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Community Manager

Community Question: Open the box for a BIG surprise?

I'd like to think that we've all been there: What was your biggest surprise when you opened up a box expecting to see one thing but in turn got something else? 


Like a damaged part? 

Like the wrong part? 

Like no part at all? 


Below is my latest issue, which was thankfully resolved by a fastidious seller on eBay, when I opened up a NOS Ford/Motorcraft box and saw this scratched up speedometer instead of brand new module ready to install in my Thunderbird. 



The photo below is a reference to the entire part and the whole car, as you can see there are three assemblies that make a gauge cluster for a 1985 Thunderbird. These parts are impossible to find new at the dealer (of course) but they pop up regularly on eBay. 


I am now waiting for another speedometer module to arrive this week!  Keep your fingers crossed for me! 




HMMM waited a week and a half for a new Rad to arrive from Cali delivered yesterday damage to the lower spout and the whole rad twisted although slight I did flex it back to shape and the spout I will repair sending it back not a option as it wasn't the fault of the vendor but one of the many transportation purveyors and or customs.I think it will be OK after some work but just rolled the dice as it was a third of the price of the same here in Kanada the quality is good but ya just never know,now wanting to bring in a set of heads see how this proves out.Cheers R 

Intermediate Driver

I bought a 1989 Saab 900 turbo from an abandoned storage unit.

In the trunk was an entire aero kit and half of another that I will sell.

It should net the entire cost of the car plus a couple of hundred extra. 
The unpleasant surprises have been too numerous this past couple of weeks, so I wanted to reach back a couple of months for a positive experience.

New Driver

I ordered online 2 quarts of paint, along with the proper catalyst and reducer to paint my 1951 Chevrolet Suburban. When the package arrived, it contained 6 bottles of a liquid detergent used to clean espresso makers!  After several emails and phone conversations, it was determined that my package had been damaged somewhere in transit, and re-packed at a UPS distribution center; the problem, of course, was that the packer got the shipping labels mixed up and placed on the wrong packages. I donated the cleaner to a local restaurant that had an espresso maker.  I wonder if the coffee shop that mistakenly received my paint now sports a two-tone espresso maker in dune beige and burgandy maroon????

Advanced Driver

"Suburban Coffee"!  It could catch on...


Slightly off topic but still involving shipping: I worked at USPS distribution centers for ten years. Someone apparently lied while responding to the "Anything liquid, perishable or hazardous?" question and mailed a quart of white paint. I cringe every time I think about the hundreds of innocent customers' labels that got hopelessly obscured and tens of thousands of others that were delayed while we shut down to clean hundreds of feet of conveyors and dozens of photocells.

New Driver

When I worked for the airlines, our hangars had a pneumatic tube system to help expedite small parts and paperwork from one area to another due to the large expanse of buildings. One day some fool decided to send a can of paint through the tube system (which was expressly forbidden), and the lid popped off the paint can as the capsule was hurtling through the pneumatic tubes. The system was down for several weeks as building maintenance people had to find the locations of the paint spills and replace or clean the tubes to get everything functioning again. A huge inconvenience!

Pit Crew

I recently bought a Blue Cobalt online from Oregon, When it arrived in New Hampshire it was Slate Gray. It had all original owners paperwork and window sticker in glovebox.Bought Blue Cobalt.jpgarrived slate grey.jpeg

New Driver

I was burglarized 6 years ago. Since then I was unable to find my 1946 Harley Knucklehead bottom end, worth maybe thousands today. I turned my shop upside down looking for it.  A couple of months ago I looked more closely at a plastic wrapped package labeled Corvette third member. I’ve seen it many times and always assumed that is what it was. This time I noticed that it wasn’t shaped like a third member.  Not sure how it was labeled that way but I’m a happy camper. 

Intermediate Driver

I ordered an 8 foot long straight piece of 3/8" annealed stainless steel fuel line from a major hot rod parts supplier because I didn't want to spend $175. for a tubing straightener.  Because of the length, there was an added shipping cost, which was okay with me.  BTW, this was for a car that was awaiting completion of the fuel line before we dropped the body onto the chassis.  After waiting for a week with no line, I followed up on the tracking number and found that it was stuck in the (un-named) freight facility at the shipper's city.  I called the shipper and they said I would have to wait 2 weeks before they shipped a replacement to ensure that the freight company did not ship it.  I couldn't do that (for time reasons) so I ordered a second 8 foot fuel line from the same supplier.  It made it all the way from the supplier to my city, where it got lost in the (again-no names) freight company's local distribution center.  They would not let me go to the center to help them locate the item, so - second fuel line is now also lost.  Now I am desperate, so I call a different hot rod supplier who sells the same item and order it from them, even though they have a much larger shipping/packaging fee due to the length of the tubing.  Although this supplier is in a different state from the first supplier, this 3rd tube also gets lost in the freight company's distribution center at the shipper's location.  By this time, I am not only desperate, but kind-of upset.  Two different national suppliers, two different international freight providers, three orders and no product yet.  So I call the second supplier up and explain the situation and request that they ship yet another 8 foot length of straight tubing to me from their warehouse in my state, using a different freight company.  They agree and a couple of days later I actually received a section of tubing, although straight is not what I would call it.  This is what I got (after paying extra for shipping and packaging of an "oversize" item.)  No packaging of any kind.  Although not straight by any means, I accepted it, largely because of my now way overdue schedule and the fact that, after 4 orders, this was the only one that actually made it to me.  I was able to straighten it well enough to use without it work hardening from multiple bends.  What a pain!  BTW, all of the suppliers did eventually cover costs of the lost parts.



Intermediate Driver

I bought a transmission rear support bracket for my TR7.  what actually showed up looked like a door closer to me.  The company replaced the part a week later and didn't want the other part back.  I took it to the Club meeting and it was recognized as a front shock from an early Triumph.  I donated it to the club.100_1089.JPG

Intermediate Driver

I once ordered an exhaust manifold for a Y-block ford from an e-bay seller.

 Unfortunately the shipment was routed through the Philadelphia post office.

The box was trashed and heavily re- taped. Inside was a broken computer printer.

I never did find out what happened to the manifold .

New Driver

Just ordered an O2 sensor from Amazon Prime, the package showed up this past Saturday. I opened the package and the box felt light. I opened the box and all that was in it was 2 installation instruction sheets, no O2 sensor. Amazon sent me another that arrived today, Monday.

New Driver

Years ago I ordered a set of headers from a well known supplier.   They were for a Dodge Ramcharger and were supposed to exit under the vehicle as most street headers do.  

Someone forgot to bend them 90 degrees off the heads so they would have stuck straight out to the side had I even managed to fit them in the bay.  

The Customer Service Rep didn’t understand why that would be a problem….   But they took headers back and sent me the correctly bent headers. 


eBay is a crap shoot. You just use pay pal and or the E bay coverage to cover you if you get ripped off. 

With  mail order most places are very responsive. Most will quickly correct any issues and take care of you as long as the part is available. 

But they do make mistakes and too often get hit by dishonest customers. I have seen customers take a new part out and put a used part in and claim they were sent a used part. Then they try that more than once and get caught when we inspect the part or drop ship it to make sure it is new. These folks hurt all of us. 

The greatest issue today is to find folks that want to work, show up every day, can pass a drug test and background check and know something about cars. 

There are good paying jobs out there but so few are willing to work.