Why self-packing a UPS shipment can be a very bad idea

Don't Waste Your Money
Posted at 1:07 PM, Jun 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-21 14:46:10-04

Have you ever shipped something valuable? You probably considered insuring it. But It turns out buying insurance for that item may not be enough, as one Cincinnati man learned.

Mike Bachelier is a professional musician and music teacher, and his guitars are essential to his livelihood.

So when he shipped a guitar via UPS to a repair center for upgrades, he made sure he packed it well with newspaper, and paid extra for insurance at a nearby UPS store.

"The woman at the store told me that there's a chance they might not cover it if you didn't pack it correctly," he said. "But she never offered to look at the packing to see if it was packed correctly."

Guitar damaged, claim denied

Bachelier says he paid $150 for shipping and insurance, to protect the $1,800 guitar.

But a week later, he received some bad news from Taylor guitars, where he sent the package.

"Taylor said that the neck was cracked, and that they would need to replace the neck at a cost of $400," he said.

So he called UPS, knowing he had paid extra for insurance. But then  he got even worse news.

"They claimed that the materials used in the packing were incorrect," Bachelier said. 

It turns out UPS was denying his insurance claim because he packed it with newspaper.

Read fine print before self-packing

What he learned is important to anyone shipping anything of value, whether it's via UPS or any other service. You may want to pay a few bucks extra for them to pack it, just to be safe.

While no one at the local UPS store would comment,a  spokeswoman for their corporate office said they will re-investigate Bachelier's claim.

But she said it must meet their "standard packaging guidelines," which suggests using packing peanuts or bubble wrap.

However, UPS says it will re-investigate his claim, since he apparently was never told that newspaper packing is a no-no.

Bachelier just wishes the store clerk had told him that self packing valuables is a bad idea.

"The fact I insured it for $1,800 should have been a red flag," he said. But it apparently was not.

As always, don't waste your money.


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