Rarely does anything get damaged by UPS. We have been dealing with the same UPS Store for years, so they have fine tuned their packing skills to match our products. The UPS Store often removes items like clamps or motors that they feel are likely to be damaged, and wraps them up separately.
They have to do a good job, because that kills UPS's favorite excuse for denying a claim:
UPS: Well sir, the package simply was improperly packaged.
Webster: Great, because you guys were the ones that packed it.
UPS: Oh.... Um.... let's get this claim started....
Usually scopes that are damaged are the big ones on wooden pallets. Yellow Freight sometimes decides to spear the crates with a forklift arm.
We have a shipper we have been working with lately that picks up the big scopes, crates them and ships them themselves. There is a tiny window for damage when they come to pick up the "bare" scope, but this is more than offset by the great crating job they do and the fact that they handle the entire transaction end to end.
International shipping is expensive enough without special options, but we always have the following available to us:
1. You can ship a sea traveling "container" with as much stuff as you can fit in it for about $2500. It is a giant metal box, so your pallets never get tumbled up side down or handled in any way until the customs inspectors open it in the final country.
It's a slow (2 months) but very secure way to ship items.
It's a big box, but it's all your own:
INSIDE LENGTH 19'4"
INSIDE WIDTH 7'8"
INSIDE HEIGHT 7'10"
DOOR WIDTH 7'8"
DOOR HEIGHT 7'6"
CAPACITY 1,172 ft³
TARE WEIGHT 4,916 lb
MAX. CARGO 47,999 lb
2. You can pay a freight consolidator to put your pallets, along with other people's pallets in a sea container and ship. The rates are cheaper because you are sharing the container.
Slightly slower because you sometimes wait a few days until a container is full.
3. You can pay for express or overnight UPS shipping. The less time a package is in the shipper's hands, the better.
Price is 2 to 3 times the normal rate, but it is very close to instant gratification time wise.
Some people work for companies that get tremendous discounts due to the volume of overseas shipping they do. It would be worthwhile to ask your employer if this discount can be extended to you (this is true even for shipments within the USA).
Shipping to some countries (i.e. Pakistan) is very expensive due to the insurance costs. Purchasing a separate "Merchant Marine" insurance policy can be much cheaper than paying UPS for insurance, and your scope will be insured against any peril for the next 6 months - no matter where you are in the world.
Finally, our scopes are built tough; with service in mind. We know scopes flip over in the wind. We know that pick-up truck tailgates don't always latch (please be careful Tom!). And we know that accidents just happen.
Everything is easily serviced and replaced. If you have basic mechanical abilities, a voltmeter and a standard toolbox full of tools, you are ready to maintain a Webster telescope.
Finally, remember that you paid for our legendary service when you bought the scope. We are the only major telescope company that offers 12 hour a day, 7 days a week phone support. Call us, we pick up!