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Broken Mirror: What To Do?

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Posted by Doug Hudgins/">Doug Hudgins on August 7, 1999 18:55:38 UTC

Hi All,

Almost a year ago I ordered a 24" f/5 mirror from a well-known and respected individual. In late May, he finished the mirror and sent it to QSP Optical for coating. In Early June, QSP coated the mirror and sent it on to me via Airborne Express. It arrived smashed to bits.

It is now two months later and my situation remains essentially unchanged.

The mirror was, of course, insured for its replacement value. Despite the fact that I was indirectly paying the bill, QSP was the shipper and had purchased the insurance. Thus, it was they who had to file the claim. After being notified of the damage, they did so and Airborne dispatched an inspector to check things out. He filed his report in mid-June but QSP took until early July to finish up their portion of the paperwork.

On July 14 the claim was denied. In discussing the situation with QSP's representative shortly afterward (about two weeks ago), I was told that Airborne had denied the claim on the basis that (1) the shipment was not marked "Fragile", and (2) it was not adequately packed. Nevertheless, the representative was very upbeat, assuring me that QSP would contest their decision and that they was sure that Airborne would ultimately honor the claim. To assist QSP in appealing the denial, I provided them with several pictures. Regarding the first issue I provided a picture of the box showing that it did indeed sport numerous (11 to be exact) cautionary stickers of three distinct types and close-ups of each type of sticker. Regarding the second issue, I sent pictures showing the capacity rating emblem of the box (100 lb capacity) and Airborne's shipping label which gives the mirror weight at 87 lbs. Somewhat troubling, however, was the response of QSP's rep when pushed as to what would happen if Airborne refused to reverse their decision. I was told that if the claim were denied on the basis that the mirror was not adequately packed, then it was the mirror maker's fault because it was his packing that QSP had re-used to ship the mirror to me. Needless to say, I informed the mirror maker of this.

Now two weeks later, I again yesterday spoke with the QSP rep on the phone. I was told that QSP' rebuttal (with the pictures) had been sent to Airborne but that they had not yet received any response. The rep did, however, reiterate QSP's confidence that Airborne would, in the end, come through. I guess its easy to be upbeat when its someone else's 4 grand you are dealing with.

Unsatisfied, I decided to pursue the issue from the other end. I called up Airborne and eventually was connected to their claims department. I was told that QSP's letter had arrived, but that the claim was still being denied since QSP had reused the packing material in which they received the mirror. Their position is that having been used to ship the mirror previously, the integrity of the box was compromised. Ergo, the mirror was not adequately packed. Note: I think it is entirely possible that this information has not yet arrived at QSP, so I'm not accusing them of lying tome on the phone.

So here I am folks, soon, it would appear, to be stuck between a rock and a hard place. I'm out almost 4 grand and neither of the responsible parties (QSP and Airborne) show any indication that they are ready to accept any responsibility for the broken mirror. I do not believe that the mirror maker is responsible. After all, the mirror arrived at QSP with no problem. In my opinion, when QSP made the decision to reuse the packing materials, they assumed responsibility for their adequacy.

Bottom Line: I would greatly appreciate any ideas about how I should proceed at this point.

Thanks,

Doug

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