about possibly manufacturing defect I would call it "unlike" instead of "rare". Though practically the same, improbability should psychologically be the better eventuality.
-

Aaron´s advice sounds like a really good one to me, considering todays ways of adjustment of claims for shippers and airlines. And I bet it will be less expensive in the same time.
-

And while at terms like better and less expensive, check out your colleagues´ experience with USPS. These days they seem not only cheaper than private couriers, but also better.

My sending from Lester DeVoe per USPS was safe at a fraction of the cost quoted by UPS / DHL.

Ruphus
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 26 2014 10:02:28
 
aarongreen

 

Posts: 367
Joined: Jan. 16 2004
 

RE: How to deal with customer in rec... (in reply to gj Michelob

quote:


Well, I disagree. "Declared Value" is a form of insurance (pay a premium to cover the declared value of lost or damaged goods up to $50,000). It is generally the best way to deal with these problems. I had many a case that I always settled well, and even had a personal experience; I received full refund for an instrument I shipped with Fedex to a luthier for repair and was delivered in need for more and more serious repair. Regrettably, it was a bit of a struggle, as it always is when dealing with Insurance claims (they try to argue in favor of paying for repairs v. refund), but ultimately we sorted it out satisfactorily.

The key really is "inspection upon delivery".

Generally if a Guitar is damaged during shipping, so is its case (thus ruling out that the damage occurred before the guitar was handed over to the carrier) It is important to document the damage well, with photographs.


I understand we are discussing the minutia of legal wrangling. It seems odd to me that "declared value" is now the byword where it used to be "insurance". It does not seem to be done for the sake of clarity to protect the buyer or shipper.

In any case you are playing with fire if you trust the shipper to pay out. I've seen it before and in fact am dealing with them right now on a unrelated issue that I am stuck holding the bag for. It had to do with returning a guitar that was sent to me to sell. The manager at UPS actually told me I should not have listened to the UPS driver who picked it up, as they were speaking out of their knowledge about how to proceed. Silly me, listening to the guy wearing the UPS uniform. So now I get to pay. Arguing with them is a losing proposition time wise among other things…so thats how it goes.

In any case, be that as it may, the only insurance that is proven to me to be worth the paper it's written on is from a provider that deals specifically with musical instruments and understands the intricacies of what it takes to keep them from being broken. You still have to cover your butt, take pics as you pack, of the guitar and the box etc…but I have yet to get burned by them.

Aaron
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 26 2014 14:24:32
 
gj Michelob

Posts: 1531
Joined: Nov. 7 2008
From: New York City/San Francisco

RE: How to deal with customer in rec... (in reply to aarongreen

quote:

In any case, be that as it may, the only insurance that is proven to me to be worth the paper it's written on is from a provider that deals specifically with musical instruments and understands the intricacies of what it takes to keep them from being broken. You still have to cover your butt, take pics as you pack, of the guitar and the box etc…but I have yet to get burned by them.

Aaron


I agree with that view, that there is specific insurance for instruments which may be worth purchasing, such as Heritage Insurance Services, Inc.
1-800-289-8837
info@musicins.comhttp://www.musicins.com

_____________________________

gj Michelob
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 26 2014 16:11:48
 
Tom Blackshear

 

Posts: 2304
Joined: Apr. 15 2008
 

RE: How to deal with customer in rec... (in reply to aarongreen

quote:

The manager at UPS actually told me I should not have listened to the UPS driver who picked it up, as they were speaking out of their knowledge about how to proceed. Silly me, listening to the guy wearing the UPS uniform. So now I get to pay. Arguing with them is a losing proposition time wise among other things…so that's how it goes.


I have learned to never trust any of the carriers to pay out due to damage. It's best to have personal insurance and I get a tracking number by asking the postal carrier to insure the minimum while the tracking number secures my personal insurance.

And gj Michelob has a good reference for Heritage Insurance. I've been with these people for a long time, and they have given me good prices due to my being careful with my shipping, and I like the idea of taking pictures before shipping...I'll have to include that to my own policies.

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Tom Blackshear Guitar maker
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 27 2014 14:27:58
 
orsonw

Posts: 1967
Joined: Jul. 4 2009
From: London

RE: How to deal with customer in rec... (in reply to aarongreen

quote:

The manager at UPS actually told me I should not have listened to the UPS driver who picked it up, as they were speaking out of their knowledge about how to proceed. Silly me, listening to the guy wearing the UPS uniform.


I had a situation where I followed the instructions of the UPS driver on an issue and when this caused things to go wrong, I made a claim; I was told I shouldn't have listened to him and I couldn't claim. For a while they refused to pay but after a real fight from me they finally paid up. I wouldn't ship with UPS again.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 27 2014 22:15:56
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