Will it make it intact?
June 24, 2008 10:16 PM   Subscribe

I have a 42-inch LCD TV in its original box that needs to make its way cross-country. Can we just drop it off at FedEx/UPS, or does prudence and shipping policy require us to find a larger exterior box with more cushioning?
posted by QuantumMeruit to Travel & Transportation (13 answers total)
Previous questions and answers (like this one don't specifically address whether the original packaging by itself is sufficient protection. I know I could buy a shipping crate -- but do I really need it? (Or will FedEx/UPS require the use of a shipping crate in order to insure the package?)
posted by QuantumMeruit at 10:18 PM on June 24, 2008

This is a question best answered by whomever is in charge of your order with UPS/fedEx, but no matter what you do, (duh) get it insured. It's only $1 extra onto shipping per $100 of insurance, so if they screw up and break your TV, it's going to be their problem, and your question of how best to ship it won't be an issue. It's not like the TV is a priceless family heirloom.
posted by phunniemee at 10:29 PM on June 24, 2008

Oh, I wasn't clear: depending on how the TV is packaged in its original box, it may or may not require further packing action, which is something often left to the whims of the courier.
posted by phunniemee at 10:32 PM on June 24, 2008

I used to unload trucks at a big department store. Electronics shipped to our store in the original packaging, and went all over the place in trucks before getting to our store. If you have the original packaging, and it's in good shape (styrofoam is intact, box is intact) then your TV should be ready for its trip. Tape it up, insure it if you want, and you're set.
posted by zippy at 11:04 PM on June 24, 2008

Most of the cheap LCD TV manufacturers (Olevia, Vizio, etc.) recommend / require that you use the original packaging to ship it back to them via UPS/FedEx for warranty repair work or returns, so it's probably OK, assuming that you have the original packaging material (foam etc.) that shipped with the TV. The insurance is a good idea, also.
posted by theclaw at 11:05 PM on June 24, 2008

You should absolutely insure the package. The people who handle your package will be hourly employees working in the middle of the night, trying to achieve their performance goals (imagine loading boxes on a truck to the tune of 400 packages per hour, and you'll understand the risk that your TV might not be handled with the care it deserves).

Depending on how far it's going, it may cost an arm and a leg to ship. You'll get better rates if you sign up on the carrier's website and print your own shipping label (instead of taking it to a counter).
posted by colgate at 11:15 PM on June 24, 2008

The last time I shipped a valuable and expensive item via fedex, they told me that I could only insure it for more than $500 if there was at least 6 inches of padding between the object and the side of the box. They actually opened the box to check. If you go with fedex, you might want to buy or build a larger carton and line it with several inches of packing peanuts, bubble wrap, or that wadded-up brown paper they use.

I've never shipped anything of significant value via UPS. Nor, frankly, would I.
posted by dersins at 11:56 PM on June 24, 2008

about 10 years ago, i worked briefly as a cargo handler at one of fedex's major airport hubs. it was drilled into us, repeatedly, during our training that throwing or dropping packages was a big no-no.

plenty of packages got dropped anyway, and certain people just tossed shit around, but for the most part (i'd say ~99.9% of the time - the vast majority) packages were handled reasonably gently. it was much better than how i've seen USPS workers handling packages. if those are good enough odds for you, you should be fine. depends on how strong the original box and foam packing that you have is.

would you be comfortable dropping the TV in its box onto the ground from waist height? if yes, just ship it - if no, get an external box and use some of that self-expanding foam-in-a-can to pack it in. personally, having seen how it works from the inside, i would provide some extra padding for something that bulky, heavy and expensive.

my experience was ages ago, things at fedex might have changed (better or worse) and other companies may be completely different.
posted by sergeant sandwich at 12:35 AM on June 25, 2008

oh, also, heavy packages (over 70 lbs, i think it was) had to be lifted by more than one person, as per the rules, and those things tended to be handled more carefully.
posted by sergeant sandwich at 12:43 AM on June 25, 2008

I've worked at one of the major shipping companies for 19 years. Colgate is right: the people who are going to handle your package are basically minimum wage kids who are just trying to git er dun. I would call and ask how you need to pack your package in order to get it insured for the amount you want. And while you have them on the phone, ask them how you go about making a claim if the item is damaged. (Do you need to examine the contents in front of the delivery driver?) And unless your package arrives in absolute perfect condition, complain like you've never complained before. This is a highly competitive business and pleasing the customer is the name of the game.
posted by keith0718 at 1:56 AM on June 25, 2008

The original packaging is designed to be shipped. Presumably, it has already made a few voyages safely to get to the store and back to your house. Use the original box and get insurance. You're not going to be able to pack it any more tightly than the styrofoam that was custom-cut to protect the TV.
posted by designbot at 6:25 AM on June 25, 2008

At the risk of not answering your question at all, I think there might be a way around all this. Consider how much you could sell the television for, how much a comperable television might cost at your new location, and how much shipping/insurance would set you back. If the TV is newish, it might've depreciated too quickly for this plan to be worth it, but if it's older and you could swing a decent deal on a used TV in your new location or you're interested in upgrading, that could accomplish your goals without even bothering with UPS. I'm assuming that shipping a television of that size ain't cheap.
posted by incessant at 7:49 AM on June 25, 2008

The TV was donated and will be a raffle prize at a conference this weekend. It is still in its original packaging and has never been opened / unpacked.

While dealing with logistics we came to the belated realization that most of the attendees are flying in and thus getting the damn thing home is problematic. (Oversize baggage fees, etc.) So we're trying to assess what our options are to asssist the winner in getting the TV home (wherever that is).
posted by QuantumMeruit at 8:20 AM on June 25, 2008

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