Disappointed by USPS for the first time
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strohmie

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<<long, exceedingly boring story to follow>>


In my online career I've probably sent or received items by USPS no fewer than 400 times, whether on eBay, Head-Fi, or misc. other message boards. Not once in all the times I've shipped an item have I had one damaged, which I can't say about UPS.

Well, that had to change eventually, and it did about a month ago when I sold and shipped off my Elco digital cable to tbdoah here in MD. The night before it shipped, I tested it for continuity, and it checked out fine. About four days later, it arrived in Maryland broken.

So let's first take a look at the box itself.



Obviously there's a bit of a dent in the box on one side, which could easily have been caused by the side of a larger box or something similar. I'm not positive this is exactly what it looked like when it got to tbdoah (it's made a couple trips since then), but the dent was unquestionably there. So I get it back from tbdoah, give him a full refund, and go about the claim process.

A week or so later I get a reply saying that the claim "cannot be honored" for the following reasons:

1) There is no visible damage.
2) If there is damage the evidence does not show that it was caused by the transport through the Postal Service.
3) The U.S. Postal Service cannot be responsible for any internal damage that may have been caused by an original owner of the cable.
4) The fact that the cable was purchased "used" and what is implied "as is", the U.S. Postal Service cannot be held responsible for either stated or implied guarantees by the seller.

So #1 makes sense -- the damage was internal. The nice sized dent in the box should indicate that #2 likely did occur due to the postal service. As for #3 and #4, there was obviously a lack of understanding by the customer service rep who handled the claim because I, the sender, was the one filing the claim and personally can attest to the condition of the cable when shipped.

A quick look at the cable itself:



Not just the signal wire was forcefully dislodged, but the ground wires as well. A bit annoyed, I called the customer service supervisor for the post office that took my claim.

The gist of our conversation went that the supervisor didn't believe that the damage could possibly have been caused by the postal service. His opinion was that either a) the person who bought the cable must have damaged it after it was received, b) it was broken and I didn't realize it, or c) I broke myself it to claim the insurance money. Needless to say that the conversation got rather heated ("Do you understand the concept of 'internal damage'?!??" came out of my mouth at one point). In the end he basically said that the only way he'd believe the post office was to blame is if the box were ripped and the cable had been forcibly and obviously broken. The big dent wasn't nearly enough evidence. (edit: he also went on to claim that he was a bit of an electronics person himself and couldn't imagine a cable ever breaking internally, that they're unquestionably resilient)

It's almost the opposite of UPS -- UPS likes to claim that the sender hadn't packaged the item properly, while USPS here claimed that the one layer of bubble wrap and *impenetrable* cardboard box (as sarcasm drips) couldn't possibly have allowed damage to the item inside.

Oy. It's not like I couldn't resolder the cable -- it's the principle of the thing. At this point I've already torn it apart and am going to get new bullet plugs for the cable.

I'm done. Really.
 
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gpalmer

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I feel for ya' but I'm sure of two things:

1) They get burned by a lot of scammers trying to ship broken merchandise and claiming it's good.

2) It costs them less if they refuse your claim.


Not a lot of reason for them to be reasonable about damage!
 
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braillediver

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Is there any noticeable damage to the cable along its length?

It looks like the RCA end was pulled off the cable? Any idea how it was actually damaged? Did the cable come out of the box; was the box broken open or just dented? The center conductor looks like it’s pulled back a 1/4 inch since it isn’t even visible?

I’m also having a hard time visualizing how it was damaged in shipment.

I dread when this will eventually happen to me- Oh wait it did last month, an amp destroyed in shipping but that’s another story.


Sorry to hear and good luck with the appeal. If you think you were wronged press the issue but be polite and clearly articulate your grievance and stick to the facts.


Mitch
 
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austonia

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you didn't say specifically, but did you buy insurance on this item?
 
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john_jcb

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I too think there must be something more to it than just a dented box. With all the cables I have mishandled over the years I never have broken one; it is hard to imagine how a cable would break inside a box.
 
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warubozu

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*** that box looks like as if it was use in a Rugby game. What you see here is also a common site to me when I receive many of my packages from my ebay dealings with the item shipped thru USPS. It's as if the word "fragile" means nothing to them.
 
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Leto Atreides II

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I wouldn't ship anything I cared about particularly through the mail, at least not without insurance.
 
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strohmie

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Quote:

Originally Posted by john_jcb
I too think there must be something more to it than just a dented box. With all the cables I have mishandled over the years I never have broken one; it is hard to imagine how a cable would break inside a box.


To answer the first obvious question, yes it was insured else I wouldn't be going through the trouble. And while it may seem odd that the cable would be broken through whatever jarring impact it received during shipment, I personally know that it was fine when it left my apartment and I trust tdboah not to have ripped the cable from its connector. The cable is rather fragile -- just one thin silver signal wire and two equally thin grounds wires. I don't think I marked the package as such, but I don't know if it would have mattered.

The cable itself is just inside the cable and can't be seen in that picture -- a moment with tweezers re-extracted it. As for continuing the appeal, my next step would be to speak directly to the postmaster but I don't think I'm going to bother. Besides, I already ripped the cable apart in my usual "engineer with too much time on his hands" way.
 
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