I recently had a kayak shipped by ForwardAir. It was adequately packaged and was insured (at additional cost).

I picked up the boat at the terminal and unwrapped it in front of one of their employees (he helped me unpack it).

When I unpackaged it their was immediately noticeable damage. The deck was cracked and had a hole punched through it (this was an NDK boat so it is pretty durable and the damage could only be caused by extreme negligence).

I immediately pointed this out to the employee. He annotated it on the waybill, and I then signed for the package.

I asked him what I had to do and he told me that all I needed was the waybill that had the damage annotated.

Well…I went through all the steps to make a claim, provided pictures, got estimates, provided all documentation, even had someone come out and inspect the damage.

I got a letter saying that they are DENYING my claim because I do not have the original packaging that the boat was shipped in which must be available for inspection.

Okay…the boat was picked up at the terminal. The damage and the packaging was inspected upon pickup. They kept the packaging for me at the terminal (so that I would not have to dispose of it). I specifically asked what I need to make a claim and the employee told me the only thing I needed was the waybill with damage annotated.

This is crap…

How do you suggest I go about dealing with this situation? I have not yet decided how to make my next move.

Unfortunately it is obvious that they are going to do everything they can not to pay my legitimate claim.



not sure about Forward Air
but what they are doing is typical bluffing trying to wiggle out of a claim.

I presume that so far your communication was verbal (phone calls) and you have not put in writing yet.

Try to have as many details in writing (email is good enough)especially the Forward Air representative’s name that helped you unpacking it and stating to you what you had to do to file a claim.

Since the employee told you specifically the procedure to follow Forward Air is liable.

If they are trying to say that you were supposed to have original packaging state that you have been instructed by their rep that it was not necessary.

Mentioning casually that you are an influential spokesperson (bluff, they don’t know) for a wide audience might help.

If they won’t budge try threatening legal action.

Good luck.


Forward Air Sucks
A friend had a kayak shipped by them (CLC C17) and failed to insure it. They drove a fork truck fork clear through the side. It couldn’t have been done by accident, I think their fork truck jocks get off on destroying stuff. DO NOT USE FORWARD AIR!

Just try to relax and take it…
to the next level.

I know that when shipping a car any damage has to be noted on the inspection. So, if you have that inspection that has the damage noted you should be fine.

I have never been to small claims court but you are going to have to do something. If you have a sister or friend who is a lawyer that always helps.

This total BS. Especially since you inspected it there.

I would assume you are dealing with an insurance adjuster.

have you involed the folks
that sold you the boat? Have had three kayaks shipped directly to my house. Thankfully no damage to the boats, though all three shippping containers had damage.

Both the folks at Enlightened Kayaks and at QCC, told me to immediately involve them if there was the slightest problem involving the carrier. QCC explained that they as a company doing a volume business with a carrier would have much more leverage than myself in case of problems.

Hope this damaged boat was not your dream Romney S. I can well appreciate your feelings in this matter. Sometimes bad things just happen; and more often than not people you have to depend on just don’t do their jobs.

The carrier is definitely trying to jerk you around.

Matt, don’t let the b******s grind you down.


if i were you, i’d send all correspondence and copies of all the forms you signed along with photo’s of the damage, packaging, etc., certified mail to the PERSON at forward air that denied the claim letting them know that they have 10 days to review the claim before you got an atty.

if they don’t respond, then have an atty send same letter…they might settle once they get either.

sounds like they’re just doing the knee jerk reaction in trying to reject a claim.

Been thinking about this…
You didn’t mention where you got the boat. If it was new, what kind of packaging, and if there was any damage to the outside package.

When I looked into shipping a kayak from the Kayak Center in Rhode Island, they said it would have to put in a crate that was about a $70 to build. I tried to get them off the price but they wouldn’t budge.

When you said you unwrapped it was it only shipped in plastic?

The next question is where you got the boat if they only shipped it in plastic or cardboard?

I’m not being critical. But if the employee noticed the packaging was also damaged that would help.

The insurance company might want to know if it was damaged before it was shipped in the sellers warehouse of something.

But thanks for sharing that with us. I never would have thought to save the outside packaging either.

I’m sorry this happened. At the very least I hope you can repair it without any problem.

