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#2127405 - 08/03/13 10:18 AM Advice sought: move damage  
Joined: Sep 2009
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PianoWorksATL Offline
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PianoWorksATL  Offline
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Posts: 3,463
Atlanta, GA
Hello All,

We were recently contacted for advice to a common situation with an uncommon variable. We gave advice to the customer but wanted to reach out to this community for additional ideas or perspective that the client can read.

The owner contacted a local, reputable dealer about moving the piano from Atlanta to an adjacent state within a days drive. The dealer used a moving company they recently switched to but regularly use with experience. It was an accident, but based on our information, was avoidable.

While on the truck, the piano fell over onto the bench which was upside down. The underside of the piano was damaged with some minor crushes to the rim and struts but, most noticeably, a hole was punched through the soundboard.

The piano is a Steinway model B, approximately 20 years old. The hole is about 6"-7" from the belly rail near dead center.
[Linked Image]

What would your advice to the owner be?


Sam Bennett
PianoWorks - Atlanta Piano Dealer
Bösendorfer, Estonia, Seiler, Grotrian, Hailun
Pre-Owned: Yamaha, Kawai, Steinway & other fine pianos
Full Restoration Shop
www.PianoWorks.com
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#2127419 - 08/03/13 10:39 AM Re: Advice sought: move damage [Re: PianoWorksATL]  
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Supply Offline
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Supply  Offline
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Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Quote
What would your advice to the owner be?
Get a lawyer????

Technically, the owner deserves a repair that "un-does" any damage to the instrument. A "fix the dent" repair on this kind of damage is really not enough. The only real way to fix it is to replace the board. If I were the client, I would probably push for the repair to be done in the Steinway plant.

Hopefully insurance will cover the multi-thousand dollar cost of this.

#2127420 - 08/03/13 10:41 AM Re: Advice sought: move damage [Re: PianoWorksATL]  
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BDB Offline
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My advice would be not to accept the piano.

Upon reading this, it seems that this piano was already owned by the party moving the piano. Under the circumstances, they are probably out of luck, if it is a legally operating moving company. Unless they purchased additional coverage, the moving company is probably only liable up to the limit of the insurance, which is probably only a few dollars. This despite the fact that it was clearly negligence.

Their household insurance might be a better bet, but they should discuss that with their agent. It may not be covered.

If it was a mover operating illegally, their protection would be better, and they could probably win a small claims court case.

Last edited by BDB; 08/03/13 10:49 AM.

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#2127423 - 08/03/13 10:49 AM Re: Advice sought: move damage [Re: PianoWorksATL]  
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Don't need a lawyer. The mover should be well insured - especially if moving instruments for a dealer. Accidents do happen from time to time. Yet, pianos properly moved and secured on the truck don't just fall on to benches on their own. 20 years old and a hole in the belly... might be ripe for a full rebuilding now. I'm a little surprised not to see some broken strings.


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#2127428 - 08/03/13 10:56 AM Re: Advice sought: move damage [Re: PianoWorksATL]  
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Minnesota Marty Offline

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Minnesota Marty  Offline

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Joined: May 2012
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Rochester MN
In the Piano Forum, there is an additional photo of the damage which gives some more info.

Sam, is the moving company fully insured? It seems that the piano was not secured to the truck or the strapping broke. Though an accident, it may have been caused by negligence.

My first suggestion would be to hear the moving company's offer of remediation. Because of the structural damage, I agree with Jurgen and suggest that S&S handle the repairs. I would also suggest replacement of the soundboard and not accept a repair. It may also apply to the structural members.


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
#2127429 - 08/03/13 10:57 AM Re: Advice sought: move damage [Re: PianoWorksATL]  
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MU51C JP Offline
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MU51C JP  Offline
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England
Accidents are something that happen to everyone at sometime in our lives, and while this type may well have been caused by not taking enough care it was nevertheless the fault of the mover and should be put right at the expense of the company that caused it. I would hope that the company had third party business insurance to cover customers goods, but if not, sad though it may be, they are duty bound to foot the bill for what no doubt will turn out to be very expensive repair.


Concert Tuner & Technician for the past 52 years in the United Kingdom
www.jphillipspianoservices.freeindex.co.uk : E-mail jophillips06@aol.com
#2127443 - 08/03/13 11:24 AM Re: Advice sought: move damage [Re: PianoWorksATL]  
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TunerJeff Offline
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TunerJeff  Offline
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Oregon Coast
The soundboard is the heart of the piano. This board has been severely compromised; not just the hole punched, the whole area would have been greatly stressed as the wood was torn through by the leg of the bench (assumption) and there may be further damage to the fibers and continuity of the area which is not visible.

It ripped through the board...but it would have lifted the whole structure of the board for an instant before that obvious area punched through. Glue joint along the rim? Bridge to board? Glue joints between the panels of the board? Finish on the surrounding area of the board? Compression and deformation of the fibers surrounding the failed area?

I would not accept a 'patch' on the hole. It deserves replacement to insure the integrity of the entire structure, because the stress damage may extend far beyond the visible damage.

The moving company needs to make it right. Contact the Steinway Restoration Center and get a quote on Steinway replacing the soundboard with new.

http://www.steinwayshowrooms.com/service/restoration

Again; I would stress the unseen damage to surrounding areas and structure, not just the obvious hole punched through the board itself. There's more.....

