CBS 5 Advocate

Failing to declare a value on UPS shipments can be costly

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A Chandler man says UPS is using his shipping mistake regarding "declared value" to avoid responsibility for its own negligence.

Shipping companies like UPS have guidelines on how you should pack a box before shipping it. But without a "declared value," if UPS needs to send the box back to you, you may not be fully reimbursed for damage caused by the way they packed it.

"They're bent; they're broke; they're in pieces," Larry Milne said.

He is talking about the remains of his vintage Italian clock and candelabra set. Milne sold it through eBay and took great care in shipping it to the buyer.

"Packed it in bubble wrap. Each piece was individually wrapped. Two of the pieces on the candelabra were taken apart and separately wrapped," Milne said.

He shipped through eBay, using UPS. Milne says he typed in $600 of declared value for the items. But UPS says it never received the declared value from eBay, so when the clock turned up damaged on arrival, UPS only offered Milne $100.

"Once they denied the claim, they shipped it back to me; I had no say-so in anything when they did that. Yhey knew the value at that time," Milne said.

The two candelabras were not damaged and worth about $400. When shipping back to him, Milne expected UPS to expertly pack them as he had. But when they arrived, neither was individually bubbled wrapped and both were destroyed beyond repair.

"I don't believe UPS did any packing when they sent it back to me, I believe they just threw it in the box," Milne said.

Milne says UPS has refused any further reimbursement. He takes responsibility for the declared value mix-up, but he thinks UPS, the packing experts, should do the same for their careless work.

"I have no idea why they did what they did; I just believe they have some responsibility for destroying the rest of the items," Milne said.

After CBS 5 News contacted them, UPS told us their packing wasn't up to their normal high standards and they provided Milne refunds and credits equaling his declared value. Our thanks to UPS for recognizing their mistake and resolving this matter in a fair and appropriate manner.

Remember, if you don't declare a value for your shipment, by policy, UPS will only reimburse your loss up to $100. So always confirm the declared value is on your shipping document.

Below is some important information provided to CBS 5 News by UPS.

A UPS shipping link on the eBay FAQ page can assist with getting UPS shipping discounts. With your account setup, eBay is actually sending your through an interface to UPS to prepare your shipment.  

Declared value is not insurance coverage. It is a maximum liability UPS has for the package in case of loss or damage. Certain limits are placed on the value that can be declared based on how the package is entering our system (at a retail center, drop box, driver pickup, etc.).

If no value is declared on documentation at the time of shipment, the UPS liability is limited to $100. If someone is shipping something with a value that exceeds $100, he or she can pay an extra charge to declare that higher value. But reimbursement against loss is not automatic. UPS will reimburse for the declared value as long as certain requirements are met – such as properly packing the goods and proof of value.  

If there is an address change for the UPS billing account, make sure to update it through or by calling 1-800-Pick-UPS. There will be a validation/authentication process to any address change.

These YouTube videos may also be useful. 

UPS & Declared Value

UPS & Proper Packing

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Dave CherryCBS 5 Advocate Dave Cherry works to resolve your consumer problems and protect your money. If he can't help, he'll do his best to point you in the right direction.

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Dave Cherry
CBS 5 Advocate

Dave was born and raised in Philadelphia and considers himself one of the biggest Philly sports fans. At 6-feet, 5-inches, he's probably right! Dave started on a different career path before fulfilling his lifelong dream of reporting the news and helping consumers. Dave graduated from Philadelphia University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting; he later earned an MBA degree in Finance from Temple University in Philadelphia. Dave also spent ten years as Vice President and Director of Sales and Marketing for two of America's leading real estate franchise companies. Dave started his 21-year news career at WHP in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, as news anchor and reporter, then moved to KOLD in Tucson, as the morning news anchor. From Tucson, he went to KRON in San Francisco as a freelance news reporter before moving east to COMCAST in Philadelphia as a general assignment reporter. In the fall of 2003, Dave moved west and joined KPNX in Phoenix and spent nine years as the station Call for Action Consumer Reporter. Through his on-air advocacy work in 2011, Dave and his team were able to help consumers save more than $1 million. Dave joined CBS 5 News as our CBS 5 Advocate in December 2012. Dave is a vegan and likes to eat the amazing vegan food prepared by his lovely wife, Carmen. Dave's also a big Bruce Springsteen fan (he's seen more than 70 shows!), the man who inspired him to learn the guitar. Besides playing many of the boss' songs, Dave writes and sings his own songs and recorded a CD of original music.

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