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  #16  
Old 11 Jan 2008
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Shipping bike

This is the kind of story one does not want to read about just before sending your own bike overseas. I am looking at sendin my bike from South Africa to Ozz. How does one avoid these problems? Or is it just a case of poor management of a particular shipping which can happen within any company at any time?
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  #17  
Old 11 Jan 2008
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I wish I'd asked for documentation & independent insurance

The main thing I wish I had done was get more paperwork from the shippers, in the form of a written quote, a schedule of what was going to happen, a contract, anything and everything.

Sorry, obviously the main thing is that I wish I'd used a different company!

But seriously I was slightly fooled into thinking that their relaxed attitude meant everything was under control whereas I now think it was poor management and a lack of interest. If I had paperwork showing what they said they would do and when then I'd've made a fuss much earlier but without that I felt I had to give them some time.

Several people have raised the issue of shipping insurance, which I foolishly had left with the same shippers. If I'd had a separate and independent insurance policy then I could have called on their assistance.
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  #18  
Old 11 Jan 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dougxr View Post
Several people have commented about insurance, I'm uncertain if they're referring to the UK vehicle insurance or shipping insurance.
Here in the Netherlands it is not uncommon to have, next to the basic vehicle insurance an insurance for legal cost. I was referring to that insurance. If you have insurance for legal cost, it is easier (cheaper) to let a lawyer take care of the case.
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  #19  
Old 11 Jan 2008
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legal expenses insurance

Jan,
I know the sort of thing you mean but I didn't but the extra insurance. As it stands I may have to pay out for legal assistance, but if it gets my bike back (or replaced) then it'll be worth it. I may think again about purchasing the extra insurance in future. I haven't spoken to the insurance company as yet since I didn't want to confuse the issue by getting another party involved at the moment; I'll wait and see what comes of an appointment with solicitors next week.
So far the only progress has been that I've been told my bike is booked on a flight on the 22nd (I assume this month). I've also been offered that they could investigate hiring a bike for me. As yet I haven't taken up this offer since it doesn't really provide me with what I want and I'm not keen on using someone else's bike.
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  #20  
Old 11 Jan 2008
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I think the best idea right now is to call the company and provide you with proof that they have the bike within 24 hours, or you will file a police report naming them in possession of the bike. I feel the bike is gone and the shippers are waffleing, hope i'm wrong.
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  #21  
Old 11 Jan 2008
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Hi Doug,

Sorry to hear of your troubled shipping experience. I am not sure whether the shipping company you are using is the actual company itself or a middleman. The ports you mention seem to tally with my shipping experience to the US. It was not too bad but the bike was one week late and there could have been a problem with not being issued with the bill of lading. Anyway....

The rather guarded approach you take by not naming the company makes it difficult to provide advice. Just who is responsible for the return shipping? Are they UK based? If so then legal action in the county courts is actually very simple to initiate. The first step is to write a letter to the company involved setting out your grievances in full. You have to give them a reasonable time (or timetable) to respond and then you can recover the value of the bike and costs that you have incurred. A small claim in the county courts is not so expensive (£30 helped to recover my £1000 deposit on a house from a dodgy landlord a couple of years back).

If the company is not UK based then I don't know what to advise - the UK county courts do not have any teeth. The same goes for any ombudsman - normally a useless waste of money.

The lack of a formal contract is a bit worrying but not the end of the world. Do you have any correspondence? E-mails are acceptable. Tape a telephone conversation with anyone you speak to but advise them you are doing so.

I would not be too bothered about annoying the shipping company. Be tough and show them you won't take any crap. Advise them in your formal letter (send registered delivery) that you have been very reasonable and that you will name and shame the company which will mean they will lose business from motorcyclists. Obviously if this is an agent that depends heavily on this then you will hurt them. If it is the shipping company then they probably won't give a monkeys.

You can manage small claims on-line now. It is very easy and you do not need a solicitor. I would always use the sentence "I shall be forced to recover all losses, plus legal costs and any interest at a rate of 8% as defined under section 69 of the County Courts Act 1984" in it normally shows you mean business - even if you haven't got the first clue!!

