Canada Post won’t cover destroyed glass artwork for B.C. artist — despite having insurance

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A Haisla artist from B.C. shipped a $3,000 piece through Canada Post and thought he had done everything right including buying extra insurance. But when the artwork arrived damaged and Brett Robinson made a claim, he was shocked by the crown corporation's response. Consumer Matters reporter Anne Drewa explains. – Oct 11, 2021

A B.C. artist is out hundreds of dollars after a sandblast carving shipped via Canada Post arrived at its destination shattered in pieces.

Brett Robinson says he paid extra for insurance, only to discover he wasn’t covered.

“They never told me that their insurance doesn’t cover glass,” Robinson said. “They never explained to me anything about that.”

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Back in May, the Haisla artist was commissioned to create a glass carving valued at $3,000 for a customer in Ontario.

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“It was the furthest I have sent a piece so far,” he said. “So, for someone to reach out that far, I was pretty excited.”

Robinson said he took great care packaging the piece of art.

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“I had it bubble-wrapped and a thick foam mat that I wrap it in,” he said. “Then I have it in a cardboard box. I had it wrapped in a blanket and duct-taped it around in a garbage bag.”

When he arrived at the Canada Post counter to ship his package, Robinson says he told the Canada Post employee the item was fragile.

“I explained to them that it was a fragile piece of glass artwork. So they asked me if I wanted insurance and I said yes,” Robinson said.

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Assuming it would cover any damage, Robinson says he paid close to $60 for the insurance. A week later, Robinson received the shocking news that his sandblast carving had arrived at his client’s door destroyed.

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“I was really disappointed and very surprised because the glass is pretty thick,” he said. “To go through a package like that and break the glass at the same time, I was surprised.”

Robinson was told Canada Post does not cover fragile items as stated in its terms and conditions:

“Canada Post shall have no liability for damage of shipments containing fragile Items. Fragile items include but are not limited to ceramic, glass, porcelain, mirrors, crystal, pottery, china, perishable items or items requiring refrigeration or temperature-controlled transportation.”

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Consumer Matters reached out to Canada Post about Robinson’s case and received the following response:

“When an item arrives at the post office, we have no way of inspecting the contents and how they were packaged by the sender. During processing through our network, a package travels on a series of conveyor belts and chutes, will tumble or get jostled in the process and can end up being squeezed by heavier items.

Items that are inherently fragile are not insurable against damage. It appears that the customer was unaware of this, and we will therefore refund the cost of the insurance as a gesture of goodwill.”

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Robinson was forced to pay hundreds of dollars out of his own pocket to create a second carving for his client.

Consumer Matters also asked Canada Post why Robinson’s package arrived damaged and if it was investigating the matter further. Canada Post did not answer our questions.

Robinson says he has learned his lesson and will now use a private courier to ship future pieces of art.

“I will not ship with Canada Post again,” said Robinson.

Canada Post provides packaging tips on its website. It’s also recommending customers look at the postal operator’s general terms and conditions when it comes to liability coverage.

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