Sipping the good stuff,
Coffee, that is,
Respectfully,


Jeffrey T. Hickey, RPT
Oregon Coast Piano Services
TunerJeff440@aol.com
#2127467 - 08/03/13 12:27 PM Re: Advice sought: move damage [Re: Minnesota Marty]  
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PianoWorksATL Offline
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PianoWorksATL  Offline
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Atlanta, GA
This was not a transaction, simply a move from one residence to a new residence. This just happened a couple of days ago, so I have no further knowledge about insurance.
Originally Posted by Supply
If I were the client, I would probably push for the repair to be done in the Steinway plant.
This was our advice. At issue is not only the quality of the repair but the damage to the value of the instrument. What would be the impact on the instrument's value if it was simply patch repaired?
Originally Posted by TunerJeff
Again; I would stress the unseen damage to surrounding areas and structure, not just the obvious hole punched through the board itself. There's more.....
This is a very reasonable question that is still unknown.
Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty
In the Piano Forum, there is an additional photo of the damage which gives some more info.
The minor visible damage to the very large struts is not significant in my opinion, however it does lead back to Jeff's question about non-visible effects that must be thoroughly inspected for issues or symptoms.

A side issue is the time without an instrument while out for repairs. If it went to Steinway for soundboard replacement, etc., would that take a year or longer?


Sam Bennett
PianoWorks - Atlanta Piano Dealer
Bösendorfer, Estonia, Seiler, Grotrian, Hailun
Pre-Owned: Yamaha, Kawai, Steinway & other fine pianos
Full Restoration Shop
www.PianoWorks.com
www.youtube.com/PianoWorksAtlanta
#2127495 - 08/03/13 01:29 PM Re: Advice sought: move damage [Re: Minnesota Marty]  
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Supply Offline
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Supply  Offline
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Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty
... It seems that the piano was not secured to the truck or the strapping broke..
Accidents happen. Pianos fall over, roll off ramps etc.

Anyone in the biz who has been around long enough has had direct contact with unfortunate accidents such as these. Most often it is caused by human error (negligence). One split second of distraction of the person responsible for the balance the piano on the dolly or skid can be enough to trigger an "event". When I used to move pianos, I had a rule: one person was designated to always, always, have both hands on the instrument and never turn away to do anything else, for any reason. I may have been lucky, but it worked.

#2127771 - 08/04/13 12:25 AM Re: Advice sought: move damage [Re: Supply]  
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TunerJeff Offline
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TunerJeff  Offline
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Oregon Coast
Quote
=Supply When I used to move pianos, I had a rule: one person was designated to always, always, have both hands on the instrument and never turn away to do anything else, for any reason. I may have been lucky, but it worked.


Dear Jurgen,

Yes to that, sir. With my movers, that man is 'wobble-control' whose sole mssion is to keep a hand on the piano and make sure the dang thing does not tip over or fall off the dolly or drop one-end sudddenly to the ground. No other mission...just 'wobble-control', that man.

Moving Tip #32
Never EVER say 'Ooooops'. If the piano slips and bangs down hard off the last step simply say 'Ah, good'...I'll know what you really meant. ;>)

Respectfully,
I remain,


Jeffrey T. Hickey, RPT
Oregon Coast Piano Services
TunerJeff440@aol.com
#2128234 - 08/04/13 10:34 PM Re: Advice sought: move damage [Re: TunerJeff]  
Joined: Apr 2006
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OperaTenor Offline
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OperaTenor  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,557
Sandy Eggo, California
Originally Posted by TunerJeff
Quote
=Supply When I used to move pianos, I had a rule: one person was designated to always, always, have both hands on the instrument and never turn away to do anything else, for any reason. I may have been lucky, but it worked.


Dear Jurgen,

Yes to that, sir. With my movers, that man is 'wobble-control' whose sole mssion is to keep a hand on the piano and make sure the dang thing does not tip over or fall off the dolly or drop one-end sudddenly to the ground. No other mission...just 'wobble-control', that man.

Moving Tip #32
Never EVER say 'Ooooops'. If the piano slips and bangs down hard off the last step simply say 'Ah, good'...I'll know what you really meant. ;>)

Respectfully,
I remain,


+2 to Jurgen, and +1 to Jeff.

The mover is responsible to make it as if it never happened.
The mover is responsible to make it as if it never happened.
The mover is responsible to make it as if it never happened.

If I need to, I'll say it again for emphasis...



Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
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#2128236 - 08/04/13 10:38 PM Re: Advice sought: move damage [Re: PianoWorksATL]  
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BDB Offline
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Oakland
That may or may not be true. It depends on whether there was additional insurance purchased.


Semipro Tech
#2128449 - 08/05/13 10:54 AM Re: Advice sought: move damage [Re: PianoWorksATL]  
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 389
Nash. Piano Rescue Offline
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Nash. Piano Rescue  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 389
East Nashville,TN Scottsville...
A good piano moving outfit should have adequate insurance as required by law. This is the difference between those movers that move furniture and sideline pianos and those that just move pianos. The household goods tariff regulations are very different, a lot of people get confused on the .60 cents per pound insurance that furniture movers have but go for the cheaper cost of the move, not saying this is the case but you can bet those movers know this is going to be a 10 K dollar plus claim easy.

These soundboard holes like this are VERY common on moves. In Fact someone is making a pad with protection for soundboards right in it now. I had a Steinway D in my shop last year which was an insurance write off from another mover with a garden rake, Adze, two different shovels and a gas powered weed eater through it's soundboard and photos of the tools piercing the outside skin of the truck body. Anything loose in a truck needs to be strapped in.

The moral of the story is never leave a bench upside down in a truck. If it was a major van line like United that is one of the first things they tell you about piano specific moves as a new employee in the safety meetings, very dangerous.


J. Christie
Nashville Piano Rescue
www.NashvillePianoRescue.com
East Nashville
Bowling Green, KY
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