Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Is this fair.....?

 Yesterday I received a box from a gallery returning some of my work. They are re-doing their inventory and shipped back some older work. When I opened the package it was like those photos you look at and know that something is off, but you can't quite figure out "what is wrong with this picture".
 Then it hit me. One cardboard box with nine pieces of ceramic stuffed in it and wrapped in newsprint. Hmmm... where are the packing peanuts, where is the corrugated cardboard, where is the bubble wrap?!?!
A couple of weeks ago I got a shipment back from Mudfire Gallery. (I know, I just love all this work coming back, ugh). Mudfire wins the prize for packing and shipping. Double bubble wrap, corrugated cardboard and a HUGE box for just three pieces. Everything snug and safe, just as it should be.
 This box had only two vases wrapped in bubble wrap, the rest of the work only wrapped in newsprint.
So, here is the best part. Two of my barns were broken on the corners, real surprise there, right?
I emailed photos to the gallery, they called, very apologetic and embarrassed, seems a new hire did the packing, obviously did not know what they were doing.
NOW.... here is my question to you. I have never dealt with breakage before, these are my first returns, and as I said the other gallery packed to perfection. This gallery wants to pay me 60% of the cost of these pieces they packed so poorly because I quote "it is such a hassle to file a claim with UPS and they aren't very cooperative with handmade items". They want to reimburse me as if it were a sale.
This hardly seems fair to me. Each barn was $150. So I think the gallery owes me $300 for this work. They emailed and said they were sending me a check for $180. As I am typing this, my fingers are tapping the keys harder and harder, I really think this is irresponsible and unfair and I am out $120. It's not like I am getting rich making pottery as it is, and now this. I like this gallery, very nice people and I have a good relationship, I don't want to burn bridges here, but seriously.....
So is this gallery policy? To pay a commission price for work they ship incompetently that gets broken? The work was insured, shouldn't I get the full price for my loss? I'm getting more and more annoyed with selling art. There are just so many pissy things involved!


beaquilter said...

sorry, but you'd have to claim with ups.. seems the only solution... then let them fight w the gallery.....
that's what insurance is for....know it's a pain and time. but you need full reimbursement

smartcat said...

Call UPS immediately!

Sandy Miller said...

So sorry! Been down this road more times then I want talk to about. Just had a $600 pot come back with a broken lid. The gallery said..... Sit down..... Oh you can make another a lid so we are going to give you $100 for the lid. I was not happy and said so, they did not budge and said it was policy; this is a big gallery and known nationally. The lid can't be replaced because I changed clay bodies. I sucked it up and when they ordered work I passed. Stupid, maybe.
Every gallery I have dealt with has paid the commission price only. I think that is fair as I would have loved to have sold the piece and that is the price I would have made anyway. Oh I'm assuming the $150 is the retail price. If $150 is the wholesale price and they are paying you 60% that is wrong. I also thing most galleries assume you would pack it up and send it off to another gallery too.
Makes me cry seeing broken work over negligence......

Michèle Hastings said...

Wouldn't you think a gallery would train a new employee about packing? That's one of the worse packing jobs I have seen. I think UPS requires that you retain the box and shipping materials if there is a claim filed... I have a feeling that UPS won't accept their claim if the box wasn't well packed. I also think that the shipper has to file the claim.

I think most galleries would only pay the the amount agreed upon in your consignment agreement. If they are clean breaks I would epoxy glue the corners back on and keep them for myself or sell them as seconds during one of you open studios.

No matter the outcome, it's still sad to see your work mishandled :-(

C2 said...

Follow up with UPS. We shipped a painting with UPS where THEY did the packing, only to have it arrive with broken glass. They were very good with following up on the claim. They will want to see the shipping package.
Your work is beautiful, sorry to see it ruined in that way!

Kevin Carter said...

I'm sorry to see the results of your hard work ruined by inattentiveness, Tracey. As a loyal reader, I know the struggles you go through to create, well, anything - this probably doesn't help.
Unless the gallery declared the value of your package at $300 or more, the standard valuation for any UPS shipment is $100, so the most you would get, unless they declared a higher value, is $100, for BOTH barns.
UPS will want pictures of the packaging and pieces, and will probably refuse to pay, due to the inadequate packing.
You are sort of in middle ground - you are making slightly more than if the gallery had sold them, but less than if you had sold them at a show or on Etsy.
If it were me, I would try to suck it up (I'd still be mad!) and just know that this kind of thing comes with 'the game.' I wouldn't burn bridges just yet. Easy for ME to say, isn't it? I'm don't have a high tolerance for mental anguish, though.
You could carefully epoxy the corners back on, and then perhaps donate them to the auction at any shows you do, noting the damage, or , as suggested sell them as seconds.
Keep at it, Tracey, you are doing great, at least from where I am standing (or sitting!)

Sherry said...

