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Absolute Best Way to Ship Art? and the consequences

My friend, painter Greg Strachov, is recovering from brain surgery (that is another story) and he asked me to share the following information with all of you.

From Greg:

Below is an issue that I discovered regarding sending art by way of the post office.  They do everything possible not to pay for damage.   The note below I sent to various newspapers around the United States.  I also wanted the artists to read this as this is an important awareness that will have them use the UPS to send art.  FedEx does not insure art at all.

Dear editor,  (I used the editors name in each letter)

The following is a very important observation made regarding the US Post Office.
Something needs to be done and reporting to public awareness is my first step.  
My name is Gregory Strachov and my career is:
It seems that artist’s cannot be covered for damage to their shipments by the USPS because they are the receipt to its cost value.

I am an artist who sent a gift to an avid collector of my work.  The gift was a limited edition print which was worth $450.00.   Seeing that the recipient did not pay for it, it was insured for production value which was $50.00 by the post office.   The print arrived to the collector of my work destroyed.   I immediately reported the claim and had the recipient show the damage to their post office.   When I contacted the post office, they always had something else for me to do which was only to pass time and move past the deadline.   They later claimed that I do not have a receipt for the claim and I told them that I am the receipt.  I know the value of the ink and the value of the fine art paper that was used and had this in writing.  I am not insuring the  retail value but insuring the production cost because it was not purchased.

In this process, I learned that the post office uses every method to stop damage payment and provides cause for claimers to give up.   They set up a system where it is impossible to collect for damage on a claim.  I learned that my post office has numerous people who tried to process a damage claim and were forced to give up.  I am not giving up.  I want the United  States to become aware of the way the US Post office earns money and keeps from paying legitimate loss claims by their customers.
Below is a copy of the letter that I sent to the post office.

Best regards,
Gregory Strachov

We all depend on the Post Office to handle our shipping, can you share the info above?

What have been your experiences?

Views: 774

Comment by Larry Sohn on February 6, 2019 at 5:17pm

Also they are useless and ineffective when finding shipments they lose. I have had them lose shipments. Even though I paid for tracking, they could not find it. All they could do was say the last place they have a record of it was _______ !

They also have claimed problems with delivery. I had importatn items scheduled for a delivery to me. I was watching the tracking. It was delayed a day. I spoke with them and was assured what time it would be delivered by, the next day 10:00am. That morning I was sitting near the door, waiting. No one came. I sat for a long time. Finally the web site trcking showed Delivery failed due to business closed, cannot access. I was open and waiting. When i contacted them, again they were going to get to the bottom of it.

To shorten this story, it took a lot of complaining and threatening, I finally got the delivery, by the manager, another day later. He then claimed it was marked for the wrong address. With him present we looked over the package. It was addressed perfectly proper. No wrong address. He just apologized and left. The USPS lies !!!!

If my art is going within a few hours drive, I deliver it.

Comment by Colin Murray on February 7, 2019 at 8:19am

The Post Office is not the only one with problems. I shipped Federal Express. I had a charge account with them since I ship often. I paid over $100 for a special packing which they performed in their office, while I watched. The piece arrived at the buyer's home with broken glass. FedX said it was my fault and refused to do anything. Six months later and lots of back and forth. They dropped the shipping charge on the piece. But refused to do anything else. I no longer use FedX. 

Comment by Sheron Davis on February 7, 2019 at 8:22am

Here's another horror story about Fed Ex: I made the box to ship a large piece of stained glass to my customer in Fl. I've been shipping with them for 15 years and know how to pack my work so it doesn't get broken. When this box got to her house it was in a completely different box from the one I sent it in. Furthermore it had no peanuts or other cushioning material to protect the work, which of course, was broken in a thousand pieces since it had been bouncing around inside this huge box. I asked at the center I ship from why they changed boxes and was told they probably damaged my box and replaced it to hide the fact. I make a claim and it was denied because: there was NO DAMAGE TO THE BOX OR CONTENTS!!!! When I called to complain, the lady said she had to go by what the paperwork said. I immediately switched to UPS and hope they'll do better.

Comment by Bernard Zalon on February 7, 2019 at 9:49am

None of them are perfect but at least USPS is the cheapest by far.

I've never had a problem until recently with a shipment to Germany which arrived badly damaged.  They're making me jump through hoops to collect the $200 plus postage.  I'm pretty sure that the damage happened in Germany as it was held over in customs for almost a week.  I didn't have to pay for the insurance though.

