A'gon Transactions, Risk of Loss?

I was reading a thread about a dispute earlier and found seemingly different views on who bears the risk of loss in shipping for transactions on A'gon...

Is this something that has been clearly established? If so, should it be better publicized? And, should it be alterable by agreement?

While I understand sellers typically ask for compensation for shipping, since shipping charges vary considerably, I always assumed the ROL was on the seller b/c the seller was the party contracting with the shipper--the seller is the only one who can insure and the only one who can increase the odds of the package arriving safety by properly packaging. I'd note, the only time I was involved in a deal where the product arrived damaged, the seller was very cooperative, we tried to prosecute a claim against the carrier (and lost b/c they said it was badly packaged), I shipped the item back, and he refunded my money (and the return shipping charges--I ate the original shipping costs). This also seems consistent with most mailorder businesses--if something arrives damaged, you get your money back if you want.

What I found confusing was that people seemed to be advocating a position (I would have posted in the thread, but it was closed) where the buyer was bearing the ROL and the shipment was only insured *if* the buyer chose to purchase insurance. But, the buyer *can't* insure the product--the carriers won't let them! The insured party is the *shipper*!

I would note that parties should be able to agree to changes--I advertised a product for local pick-up only, and someone asked if I'd ship. Since I didn't have original boxes, I said only if they picked the shipper, paid for shipping and packing by a professional mailer, specified insurance, and bore the ROL explicitly. I've also encountered cases where a buyer has wanted a specific carrier for the shipment--if a buyer insists on their own shipper of choice over the seller's choice, it might be appropriate to shift the ROL.

Am I out of my head?
Mmmmm could be.
I don't think you are out of your head BUT the ROL should be something explicitly agreed to as part of the deal. I've done quite a few deals as buyer and seller here on a'gon and have had my share of damaged goods.

I've tended to go with the buyer having ROL if the packaging is original and the seller didn't do something obviously stupid. This is whether I'm seller or buyer. While the shipper is the insured, the Buyer, (the receiver) is the one who needs to deal with the freight company inspecting the damage. If the unit needs to go for repair, it will be shipped back to the buyer

Fortunately, in my case, the out of pocket cost to repair the damage has never been more than about 10% of the purchase price.
When the check is cashed the item is the property of the buyer even if not in the buyer's posession. Technically, if the item is lost in shipping and no insurance was specified it is the buyers responsibility. Practically speaking, as a seller, I would never ship an item without it being fully insured and properly packed. If a potential buyer balks at the cost of insurance and the extra weight of double boxing (I never charge for materials)I politely decline to sell to that person. Likewise, when buying I always specify double boxing and full insurance. Shipping is troublesome enough, why would someone subject themselves to the vagaries of shipping loss as either a buyer or seller?
I think the emphasis on cashing the check is overstated. The buyer can legitimately reject the goods for many reasons, including, for example, if it is misdescribed, and the A'gon community accepts that. The seller doesn't get away with misrepresenting items as soon as the check gets cashed, so that isn't when it becomes the buyer's property. The extension seems to be that a contract between the buyer and the seller is for the seller to deliver conforming goods. Goods destroyed or damaged in shipment aren't conforming. This is why consumer mail order businesses almost uniformly accept the ROL.

Obviously, clearly agreeing on ROL up front is desirable. In the absence of that, I tend to think policy favors seller bearing the risk. The seller is the one who knows the original condition of the item, packs the item, selects the shipper, makes determinations on insurance, is the insured party, and should bear the risk. While it would seem the buyer has a reasonable obligation to cooperate with any insurance investigation, the buyer can't settle with the insurance company and has no standing to appeal the decision if they don't believe the right result was achieved--they can't sue the carrier, only the seller can.

If you place the ROL on the buyer, don't you get into some difficult hair-splitting? If the insurance company determines the item was improperly boxed, does that then operate to impose the liability on the seller? If that's the case, you might as well put ROL on the seller, b/c either the insurance will pay off (buyer not harmed) or determine the packaging was defective (seller has liability, buyer not harmed). The only case where there is an issue is if the parties don't insure the package (or insure it sufficiently). Guess, at a minimum, I'll be darn sure to agree on insurance coverage in the future!
Viridian, with all due respect I don't believe the contract is fullfilled until the buyer recieves the goods. Both the money and the goods should be considered in escrow until the contract is complete.
Doesn't it seem obvious if spending hundreds or thousands of dollars for a piece of equipment, insurance would be warranted without the need for discusion? The buyer is still responsible for the cost of the insurance but the excuse(by a seller)that insurance was never discussed is assinine. Insurance should automatically added into the total cost by both parties,arguing over who's reponsibility it is to mention it is a waist of time, as AudioGon members it is all of ours.
Anything I sell has insurance when I ship it whether you ask for it or not, anything I buy, I ask for insurance whether you ask me or not. Seem like common sense to me.
I have to agree with Banksfriend on this one. I can't imagine that many people would argue that the seller is responsible for accurately describing the item. Thus, how can one suggest that it is not also the sellers responsibility to insure that it arrives in that condition. I insure everthing I ship and I would expect someone to protect my interests as well. C'mon guys it's really a no brainer.

Happy listening,

I agree with Damon and Edsilva. The shippers obviously believe that the ROL is on the seller, since they only pay the seller. Therefore, it should be in sellers best interest to make sure item is properly packed and insured. This has always seemed obvious to me, but has never been explicitly states as part of the "rules of the road" here. It would be a good idea for Agon to include it in their FAQ. Anyone listening out there?
It has been said that the item belongs to the buyer (and hence, so does the rol) once it has been paid for and the seller under the agreement between buyer and seller is obligated to ship the item to the buyer. If so, the seller is the buyer's agent when dealing with the shipper. Of course, the shipper will pay an insurance claim to the seller - that's the party with whom the shipper has contracted. But if the item belonged to the buyer when shipped the shipping contract was entered into for the benefit of the buyer.

If a buyer and paying in advance, I would insist on the seller's procuring insurance on the shipment. If it were me, that is, not giving any advice here.