A reader recently reported that a lovely glass item bought off of ebay arrived broken. This situation has happened also to me, at least twice, in the past year. A gorgeous — and in some respects *priceless* find — was packaged with inadequate cushioning. And of course it breaks.
This makes me think I’ll do a post about: How to do your best to ensure that your ebay seller pays attention and ships your precious item so it arrives safely. It’s not just about the money involved — it’s also the heartache at seeing something you’ve been searching for and finally found — needlessly destroyed. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject as well.
So, what can you do to ensure your items gets shipped properly?
- Check the feedback of the seller. If there are negatives about shipping, beware.
- Before you even bid, send the seller an email, and ask them to post an answer to the question, “What steps will you take to ensure that this fragile item is packaged properly and won’t break in shipping? Please be specific on your packaging procedures.”
- Pay with PayPal. I *believe* this provides you with extra protection in case the deal goes sour. Read up on their policies and make choices, if possible, that give you the opportunity to resolve disputes.
- Pay for insurance.
- Even with insurance, write in the Notes when you pay the seller, something to the effect, “As this is a fragile item, please be sure to comply with all shipping company policies when it comes to packaging it appropriately. As you know, shipping companies and the USPS will not pay the insurance claim if you do not wrap the item and all of its parts properly and in compliance with their guidelines.” I learned this when I had a broken item. A gorgeous pull down light with all-glass globes. Basically thrown in a box with some newspaper and shipped. It was ensured. But when I took it into the USPS place they took one look at it and said that they would not pay the insurance as it was not packed properly. USPS and UPS have written guidelines on how items must be packaged in order to be covered by insurance – did you know that? Yes, they do! Again…what you can see I’m saying is to put pressure on the seller to pay attention. Another thing that I learned: I had to do the schlepping when it came to insurance claims.
- A variation on this theme: Mint-in-box items. I bought a wonderful MIB item once and the seller just slapped packing tape and labels over the ORIGINAL box and threw it in the mail. Not only did the item get smashed as the original box did not provide enough cushioning, but the box was ruined – and that’s part of MIB’s value. Again: Ask the question up front about packaging procedures before you buy… get it posted on the listing… reinforce it with a note… get insurance.
- Before you buy, read all of ebay’s and paypal’s policies about resolving disputes — and if you get in that situation, promptly pursue them.
These are just my personal thoughts… . Readers, what do you think? Have you had experiences like this, too? What else can we do to ensure that sellers take care with our precious purchases?