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What to Do When a Damaged Package Arrives

Please be aware that this entry is over two years old. Therefore, it may contain broken links, outdated information, or views and content which are no longer completely valid.

I had the unfortunate experience of having to deal with a damaged package of parts I ordered from ZipZoomFly over a week ago.  Let me just say that although ZZF offers great deals and has regular “free shipping” offers, you don’t really know how that costs you until you have to deal with their support service.  Contrarily, this is where Newegg shines.  You may have to pay slightly more with Newegg (most notably with shipping), but I can honestly say I have no complaints about their service.  While newegg proudly carries a customer service rating (not overall store rating) of 9.39 out of 10 on, ZZF sadly drags along at 4.28 out of 10.  Granted, ZZF did manage to get the issue sorted out in the end by issuing a full refund, but there is definite room for improvement (especially in the areas of a 2-3 day initial response and call-back/email-back time—once you have an RMA going, the response time is usually cut down to about a day or a day and a half).

Anyway, on to the meat of the action here.

What should you do when your package looks like it’s been drop-kicked, stabbed, sliced, or diced?  Refuse the delivery.

Ask the person making the delivery to make a report of the damage, then immediately notify the shipper that you refused the delivery and why (ie, damaged goods), and request a reshipment/replacement.  The package will be shipped back to the distributor, and they should send a replacement.  You should not be charged extra for this, although some less-reputable dealers will try to stick you with a restocking fee.  As long as you follow this basic procedure, you should not have to worry about it.

Just remember, by signing and/or accepting the package, you are thereby affirming that the condition of the shipping box is satisfactory.  If it so happens that nobody is home to accept the package and it is simply left at the door, call up the shipper and/or distributor immediately, and notify them of damage to the package (if you would not have normally accepted it), and they should come around to pick it up.

When you request that a package be sent back for reshipment/replacement, if it so happens that the part is no longer available from the distributor, they will usually offer a comparable product, offer to put your order on backorder, or offer to give you a refund (but depending on store policy, you may end up with store credit).

On the other hand, what you could do is simply accept the package, test the hardware you received, and keep your fingers crossed to see if it works–then cross them again if you have to call the distributor to complain about a dead part.  This way is a headache waiting to happen.  If you do take this road, notify the distributor IMMEDIATELY that you have received a defective/damaged/DOA product.  If done within a couple days, you should be alright, but any longer than that and things may not go your way seeing as the possibility of *you* causing the damage enters the picture after so much time has passed.

Again, if it looks like it might be damaged, refuse the delivery–even if you’re impatient to install a piece of hardware you’re expecting.  That way, the distributor can’t argue about *you* damaging it since you never handled it.  Furthermore, you *paid* for a product you expected to be brand new, not tossed around like a football on a sunny afternoon in the backyard with your buds.  After all, would you accept something off of the store shelf at Best Buy or Circuit City in that condition?

With that, I hope that all your packages arrive safe and sound, but in the rare cases that they don’t, you should now have a fairly good idea of what to do.

(Originally published on a now-defunct blog)