Fedex Follies

This was a near mint 64 before Fedex got its ugly mitts on it. Forklifts and guitars are not supposed to play together. Somebody always gets hurt.

Fedex broke a 64 SG that I had shipped to me by a seller. The guitar was adequately packed and it appears that someone put a forklift through the box. According to Elliot at Dan Erlewines Guitar Shop, the guitar appeared to have been broken forward and then backward. Dropping a guitar won’t break it in two opposite directions. Hitting it with a forklift going in and then out might do just that. Fortunately, the guitar was repairable and no wood was lost. The neck was not broken off. I put in a claim to Fedex for $2876. That was to cover the repair, the shipping and the devaluation of the guitar. Because the value had already been compromised by a neck reset (no break), I went with $2500 for the devaluation. I’ve seen plenty of near mint 64’s with resets selling for $13,000. Here’s the timeline: I received the guitar on September 19th. I reported the break the same day. The Fedex folks asked me to repack the guitar and my (very nice) Fedex guy picked it up. I pointed out the big hole in the box and he said “looks like a forklift went through it.” I sent documentation and waited. And waited. On October 3rd, I received a letter stating “…after reviewing your documentation…we cannot honor your claim. The shipment was not adequately prepared…”  Granted, I didn’t ship it but the guitar was well packed in  a good hard case that was then wrapped completely in 3 layers of bubble wrap. There were “airpaks” filling the voids in the box along with a quantity of wadded paper. There was a layer of foam peanuts lining the bottom of the box and a fitted foam “cap” filling the top of the box. Perfectly adequate even to a perfectionist like me. So I called on October 3rd to get more information and, of course, I got the “Fedex Policy” speech. So, I went to look into the Fedex policy. You should know that Fedex does NOT insure guitars. You may state the value and pay a huge premium for allowing them to ship your $25,000 dot neck but they are only liable for $1000 worth of damage no matter what you write in the little space that asks you its value. You thought you were insuring it? Well, to quote Hope Iverson of Fedex who is an executive and also Krysti Wyke, the Claims Representative, “Fedex does not provide insurance coverage of any kind.” That’s it. You read it here but I should have read it on the Fedex site. You need to insure your guitar using an outside source like Heritage. After complaining loudly to the aforementioned Fedex employees, I was able to convince them that they had some responsibility. On October 17th I received a check for $443.71. The fact that they sent me a check for $443.71 is an admission of liability. The BS about “inadequately packed” is just that. If it wasn’t adequately packed, why did you send me a check? Guilt? I doubt that.  If they have $443.71 worth of responsibility, then they have $2876 worth.  Either they broke it due to negligence or they didn’t. I strongly suggest that any of my readers who have to ship a guitar think about outside insurance and think about using someone other than Fedex. Here’s a link to the page that explains their “responsibility.” Note the large print at the top that says: WE DO NOT PROVIDE INSURANCE COVERAGE OF ANY KIND. To my horror, I’ve paid in close to $3000 in “declared value” premiums this year alone. A total waste of money that Fedex should not even collect. They should have a pop up box that warns you that their liability is limited to $1000 and that to put any higher value in that space is you throwing your money right into the bottom line at Fedex.

Note the jagged hole at the lower right. Looks suspiciously like something went right through the box.

6 Responses to “Fedex Follies”

  1. Andri R says:

    It’s always a pity to learn about the guitars broken in the mail and I’m sorry it happened to you this time.

    On a side note – do you plan to give a report about the horn bulges on Gibson ES guitars? I find it an interesting subject and would hope to learn more. The bulge is pronounced on early guitars but it seems to shrink in mid sixties or so.


  2. Assaf Weiler says:

    Hi Charlie!
    According to what you’re describing, aided by one of those nice lawyers, i see a class action that will get you a nice compensation.
    those #%$%@ have no problem takin the money for the non existant insurance…

  3. OK Guitars says:

    Good idea. I’ll do it soon.

  4. Auri Frattura says:

    Hi Charlie,

    I had a similar experience with UPS.
    But I was fully compensated.
    They do offer ‘real’ insurance, I guess.
    My boxed Les Paul had been dropped so hard that the case was broken, and the strap button was pushed in half way.
    The switch tip cracked and the jagged pieces had lodged between the case and the unprotected guitar and made scratches and dents in the finish.
    And, I might ad, that the guitar was packed very, very poorly.

    It’s a shame what Fedex is doing about it.
    I will not use them again for guitars.



  5. Thinline says:

    Charlie, I did the exact same thing – shipped a ’63 Strat back across the country to a dealer (because it had an undisclosed filled route thru trem cav) and checked the Fedex box with what it was worth thinking it was insured. Nothing happened to the Strat, but I was very unhappy to find out it was not actually insured in transit. Very misleading form Fedex gives you, no question. Accidents happen of course, but the form is almost fraudulent in practice. Good luck.

  6. OK Guitars says:

    I’ve heard bad stuff about UPS too. They have a vintage policy that is similar. Both UPS and Fedex have a different policy toward new or recent guitars than they do toward vintage.

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