A post to the rec.arts.movie.production.sound forum (aka RAMPS) tells
a cautionary tale about shipping with FedEx. Here is my slightly
"I had a Sound Devices 744T for sale about two months ago. I posted
it online, someone made an offer, and i sold him the unit.
The guy was not in the USA at the time, and asked me to ship the unit
to his girlfriend in Florida. So after payment went thru Paypal and
the funds had cleared, i packaged the unit and shipped it using Fedex.
At the Fedex counter, i asked for full insurance and proof of
signature. Fedex charged me a ridiculous amount, over 125$, for the
insurance but since this was an expensive package i went for it. I
emailed the tracking number to the buyer.
A couple of days later, I got a phone call informing me that the
package is showing delivered on the fedex site but that it is nowhere
to be found.
To make a long story short, the driver left the package at the door
because nobody was there ( second attempt ) and simply signed himself,
imitating the buyer's girlfriend's signature.
After nearly two months of ridiculous phone calls with Fedex, getting
treated like a thief and constantly being told that there was
something fraudulent about my refund request, i finally received the
insurance check. I refunded the purchase price to a very
understanding and extremely calm buyer.
All is good now. But i have learned a lesson, everything depends on
getting full insurance and proof of signature. And make sure that the
FedEx counter clerk completes the insurance form correctly. FedEx
tried to negate my claim because the clerk had made a mistake in
filling the paperwork. "
The original message and several comments are found here:
I can confirm that the delivery people for FedEx, UPS and US Postal
Service often drop packages requiring delivery confirmation onto the
doorstep and take off without waiting to see if anyone is home to sign
for the package. This happens year-round, but most frequently during
the holidays, when the volume of packages shipped is the greatest.
If you receive a package that should have required your signature,
please report it to the delivery company. The delivery person needs
to be held accountable.
When you send an item using the US Postal Service, don't settle for
"delivery confirmation." Pay extra for "signature confirmation." The
postal carrier is the one who provides the delivery confirmation, so
they can claim a package was delivered properly even though it was
not. This has happened to me a couple of times. At least with
signature confirmation you can find out who signed, and if the
signature was forged.
Occasionally I sell electronic gear using Craigs List. Every time I
do, I receive several emails stating that the buyer is not in USA, and
will pay me extra if I send the item to a third party. I recommend
that this sort of request be treated as a scam.
I advise against Paypal as the means of receiving payment for items
you sell online. If the buyer reports a problem, Paypal takes their
word and immediately withdraws the funds from the seller's account.
Then the seller has to fight with Paypal to get the money back.
Instead, have the buyer send you a personal check, and wait until the
bank clears the check before sending the item.