Sunday, November 25, 2007

Part 3: Now, that wasn't so hard, was it?

When last we left our intrepid heroes we were weeks into an increasingly frustrating battle with UPS over a claim for the substantial damage done by them to two of three vintage children's reader illustrations that I had purchased from the original artist and had shipped, fully insured, across the country. You would think that paying for insurance on the full value of the shipped items ( see last post for pictures ) would cover such things as, oh... let's say..... UPS breaking in half a very strongly packaged, securely wrapped, valuable ( to me at least ) parcel. Or at least it means that if they did damage the work ( disappointing for sure, but accidents do happen I realize ) that they'd fess up, take responsibility and promptly settle the claim.

Apparently not.

While Gerry Lazare, the artist of these wonderful pieces dealt with his UPS outlet in Toronto and I with a number of different representatives on the phone and online, and as I couldn't touch the damaged art or the packaging it came in ( UPS was adamant that it be retained, untouched, for inspection ) I decided to go ahead and clean and restore ( some minor holes and discolouration in the illustration board ) the one undamaged illustration. Here's how it looked when it arrived....

...and here ( in a much too reflection-y photo! ) is the finished, framed art on my studio wall. The frame looks black in this shot but it's a nice deep green that matches the greens and brown in the kite and trees. I think it turned out just swell.

So, back to the battle - Originally, after filling out at least three online claim forms ( two by me and one by the ever-patience Mr. Lazare in T.O. ) we had been told that the claim could take up to five weeks to process, at which point we'd know if they would honour it, part of it, or none. After six weeks of wrangling ( see last post ) and having heard nothing for a week or two, I once again contacted UPS inquiring about the status of the claim ( although I may have put it into stronger words than that! ) and was told that I'd have to deal "my" UPS outlet in Toronto ( 4700 km away! ). I was not happy.

After passing on my concerns to this new contact and another week or so of further e-mailing I was told that UPS was JUST NOW, eight weeks into this ordeal, starting to process my claim! If this were a vlog at this point I'd have attached a Tex Avery style clip of me with steam pouring out of my ears.

Apparently, though, all the harassment Gerry and I were giving them had lit a fire under someone at UPS. After one more round of damaged art photos were sent off and whether it was because we deserved to be treated professionally or, more likely, we were becoming a pain in the horse's patoot, things seemed to be finally happening.

At ten weeks a misdirected phone call to Gerry from UPS ( the representative had meant to call the Toronto UPS outlet store instead ) finally brought things to a head and showed how the last ten weeks of frustration had been completely and utterly unnecessary. The claim handler from UPS ( a new one we had not dealt with before ) had absolutely no understanding of the damage to the art, the nature of the repairs needed ( despite many previous e-mails detailing the work in detail ), who would do it ( me ), or the value of the repair work. Luckily for us Gerry patiently explained it all, ONCE AGAIN, and the representative approved the claim on the spot! Hmmm... one phone call and it was all over.

Now that wasn't so hard, was it?

A week later, via Gerry, I had the cheque in my hands and that nagging headache that'd been bothering me for eleven weeks ( shaped like a big brown truck ) started to fade away.

Moral of the story? Be nice to woodland creatures.

Oh... and besides shipping original art in titanium cases, don't use Brown. I'm sure that some of you out there have never had problems with the aforementioned company, and others have had issues with different carriers, but after my travails I've heard back from many that UPS Canada would be their last choice as a courier for anything of import or value. Too many horror stories I'm afraid. So shippers beware.

So now we end our tale on an up note with a couple of shots of the restored ( by me ) , framed illustrations on my studio walls. I'm very happy I was able to get in touch with Gerry Lazare, a very nice man and a wonderfully talented artist who's had a hand in an amazing array of different aspects of Canadian art over the last 60 plus years.

I'm equally as happy to be lucky enough to own a few pieces of swell art that I grew up with as a child, and love as an adult. They mean a lot to me and were well worth the unnecessary frustration.

I'm not sure how enthusiastic Gerry is about shipping original art these days, but please visit his site, enjoy some of his contemporary work, drop him a line and tell him I sent you. I'm sure he won't mind.


Ward Jenkins said...

Whew! All it took was talking to the right person, huh? Sheesh. Yesh, UPS ain't going to be my choice for shipping, that's for sure. That's just crazy!

Good to see that it came out okay in the end.

So, you restored the artwork yourself?

Glen Mullaly said...

Glen Mullaly said...
Yep, talking to the right person. By accident.

Yeah, I restored the illos as best I could. The painted areas were okay enough to fix ( although matching 45 year old acrylic was a bit tough ) but the unpainted illustration board was tough. A lot of edge glueing, filling, sanding and colour matching. Mr. Boopy turned out well, but I might take another stab at the Ferry-Boats one day.

Rosemary Travale said...

oh my gosh this is an amazing story! It's so terrible that they were damaged, but I am so glad to read that you were able to restore them! I just recently got a copy of Happy Highways 4 at my library's fall used book sale and I love it so much! I wish I had come across his illustrations sooner!

Glen Mullaly said...

Glad you've discovered Gerry's work Rosemary! Keep your eyes open for the other two books, Under Canadian Skies and Broad Horizons.
...and since you're in the southern Ontario area ( so shipping won't be an issue ) let Gerry know if you're ever interested some of the originals. I believe he might still have a few left.