I recently purchased a 16KW aluminum generator from Ziller Electric. I
came home from work to meet the shipper and inspected the package...
cardboard, pallet, etc all looked fine. We carefully placed the pallet
in my garage and I returned to work. About a week later I decided to
do an inventory in order to make plans for installation. After lifting
the cardboard cover and inspecting the internals, I walk to the rear
and find that the rear panel is pushed in exactly where the flex
conduit is stored during shipment. Something obviously pushed on the
rear of the unit and dented the panel and two of the air louvers.
I called Ziller twice and left voicemail both times. After not
receiving a return call, I called a third time and, upon speaking with
their manager, was immediately told that "I had signed for it". I
asked for a replacement or someone to come replace the panel and was
basically told to take it up with the shipper. I started to get upset
at this point and the manager actually started laughing at me on the
phone. Nice customer service.
I honestly wouldn't expect anyone to completely unpack a 500 lb
generator while the shipper is sitting in the driveway but that's
Ziller's stance. I'm in the process of taking this up with both my
credit card company and Generac so we'll see what happens.
You do realize that Usenet complaints such as yours often come across
as whining, don't you? You didn't mention whether the damage was
functional (didn't sound like it) or purely cosmetic. If it's purely
cosmetic, and it's the rear panel, are you actually financially injured
or are you upset that someone laughed at you?
As far as the shipping, if you sign for something you are essentially
saying that you've accepted it. It is not your responsibility to worry
about the shipper's time schedule. Here's how it works: delivery,
inspect package, open package, inspect contents, sign delivery receipt.
If you feel that you unjustly delayed the driver, then throw the
driver some beer money.
If there is a delivery and I can't fully inspect it before signing, I
write "Uninspected package, conditionally accepted, all rights
reserved", and I don't sign on the line where they want you to sign as
there's usually boilerplate acceptance terms there. I'll cross them
out and hand the receipt back to the driver. Once you've crossed the
thing out and signed it, it's not really his problem any more - it's
the company's problem. he can't write up a anew receipt, so what's he
going to do. Be polite at all times, it's unlikely that it's the
driver's fault unless you saw them drop the package at your place. If
he starts raising a bit of a ruckus about the non standard signature,
throw him some beer money.
And stop whining on Usenet. It's unseemly.
Perhaps you should consider not being an arrogant ass on Usenet when
someone is trying to prevent an unfortunate incident from happening to
someone else. FYI, I've never seen a freight company hang around while
an entire shipment is unpacked, uncrated, and inspected.
Too bad you didn't work harder at preventing that unfortunate incident from
happening to you.
I'm guessing that's probably because you make a habit of signing for
deliveries before you inspect them, just as you did in the case you describe.
I *have* seen them hang around, because my habit is to inspect first, and sign
only after doing so *and* noting any problems I find. They don't really have
much choice, you know: they cannot in any way compel me to sign the papers
before I'm ready to do so, and they're not supposed to leave without a
signature. So what are they going to do?
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Sorry I can't join you in your self pity fest, Gnat. It's not my fault
you signed without inspecting the shipment, and it most likely isn't
Ziller's fault as the damage probably happened during shipping. So,
ultimately, where does the fault lie? With you. Try not signing next
time until you're satisfied. They'll wait around.
Damage during shipping is the responsibility of the shipper. Believe
it or not, they actually carry _insurance_ for it! How come you didn't
whine...err, sorry....try to prevent an unfortunate incident with the
shipper from happening to someone else?
Same basic think happened to me I bought a 12500w unit from Loews, a
Generac, and Generac promptly fixed what was not Loews problem, my
muffler was smashed in. But Loews offered a replacement, I declined
since Generac was taking care of it.
I have, they tend to "hang around" until you sign for what ever they are
shipping. You might have one upset driver but if you explain to him you are
just trying to protect yourself he'll usually understand.
I think it's fair to make them wait around if the shipment looks like
it's been obviously damaged from the outside. I don't think they are
reasonably obligated to hang around while you check the contents if
the outer package appears okay.
That's why the "concealed damage" clause exists. Concealed damage,
even if discovered while the shipper is standing there, will usually
require an inspector to determine whether the damage is due to poor
packing, or severe handling. Waiting 3 weeks to open the shipment,
however, is nothing short of stupid.
Perhaps. The OP should check the actual policies with his
shipper and the carrier.
In many cases, the signature at delivery serves only as
confirmation that the package was delivered and appears
Many shippers specfically provide a grace period (often
two days) during which time you need to open the packaging,
inspect the contents and report any problems.
In my (limited) experience this is *very* common, even
normal. However, not many suppliers give a full week
for this task. As I recall, one generally has two days.
| Malcolm Hoar "The more I practice, the luckier I get". |
Appreciate the constructive input. I actually did a quick inspection
that night but didn't get around behind the generator. I also assumed
that anything strong enough to damage the generator would have damaged
the cardboard. I never took into consideration the cardboard could be
pushed, appear to be undamaged, but the soft aluminum housing would be
damaged. I definitely could have avoided this by completely unpacking
but I still would not expect to be treated the way I was by Ziller.
