Shipping a fragile lightbar to someone you aren't familiar with.

JohnMarcson

Site Founder
Original poster
Administrator
May 7, 2010
10,372
Northwest Ohio
I have some interest in one of my lightbars, the aerodynic with the speaker grill fully populated with slits. The domes are nice, but brittle. I picked the bar up in person. The buyer wants it shipped to his friend in NYC to be shipped on to England. I have gotten a few quotes and both packing/shipping stores have told me that insurance is unlikely to pay out if it is damaged no matter how well it is packed. The payment methods available tend to allow refunds and I am worried the bar is going to get damaged, returned at my expense and a refund issued. I would be out the bar and shipping. I this were someone I "know" from here I'd trust them to accept the risks of shipping and pack to the best of my ability without fear of a refund and return. I am trying to explain this to the potential buyer but they are very insistent on needing it. Anyone think I'm totally off base here? Anyone else a little concerned about shipping fragile expensive items to people who the community doesn't know? Any suggestions to protect me and/or the buyer?
 
May 21, 2010
1,066
Minnesota
I had one like that last year. As for fragile I have built a wooden frame out of 2x2s and mounted the bar to that frame. Then used a staple gun to cover it in cardboard. As for financial issues. Explain your concerns and ask them for a non refundable payment type (like a postal moneyorder). Offering references might help ease their mind too.

I have explained that I have no control over what customes does (they can open packages and likely wouldn't repack it properly/well enough to prevent damage) and you are not willing to take that financial risk. If they really want it, they would understand.
 

toon80

Veteran Member
May 24, 2010
2,474
Laval, Canada
I shipped a beacon to a member here which is very reasonable. The split dome was the name of the game, and we all know how it' likely to get FUBAR.

I went in a direction to really minimise the damage risks. I diseassembled the whole thing, piece by piece.
Dome, skirt, ring, strobe supply, optics, strobe tube, speaker, driver, cone...The works.
Packed and padded all those pieces seperately, then all in one big boxe.
Much heavier to ship and pricey, of course. But it was pretty idiot proof and made it safe. Tooks pictures of the packed parts and got the buyer's green light for the venture before shipping it.

Inversely, had a lightbar shipped to me, Arkansas to eastern Canada, bit the bullet and had the domes shipped seperately. Made it safe.
It is possible to do it, but in such a case, if the buyer really wants it, he must understand the risks and accept them.

I went through the hassle for rare items, or badly wanted ones by buyers, and was totally transparent before, during packing, and had the buyer agree to the risks.


I do this for a hobby, not for profit, like many of us. I'd just hate to have a buyer get smashed parts in the end, like I had myself. I don't mind going the extra mile for pieces worth it.

Hope this helps.
 

tsquale

Site Minion
Platinum Donor
Oct 12, 2010
9,945
Kinney Creek, MN
I went through this sending a Rotoray overseas and ultimately it has led me to refuse to do business with anyone overseas. If it is someone that you don't have an established relationship on the NYC end or the end user, I'd be overly cautious or just flat out not do the deal. The stress and headache to come isn't worth it.
 

ur20v

Active Member
Feb 3, 2017
445
Northern Virginia
Shipping the domes and speaker cover separately, double boxed, packed with Styrofoam peanuts... that's going to be a pretty big box, but the buyer needs to understand that's the price of entry.
 

JohnMarcson

Site Founder
Original poster
Administrator
May 7, 2010
10,372
Northwest Ohio
My issue is less packing process it at this point (I have seen a done some of the methods that were mentioned above with decent results). My concern is a >$1500 total price tag and the prospect of a potential refund attempt makes me nervous. I don't know that there is a method of payment that I trust to both be secure and not get charged back or refunded at that amount.

Also, when a deal falls through on here it has been my experience that it is usually a pretty polite and understanding no pressure exchange. I am used to "no problem, thanks for looking into it" or "I understand, no one wants to ruin an iconic bar" or "if you can sell it locally I would too" sort of situation. I was looking at buying a pretty rare bar a few months ago and the seller on here messaged me saying he could get the same amount but not ship it by selling to his friend locally. I told him I would (and he should) totally take the local offer to avoid destroying a very rare bar. I was disappointed, but I'd rather someone (who he knew) got to enjoy the bar than make a huge production of shipping it with a possibility of damage. I was also happy he was honest about his intentions.

This situation is giving me different vibes. Maybe it's a cultural or language barrier. Had the original reply to my trepidation to ship been less "high pressure" I would have continued on more willingly. If I had gotten "ok, check out the options and send some prices then we can see if the risk is worth it for both of us", I would have been fine. Instead what I got/am getting is "I really need this item, money is no issue, just send it" type of thing. Maybe I'm just paranoid from years of being lied to at work.

A typical day at work (in a house with no walls or electricity that I have been to 5 other times for ODs):
Me- "This came in as CPR in progress and now your buddy is awake, sweaty and can't sit still. Did someone narcan him? You aren't in trouble, I just need to know for medical treatment."
Other Guy- "No man. What's narcan? I don't even know what narcan is or how to give stuff up the nose."
Me- "If you don't know what it is how do you know it is given in the nose? Again, no one is in trouble, I just need the info to provide medical care. That empty blister pack over there says 'narcan, for nasal administration'. I don't even necessarily have to take anyone to the hospital if I get the full story. I just need to have an idea what happened so I can make sure he stays ok and the so doc will let me obtain a refusal if that is the plan."
Other Guy- "No, he was just sleeping really soundly. We're good."

Me-"Well I guess he suffered an unexplained out of hospital cardiac arrest and recovered with only CPR. I'm not sure the doc is going to let me sign him off AMA from something like that. If only I knew what happened I could probably talk the doc into approving a refusal of transport."
Other Guy-(looks around to see if police can hear) "ok, fine...ok...like yeah...yeah he snorted two lines and then went out. I gave him that narcan from the health department and dude woke up."


Thanks for all the replies. Just typing my out my response here I know what I want to do. Sometimes just typing sometime out and reading what you wrote is a good way to review it. In the words of another member here, "Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should". Thanks guys.
 

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