Shipped Box Destroyed

(WSVN) - It was her family’s treasured china and crystal that she wrapped and insured to have shipped to Miami. When they arrived in pieces, the shipper said they weren’t paying despite the insurance policy. It’s tonight’s Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

If you are lucky, you have some wonderful childhood memories. Madeleine Goldman recalls the plates and glasses her parents brought out on special occasions.

Madeleine Goldman, family treasures destroyed: “My parents didn’t have a whole lot of money, and every time my dad got a paycheck, they would go and buy one or two pieces of the crystal.”

Now that Madeleine’s mother is moving into an assisted living facility, she gave Madeleine the family treasures.

Madeleine Goldman: “And she wanted me to have her crystal and her china.”

Madeleine said they carefully packed everything.

Madeleine Goldman: “We individually wrapped and bubble wrapped the dishes and the crystal, and we put packing paper in between.”

Madeleine insured the 49 family heirlooms for $1,000.

Madeleine Goldman: “Because the worst case may be a couple of pieces break, and that $1,000 should cover it.”

Madeleine also paid $363 for two-day shipping from New Mexico to Miami.

Madeleine Goldman: “We wrote fragile in Sharpie every side of the box.”

Two days later, no package.

Madeleine Goldman: “I worked from home those days just waiting for the package, which didn’t arrive.”

Every day the UPS tracking system said the box would arrive. Finally, after 10 days, it did — looking nothing like the new box that left New Mexico.

Madeleine Goldman: “My soul left my body. I was literally like, ‘Oh, my gosh, I don’t believe this happened.'”

There were 49 pieces in the box when it was shipped. Four survived with small chips. The rest, take a look.

Madeleine Goldman: “The pieces were demolished. I started to take the bubble wrap apart and shards of glass were cutting my fingers because so much of that stuff was reduced to like shards and powder.”

But more devastating news — many pieces were missing.

Madeleine Goldman: “It weighed 55 pounds when we mailed it, and when we received it, it weighed 41 pounds.”

After seeing what was smashed and missing, Madeleine was no longer just heartbroken.

Madeleine Goldman: “Outrage. Anger. Helplessness. Like, how could this have been done to my stuff?”

They contacted UPS, who refused to pay the $1,000 insurance or the $363 two-day shipping, and Madeleine didn’t have the heart to call her mother back in New Mexico to tell her what had happened.

Madeleine Goldman: “I wouldn’t do it. She would be devastated.”

Well Howard, sentimentally, the busted pieces can never be replaced, but legally, does the shipper have to at least pay the insurance and shipping?

Howard Finkelstein, 7 News Legal Expert: “Yes, the pieces were individually bubble wrapped in an appropriate shipping box. Therefore, they have to pay the $1,000 insurance, and because Madeleine paid for two-day shipping and didn’t get it for 10 days, she gets that money back as well.”

I contacted UPS. A spokesman said they tried to deliver the box three times and can prove it.

He added based on the pictures provided by the customer, “We determined the contents were not packed properly, and therefore, UPS was not paying the insurance claim.”

When I asked where the 14 pounds of china and crystal went, I was told, “we don’t know.”

A few days later, UPS changed their minds and sent an email from their legal department that said, “The claim denial has been overturned. UPS will now pay Madeleine’s insurance claim.”

Madeleine Goldman: “Thank you very much. I am relieved that they complied with the law. It doesn’t take away the loss.”

Madeleine will get the insurance and shipping money back, but she won’t keep it.

Madeleine Goldman: “I am going to take that money and give it to an animal charity because my mom is a huge animal lover.”

Glad we were able to help Madeleine. Now, how do you avoid the fight Madeleine went through to collect the insurance? Take pictures and video before you close the box or let them wrap and pack it. They charge for it, but it eliminates the claim it wasn’t packed properly.

A problem left you shattered? Boxed into a corner trying to solve it? Ship it our way. Hopefully, we can deliver a solution that will be crystal clear.

Reporter: Patrick Fraser at
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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