Good luck. I hope this helps. If they are UK based then you can beat them - it is very satisfying to make these mongrels pay. It may sound like this is a lot of hassle and you don't want trouble but once this process starts it will be them that will be bothered.

Cheers.

Matt
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  #22  
Old 11 Jan 2008
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Doug,
I've been reading all of the posts in here and I believe that Matt's last post is a good way forward for you at present.

As Matt says, the small claims approach will go to the UK guys that you know and can deal with right now (I think you have had two different US Agents and it is not at all clear to me who is responsible, overall, for your shipping) - that gets the ball rolling in a legal manner with minimum cost to you: the last time that I employed a solicitor directly, taking my instructions on an issue, his charge was £60 per hour and that was over 8 years ago.

As I have understood your posts, the bike may just turn up in the next two weeks or so, OR it will become even more evident that it is pretty certain that it is missing on the US side of the pond (last "seen" in LA).

In the meantime, you could try to get someone in the HU community over there to get to see the bike in the customs shed in LA, if you can give them enough information to work with.
You can also continue to badger your various agent contacts, on a daily basis, to account for themselves - they will know that you are serious about this, and you can gather together all of the written stuff that you do have; emails and paperwork.


Just my view based on what I see in the posts in here; sincerely hope that it helps and does not hinder (it's good to talk!!).

Cheers,
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  #23  
Old 12 Jan 2008
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steps

Ron, Matt, Dave, etc.

I managed to get a few minutes of a solicitors time for free and he came up with pretty much the same advice as Matt has given. He did say that in the letter I should set out my requirements with a reasonable timetable. Whilst neither he nor I are particularly knowledgeable about shipping he did seem to think that the end of the month would be a suitable deadline, especially considering things like customs being outside of their control. I would rather see my bike sooner but I should have taken this step some time ago - as far as I'm concerned they've had their last chance but I haven't done it in writing.

The company I hold responsible is a UK one. This is the company that I made original enquiries with and all communications have gone through them - the deal to ship my bike from US to UK was between them and me. They have chosen to use US agents to assist in this but as far as I have ever been concerned it has been the UK company that I engaged to d this and they agreed to do so. I realise that by not naming the company it may seem that I'm being a bit mysterious about the whole business but I don;t want to mess things up - this is one of the things I'll discuss with the solicitor. Also it's the only card I've got!

I must admit I've probably been using the wrong terminology such as shippers, agents, freight forwarders, etc. because I don't have much experience in such matters. However since the agreement was between me and a UK company (who chose to then enlist / subcontract to other companies) the contract falls under UK legislation.

Since it's the weekend I've decided to write a draft letter but before posting it wait and see what the outcome of any further solicitors advice on Monday may be. If the end of the month is considered a suitable deadline then the day lost here is not significant. I realise solicitors will be expensive but I may need someone to act on my behalf since I am supposed to be going overseas at the end of the month or thereabouts.

The latest, more senior, person that I've spoken with at the UK company has said he will keep me informed on a daily basis. He seemed genuinely embarrassed by the whole affair but that doesn't do me much good.

I didn't ask him about proof of the bike being where he says it is but I shall email him shortly with that particular request. To allow for time differences, etc. I guess a deadline of Tuesday morning here in the UK would be appropriate. I'm thinking a couple of digital photos emailed to me would provide at least some sign that the bike is where it is supposed to be. I'm probably trying to avoid thinking about the idea of my bike and all the stuff that was with it having been stolen or lost. Also I'm not certain what I'd do if they failed to provide the evidence - I agree that I'd have to report it as stolen but I can't say I'm keen on trying to explain the somewhat confused situation to police around the world.

Other than drafting a letter I'll continue to organise the email communications I've had since I've been told that these can reinforce and expand upon the oral contract between me and the company. I've also started making a list of all the bits on the bike and stuff that was with it. Not much fun.

Thanks for everyone's advice so far - it's been quite re-assuring to know that I'm not just being a whinging pom.
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  #24  
Old 15 Jan 2008
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Proof of bike - failed

The deadline I'd set for photos or other proof of my bike passed about an hour ago so I thought I'd fill in the next bit of the story. I received an email sent a few minutes before the deadline, apparently the response from the US agent was:

"The motorcycle has been crated and I can't take pictures of it."

Doesn't exactly inspire confidence.

