Courier company damaged a bike and are refusing to pay up - what can I do?


Legendary Member
I sold a bike on Ebay as a favour for a colleague of Mrs Gti. I sent it in a bike box marked "Fragile - Keep Upright - Do Not Crush" and it arrived damaged. Unfortunately the buyer's wife signed for it in good condition and now the courier company have written invoking this and refusing to pay for repairs.

To add to the complications I sent it through my employer's account with the courier, which my employer allows us to do from time to time.

I am on holiday this week so can't do anything but I'm spitting chips with anger. I don't think I can persuade my employer to take it up with the courier co, we are a big customer but I don't want to cause an upset and lose what has up to now been a useful facility because knowing my employer, they will simply impose a ban on employees using any of the couriers. At the moment I'm thinking of using the Small Claims Court against the courier but can I do that when the contract was with my employer?

Grrrr! Any suggestions, oh wise people of Cycle Chat?


Swinging Member
West London
There are multiple issues here, but the first to clarify is whether the buyer's wife signed for its delivery or signed accepting it to be in good condition, and if the latter whether that would have been considered reasonable in law (which is unlikely, see this).

If I were you I would seek (via a colleague e.g.) the T&Cs of the contract with the courier company, and to ensure everything is done in writing and photos of the damage are available etc.


Tattooed Beat Messiah
If the buyer has signed for it in good condition then there is not a lot you/they can do.
Most couriers do say to inspect the box for damage first before signing and if damaged refuse delivery.


Active member of Helmets Are Sh*t Lobby
The contract was with the courier company and your company and this would be the only way to go in the event of a claim. The question would be why did they signed for this in without any reservations if it was damaged is a matter for them and as the courier would use the clean signature as evidence the package was OK when delivered, there is very little anyone can do.
while most couriers say to inspect before accepting / refusing many do actually expect you to sign before they hand you the package,
others politely pressure you to sign as they want to get off to the next drop and make you feel as though you are holding them up.


De Skieven Architek... aka Penfold + Horace
Two things:

1) Given that the buyer signed for it what is your obligation to act for them with the courier- isn't it their dispute with the courier, since they signed for receipt, not yours.
2) To get it in perspective, how much would the damage cost to repair?

I know people get caught up in the principle, but sometimes you can spend more prolonging the dispute + the cost of the legal stuff and your own time [or in this case your employer's] than the cost of repair.
I will admit I don't know the legalities of such a situtation, but as ianrauk says, if they signed for it without checking it!

The onus has to be on the buyer with this one, (or the signee at the very least).

As the minium they should have signed it as unchecked IMO, at least then you'd have an argument.


Was the damage obvious from a brief inspection? I ask because we had a fridge delivered with a broken shelf inside - which we could only discover after stripping down all of the packaging. I argued (successfully) that in law, if the courier was not prepared to wait for a full inspection then it was their problem, not mine.

Cheddar George

oober member
If you do manage to convince them to accept a claim for damage (difficult as it has been signed for) it will then go through their insurance. Check the terms and conditions, they are probably standard RHA insurance rates so you may find yourself chasing your tail for something like £ 1.50 per Kg compensation.
Normally it comes down to the goodwill of the courier company trying to keep a valuable customer happy so you are in a tricky situation as you don't want to upset your boss by playing that particular card.


Legendary Member
Thanks for the advice. Strictly speaking I'd have been within my rights to have refused to do anything because the buyer's wife signed for the package in good condition despite obvious penetration damage to the carton. However I'm slightly embarrassed to admit that I have already refunded the buyer and even repaid his courier charges for returning the bike to me. The buyer, when he discovered the damage, was furious and accused me of selling him a bike in bad condition - he wasn't in a frame of mind at the time to distinguish between the odd small chips and scratches that you'd expect on a second hand bike and the major impact damage caused by mishandling. I could have insisted he kept the bike as the problem was his but it would have earned me my first bad feedback on an otherwise unblemished Ebay record and since my wife and I use Ebay to sell a lot of unwanted stuff we really value our good record.

I won't be able to inspect the bike until I return home on Sunday afternoon but I'm beginning to think that the best solution is that suggested by Archie_tect above, get it repaired, resell it and put it down to experience; be more careful with descriptions and pictures when selling second hand items and make it clear to buyers that it is their responsibility to inspect the item for damage before they sign. The potential stress of taking action against the courier and other issues including banning of the use of the company courier account by employees make it worth swallowing my pride and just accepting that you can't win against a massive worldwide courier company.

Edit: On Monday I will speak with my Purchasing Director to find out whether we have any relationship with this courier's area sales representative and whether playing the "valued customer" card might get them to change their minds. I doubt it though.
That puts a whole new spin on things
and make it clear to buyers that it is their responsibility to inspect the item for damage before they sign.
The problem with this is if the buyer is still aggrieved and opens a claim against you they are very likely to win. eBay and PayPal do lean in favour of buyers IME, and while not impossible, winning a case as a seller will usually involve jumping through lots of burning hoops and the gallons of stress that entails.

I'd give the guy is bike back, tell him the hassle you've had, make sure he reimburses you for any out of pockets expenses you've incurred, tell him to get it fixed and point him the direction of Loot or something. You've done your bit, it's backfired, he can't expect you to do anymore IMO.


Legendary Member
Hmmmm... tempting but dear Mrs Gti generously offered to Ebay his bike for him telling him what Ebay experts we were and how we'd be able to move it for him without any hassle..... and she has to work with him in the future.
It can be difficult.

We had some furniture delivered when we moved into this house, and the agreement was that we were reposnsible for the goods once they were signed for.

We wanted to sign for the 18 boxes as "unopened" but were not allowed to do that, so we started off with teh forst box, opening checking each part for condition and correctness.

We found a bolt missing and rejected the lot!

Following day we were allowed to sign for 18 unopened boxes.
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