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beware fedex ground liability limits

updated tue 29 oct 02


RENE on mon 28 oct 02

Potters beware of the risks you take shipping with FedEx Ground!

I just learned (the hard way) that FedEx Ground has a well-hidden limit
of liability ($100) on anything ceramic which they damage in shipment.

The story:
I recently shipped three pieces of sculpture which had been accepted
into a juried show to a gallery in Burlington, VT from my studio in
Brooklyn, NY. Iíve used FedEx Ground for a long time, but had never had
a piece arrive damaged, so I was unaware of their limited damage
liability scheme. They state that it has been in effect since July 2002.

They referred in their defense to a 10 page document which they would be
willing to fax to me that contained a paragraph indicating their $100
liability limit. It is available on their website as a .pdf document
(if you look hard for it). They are right about this.

But they also seem to have a policy of pro forma initial denial of
ANY claim. (This should sound familiar to anyone who has had dealings
with HMOís). In my case it was for "inadequate packing." They were
subsequently convinced by a strong certified letter from me to "re-open"
my claim case because I was prepared to prove that I pack *very*
adequately, and would do so in small claims court if I had to.

So after re-opening the claim, they had the audacity to cut a check for
$100 as total settlement for the damaged piece which was valued at $800.
Weíre talking here about work which didnít get exhibited, and can never
be sold. A phone call to them was the way I learned that it was their
limit. I have indicated that I will not cash this check -- if and when
it arrives -- and would indeed see them in court.

It does not seem to matter that their shipping forms asked for the
"declared value" of the shipment as well as a "Contents Description." In
fact, it is downright misleading, and suggests that they need to know
the value so that they can make restitution in the event they damage
something. But that is certainly not the case. When FedEx Ground breaks
it, they sure donít buy it . . . if itís worth more than $100.

I welcome E-mail from others who have had similar experiences with FedEx
or other shippers.

Rene Murray
Handmade Sculpture and Functionware
380 Sixth Street
Brooklyn NY 11215-3302

Home: 718.768.5121
Studio: 718.875.7153