Last edited by dougxr; 15 Jan 2008 at 10:36.
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  #25  
Old 15 Jan 2008
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Hi Doug,

At least they are not ignoring you and realise you are taking the kind of action which means they need to pull their finger out. Having the bike in a crate is progress in a way. Ask for copies of all documentation at this stage.

Have they finally given a timetable for getting the bike back to you? Write to the agent to inform of action that you will take if the bike is not back by the date promised. I would mention that you are having to rent a bike/car in the interim and that you will be reclaiming the costs. Have you paid these mongrels any money yet?

I'm with you in spirit on this one - feeling pretty angry about the whole situation.

matt
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  #26  
Old 15 Jan 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dougxr View Post
I must admit I've probably been using the wrong terminology such as shippers, agents, freight forwarders, etc. because I don't have much experience in such matters. However since the agreement was between me and a UK company (who chose to then enlist / subcontract to other companies) the contract falls under UK legislation.


The latest, more senior, person that I've spoken with at the UK company has said he will keep me informed on a daily basis. He seemed genuinely embarrassed by the whole affair but that doesn't do me much good.

Keep going Doug!

Pin that UK guy to his promise to keep you informed, daily.
As you are now, I would concentrate on the UK side of things, all as per the advice you have received - that's where you can keep the pressure on most easily and it is the UK "Agents" job to sort out the US side of things.
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  #27  
Old 15 Jan 2008
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Sounds like a right nightmare mate, I hope it all works out and you get your bike back.

It does sound like its gone missing and they are just stalling though.




Good luck!
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  #28  
Old 15 Jan 2008
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You have more leverage than you think.

1. You have receipt that the bike is in their hands and is intended for shipment.

2. You have email confirmation that they acknowledge their are attempting to ship the bike, which essentially is an admission on responsibility to fulfill the obligation of shipping your bike...although a contract would be firmer proof of this obligation...
How you position questions in order to gain their admissions currently will help you.

Keep at it and document over email you conversations over the phone...document...document...document. It will pay off...
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  #29  
Old 16 Jan 2008
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Letter on its way

Again thanks to everyone for their advice. Whilst there's been several good suggestions regarding the letter that needs to go to shipping agent I've decided to ask a solicitor to write it for me. There are several reasons for me doing it this way, mainly because I don't want to make a mess of it but also it looks like it may have to turn into a claim, which I really don't want to mess up so thought it best to get a solicitor involved sooner rather than later. It seems a bit of a cop out (especially after all the advice that's been posted) I just want to try and keep things simple, for me at least, and not make any mistakes.

The essence of the letter will be as suggested by Matt, Walkabout and others. Essentially setting out a deadline for the bike to be returned and demanding a written timetable of events for that to occur. It is giving them a second (or third, or fourth, etc.) chance but the main thing I'm after is my bike back, a week or so from now is almost negligible compared to the time I've waited so far (I feel). Of course if the bike has gone missing then it all becomes even more unpleasant. I must admit to feeling uneasy about the "motorcycle has been crated" excuse for not providing photos.

I forgot to ask the solicitor whether I could reveal the name of the UK agents involved, so I'll have to keep quiet on that one for the time being.

But yes, I'm definitely making notes of everything that goes on, including printing out all emails, etc. just in case the computer goes wrong.

There's not much more I can say at the moment. Have to wait and see how things progress. Does anyone know roughly how long it takes for a returning bike to get through UK Customs? Asking more out of curiosity than necessity but it would be nice to have a date to look forward to for the return of my bike (fingers crossed).
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  #30  
Old 16 Jan 2008
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when you uncrate....

Quote:
Originally Posted by dougxr View Post
I must admit to feeling uneasy about the "motorcycle has been crated" excuse for not providing photos.
When you FINALLY get possession of your property, I would make sure you have a camera Handy. take Pic's as you Un-crate and then you are in a position to sue for any damage that has or may have been done since it was left with them.
I'm sure you must have Pic's of the bike as it was on your trip to back up proof of condition before they took possession of it....

On the advice of your Solicitor I would also try to see if you can get a reimbursement of costs of shipping or some compensation for the messing around and being without your Bike for so long, although I am sure your Solicitor has already covered this?

Martyn
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