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Telescope delivery


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54 minutes ago, Franklin said:

Parcelforce Worldwide has always worked for me, but none insure glass so you must make that clear to the buyer and just box up with plenty of bubble-wrap.

Bubble wrap does not prevent the tube being crushed if something very heavy is dropped on top of the parcel. I always line boxes with 25 mm extruded polystyrene insulation board. This is usually pink or blue. I've had nothing crushed when packing this way, even when the outer double wall corrugated carton is badly damaged. Don't use expanded polystyrene as it compresses too easily. This stuff is very tough and easy to cut with a stanley knife. You can still wrap the tube in bubble wrap for extra protection, but the polystyrene will prevent it being easily crushed.


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Having seen the way various carrier drivers behave in deliveries to my work, a vote for UPS.
A N Other opens the door and parcels fall to the floor. UPS have shelves in their trucks.
You can deliver to a (local?) depot yourself to get some of the handling out of the equation.
Avoid parcel shops, agencies and the like.

Do not assume the single barcode/address label the carrier wants will be adequate.
Make you you have additional sender and receiver information inside and outside - each package if a multiple shipment.

As a general rule, assume your parcel will get dropped from a metre on to concrete.
25mm rigid insulation board is a good move. I have been known to use tatty flight cases or old suitcases as the outer - provided they are still strong.
If you use bubble wrap, wrap items separately and use sellotape to secure them.
So you end up with separate small padded packs for finder, eyepieces, slo mo knobs, mount, etc.
It amazes me how many folks think you can wrap everything together then surround it by bubble wrap😡
Anything pointy like a tripod leg needs lots of strong packing around the point, or it will penetrate the box when it gets dropped on the floor.

Assume that the if the parcel is lost or damaged, you will not get any compensation.
In years gone by I had lots of 'discussions' with TNT, Royal Mail and others on this subject.
If the truck reverses over your parcel at the depot, they will say they don't insure. That was a local carrier.
If the item is secondhand, they try to say it is worth a few £ per tonne scrap value. TNT after their truck caught fire and incinerated the load - including our item with £5K replacement cost.
If the parcel bears obvious damage from handling, even if it is an insured item, they try to get out of it. Royal Mail who I'm convinced delivered a parcel by air UK mainland to Belfast without landing.

Having said all this. If you wrap thoroughly and use a reputable carrier, the problems are infrequent.

HTH, David.

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@Carbon Brush You have basically summarised my experience with carriers!

We have always used 25 mm extruded polystyrene insulation board for packaging materials as it is near on indestructable. On one occasion, we packed a heavy item on a mini pallet, securely bolted down, wrapped it totally in 25 mm insulation board and a double-walled outer corrugated card box. Marked it up Fragile, This Way Up, etc and shipped it.

After the carrier totally destroyed it, they sent us their packaging instructions, which we had never had sight of before. This stated that they would not pay out any claim unless the items were packed in a brand new, never before used double-walled corrugated carton and sealed only with Kraft tape!!! No substitutions permitted! When we got the item back, it looked as though it had been dropped from a height of at least four or five feet, upside-down onto a concrete floor and landed on one corner.

I visited a DHL depot one time to follow up a complaint and watched the way items were handled, being thrown at the conveyor belt from the backs of trucks and frequently missing, before being picked up and thrown again. Almost nobody in the industry cares.

As you say, use a "reputable" carrier and pack everything well. I am honestly surprised at what some SGL members are paying for Royal Mail and Parcelforce special deliveries, when the likes of UPS will ship on a standard (next day) service for little more than half the price. I tend to follow the drivers to their vehicle and watch them carefully place the parcel on the vehicle. Under a watchful eye they are far less likely to play "toss the parcel"!

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I don't trust any of them.

I once ( over 20 years ago now ) sent an 8" dob via courier. It arrived destroyed. The tube was made of galvanized steel, powder coated, with the ends turned to form a safe edge so not sharp. It was packed in a triple layer cardboard box with polystyrene foam and a double layer of the cardboard at the ends. The package had been dropped from a considerable height as the tube had almost cut through the end of the packaging. Worse was that the mirror had completely detached from the backing plate. The mirror had been fixed to the MDF backing plate with Silicon glue. The glass/glue and glue/MDF bonds has not failed. It was the MDF that had failed with chunks of the MDF ripped from the main piece and still stuck to the back of the mirror. The mirror had hit the secondary, spider and tube destroying everything.

Insurance? No, it contained glass.

It doesn't seem that anything has improved since then.


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I sold a telescope on here away back in 2012 , with Royal Mail , Scope and mount were in perfect condition , however when it arrived at the buyer , the mount was damaged (cosmetically iirc) as no doubt they had been throwing it about. 

Ended up having to compensate the buyer . Basically gave it away.

I would only drop them off or have them collected now

Edited by Akula
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