03/14/2009: "I've about given up on ordering car parts through the mail...."mood: not good!
Back in February I bought an oil pump for the 4.0 liter going into my SX/4. Was a heck of a good deal, even with shipping applied, the same pump even at RockAuto was much more. I saved like 40%.
The seller had good feedback and there was no reason to question the merchandise, or the seller.
I got the box in the mail. That's right - I got the box. That's it. It was empty.
Seller said when he mailed it, it weight in at over a pound. Sounds right. When I got it, it weighed in at about 3 ounces! There was a red stamp from the post office that stated when it arrived in Runnells, the box was open, the box was empty. They put a piece of tape on it and delivered it.
The box end appears as if the glue had let go at some point. Don't know when, but there was tape over the end (not the TOP where it opened) - the end of the box. And that shiny clear tape - -packing tape, also went over the TOP of the mailing label a bit. The mailing label is what sealed the top closed as it went over the top and down the front and back of the top flap, effectively closing the box. When I got the box, the tape over the END overlapped onto the label on the front and back of the box.
Seller said they sent the pump, and it was the ORIGINAL box, even with the correct part number, federal mogul box.
CRAP. I just answered my own question! Those boxes are for display. The part was an older part, not new stock. So the box was older, too. Not heavy cardboard. There was tape to hold the top down, but not to keep the ends from coming apart and opening right up.
The fellow claims it was taped REALLY well with lots of tape. Yeah, right...... ok, sure. then why did an end pop open? No tape on the corners that let loose. No, the box was NOT damaged at all! It simple came apart. Not enough tape, weak box.
Pictures upon request - I've got a document with photos/scans and how the box was constructed and where it came open.
Ah, but it gets worse, a few days later I got the power steering pump I'd ordered from another fellow. BIG box - and inside was the oil soaked box the pump had been sent in. The post office had to repackage it.... the oiled cardboard had come untaped and of course, the USPS doesn't like things that leak! I unpackaged the mess and found - the pump housing was broken.
In this same time period, I'd ordered a new heat sink and cooling fan for my Toshiba notebook. You guessed it. It arrived, but was the wrong part. I even let them pick the part number for me based on the full model number I supplied to them.
And finally, yesterday a box of very expensive and rather rare NOS AMC alternator parts finally arrived. The box was not square, it was more round, actually, looked a bit like a football, and looked like the Bears had been practicing with it. Inside was the alternator, bent up a bit, and only a couple of the nearly a dozen other smaller NOS parts that should have been with it. NOS diodes, NOS Isolation diodes, gone. What did come was smashed.
In summary, it seems that:
No one has pride in their work. No one knows how to package heavy, odd-shaped or rare parts. No one double-checks their work any more. They are all too consumed with the fast buck, get the money, shove the pieces out the door and pray. Not a single one of these used bubble wrap or any good packing material. NEWSPAPER, plastic wrap, that sort of stuff. So these parts aren't going to chew through newspaper? And plastic wrap will protect a part and keep the oil in?
The notebook part was pretty well packed - good thing, the box was SMASHED!
DO NOT assume the box a part came in is strong, or even any good. Glue gets dried out. Those boxes were typically inside of other boxes that were used for shipping. The box your NOS part is in is a shelf box, a display box, a POS (point of sale, what were YOU thinking!?) box. NOT intended for shipping. Rebox, tape the heck out of it, and please, use bubblewrap! (or something better) And tape the box again! One piece is not enough! Make sure ALL seams are taped across.