And like I said, as long as you have the damage noted on the inspection that happened at the shipping terminal with the employee, you should be fine.

Good luck with this.

That sucks

Liability is pretty clear in this case. You could try another letter explaining why you did not keep the packaging. In that letter, ask them who is their agent for service (of a lawsuit). Corporate laws generally require them to have a registered agent.

How much is the damage? If small claims court jurisdiction will cover the damage, that is the way to go. Is there an attorney fees provision in the contract you have with them? [i.e. loser pays attorney fees] If there is, tell them that you are consulting with an attorney and considering punitive damages for their bad faith actions.

In all likelihood, what your received was a standard opening volley from a company with a hardball attitude towards all claims. The next letter you get may be a low-ball offer. Usually, it is not worth your while to deal with companies like this. Just start investigating small claims court. Once you serve them with the papers, you will get an offer, since it will cost them if they have to go to court.

It is possible that you will get a reasonable offer by threating the suit, but usually with companies like this, they don’t pay until they have to.

Just read
Forward Air’s claims policy on their website.

“Shipments and their containers and packaging materials must be retained and made available to FORWARD AIR for the purpose of inspection for up to fifteen (15) days after notification to FORWARD AIR that a claim is pending.”

Shipping anything is a risk. I hope you got the kayak at half price.

I can see how this happened with the guy trying to help you out, but it’s important to read their insurance guidelines. Anyone could have overlooked that, so thanks for letting us know.

Otherwise I don’t know enough about this transaction, like if you had it shipped or the seller did? How it was packaged, etc.

Sorry, I’m kind of confused, and don’t mean to be rushing to a judgment or anything.

best regards

Ok, try this:

“Shipments and their containers and packaging materials must be retained and made available to FORWARD AIR for the purpose of inspection for up to fifteen (15) days after notification to FORWARD AIR that a claim is pending.”

You left the packaging in FORWARD AIR’s possession.

Alternately, have they ASKED you to see the packaging, or did they just assume you don’t have it and deny on that assumption? Just stall for 15 days. After that, you have no further obligation to retain the packaging.

Go back at em . .
They had to “inspect” and remove the packaging to determine and annotate the damage. The employee of Forward Air that assisted I would think met your requirment for inspection of packaging.

No Help
But sounds like a crappy situation. Good luck with getting it fixed and hope it turn out for the good. And just think how many people aren’t going to use Forward Air now from this post!

Be forewarned…

– Last Updated: Jun-28-08 12:11 PM EST –

If you have a paddle shipped by UPS............

Open the package in front of the UPS person who delivers it(if possible), and save the packaging(I did).

I bought 2 vintage Old Town beavertails; they were insured, and carefully packaged in two layers of large sized bubble wrap, a layer of cardboard, and were inside a cardboard box. When delivered, one of them had the paddle blade broken into 2 pieces.

I filed all required paperwork quickly for the insurance claim(next day).
Result: claim was immediately denied; stated reason was poor packaging.

I took the paddle & packaging with me to see local UPS manager.
Told manager I had unpacked paddle in front of one of his delivery people. Showed him the packaging I'd saved, and the paddle. He starts making verbal copouts.
Told him (calmly)that if I was not reimbursed; I was prepared to go into my......I'm retired, I have plenty of free time to mess with you & UPS, I love a challenge, and have a "let the games begin" mentality.

Guess what happened?

If "all" claims are initially denied; what percentage of claimants do you think will follow up with a "let the games begin" mentality?
Who loses money?
Who saves money?

The "bean counters" know the statistics; denial of responsibility becomes a "standard operating procedure". The "burden of proof" lies with the claimant. Too many claimants want a quick & easy solution to their problem; when they don't get it, they bail.


All above good advice, b1.

– Last Updated: Jun-28-08 1:20 PM EST –

I had a run in with a trailer seller, trailerworks in South Carolina (a real dipshirt--do not ever buy a camper from Trailerworks in SOuth Carolina), and filed under th Better Business Bureau on line. They contact the retailer and try to work things out (in your case, Forward Air). They have no legel authority, but I do think they keep a file on complaints. Google Better Business Bureau and file.