I have no constructive thoughts as to how you could be properly reimbursed. I think it's shameful that any gallery would allow fragile works to be shipped back in such a shoddy hire or not. That's the gallery owner's responsibility to check that things are done "correctly". However, anyone who would think newsprint and no cushioning was a way to pack and send pottery (or anything fragile) hasn't got much on the ball! That's called common sense. And how convenient for the owner to "claim" it was a "new hire". The decent thing would be for the gallery to reimburse you for the proper value of the goods, but that's not going to happen. They've already shown they are passing off the responsibility. It's frustrating and it makes you angry and upset and discouraged. You may not want to burn bridges with this particular gallery but I'd sure as heck not be doing any further business with them if this is how they treat people. Sorry you've had to go through this -- it's heart wrenching to see your work and your art ruined and all so callously and carelessly. xo

Laura Farrow said...

it's a testament really to how well crafted your work is that it survived with only minor chipping! I know all too well how it feels to have stuff improperly packed arrive in a heap! ugh. collect what's due you, fix the chip, and sell it! fill the crack in with goldleaf... mosaic it! just sayin!! it can have another life. xo

June Perry said...

So sorry to see that Tracey! Let me share my experience with a shipper in L.A. They packed me and badly. A large platter and two other things arrived broken. I sent the photos of the broken items to them, and then called them twice, and they never did anything, even though they assured me they would. It's amazing how badly things were packed. And the reason I had them pack it was to make sure that the insurance would be covered if there was a problem. The bottom line, is that that office never got back to me with the refund; and when I went on line trying to find some way to take my claim to the main offices of UPS, I could not find a phone number, email, etc. So I finally just dropped it.
Although it's a bitter pill to swallow, my choice would be to take the lesser amount and either stop doing business with them, or make them sign a contract about future, fiscal responsibility on their part about future returned items. They certainly aren't giving you any fair or reasonable choices.

Hollis Engley said...

Here's my argument for why you should get full retail value, Tracey. These pieces were shipped back to you so that you could sell them on your own - at a show, at your studio, wherever. So you are out whatever amount of money you would have gotten if you had sold them. I understand the gallery's 60 percent argument, but it was their negligence that resulted in the breakage. Forget whatever legal arguments UPS will have; any gallery that cares about its artists and their work will chalk it up to a lesson learned and pay you the full amount.

Dennis Allen said...

Well crap. It just goes to show you it's always something.They will probably stick to the 60% of retail and it is probably the best you can hope for at this point.I wouldn't be happy either.

Chris said...

The gallery probably would not like to have the negative publicity that "outing" them at your website could could offer to let them buy your silence by doing the right thing and reimbursing you at the full value. The business world is not a fair place but the artist ought not to have to absorb the carelessness of the gallery employee.

cookingwithgas said...

Call me. We had this happen and it would be best to talk. We did get full price for the work.

goej said...

Dear Tracey... I'm so sorry to see your beautiful work destroyed.

But working in the shipping business i know, that UPS will refuse any claim due to incorrect packing.

So you're best of by accepting the 60% - i' m sorry to say.

You could glue the chippen corners on and fill the crack with goldluster and the piece would have another story to tell.

I read a blog somewhere yesterday explaining how,back in time the japanese used to fix chipped items by filling cracks with gold, because they found the objects had more of a story to tell.

Take a look

MH said...

OK Tracy. Here's my 2 cents worth.
Hollis is 100% correct. You are owed the FULL VALUE of your work that has been destroyed due to carelessness on the part of the gallery in question.
By definition "consignment" is NOT the same as "wholesale". Consignment means that you allow a third party to keep an agreed upon portion of the retail sale price of a piece of art to compensate them for their efforts in selling said artwork. The value of the art is NEVER LESS THAN THE RETAIL PRICE. That price should, in your agreement with the gallery be set by you. If the gallery opts to set a higher price they have the obligation to honor that amount in any eventuality.
It would have been foolish of them to NOT have insured the package for the full retail value. Remember that even if they did insure for full value, UPS is automatically insured up to $100..

Everyone out there - remember, We are basically LOANING MONEY and credibility to these consignment galleries REGARDLESS OF THEIR STATUS IN THE "ART WORLD". They should not get away with crap like this.

Anna M. Branner said...

This is more then just sad. Lots of good opinions here. Mostly it is supporting my attempt to stay local. I try to deliver and pick up as much as I can. I hope you get a satisfying outcome!

ShellHawk said...

Go UPS if you've taken pictures of the wrapping and the state of the box. They once destroyed a one of a kind chandelier I made (and BENT THE METAL of the chandelier, itself). All the shades, both glass and my pottery ones were shattered. The only thing that saved me was pictures the customer was kind enough to take and forward to me. And UPS fought me, tooth and nail.

That just completely sucks, and I'm sorry the gallery is being awful!

Julie Whitmore Pottery said...

Tracey this is so upsetting.
Its not the fault of UPS this time, its the shoddy packing.
You should ask and get your full value. Anybody who ships pottery knows about bubble, tightly wrapping and taping, double boxing, etc. A gallery most definitely should take great care.