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The Issue with Glass

Updated: Jan 26

I don't often encounter an angry customer, and if I do, I usually give that person the benefit of the doubt! I ship a LOT of boxes, mostly filled with glass in some, shape, or form. Shipping "hazardous" materials, which is what broken glass is, is tricky...

I love to share resources and that's why I sell fragile items that most other artists wouldn't. I cut most of the glass I sell with a 10" wet saw. When you cut glass, it creates tiny impact fractures in the glass that could cause the item to crack spontaneously, Have you ever had a rock hit your car's windshield? That crack will spread at the slightest impact - it's the nature of glass.

Any glass that I sell, could break, I don't offer any guarantee that a piece of glass that I cut, will not break. It's a factor that a customer has to consider when they purchase glass from me.

When you go to purchase glass at thrift stores or receive donations of intact glass items, you immediately contemplate how to use this item in your art, I know I do!

I break most of the glass I procure to make "shard art," which means using the glass shards in a way to convey a message, much like any other artist uses their medium of choice to make a statement on a substrate.

Coming back to the issue of shipping glass. I cannot guarantee that the contents of a package, albeit perfectly packaged, are going to reach its end destination intact. No one can unless you personally deliver it. The terms and conditions regarding returns and refunds state that all glass purchases are final.

This is why I always insure my shipments. Most postal couriers have a minimum of $100 insurance included in their rates. This goes for USPS, UPS, and I believe FedEx also, but I don't use the latter often. The recipient of the package must file a claim with the postal facility in order to get reimbursed. This requires proof of purchase and images of the damages, which is required at any time of claim for damages. As the seller, I do not know what happened in transit or in what state the buyer received the package.

I encourage every customer to file a claim if they're not happy. However, I will not engage in a blame game with angry customers who threaten me and then expect a full refund. Here's the bottom line: I provide a product that could break, and if it breaks, it's still useable in art, hence the "shard" aspect. If you feel that this is too much of a risk to incur, I encourage you to buy a tile saw and cut your own glass. It's not hard, it's doable.

I've shipped hundreds of packages with broken glass and this is the first time a customer filed a claim through PayPal. Attitude is everything! I will respond, with proof, to the claim, and if PayPal rules that I issue a refund, I will do so. The customer made claims that weren't backed by evidence, only her opinion. Somewhere between me and her, two (cut) glasses broke, that's why insurance exists.

I know that not everyone agrees with me, but please put yourself in my shoes before you make a judgment.

UPDATE: PayPal decided in our favor!

Have a great day and shard on!

Theresa & Mike

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