UPS Drives Forklift Into Valuable Sculpture, Shrugs

Current ad campaigns for UPS brag about the carrier’s abilities at logistics: getting a thing from one place to another is their specialty. Unless you’re one family in Michigan who used UPS Freight to ship a valuable sculpture across the country, which the carrier drove a forklift into. The company wouldn’t pay out an insurance claim on the artwork because the customer failed to fill in the statue’s declared value on the bill of lading that went with the shipment.

The family took their problem to the Haggler column in the New York Times, We don’t know how much the sculpture was worth, but the shipper paid an extra $1,869 to insure it while shipping it to his son’s home. While the Haggler was able to get back the freight charges and insurance paid, he doesn’t have the $11,000 that an expert estimated it would cost to repair the 60-year-old sculpture.

The Times’ Ron Lieber doesn’t want to blame UPS entirely for this, but it’s troubling that UPS staff knew they were dealing with a first-time freight shipper, yet didn’t check the customer’s work and make sure that he had filled everything out correctly, including everything that he needed to do in order to file an insurance claim. You’d think that paying almost $3,000, as the customer did for the shipment, would at least get you a second read-over by UPS staff at the airport.

In the meantime, the son has zip-tied the sculpture together and displayed it in his home, which makes it some kind of sophisticated commentary on the state of modern consumerism. Or something.

The Sculpture That Fell Through a System’s Cracks