Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Shipping FedEx -- Insurance Wake Up Call

I just had a show returned from the Martin Museum of Art at Baylor University and there were two boxes with broken pots in them. These boxes were insured -- so I thought -- for the full value of the pots, but, in fact, FedEx will pay no more than 100.00 for a loss of porcelain pottery or other art works. 

I ship with FedEx a lot. It's really easy to just come over to the computer and print out the labels and drop the package off at FedEx. I'm also a good packer having done it for almost 40 years so I have not known about this particular problem; It just has never come up. 

But the person packing the show got some things too close to other things and the boxes must have really been thrown around, and here we are. 

Here are some photos of just the inner box. It is a 16 inch cube and it was inside a 2o inch cube and well packed with peanuts and egg crate stuff. The first photo is of the box with the pot, the second of the box without the pot, the third is of the pot wrapped still somewhat in bubble wrap and the last one is just the shards. 

So my question is what do you do about this? Do you have separate insurance? Do you ship with another carrier? Did you even know that you were shipping without any recourse to the full value of your work?

The pot, before it's last voyage, looked like THIS. 


Shane Mickey said...

hey john,
shane mickey here, we met along time ago in florida at winter park. anyway, i had a similar event with fed ex. ASU's musuem sent back a $500 pot, very poorly packed, fed ex said they do not insure fine art! either way the most they would pay was wholesale. asu picked up half, fed ex said no! i ship through my local post office now, you can print their labels too, plus usps is way cheaper it turns out! just a little slower. my two cents, R.I.P. lovely pot

John Tilton said...

Hi Shane,

I have not been in Winter Park for many years. It is the town I grew up in, so it holds special meaning for me. But it was a long time ago.

I have a friend who works at the Post Office in Gainesville and when I told him I was shipping some pots to Germany through USPS, I just saw his mouth drop and he became somewhat ashen. He said that I should never do that but I have had good luck with them. They are cheaper.

I wonder if you can get insurance?


stefanielyne said...

Hi John,

No transportation carrier offers "insurance" per se. You can declare value up to a certain amount, but there are certain restrictions with fine art, jewelry, etc. You're best bet is to just get your own insurance. One cool thing FedEx has is a Packaging and Design Development Center. You can send your material as you would normally and they'll make suggestions on how to pack it properly or even create your own packaging for you. You should check it out:)

cookingwithgas said...

Hi- we have shipped for many years and it is not your packing which will be a problem but someone who is shipping back to you who does not understand how to pack pottery.
Our UPS guy says pack it so you can throw it 30 feet without breaking.
I have shipped post office- if broken they will only cover wholesale
I have shipped Fed-Ex and read the fine print and quit using them.
I think UPS has had the best pay off, they insure up to the first 100. And then you pay beyond that for extra. They have always paid the claims. But, in your case I think your beef is with the show because they poorly packed the pots. We had the same thing happen and had the gallery pay for the pots- it is up to them to place the claim since they are the shipper. The shipper has the responsibility you, on the other hand, were the receiver in this case.