My Deardorff is going to be destroyed!

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Dan Dozer, Dec 18, 2008.

  1. Dan Dozer

    Dan Dozer Subscriber

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    I am sooooo depressed. I recently got an 8 x 10 Deardorff on the auction site. When the package arrived, there was damage to the camera done by the postal service that prevents the rear bed from sliding backwards. However, the damage is easily repairable (for about $350). Since the package was insured, the seller and I have been dealing with the post office for the last couple of weeks. Here is the situtation I'm in.

    When you insure something with the postal service and it gets damaged, you have only two options - (1) live with the damage and get on with your life, and (2) give them the item, they pay you the value you declared on the insurance, and then THEY DESTROY THE ITEM! You don't have an option on getting the item repaired. The damage that was done is easily repairable for a lot less than the value of the camera, but they don't want to offer that option to you.

    Now I'm depressed that my beautiful Deardorff that I've only owned for a month is potentially going to the scrap heap. In the time that I've been waiting for the post office, I've used the camera twice and have grown attached to it. There is a voice in the back of my head that is refusing to let the post office destroy it, but the repair cost is holding me back. It's not like there aren't other Deardorff's out there, but this is my first one.

    Alaas - poor Deardorff #3211 - your days may be numbered.

    (I'm not sure yet what I'm going to do)
     
  2. Barry S

    Barry S Member

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    On the face of it, that seems crazy. They'd rather pay out $1400 (or whatever) than $350. They're basically saying, we don't trust our customers *and* we don't trust our employees to resolve a damage claim, so we'll institute this inflexible rule. Well, I love my 'dorff, but they made a lot of them, so I'd just surrender it and find another.
     
  3. thebanana

    thebanana Subscriber

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    If the insured value is close the the purchase price of another Deardorff, then I'd suggest pouring yourself a stiff drink, taking the deal and finding another one. Too bad about the "insurance system" though.
     
  4. Brickbird

    Brickbird Subscriber

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    Dan...What got damaged that won't let it retract? Can you move the bed forward with the knob? I have had a 8x10 Deardorff I bought new and several years later bought a 11x14 Deardorff which I have almost completely taken apart to refinish several times. Who gave you the estimate of $350 to fix and was the price of the Deardorff within reason to have it repaired? Don't ditch it yet.............Tav
     
  5. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    two things:

    1) anybody who's ever worked for the USPS can tell you there is no such thing as flexibility with regard to policy.

    2) It is just a camera. There are others. take the $$$ and buy another.
     
  6. Karl K

    Karl K Subscriber

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    I had a film scanner shipped to me from a private seller and the scanner arrived damaged. The Post Office paid the insurance claim ($126.00) to the seller, who re-imbursed me, and I was able to keep the damaged scanner because the US Post Office never made an effort to inspect the damage or pick it up. Perhaps, because your claim is considerably more money, this will not be the case. But it might.
     
  7. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Unforunately, it makes perfect sense. It is not costing the USPS anything to pay out the total amount rather than the $350 to get it fixed. It is costing the customers of USPS...not the USPS...in the form of higher insurance rates. And who knows...doing it this way may actually be saving the customers money.

    Cost to the USPS = (claims paid out + overhead to administer the program) - amount taken in by customers buying insurance.

    To keep the cost at zero, the USPS can just increase the amount coming from the customers (push the service so more people buy it, increase the cost of the insurance), and keep the overhead (and the opportunity for fraud) low by having srict rules.

    Vaughn
     
  8. Dan Dozer

    Dan Dozer Subscriber

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    Tav - thanks for the suggestions. The knob on the rear pinion rod that you turn to move the rear bed back got severely bent and ultimately broke off. Now there is nothing to hold onto to turn the shaft that moves the bed back. I know that replacing it wouldn't be a major job and I could do it myself. However, I'm not sure if I want to deal with the time myself. Got the quote directly from Ken Hough and he is the expert. That was for him to do the work, not just replace parts. Note for that quote, I've also added in the cost for shipping (and insuring LOL) the camera back to him.

    In reality, the insured value is with the seller not me. The payment from the Postal service would go back to him and then I need to collect my original purchase price from him. If he insured the camera for more than I paid for it ($950), he stands to make a profit.

    Karl - I have to physically take the camera/box done to the post office and give it to them before they will pay the claim. I assume that is because of the dollar value.
     
  9. erikg

    erikg Member

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    I think you should keep the camera. There are a finite number of V8s out there plus it is just wasteful, why trash something if you don't have to? It would be great if the Post Office could be flexible, but I wouldn't hold my breath on that.
     
  10. walter23

    walter23 Member

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    Yeah, that's really tricky. This is an item that's never going to be built again, so it's a shame, but on the other hand it sucks if you have to take the financial hit for it.

    Hope you figure something out here.

