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  #1  
Old 05-30-2017, 01:09 PM
bk1bennett's Avatar
bk1bennett bk1bennett is offline
 
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Location: Sachse, TX
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Default RV-14A Empennage Kit Arrives in Damaged Crate

Last Friday I took delivery of my very first shipment from Van's: the RV-14A Empennage Kit. You probably know the anticipation of tracking the progress of the kit as it traveled from the factory to my home. I was very excited as it made its way from Oregon to the Dallas area. I was hoping to avoid dealing with crate damage, which I know others have experienced and have documented here at VAF. Unfortunately, I was very surprised at the very unusual failure that the crate sustained in shipment.

When the truck driver opened up, I was greeted with this awkward scene, sinking my hopes of a clean shipment:



Two bright red arrows were pointing to the west instead of toward the sky, which I was pretty sure was the packager's intent. I was more than a little miffed that FedEx didn't seem to share my understanding of the meaning of those arrows. The lid of the crate was mostly detached and packing material was visible. I remained as calm as I could. It turns out that the shipper probably oriented the crate the way it did in an effort to preserve the contents, which may have indeed been a good move, but you have to see more of the story to understand.

When the driver went back to the crate to start the process of unloading it, I was further dismayed when he pulled the paper work off the floor beside the crate. You can imagine my surprise when that appeared to be the only stuff that fell out. After some successful manipulation of the crate, he managed to get it where I could take more photos:





From what I could observe, either the crating concept was heavily flawed or the supports were damaged and lost. It appears that the bottom of the crate in the center of the length was elevated by double two-by-fours, ostensibly to provide clearance for a forklift. In fact, the double 2x4 was only on one side of the crate when it arrived, such that the crate not only bowed in the center of the length, but also it was tilted to one side. On the ends, the supporting stock under the crate is 1x4, creating a see-saw configuration, which puts the crate in bending under a load. The bending load failed the side wall of the crate at the location of a giant knot, resulting in a long split of the wood.

If there was a metal band on both ends of the crate when it left the factory (I need to look for evidence of it), it didn't survive. Only one band was on the crate when it arrived.

The miracle is that so far I haven't found any damage to the contents. The top of the crate had two long tail-cone skins that appear to be ok, which is remarkable given that I could see the blue film on the skins from several feet away. There is a lot of wadded shipping paper and some cardboard that appears to have protected the contents fairly well.

I was gone over the Memorial Day weekend (which helps provide perspective -- the cemeteries are full of men who gave their lives for my freedom), so I haven't done much in the way of inventory, yet.

I am considering how to communicate this issue to Van's. I am not certain whether the shipping crate design is the root cause. However, it seems that, unless parts of the crate were damaged by abusive handling, that the shipping crate could be vastly improved for a minor investment of time and money.

I am open to your advice!

This is not the "announcement" that I'd hoped to issue for my first substantive post, but I am very excited to be starting the journey. Like a lot of people, I wish I had more space and more time, but I am going to methodically go through the process and do the best job that I can. I am sure I'll be needing your help and advice along the way.
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Old 05-30-2017, 01:31 PM
rvbuilder2002 rvbuilder2002 is offline
 
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Location: Hubbard Oregon
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Brian,
I can assure you that the crate is missing quite a few parts and looks nothing like it did when it left Van's.

You will likely see evidence that it originally had other metal bands vs the one that remains (I can see evidence on the lateral board at the end that is broken open).

Hundreds of these types of crates have been shipped (300+ for RV-14 and 1000+ for RV-10) with the majority of them arriving intact with no parts damaged.
You just happened to get the one that occasionally happens.....
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  #3  
Old 05-30-2017, 01:39 PM
charger81 charger81 is offline
 
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Location: Texas
Posts: 168
Default Options?

Does the customer have the option of refusing the shipment when the shipping crate has been so obviously damaged?

Or is one obligated to receive the shipment "as-is" and then work out an insurance claim with the carrier and/or shipper?
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  #4  
Old 05-30-2017, 01:56 PM
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bk1bennett bk1bennett is offline
 
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Location: Sachse, TX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charger81 View Post
Does the customer have the option of refusing the shipment when the shipping crate has been so obviously damaged?

Or is one obligated to receive the shipment "as-is" and then work out an insurance claim with the carrier and/or shipper?
My driver gave me the option of refusing the shipment, but I did not do it.

I did file a claim with FedEx, which I believe is the process that Van's wants me to follow. I now have to inventory and assess damage to finish the claim with FedEx.
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Old 05-30-2017, 01:58 PM
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bk1bennett bk1bennett is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rvbuilder2002 View Post
Brian,
I can assure you that the crate is missing quite a few parts and looks nothing like it did when it left Van's.

You will likely see evidence that it originally had other metal bands vs the one that remains (I can see evidence on the lateral board at the end that is broken open).

Hundreds of these types of crates have been shipped (300+ for RV-14 and 1000+ for RV-10) with the majority of them arriving intact with no parts damaged.
You just happened to get the one that occasionally happens.....
Yes, I can see the evidence of bands, too.

Coincidentally, I have had two other large shipments in the past few months that were also heavily damaged. I am 0 for 3 in large freight.
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Old 05-30-2017, 02:01 PM
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bkervaski bkervaski is offline
 
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Frustrating .. same thing happened to my empennage kit, looked like they drove the forklift through it .. quick inventory of damaged parts and call to Vans and the replacement parts showed up a few days later. Vans was great at getting it resolved quickly and with minimal hassle.
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  #7  
Old 05-30-2017, 02:04 PM
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bk1bennett bk1bennett is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkervaski View Post
Frustrating .. same thing happened to my empennage kit, looked like they drove the forklift through it .. quick inventory of damaged parts and call to Vans and the replacement parts showed up a few days later. Vans was great at getting it resolved quickly and with minimal hassle.
I think forklift blight would be worse --- you can scarcely avoid damage in that scenario! Glad to hear Van's made it right for you!
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  #8  
Old 05-30-2017, 02:13 PM
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bkervaski bkervaski is offline
 
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I'm convinced that Fedex Ground/Freight simply doesn't care wholesale .. I've had nothing but bad experiences with shipments through them. Regular FedEx, however, has been great.
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  #9  
Old 05-30-2017, 02:15 PM
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bk1bennett bk1bennett is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rvbuilder2002 View Post
Brian,
I can assure you that the crate is missing quite a few parts and looks nothing like it did when it left Van's.
I think I just understood your meaning: It' missing quite a few EXTERNAL parts. I am really having a hard time understanding what in the heck FedEX did to the crate. It's wacky, but I'm not going to waste many calories on it. My hope is that it's not missing any INTERNAL parts!
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  #10  
Old 05-30-2017, 02:22 PM
myrv7 myrv7 is offline
 
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Default Frustrating!

I had to deal with the same busted crate from FedEx in January. If you look at my blog under "Empennage kit delivery", you can see the very damaged crate! While the truck was still at the hangar (prior to unloading), I called Van's for guidance. Following the phone call, I refused the shipment and the truck driver drove away with the jacked up crate. Like Scott said, I was also concerned about parts that may have been missing since the entire top of the crate was detached. Van's said they would handle the claim with FedEx. About a month later, the second empennage shipment arrived with barely a scratch on it....also from FedEx with the same truck driver.

Other than refusing the crate at delivery, I didn't do anything during the process. Kim from Van's handled everything and was a pleasure to work with.
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Last edited by myrv7 : 05-30-2017 at 02:27 PM.
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