What really bothers me is that when you ship domestically and pay for say, $250 worth of insurance and something happens and you want to collect, then they want proof of the item's worth.  Seems to me that they should ask for proof before they so readily take your money.  I mean, if you pay extra for something you should get what you pay for.

Comment by Lisa Dawson on February 7, 2019 at 10:22am

I had a package that was to be delivered to me by the postal service with a guarantee of 2 day arrival.  I tracked it through the system and after about 4 days,  I sent an inquiry as to "where is my package?".  As it happened, I received the item 3 days later.  Just to see what would happen, I didn't close the case.  I continue to receive the "we are sorry and are still looking for your package, please be patient" emails to this day.  This was in September......of 2017.   USPS is terrible and don't know what they are doing most of the time.  My local office is awful.

Comment by Judy Christian on February 7, 2019 at 10:24am

Hi Everyone,

I calculated that I have shipped approx. 1000 times through the years. Pottery.

I use USPS and in the past 10 years have had two damages----NOT USPS but UPS, due to customers requests. One was done UPS freight with a wholesale order going to a known established place. No problems getting reimbursed but stressful. Another was ALSO UPS,

UPS came over and PACKED the boxes, shipped them and did not put "Fragile" stickers on one of the boxes. Again, no problem getting reimbursed, but I was not happy.

Twice a box was lost USPS, customer's fault both times. I called and persisted and both were found.  One I actually could not believe was found. The customer typed his address in for me to ship with an added digit. There was no such address. In a city.

When you ship it is important to buy enough insurance to cover.

I have not had problems getting reimbursed from damage from USPS. This would have been over 10 years ago. I showed them proof of the broken piece by submitting  other receipts from past sales.

If I were to have a breakage today and it was a gift, I would try an old receipt from a past sale of a similar items. 

I pack extremely well. The few times there has been damage, the box arrived totally crushed, or at least a large corner area or top was major crushed. No packing would stop that.

So sorry that everyone has had so many problems.

Comment by Connie Mettler on February 7, 2019 at 10:31am

We usually shipped UPS, framed photography under glass. We had standard packaging developed to fit the framed pieces and at that time UPS had a procedure where they would "test the packaging". We had it tested and it passed their test. Never had any damage over 20 years.

Comment by Kaytee Sumida on February 7, 2019 at 11:29am

1. Use Plexiglass if you ship frames with "glass"... breakage is very rare. It's required for Comic Con's Art Show, except for a very few items (displayed on tables-- not hung, set up by artist). 

2. Bubble wrap between and around framed pieces. Lots of bubble wrap. Do not use "peanuts"-- not only can they shift around, but whoever opens the package will hate you-- they fly around and get everywhere. Exception-- bag them to fit around 3-D pieces, and tape the bag closed. 

3. Priority Mail, insured. Include an invoice in the package for full value. Use their PM boxes if possible-- they watch for them, and with the standard sizes, they are easier to ship, and thus less likely to be damaged. 

4. Make/use cardboard "corner protector pockets"-- if you purchase frames at crafts stores, many come with these. The foam used to ship heavy appliances can also be used as "edge" and "corner" padding. Do both. And bubble wrap.

Comic Con and other convention art shows I've worked with, get a LOT of "mail in" art, and very few packages have significant damage. Most 2D art is not framed-- usually matted and bagged, and similar sized pieces grouped together, then bubble wrapped; the ones that are framed, do what was indicated above.

Comment by Otis Harville on February 7, 2019 at 11:10pm

I ship with glass using FedX and Art Boxes and have never had a problem.

Comment by Sonja Jones on February 8, 2019 at 10:56am

I have not had a problem with damage, but USPS Priority mail cannot be depended on if you're trying to meet a deadline.  I sent a painting priority "2-day" mail from Ohio to New Jersey, a full week before client needed it.  Day seven, package had still not arrived and client was fumming.  Tracking showed the last location of package in Texas!!! And, tracking had not been updated for three days.  When I called post office, was informed that I had to wait for the package to be over two weeks late before they would investigate!  It did finally arrive, but I had to send client a print as a peace offering!  When it absolutely, positively has to get there - don't use USPS.  And also, don't guarantee your clients delivery by a certain date - only that you will ship by a certain date!


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