Like a conscientious person that I am I took out insurance against my shipment. I had around 34 boxes which were all personal effects like my daughter’s toys (she’d just had a birthday in November and Christmas so it’s not like I could get away with no gifts for her), clothes, shoes, pictures and things in my life that I didn’t really want to get rid of. So I shopped about on google and made various enquiries before moving and received what I thought was a reasonable quote from Freightworld.
I was told when it came to my packing list that I just need to list things in general which were in my shipment. So clothes, toys, shoes that kind of thing. And not itemize every single item in each box.
I did this faithfully and for my own piece of mind I labelled every box and what was in each box. Apart from the fact when it came to unpacking I’d know what was in it. Ok so I’m digressing. One thing I have learnt is that in America nothing is free. Let me explain. My shipment arrived at the port of New York, NY. It was then handled by some customs people. My shipment was then transferred to Norfolk, VA and handled by some more people. It was x-rayed with some other shipments and then individually x-rayed because there were some ‘black holes’ and they couldn’t see properly. Then my shipment was transferred to Portsmouth, VA. Each time it’s been handled by a different person it’s cost me money. Why I ask? Why wasn’t I told about these additional charges up front?
Before I could collect my boxes I had to go to US customs at the port at Newark and complete paperwork and have some document signed for it’s release. Luckily there was no charge for this.
Maybe it was me and I was being dizzy with everything else which was going on at the time I was packing, but I had to pay a further $300 just to collect my boxes. And it had to be a cashiers cheque, not a personal one.
I really do understand procedures that are in place with companies, having worked for several large blue chip banks in the UK, I get it. But really? Come on. I kind of feel like obstacles are just being put in my way and I’m being asked to jump through hoops like some kind of circus monkey or something.
So the day arrives that we can collect my shipment. We turn up and I was told by the gentleman who collected all of my boxes in the UK what was going to happen. You see I wanted to understand the procedure so I asked the question. I was told that my boxes would be put on two pallets and black shrink wrapped. If there were ANY damages at the other end, then I had to take note of them and make the company I was collecting them from aware of the damages.
Armed with this information on the day of collection, what did I find? Yep. You guessed it. The shrink wrap was damaged and some of my boxes were battered. The place where I collected the boxes from let us open the shrink-wrap to get the boxes on Tommy’s trailer. Upon further investigation one of the boxes had a massive hole in. It looked like a fork lift truck had gone through it. I took pictures of all damages to the shrink wrap and every box that was damaged including the one with a hole. The one with the hole contained my stereo and the fork lift truck had gone through the sub woofer. The sub woofer was the power source for the whole stereo, so without this it won’t and doesn’t work.
I then proceeded to report this to Freightworld who put me in touch with the insurance people. I’d paid an extra £300 in insurance for my shipment, under the advisement that it would cover me should anything go wrong. I was thinking £300 is a lot of money but I guess it’s worth it right?
Ha! The insurance company is saying that because I packed the goods myself I am not covered. Here is their wording;
Cover 1 – Professionally Packed Only
This insurance covers All Risks of loss of or damage to the insured goods in accordance with Institute Cargo Clauses (A), War and Strikes Clauses (copies available on request) subject also to the exclusions below.
Cover 2 – Owner / Professionally Packed
As Cover 1 but excluding breakage, denting, chipping and scratching in respect of all property unless caused by fire or by the vessel or conveyance being stranded, sunk, burnt in collision or overturned.
What was the point of me taking out insurance in the first place? Seems to me they will do anything to avoid paying out. I have a battle on my hands, but have since been told there is a £50 excess. Again really? I am not a happy bunny today. I think I’m going to go bake some bread which is my new hobby.