So, for the first time in over two decades of buying and selling banjos, one arrived with the neck snapped at the heel. Seller just put in a claim with UPS. This got me wondering how often this sort of thing happens. Maybe I’ve just been lucky up till now.
I've had a Gibson broken clean off at the heel using UPS. They promptly paid the full amount of my insurance & returned the instrument to me. However, there are many stories on the BHO that ended with quibbling, partial payment, delays, & denial. I cannot find a consistent company policy about this issue, & it seems that decisions are whimsical & depend on the integrity of the local UPS store.
For years, I ship all banjos disassembled to prevent this... Inertia snaps have claimed many a Paramount and Gibson.
Sorry to hear that, that's heartbreaking to hear about good instruments suffering that fate.
If you're shipping a banjo I highly recommend Warren Yates shipping method, which suspends the pot in the case, and also make sure the case doesn't put undue pressure on one point in the neck. Often i'll have to raise the pot in the case and put additional foam under the neck int he case. And take lots of high quality photos before sending it.
As far as shippers, there's lots of opinions, I've heard that USPS is usually reasonable about insurance claims whereas others can be dragging their heels
Edited by - gtani7 on 11/21/2019 11:33:01
Although the shipping company may admit responsibility for the damage, it is now up to the shipper to prove the value of the item. That always adds a level of annoyance to a pain in the neck process.
I've had this happen twice, both with cheaper ebay banjos, one was a late 1800s pullman that broke at the heal, it was shipped in a cardboard box with no padding, the other was buckbee, both were due to poor packaging.
I take great effort in packing and have shipped 50 to 60 banjos with no damage [knock on wood].
However, since I cannot control how an individual re-packs, stories like these only strengthen my resolve to never accept returns after making a sale.
Of course anyone wiling to make a return in person would always be considered.
Never happened to ME, neither banjo nor guitar, but I've only shipped 4 or 10 in the last half century.
Like Mr. 7 says, above
" ...and take lots of high quality photos before sending it. "
And considering where he's FROM, it's not just SOUND advice...
It's PUGET sound advice!
this is my worst nightmare. i always pad the banjo inside the case, then pad the case. i dont trust drivers or workers while in transit to treat a fragile item as a fragile item...
I bought a fairly worn looking English banjo on ebay for £100. It was packed in bubblewrap with no neck support. The neck snapped at the perchpole in transit. I complained bitterly to the seller (he knew nothing about banjos, it had been in his shed for decades,) he offered a full refund on return. After looking at it I couldn't bear to return it. I got a Dublin luthier to fix it, he did a great job. It sounds fantastic, still have the banjo, it's parlour sized, solid cherry(?) neck. As far as I'm aware it has a unique peghead shape. Maybe Edwardian . . .
At the end of the day I left the seller 5 stars! Even with the break it was a bargain.
I've shipped and received dozens of high end acoustic instruments through the years and only had one horror story. I bought a Gibson Earl Scruggs via eBay, I contacted the seller before I bid on it. He didn't know banjos (said he inherited it from his deceased granddad who, in his words "played in a banjo band"!) but he seemed to understand how he needed to pack it safely. I paid the additional amount for insurance. It arrived snapped off at the peghead, no padding at all inside the case. I contacted the seller and got nothing and eBay was no help, as expected. The UPS store where it shipped told me his wife brought it in and didn't buy insurance, thought it was too expensive. I ended up being paid the $100 max at that time from UPS. This was a really early Scruggs model and I bought it dirt cheap strictly to clean up and resell. Fortunately the break was very clean and repairable. I sold it on eBay as-is and made a really nice profit. It turned out well but it was a terrible experience. I did pay close attention to how I packed 'em for shipping after that though.
'1991 gibson RB3 banjo' 1 min
'Gustatory.....' 54 min
'"John Brown's Dream"' 3 hrs
'Happy Birthday son' 3 hrs
'Top of the World' 5 hrs