Maybe the problem is that shipping/packaging costs are not made clear from the start - The AD.
The ad needs to clearly state that packaging and shipping are in addition to unit price OR the seller builds that cost into the selling price and sells as shipping included.
The packaging and shipping should be negotiated as part of the purchase, not "after the purchase". The seller should already know what it is going to cost to package the unit if he/she doesn't have orginal box or is going to double box. The shipping costs can then be closely estimated by zip code of buyer. The only thing that skimping on packaging will buy is trouble. It's just not worth the agony. -aj
I have received inquiries about items I have had listed that really drive me up the wall. Some people either can't read well or have short term memory loss and ask questions that are in the ad TWICE. Like when you have original box, owners manual and remote in the default fields AND in the ad text....then get an email asking if you have the original box, owners manual and remote. The same goes for shipping. This happens almost exclusively with buyers (?) that have no rating. God bless real people.
I recently sold an item to a gentleman and the transaction was less than satisfactory. The item was "as new" with no functional or cosmetic faults at all. The item was listed at $425 and the buyer offered $350; he would cover Paypal fees but I had to pick up shipping. Although I had the original packing material and box, I strongly suggested the buyer pay an additional $15 for extra packing (bubble wrap the original box) and then double boxing at Mailboxes Etc. The buyer refused to pay for the additional packing/box, asking to ship as is. The buyer also insisted I pay shipping so I agreed but stipulated I would use the most cost effective way to get the item to him. I shipped it by postal ground insured. The buyer sent several emails complianing about the time it took for the box to get to him. The item arrives and the buyer agrees the unit looks pristine (apparently the box has taken quite a beating) but doesn't function properly. The buyer wants his money back because "the unit does not perform as advertised". It left me in perfect condition, clearly something got jarred loose in shipping and could be repaired. I suggested the buyer get a repair estimate locally and I would file an insurance claim to pay for the repair. The buyer does not want to invest some time for repair and insists on shipping the item back to me. Having made a price concession and picking up the shipping costs I didn't think it was reasonable for me to pay for double-boxing or expedited delivery. This could have been avoided if the buyer had spent a few extra bucks for extra packaging and be willing to pay for shipping. From now on I will make sure the double boxing is not optional, or only sell locally.
Jeff, I can totally relate. That's why these days I'm less willing to bend on price, but double box at my expense. It gives me peace of mind knowing problems like you described are less likely.
Seller's beware- It's difficult finding parts/repairs for many items. Buyers purchase an item and use the parts for repair. There's a rash of false claims from buyers who swap parts out for their items and then claim the seller sent a faulty unit. Very difficult to prove. Good Luck to all sellers & buyers finding the trustworthy.
Jeff, Did you sell it through Audiogon? Did you file a formal dispute for arbitration on this site?
What I learned from that is to have the buyer agree to a statement that it arrives "as is" with no restitution/obligation from seller (only insurance claim)IF they do NOT agree to pay for adequate packaging and insurance.
What a pain in da keester! I guess we all look to buy from sellers that have feedback and transaction history. Maybe we should ask the same for buyers?
I hope that you get that worked out! What happened to resolve?
I have come to veiw shipping as this. I consider it my responsibility to get it there in one piece. If that means not bending on the price as much or to pay a little out of my own pocket for better packaging then I will. I will also not send something that isnt insured. We are only really talking pennies.
If it comes down to the buyer not wanting the product packed right to save a couple of dollars then I will not deal with him or I will pay for the extra shipping materials myself.
I have had many problems with ups and if it gets damaged the buyer is going to be upset no matter what they said. I feel that its a common headache thats easily avoided. Even if you have insurance. I dont want to put up with the fight over the claim. I just want a smooth transaction.
Packaging can be expensive. When I lived in a house with a garage, we could save all the popcorn and bubblewrap and outside boxes, but now I live in a condo and there is no place to store any packaging, so if I sell something, I am going to have to go down to mailboxes, etc and buy the boxes and popcorn. I expect that expense to be part of the price of the unit. The easiest way is to probably just build that into the selling cost and just discuss shipping with the buyer. I ALWAYS double box and no problems with damage so far......thoughts? -aj
Jeff's entaglement is a good example of a time when a potential buyer sends signals that should cause the seller to cut the cord. I have respectfully and tactfully told quite a number of potential buyers that I did not wish to sell to them. If they can't afford to pay for double boxing, they don't have their priorities in the right place. Likewise, if a buyer is overly concerned with some cosmetic aspect or asks questions that indicate a broad lack of familiarity with a product these can all be signals that we are about to go down a very bumpy road. Just as a seller has the obligation to fairly and accurately describe the condition of the gear so too does the buyer have an obligation to be a thoughtful and proactive participant in the transaction.
