direct auto carrier Help – My Package Was Damaged

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UPS, FedEx, and the US Post Office handle millions of parcels every year. Are they perfect in how they handle each parcel? At some point, for shippers who use the carriers on a regular basis, it is inevitable that there will be a damaged package. The actual percentage of parcels damaged in transit seems to be a well kept secret by all of the carriers. The percentage of claims filed vs. The actual number of paid claims is an even larger mystery.

Shippers who have been using these carriers for many years and shipping the same products on a regular basis have gotten past the phase of damages being a problem. The carriers are always quick to deny claims due to inadequate packaging. Shippers have learned to improve the quality of their packaging, or very quickly they will stop shipping that product. There is a fine line between what the carrier considers packaging, and what the shipper considers packaging packaging.

It is a different situation for the average person who wants to ship a parcel. Often the items shipped by individuals are personal in nature and many times these items are fragile and even one of a kind. Shipping Grandma's antique plate across the country is a different situation than a dinner plate manufacturing company shipping plates on a daily basis.

Grandma's plate will be shipped only once and it must arrive without damage. Most likely it is not replaceable. The dinner plate manufacturer has already shipped thousands of plates and over over the last few years. They will utilize a customized box that is professionally designed by a carton company to safely cradle the plate from damage.

The dinner plate manufacture has damages too. This is due to the nature of the product being shipped. The manufacturer has already engaged into the cost of the product an additional markup to cover the cost of the damages that occurs in the carrier's distribution process. Over many years of shipping, this mark up has turned into a predictable formula. They could improve the packaging and reduce the number of damages. However, does the cost of the improved packaging offset the savings from fewer broken dinner plates? There is a fine line between over packaging for no damages, and packaging for a specific predictable number of damages.

The individual who ships using a professional shipping store can not afford to take that same risk. Let's say when you go into the shipping store you are helped by a very knowledgeable employee. He asks you what you are shipping. He wants to know if it is "replaceable". In addition, he requests, "Do you have a receipt or an estimate of value for the item?" "Come on," you say. "This is Grandmas old plate. It can not be worth that much money. It's going to hang on the wall of my sister's kitchen.

With that conversation out of the way, he uses his experience and knowledge to cushion the plate just so. He has packaged Grandma's plate to a standard he believes will protect it so it will not move or shift in transit. Some bubble wrap is added, and as an afterthought, you declare the value for an extra one hundred dollars. You pay the shipping store for the shipping charges and the packing material and Grandma's plate is ready to go.

But wait! Basic packaging may not be fine for just any old plate. If it is not easily replaced, then it needs to be over packed. If it takes ten dollars in packaging materials to accomplish this task, then spend the money. Do not waste your money on Declared Value fees if you can not prove the value of the item shipped. If you do not have a receipt or any type of professional valuation for the item, you will not be able to collect for additional declared value coverage.

Every person who has used one of these shipping stores and has experienced damage to their item has learned one important lesson the hard way. You are not the shipper of record. Wait a minute. You own the item, right? You paid for the cost of shipping, right? So why will not the carriers work with you when there is a damage? The reason is, the shipping store is the entity that paid the carrier. You paid the shipping store. The carriers will only work with, ask questions of, respond to questions from, and extremely pay the claim to the party that paid them.

What happens if the carrier denies the damage claim to Grandma's plate? The shipping store packed it, and based on their expertise, they believed it was packed well enough to be shipped safely through the small package carriers' distribution system. Now it is damaged and the carrier will not pay the claim. The shipping store has two options. They can tell you Grandmas plate was damaged and the carrier will not pay the claim, so you are out of luck. Alternately, they can tell you the carrier is not going to pay the claim, but they will cover it because they are the ones who packaged Grandma's plate and they are responsible for it.

Because you had no estimation of value, you may only be paid the current market rate value based on an online search for plates similar to Grandmas. Even though you paid for additional declared value coverage, you really thread that money away considering you had no proof of the actual value of the plate. In this situation, your limit for the claim may only be one hundred dollars or less based on the searched value of the plate.

In summary, when using the professional shipping stores or dealing with the carrier directly, care and consideration should be given to what you are shipping, the value of the item (s) being shipped, and what level of risk you are willing to accept by Trying to save a few dimes on the packaging of your item (s). Shipping directly with the carriers does not eliminate all of these issues. The only advantage is the carrier will be dealing directly with you and not a 3rd party when it comes to any loss or damage issues. When in doubt, spend the extra money on the packaging to ensure your parcel will be delivered without being broken.

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Thanks to our friends in the direct auto carrier community on Pinterest and Michael Everson for putting that together.

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