MPORTANT INFO REGARDING DELIVERY (THE CONCEPTS APPLY TO ALL FREIGHT SHIPMENTS, NOT JUST KILNS)
Chances are you have never received a piece of freight before. So please read this thoroughly.
Very few of the kilns that we ship suffer from shipping damage, but it does happen. Therefore it is very important for you to inspect the kiln thoroughly, documenting any concerns, BEFORE signing off on the delivery receipt. Your signature on the receipt states that you've received the item in good condition. Any damage found after delivery will be assumed to have happened while the kiln was in your possession and you will not be able to file a claim for damage or missing items.
When the driver delivers your kiln, please do not be intimidated. We understand this is probably one of the few times you will ever receive freight, so be calm and take your time. The driver will wait 10-15 minutes for you to do the inspection. If you've paid for a liftgate and they've arrived without one, tell them to come back with one. If you are a residential customer and they have not made an appointment, and it's really a bad time for you, ask them to come back. Usually the drivers are cool, but sometimes they're in a hurry or rude. Do not allow the driver to pressure you to sign if you are not ready. (To be fair, there are fees that kick in if you take too long. You can't take 45 minutes to clean out your garage and make space while the driver waits. But in thousands of shipments, we have NEVER had a driver charge extra for a customer who took too long to receive a kiln.)
Do not be casual about your responsibilities during delivery, Do not assume that something will be OK. If you have a concern, check it out then right then. If you're not able/allowed to do that, document everything you are seeing that concerns you (that you could not investigate further) before signing. Do not trust the driver if he tells you something will be OK. He is not the carrier's claims department. He is the driver, and it is his job to get the load delivered. If you are unsure, and it is during our business hours, call us. 888-513-5303. If you have a bad feeling, or the kiln looks damaged and you are not sure what to do, tell the driver to come back, and call us and tell us you did that. Take pictures of what concerns you, and email them to us.
If for ANY reason you are unable to inspect the shipment to your satisfaction (for example if the driver is pressuring you), write "subject to inspection" (along with every other concern you have about the kiln) on the delivery receipt before signing it. If you are uncomfortable even doing this, tell the driver to come back and then call us.
Tools needed for receiving a kiln:
Scissors and/or box cutters; needle nose pliers; hammer/crowbar (see specific kiln model below)
- L&L, Skutt and ConeArt Kilns come in a cardboard box. Cut off the plastic pallet strapping, then use needle nose pliers to take the staples out so the box can be removed. Furniture (shelves and posts) may be inside the kiln box or on top of the kiln box.
- Paragon Kilns come in wood crates. Furniture is in a separate box, sometimes on top of the kiln and sometimes in the corner of the crate.
- Olympic Kilns sometimes are in wood crates, and always are covered in shrink wrap. Furniture is usually inside the shrink wrap.
What you are looking for are a) missing items and b) damage that has occurred in transit. Usually when damage occurs, it is obvious to anyone who takes some time to look. Write down what you see. Note: You are NOT concerned about whether the kiln works when you plug it in, or whether all the features you ordered are present. These issues do not involve the carrier or the delivery, and can be addressed later as a warranty issue with the manufacturer.
1. Look at the box or crate. Is there any external damage? Did the kiln slide around. If so, write it down
Are all of the pieces there, that are supposed to be there? Kiln shelves, posts, vents, etc?
2. Open the box with the kiln shelves, make sure they are not broken.
3. Remove the packaging enough to get a good look at the sides of the kiln. (Cut off the shrink wrap, remove the cardboard box, etc.) Are the sides bashed in, dented or crushed? How about the controller and the hinge? Dented?
4. Open the lid. Do things look intact on the inside? Most shipping problems result in broken or cracked bricks. (Small hairline cracks in the bricks are normal, especially on flat surfaces like the bottom of a round kiln or the bottom and sides of a rectangular kiln. This is nothing to be concerned about as the cracks close up as the kiln heats up. These small cracks are considered cosmetic defects and do not affect functionality.) But excessive cracking is not OK, and usually does not occur on the sides of round kilns unless it the kiln has received a hit.
5. Don't forget about the kiln shelves. Sometimes people get so distracted they don't even notice shelves are missing, let alone cracked.
If there is anything you are concerned about, even if you are not sure if it is an issue, just write it down before you sign. There is no harm in writing too much. Then contact us to discuss anything you've discovered. The first thing we will ask for are digital photos so we can see what you are seeing.
Very, very rarely, an item arrives so damaged that you can tell it fell off a truck, or suffered a similar catastrophic fate. In this case, you can refuse the entire shipment. But usually damage is not that extensive, and you may only need a new lid or a new ring.
Please keep in mind that a kiln is designed as a functional device. Yes, a new kiln can be a thing of beauty, with its gleaming stainless steel and perfect bricks all in a row! But it is first and foremost a functional item. Minor cosmetic imperfections which do not affect functionality or lifespan are not covered by insurance or warranty. For example, brick chips, scratches, or minor cracks in the brick are not worthy of repair. It's normal for a kiln and you will not be compensated for it in any way.
Kilns are also designed with user replaceable components. For example, elements wear out over time and are designed to be replaced by the user. In much the same way, as a kiln gets used, bricks get damaged. As you use the kiln, you will hit the brick with a kiln shelf or fired piece, and a chunk of brick will fall out. Your glaze may sputter and get on the brick, so you have to dig into the brick to get the glaze out. You can actually lose quite a bit of brick and it will not effect the way the kiln fires. Pins can be used to hold pieces of brick in place. And when it is too far gone for your comfort, you can buy bricks and replace them. Therefore, if your new kiln has a little bit of brick loss, don't worry. It's no big deal. Your kiln is going to work fine.
If you get the liftgate service, your kiln will be placed on the ground for you, and the driver should have a pallet jack and will roll it a short distance up a flat, paved driveway if desired. (If you do not get the liftgate service, you will have to have people to help the driver unload, and the carriers liability ends when the kiln leaves the truck. That's one good reason to get liftgate. The kiln is the carriers responsibility until it's safely on the ground. )
Do not expect them to bring the kiln inside. That is not part of the delivery. You are welcome to make whatever deal you can with the driver to do extra services, but only if you pay him at the time. If you ask for something beyond the standard delivery, make sure you ask the cost because sometimes they agree to do things and don't mention a cost, but then you get a bill in the mail. If this happens, you will be responsible to pay it.
Once your kiln has been received, you can move it into place after the driver leaves. Many kilns are sectional. You will place the stand where you want the kiln, then take each kiln section, one at a time, from the pallet and restack it on the stand. Some kilns are not sectional. In this case you need to consider the weight of the kiln, and that it might take several people to move it onto its stand.
By following these few precautions during receipt of the kiln, you should have a great delivery experience and the beginning of a beautiful friendship with your new kiln!