HUMAN Speakers

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How to: Ship Speakers

the "How to" index

parts (dead or alive) - complete speakers - insurance and claims
warranty submissions - packing materials - packing lists

Shipping speaker parts properly is not very difficult, as long as you make sure there is enough padding material between the parts and the box to protect both from damage in transit.

There is a big difference, of course, in how you should pack old parts that are being replaced or completely rebuilt versus ones where some of their cone material is expected to be re-used (if they are to be refoamed, for example).

With "dead" parts, all that matters is that they not get bent and that the package does not tear or burst open. "Live" parts also must be packed in such a way that nothing is pressing on the remaining cone material.

"Dead" parts can be placed in the packaging in any convenient way that ensures that no metal on any of the parts can hit any of the others. This is done by making sure there is at least an inch of packing material between all edges of any parts. In addition, there should be at least two inches of packing material between the edge of any part and the outer carton.

The carton itself should be made of corrugated cardboard. Single wall will be sufficient, but double wall is always better. New boxes are much better than used ones.

parts (dead or alive) - complete speakers - insurance and claims
warranty submissions - packing materials - packing lists

Shipping complete speaker systems.

Speaker systems (the entire cabinet with all its components installed) are bulky, heavy, and rather delicate, so packing them for shipping requires planning and care.

First, the speaker should be enclosed in a plastic bag, to prevent abrasion or sticking from internal padding material, and to prevent any liquid contaminants in the freight vehicles from reaching the goods.

Second, there should be at least three inches of good shock absorbing packing material between the product and the outer carton. The only exception to this is some original packaging which uses multi-layer corrugated cardboard around all the corners, top, and bottom, and is still in good shape. Even then, "overboxing" that carton with another one to allow a couple more inches of protection is a very good idea, since there is no way of knowing if the carton was designed for individual shipping as opposed to travelling on pallets.

The outer carton should be made of double-wall corrugated cardboard, that has not been shipped before. Previous shipment reduces the impact absorbing and weight carrying capabilities of corrugated cartons. One good new box should be adequate for two trips, but more is beginning to take chances.

parts (dead or alive) - complete speakers - insurance and claims
warranty submissions - packing materials - packing lists

All packages should be insured for the amount it would take to replace the contents if the package is lost or damaged. In some cases there is a bit of guesswork involved here, since we are often sending products that have not been on the market for a long time. In that case, you should pick a figure that is some sort of compromise based on how much it would take to buy something like it new, and how much it would take to replace it by buying something used and perhaps having it made "like new" by me.

When damage does occur in shipping, there are some important guidelines to follow. First and foremost, all packaging materials should be retained. This is how the carrier can determine that the goods were properly packed. Then, it is typical that whoever shipped the package has to do the paperwork, and is the one reimbursed for the loss - this is because they are the one who bought the insurance. Usually the carrier will want the entire package, contents and packing material, to examine and possibly return to the shipper. Then the shipper makes their claim for loss and follows up with whatever steps are appropriate.

parts (dead or alive) - complete speakers - insurance and claims
warranty submissions - packing materials - packing lists

Warranty submissions, specifically, items sent back to me to be replaced or repaired under the HUMAN Speakers warranty, should be packed very carefully. This is so that when they arrive here, they will have nothing else wrong with them except the reason you are sending them in. This makes it so I can determine what might have happened to them, to improve future quality and perhaps advise on how to avoid the problem in the future. Also, if they are repairable, all I have to do is fix the problem. Equally important, sometimes there is nothing wrong with the suspect part, and the problem lies elsewhere. It would be a shame to damage a good part shipping it back to be tested and remedied.

I do not require that you obtain an "RMA" prior to returning warranty claims, or even that you contact me first, but please follow these packaging and shipping guidelines carefully. Also, please be sure to include a clear explanatory note with full contact information on your packing list.

parts (dead or alive) - complete speakers - insurance and claims
warranty submissions - packing materials - packing lists

Packing materials are generally the stuff you use to protect the parts in the box from damage due to dropping and collisions with other heavy packages in shipping - which will be guaranteed to occur.

"Popcorn" or "peanuts" - styrofoam bits - are not too bad, if your packed materials won't shift around and are in a bag so the plastic bits don't get stuck to them, in them, and all around them. Please, if you ship drivers to me in this packing material, put them in bags so I dont have to pick out the styrofoam pieces one by one!

Crumpled paper is very good, but there must be enough of it. It holds things in place well, but must be packed fairly tightly. The nice thing about this is that we all have newspaper lying around to use. Well, we should, anyway.

Bubble wrap also works very well, especially when first wrapped around the item(s) and taped securely. Then the remaining space can be filled with any of the materials listed here.

The latest thing I have seen in packing material are sort of like giant bubble wraps - large inflated plastic bag-like things. Although these have their place in the shipping universe, and probably save a lot in materials and recycling efforts, they are not ideal for packing speaker parts. Speaker parts tend to have sharp edges, and are usually quite heavy. Once one or two of these plastic bag things have been punctured by that heavy, sharp-edged speaker, the entire contents become loose and free to move around, perhaps getting damaged. One place they will work is if the parts are well-wrapped first in bubble wrap to protect the larger bag things from all sharp edges. One other drawback to them is that I cannot "safely" recycle them - that is, use them in packages I am shipping out - so I have to throw them away.

All the other packing materials listed here can be reused many times, which I make a point of doing to minimize waste.

All packages should be sealed and taped properly.

parts (dead or alive) - complete speakers - insurance and claims
warranty submissions - packing materials - packing lists

You should always create a "packing list" with:

  • the destination address
  • return address and contact information,
  • list of contents of the entire shipment
  • contents of this particular package if there is more than one
  • directions for the work to be done

A copy of this packing list should be attached to the outside of each package and labeled as such, and a copy should be enclosed inside each carton.

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