I think when you ship the boxes via ups you should just assume that it will be dropped from 8 feet up onto a concrete floor. After this, another box weighing 100lbs will fall upon it. If you pack with this in mind you will be fine. Packaging from companies like audio research and pass labs are like this.
This is also why I just sell some items as 'local pickup only'. My 80lb subwoofer for example. I cannot figure out how to pack this thing without spending $100 on materials and putting it into a washing machine sized box. So, I just wait for a local buyer - not worth my time to be concerned with it.
I sympathize with the cost of shipping materials. I have put out $70 for packing materials on a heavy item. I now save any throw-away computer packaging from my company.
I don't have a lot of experience with this, but I think PerfectImage and Angella100 might be right. The sender has a much clearer idea of what is necessary packaging. The reciever may be clueless and even if that's not the case has little control over the packaging. In a retail mail order purchase, one would expect appropriate packaging and expect it to be built into the cost, it's only logical. I believe that the sender is the insured party. The packaging and insurance should be built into the price. It's all part of the cost of doing business. It might be reasonable to advertise a lower cost for pick up only.
Thanks to all for chiming in, appreciate your inputs. I have not submitted this matter for formal arbitration with AudioGon as I'm trying to work through the issues with the buyer. I woudln't be surprised if it this matter does end up in arbitration for resolution. The item left me in perfect cosmetic and operational condition, shipped in it's original box and via a method the buyer approved of. It is the buyer's responsiblity to select carrier and any additional packaging to make sure his/her new purchase arrives safely. I always suggest methods such as double boxing to avoid problems but at the end of the day it's not my decision nor is it up to me to absorb additional expense. I would be inclined to pay for double boxing etc. if the buyer meets my asking price. I submitted a claim and once it's settled the buyer will be reimbursed for repairs or refunded his money (depends on the settlement). This ordeal has cost me way too much time and money.
Angela: On a side note mail boxes ect is crazy in their prices. I try to get packing at places like job lot and free boxes at local businesses. If you must buy at least go to a uhaul place. They are a ton cheaper.
Perfectimage, thanks, I received had an email from another member suggesting something similar. great ideas! I'm all for saving money! -aj
As a frequent Seller, who knows there are problem Buyers at there, I vigorously disagree with those who think it is the Buyer's responsibility to pay for boxing and packing materials units that the Seller was too negligent to keep. It is the SELLER'S responsibility to provide proper packing and boxing. If you threw it out, that's your problem and expense; not the Buyer's.
Something else that makes my blood boil is Sellers who agree to ship UPS, and then are too lazy to have UPS pick up, or take to the customer counter themselves, and go to MailBoxes, etc., and then expect the Buyer to pay DOUBLE what the regular UPS rate is.
I NEVER do any of the above to a Buyer; rather, I will go out of my way to take the item to the shipper, because, after all, I'm the one trying to sell an item. If you want to sell, take the responsibilities that go along with it. Otherwise, sell local only.
I agree that MBE and similar shippers' agents charge obscene prices for packaging. I just hung out and watched how they do it and now I pack it that way, myself. Knock on wood, no damage so far.
I learned from your comments, thanks!
As a former retailer and have done far more than my share of shipping over 40 years here's the scoop. First of all make quite clear in the ad that shipping costs are borne by the buyer-PERIOD. Even if I have OBM I will box in another box just to insure safe delivery. Make no mistake the buyer should be aware of the fact that the shipping companies are not your partner. You have no profit in shipping. When I list an item,with the exception of CDs,shipping is clearly stated. I would much rather walk away from a deal,if the buyer starts haggling with shipping costs. I won't do it,as it further erodes not only profit but your integrity as well. There is always another buyer for your product. I do not endorse excessive shipping cost. But for the product to arrive safe and sound,requires due diligence on the seller and shipper. I have long ago abandon USPS and UPS. Just to many claims for my liking. For the past 2 years have used FedEx Ground Services with excellent results,have yet to file a claim with FedEx. Plus my customers have been most happy with the FedEx Service.