You have sold your item on eBay and your buyer has paid you. There is just one more step in completing your eBay transaction: shipping. Making sure your buyer receives the item in good condition may mean the difference between having a satisfied customer or an irate one — and the difference between positive and negative feedback levied to your eBay account.
Here are some general tips for safe shipping of most items.
There is no such thing as too much cushioning. Wrap each item individually, and provide lots of cushioning. You can use bubble wrap, styrofoam peanuts, foam, corrugated dividers, or crumpled paper. Foam peanuts may shift in transit, so overfill your box and pack it down. You should not hear any rattling at all.
Use a new corrugated box with rigid sides and plenty of room for cushioning. Don’t exceed the maximum gross weight of the box (usually printed on bottom flap). If you are reusing an old box, remove labels and shipment markings and keep in mind that the maximum gross weight may have been diminished by wear and tear.
Use strong tape designed for shipping. Masking tape, cellophane tape, string, or paper wrapping isn’t sufficient, and some carriers won’t accept packages fastened with these methods. Pressure-sensitive plastic, nylon-reinforced, or water-activated paper tape (60-pound grade at least three inches wide) are best. Some items require special packaging consideration, including:
- Antiques and art. Remove any glass, wrap it carefully, and package it separately. Don’t use paper, hardboard, or corrugate to pack artwork. If you’re insuring the item, have a current bill of sale, invoice, or a statement from a certified appraiser in case you need to file a claim with your carrier.
- Coins, stamps, or jewelry. Be discreet about the contents of the package. Use a larger box and insure your shipment appropriately. Special limitations may apply for international shipments containing jewelry and gemstones, so confirm value limits with your carrier.
- Collectibles, pottery, and glass. For fragile items, the outer box must be large enough to allow at least three inches of cushioning all around the item. Wrap and box items individually to protect them from each other. Position items in the center of the box and away from the bottom, sides, and top of the box. If the item has a hollow center, such as a vase, fill the hollow area with paper to make the item more solid.
- Electronic items and computers. Ship these items in their original factory packaging whenever possible. If electronic components are exposed, use antistatic materials. Do not use Styrofoam peanuts, Kraft paper, foam in place, blankets, or newspaper. Insure your shipment appropriately.
- Fabric and wallpaper. Rolled goods travel best when shipped in corrugated boxes. If a fabric roll is shipped in a bag, make sure the bag is tightly wrapped and taped to reduce the risk of tearing.
Check with your carrier for specific requirements and special package limitations. Some assess additional handling charges for any article not fully encased in an outside shipping container, or for irregularly shaped or oversized items. Remember that the safe arrival of your goods is your sole responsibility, as eBay does not assume any liability for items damaged in transit.