Sending musical instruments via Parcelforce?. DON'T!!!

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Over the past couple of years I've bought and sold quite a few musical instruments on Ebay - mainly guitars, both acoustic and electric, together with the odd bass now and then and also a few synthesizers that I enjoy playing about with. In most instances, until the recent past, I've dispatched instruments via Parcelforce 48 and charged the buyer in the region of £25 to £30 for that delivery process, believing that at that price, Parcelforce will insure the instrument for up to £1,000. They don't. It works like this...

To send an item of the packed dimensions and weight of a guitar in its case Parcelforce will charge at present around £13.00 for their 48 hour delivery. I've never used the 24 hr option, though it's obviously a few quid dearer. That £13.00 rate will include insurance up to £100 maximum. Both on their website and, if you go into your local Post Office where they will deal with a Parcelforce dispatch, you will be told that you can have "enhanced insurance cover" up to £1,000 by paying an extra fee of a further £12. I've always gone for that option and have therefore rested content that if anything were to happen in transit resulting in substantial damage to that Gibson Les Paul or Fender Telecaster that the buyer has shelled out £950 for, then it would be covered quite happily and comfortably by Parcelforce's enhanced or increased cover. It isn't. Neither Parcelforce themselves, nor staff at your local P.O will point out to you that instrument is not covered beyond £100. Yes, they'll take your extra money - a total of around £25 for the service, but if the delivery driver or someone working in one of their depots manages to drop the package from a great height, thereby breaking the neck of the guitar with the impact, you still only covered for up to £100 compensation.

It's in their small print and therefore you've no chance of getting any further compensation from them. They cover themselves, but not us, the buyers and sellers on Ebay who go a considerable way to keeping them in business. There are indeed other types of merchandise that are similarly excluded from Parcelforce's "enhanced insurance" - I don't know the other categories because the only one that's strictly relevant to me is that of musical instruments.

I thought I'd write this because it's a fairly recent, startling and unsettling discovery that makes me shudder to think of the financial mess I'd have ended up in had any of the relatively expensive guitars I've dispatched through Parcelforce met with an unhappy accident in transit. THe essential message is this: If you're selling a musical instrument on Ebay that could potentially get damaged if the package were to get handled badly, irrespective of the care you've taken in packing it, then if said instrument has a value of significantly more than £100, I'd strongly urge you to choose another delivery option.

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