Why are you not taking it up with the carrier? They are the ones
responsible and they have insurance to cover damaged goods. While the Ziller
guy may have been bad mannered, he is correct. It is your responsibility to
contact the carrier and make a claim. Some companies will go the extra mile
to help you, but they have no obligation to do so.
That said, you should have opened the crate the same or next day. Waiting a
week does make it more difficult to get you point across. How can you prove
it was not banged in your garage?
As a trucker, maybe I can add some info to this.
If this was delivered by motor freight carrier (not UPS, etc), then
the freight carrier's only liability is to deliver an intact package,
that is, the outer package/wrapping/crate is undamaged. If there is
no damage to the outer package then they have no liability. Internal
damage is between the shipper and the consignee (the customer).
I almost never do LTL (less than truckload, what the drivers that drop
crates off at your back door do) but I've been to class on the
procedures. I do not have to wait around for the consignee to inspect
the internals of the shipment. In fact, I'm told not to. If the
consignee refuses to sign for the shipment, I simply write on the bill
of lading "signature refused" and send the same message on the
Qualcomm (the satellite system most trucks have nowadays).
Though the industry has been partially deregulated, many regulations
remain. According to my company, the above relationship is one of the
regulated areas so it will be the same with any motor freight carrier.
Package services like UPS and Fedex fall under different rules.
Precisely. Even if he opened the crate on the spot, as long as the
outside isn't damaged, it's not the carrier's problem.
I suspect that the root of this is that Nate got on the phone and was
an officious prick and the guy at Ziller told him to FO. His whiny
all-caps subject line says loads. Speaking as a businessman, we try
not to ever have to tell a customer to FO but sometimes we run into
someone who is so unreasonable that it's better to cut bait and take
John De Armond
See my website for my current email address
Thanks for the perspective from the other side of the lift gate, John.
It sounds as if each particular trucking company has some latitude in
how they handle delivery. In my experience I've never had a trucker
refuse to wait and split without getting a signature. I assumed that
they couldn't do that. Then again, I've never refused to sign unless I
found. You make it sound cut and dried about determining who is
responsible for the damage based on the exterior of the package. Maybe
it is, but I've had times where it was unclear whether the package got
damaged and then the contents, and other times the contents were packed
poorly and damaged the packaging. That must be a frustrating
experience - attempting to deliver a damaged shipment that you _know_
is going to be refused. I always considered the signature a bit of a
formality anyway, because no identification is required and the
signatures are frequently scrawled, so I guess that would take some of
the starch out of the formality.
Maybe I never had a guy leave without a signature because I respect the
time pressure the driver (or anyone working for a living) is under, so
I hustle to make it a quick but thorough inspection. If I have to pop
open a crate, I won't let the driver's schedule push me to accept
something that I shouldn't. It's my money on the line and I have far
more to lose than a few minutes of the driver's time. If I feel it
took me longer to inspect than it should have I'll drop some cash on
the driver - and I've never gotten anything other than a thank you.
A driver can leave without a signature. Unless there are other means
of delivery verification such as UPS's barcode readers, it can become
a "he said, she said" situation. We try not to do that if at all
possible. Speaking only for myself, of course, I go out of my way to
satisfy customers. That's where repeat business comes from, after
all. OTOH, there is always that one customer who cannot be pleased
and who can spoil a whole week.
A major factor on the patience level of the driver is his quota and
his pay method. Many (most? Not terribly familiar with that side)
"City" drivers are paid hourly or on salary. Over-the-road drivers
like myself are paid by the mile. We don't get paid while sitting
still. Fortunately we OTR drivers rarely have to do "CITY" work. The
only time I've had to do it was when the company just flat didn't have
any freight were I was and offered me a day of city work. It's an
ill-fit because OTR trailers don't have lift gates, hand carts and the
A few years ago I bought a hotrod electric scooter from a company who
shall remain un-named cuz they eventually made things right. It came
packaged in a sturdy plywood crate - but was held down inside the
crate with friggin' lawn chair webbing! Of course the webbing broke
forthwith and the scooter bounced around, spoiling the paint, breaking
the throttle pot and a few other minor items.
The LTL company who delivered the thing said (correctly) "Crate is
intact, not our problem." I don't know if the shipper had insurance
or if they ate the loss. In any event, I emailed photos of the damage
and they replaced the damaged parts and refunded me enough money to
get the thing painted.
John De Armond
See my website for my current email address
File a concealed damage claim with the shipping company. You are correct,
no shipper has time to stand there while you open and inspect every shipment.
Concealed damage claims are a normal thing. That said, If you did not buy extra
insurance, the shipper may have very limited liability in the matter.
You're barking up the wrong tree here. It's the shipper you should
file the claim against and you _certainly_ should have looked long
before a week went by. Unfortunately, by not noting on the ticket the
inspection was external crate condition only, you _may_ have some
difficulty in making the claim for hidden damages, but that's still
what you must do. And, again, by having waited for over a week by now,
you certainly haven't made your chances of getting satisfaction any
Whatever, it _isn't_ Ziller's responsibility although it is nice when a
vendor does go the extra mile to file the freight damage claim for you
as many will. I don't know who Ziller is, but I'm guessing it may have
been a case of you found the cheapest internet source you could find
and now are surprised they aren't the most helpful in service. There's
usually a reason for a vendor who is cheaper than some alternatives
being that way...
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