CIRCUITBENDERS: SHIPPING FAQ
NOTE TO UK CUSTOMERS: Due to continuing issues with missing deliveries, faked signatures and appalling customer service, we will no longer be accepting deliveries from MyHermes or Yodel couriers.
1 - What should i send?
You only need to send the machine itself. Unless your unit uses something very unusual, sending the power supply or mains lead is not necessary as it will just add to shipping costs. We have most types of power supply and can run machines that use most worldwide mains voltages. If in doubt please ask, but its usually only bizarre power connectors that are sometimes a problem.
You don't need to send any kind of manual or operation documents unless we specifically ask for it.
2 - What details do i need to include?
Please make sure you include details of your name, address, phone number, email and exactly what mods you want done. If possible try to tape this to the actual machine.
3 - Shipping from outside the EU.
This can sometimes prove to be a lot more complex than we'd like. Assuming you have to put a customs form on your package you should mark it as 'returned for repair' or similar, and include some kind of note on, and in the package making it clear that the machine is being sent to us for repair or modification and will be returned to you afterwards. As long as it is clear that the item is not staying in the UK and will be returned to you after work has been carried out, we should avoid any customs fees as the package enters the UK.
Giving an item a low value of around $15 is another alternative, but customs officials have been known to make random judgments as to the real value of units. Its also illegal, in theory.
There no point putting a higher than realistic value on a package, even if you insure it for that much. Couriers will not pay out on claims for overvalued items.
While couriers such as Fedex and UPS tend to be more reliable for international shipping, they also sometimes charge admin fees on high value items for what they call 'non standard entry', i.e. an item that is only staying in the UK for a short while. If you are using a courier for a high value item you should try to pay these admin fees at your end. If we get charged to get hold of your machine we will have to add it to your final bill.
While it is rare that we get charged a fee that we have to pass on to the customer, it has been known to happen, so it makes sense to take every precaution against it. We'd advise using standard airmail shipping, but whatever shipping method you use, please give the lowest value on the customs form that you think is reasonable. If in doubt, please contact us with your specific details and we'll do our best to advise you.
4 - Packaging.
The main point we'd like to make here is that this is YOUR bit of kit that you are shipping. This may seem obvious, but people do seem to forget it on a regular basis. Another layer of bubble wrap might cost 20 pence, but replacing or repairing a smashed drum machine might cost £100, so package your kit in a manner that you would like it to be shipped to YOU i.e. as safely as possible! Remember that theres no point in insuring a shipment if you don't bother to add any decent packaging. If you try to make a damage claim under those circumstances the shipping company will just laugh in your face.
The two photos below are an example of totally inadequate packaging we have received recently. A couple of layers or pieces of bubble wrap are not going to protect a machine if its dropped down the stairs, especially if its in a box thats five times too big for it! Both these units arrived damaged.
One of the most common shipping mistakes we see is when someone places a fragile pice of kit on the bottom of a box, and then just piles in packaging materials on top. If the box was dropped with the unit sitting on the bottom, how much protection does packaging ON TOP of a unit offer? None whatsoever! You might as well have just thrown the unit directly onto some concrete.
We would advise a minimum of 1 to 2 inches of packaging material between the unit and the box on all sides.
We are quite happy to give an honest report to a courier if a claim needs to be made, and we always photograph any shipment that looks externally damaged before we open the package. We will not get involved in fraudulent claims due to damage caused by inadequate packaging.
We would ask that you ship your machines in a proper box that we can re-use to ship the thing back to you. Please remember that extra controls will have been added when the unit is returned, so try to account for this in your choice of box. Note that we said BOX there, and not 'padded envelope' or 'piece of loose cardboard taped around a £500 bit of kit'!
It may seem like we are being overly cautious here, but in the past we have had a blue SH101 arrive smashed to pieces after it was posted with a single layer of bubble wrap and two pieces of cardboard taped to it, another SH101 sent all the way across Europe in a canvas bag, and a modified speak&spell sent for repair in an envelope! Unsurprisingly it needed a lot more repair by the time it'd had all the switches broken off in the post.