I aree with MikeT above to get the retailer involved, not only because they have some force with the shipper, but also because they too are responsible for getting you the product in as adevertised condition. They need to file with Foward Air. Look, you paid for the product in full, and paid for shipping and insurance, right? So whether it's Foward Air or the guy that sold it to you and did not have it packaged appropriately, or a combination of both--you have done your part of the deal fully. Right? Get the company that sold you the boat involved and with shared responsibility.
You could alwasy dispute your credit card charge until it is resolved.

And as we all know on Pnet, those NDK boats are abysmal construction anyhow--so they had something to do it it too, I'm sure!


I agree…
You have a valid point that it was inspected with an employee and you left the packaging with them.

But was the packaging even damaged?

We still don’t know where you bought it? If the seller shiped it, or you did? What it was packed in?

Was there a big hole in the packaging? Did the employee see this? Did you see damage to the packaging?

Was this a used or “scratch and dent” kayak when you bought it?

Is the seller trying to pull a fast one on you? Or did they packaged a damaged kayak?

For all we know you got this off eBay, in “as is” condition. Not saying you did, but there isn’t enough info to go on right now, so I can’t rush to judgment.

I would have been taking pictures before and after opening it.

I would also make sure the seller could guarantee safe delivery.

We don’t know what shipping arrangement was made with the seller.

This is why I decided not to have a car shipped. Buyer had to pick it up. Too much risk with the inspection end of delivery. You have to follow exact protocal.

Not saying it’s fair. I know UPS always tries to leave a damaged package and sneak off without me seeing them.

heard the truck drive sigh
each time x 3 kayaks delivered to my house, as I met him with my trusty digital camera in hand.

Pictures of kayak in carton on truck, as carton came out of the truck, on ground with both ends and each long surface of carton rotated; finally sequential series of pictures of the opening process and of the the kayak. Oh yeah, pictures were all date and time stamped.

Felt that my dealings with the carrier went to a whole new and better level when the driver saw the camera.

Wish the world did not require so much “trust yet verify” to get by.

Forward air
is who just delivered my kayak. Plastic Tempest 170. It was wrapped in two layers of tough bubble wrap on top of the factory bag. No cardboard or other reinforcements. And that was sufficient it seems to protect it for the most part.

If I had to ship a kayak I’d put additional layers of cardboard under the wrap though. My boat had one area on the bow right that was pressed in. This may or may not have happened during shipping but it was there. With a hairdrier and some push-pull in the right areas, I was able to virtually eliminate it and bring it back to shape.

But if this was a glass boat, I’d bet it would have had a large crack in the hull there…

I did not notice packaging damage, but a problem like that would not have shown packaging damage either the way the boat was packed. The flexible bubble wrap would have just caved in and out and one could not tell until after the boat is unwrapped.

So I can understand the need for “special crate” packaging for glass boats - I would not ship one without some sort of reinforced package.

Back to your claim. I’m curious how it will play out. As I may decide to ship a kayak by air and Forward Air was on my list of carriers - they would charge about $100 or less for east to west coast shipping (I paid $125 for my boat, but I assume that has some packaging/handling cost factored-in). If you can tell us more details and how it resolves, this will help us chose a carrier …

Good luck!

One More Horror Story from…

– Last Updated: Jun-28-08 3:43 PM EST –

Forward Air... I had one boat damaged by them, but not as bad as the stories I hear here. A small plastic boat may be OK but anything nice, avoid them like the plague..

Good luck Matt. If anyone can resolve this you can...

Quality of carrier.
I bought a 14’ plastic yak online from They shipped for free through FedEx. Came in bubble wrap, felt and plastic, nothing structural. It was outlined pretty well that I was to inspect it before letting the driver leave. I spent about 20 minutes unwrapping and inspecting it. The driver helped, never complaining about the time. The boat was perfect, no problems.

Plastic may be a bit less susceptible to some of the damage discussed about other yaks on this thread, but a quality shipper does not need a $70 crate built to ship a yak safely. Just my 2¢.


Matt contact the attorney general office in your state and see what they can do for you. I am sure they will send you a form to fill out to explain what has happened. Maybe a call from the attorney general office will help get a claim filed. Best of luck.