    Maybe you can quickly snap up some totally useless junker 8x10 in the meantime, put a deardorff engraved brass plate on it, and submit that to the post office to have it destroyed :smile:
     
  11. smieglitz

    smieglitz Subscriber

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    One of the few bad transactions I have had on eBay occurred when I bought a George Seeley Camera Work photogravure of "The Firefly." I got it relatively cheaply since the print had one corner that was "creased" just inside the image area. When it arrived, the entire corner fell off as I opened the package. There was no damage to the shipping carton and I suspect the corner was torn before shipment, but I had no way of proving that.

    I got a similar story from USPS-they would reimburse me for the entire insured value and then destroy the print. I couldn't let that happen to a fairly rare print of my favorite image of all time. I remounted the print and glued the corner in place with almost no indication of the damage unless really scrutinized, but the collector value has certainly decreased because of the damaged corner. I have it on my wall and I'm glad I saved it.
     
  12. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    Keep it. Fix it.

    The reason to insure a parcel is REALLY in case it was lost.

    It is the shipper's fault that it was damaged.

    But it is your choice to kill it. Don't.

    Fix it, shoot it,
    and be a photographer.
     
  13. jmcd

    jmcd Member

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    To destroy the camera would be a crime against living history, ecology, and craftsmanship. Still, DanDozer, you certainly do not deserve to take a financial hit. I wonder if the camera was double boxed?

    I verge on fanatic when someone ships me a camera or a lens, asking for them to please wrap it like an egg. It seems well worth it to go to an extreme to prevent such a dilemma as you are facing with the 'Dorff, as the insurance solution is far from satisfactory, from many perspectives.

    Good luck in settling this problem.
     
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  15. Kino

    Kino Member

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    ha! Just what I was thinking! :surprised:
     
  16. bowzart

    bowzart Member

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    We have to keep our perspective. You can get more money easier than you can get another Deardorff. Or, if it is destroyed, easier than the NEXT person can get a Deardorff.
     
  17. Allen

    Allen Member

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    Try and call the Post Office consumer affairs. If you look at Pub. 122 page 11
    http://www.usps.com/insuranceclaims/_pdf/pub122.pdf#search=%27insurance%20repair%27
    it says "In the event of loss or damage, the Postal Service reimburses you for the lower of the repair costs or the value of the article at time of mailing, up to the amount of insurance purchased." The people who work at the Post Office will always try to take the easy way out and it's an uphill battle to get them to do otherwise. I'm dealing with the Post Office now and it's like pounding my head into a brick wall. Good luck.
     
  18. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    $1400 is a pretty good price for a v-8 'dorff these days---could you replace it for that much? I'd get another repair estimate from Richard Ritter before making any decisions.
     
  19. Brickbird

    Brickbird Subscriber

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    Dan...The longer I think about your problem the madder I get. Several years ago I attended the Dick Arentz workshop and befriended a fine photographer from England who had come over for some Arentz pointers. I had taken my 11x14 Deardorff and Roy ultimately mentioned that he would love to have one. I knew there was another Dorff where I had purchased mine and commenced to negotiate the deal when I arrived back home the next week. I purchased it, cleaned and polished what I could and packed it like there was no tomorrow and shipped it by USPS to England. I arrived perfect. My point being that your seller must not have done a very good job at packing that Dorff. We can blame the shipper all day long but alot of the responsibility lies with the seller for allowing the rod to have been bent from lack of any packing judgment. Sounds like the"Dork and his Dorff" to me......Tav
    I just realized that I misread the part that broke. Did the knob break off the end of the rod that goes inside the bed in the back as I thought it was the rod that bent. A bent rod would have meant a massively destroyed camera. My mistake. I might have a fix for you with my machinist I use for custom made parts here in Dallas. Steel, aluminum, titanium,etc. He is a magician with a lathe..........Tav
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 18, 2008
  20. Perry Way

    Perry Way Member

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    take their offer, and immediately after they hand you a check turn around and offer to purchase that broken camera for pennies on the dollar :D
     
  21. Brickbird

    Brickbird Subscriber

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    You are One Sharp Monkey!
     
  22. Dan Dozer

    Dan Dozer Subscriber

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    Thanks everyone for your "moral support". This is a hard decision for me to make.

    Allen - you're absolutely right. Their own rules state that they will reimburse you for repairs if the repairs are lower than the insurance amount. Rather than trash the camera, I'm going to try that route and see where it get's me.

    Dan
     
  23. Frank Szabo

    Frank Szabo Member

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    This is why I strive mightily to not use USPS for anything - they're a bunch of slack-jawed cretins that are unable to think.
     
  24. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    Crap.

    You double box a Deardorff, and then you pack it well.
    Most of us turn cheapskate when we pack a piece of craftsmanship
    that can't be duplicated today and bring on our own problems.
     
  25. eclarke

    eclarke Member

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    No,
    They are people who go do a thankless job day after day after day, one we couldn't have built the country without. As far as the insurance setup, they have to deal with an immense amount of scams like putting the Deadorff label on a different camera...Evan Clarke
     
  26. Lopaka

    Lopaka Member

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    You may have a point, but the poster here is not the one who packed it.