This is how NOT to sell things on Ebay

I recently had a not so great buying experience on Ebay, and in the interest of education, I have decided to share it with you all.  I’m not going to name the seller as they have made things right.  I just want you to see this so that you don’t make the same mistake should you decide to sell something on Ebay.

I’ve wanted the baking table for a while.  I really didn’t care about the accessories though.  I was excited to find just a table for sale not long ago, so I added it to my watch list.  On the day the auction was to end, I popped in several times to see if anyone had bid on it.  In the last minute I got it for the minimum bid, no one else apparently wanted it without accessories.  I was thrilled!  The seller had good feedback too.

First thing that alerted me to a potential issue was how long it took to get here.  In the listing it stated it was to be shipped priority mail.  It wasn’t.  Then when it did arrive, I met the mailman at the door, and as he passed the package to me, I could hear things moving around in the box.  When I opened the box, it wasn’t quite as bad as it could have been, but it wasn’t great either.

The problem was definitely poor packaging.  First off, the box was too close to the size of the item, not leaving much room for packing materials.  Second, the packing materials were just about non-existent.  Explained the things moving around sound I heard. 😦

Here you can see the size of the table in proportion of the box.  Keep in mind the sides do fold down, but still too close of a fit.

Damaged table 1

Here is the table in the box.  You can see from this photo that the box is definitely not large enough to accommodate the table and the appropriate amount of packing material.

Damaged table 2

And a shot of the practically non-existent packing materials. One of the inflatables isn’t inflated anymore too. Seriously????  And nothing was keeping the table extensions from flopping around which was the noise I was hearing.  To be honest, I’m surprised the damage wasn’t worse.

Damaged table 3

I am a seller on Ebay, and I’ve sold plenty of expensive and very fragile stuff, primarily china, pottery and crystal. (Something has to support my doll habit!)  I’ve had very few items damaged because I pack my stuff very well, I should own stock in a bubble wrap factory. I also shred old catalogs/flyers to use as additional packing material. Interestingly enough, in my feedback there are LOTS of comments on how well my stuff is packed. Which makes me think that what I experienced in my purchase is not all that unusual.

As for the damage, two of the corners took a pretty good hit, one the paint is knocked off and the other, well, it’s going to take some more serious repair.  It has a couple of other small marks, but not horrible, I can deal with those.
Damaged table side 1

Damaged table side 2

I’ll admit it, I got a bit pissy about this. I did get a partial refund on it, but only after I pointed out to the seller that if I had to return it to them, they would not only have to reimburse me the selling price, but also shipping BOTH ways. That would have been around $30, plus they would have had a damaged piece of doll furniture to try and sell. I don’t have an issue with trying to repair it, but not for the price I originally paid. Now I just have to decide exactly what I want to do to it to fix it. Good thing I like customizing doll furniture!

The lesson in all of this is simple: you can NEVER overpackage a fragile item when it comes to protecting it. If I were to ship this same item, I would start out with a larger box, not huge, but definitely big enough to leave at least 2 inches around the entire piece. It would then be wrapped several times in bubble wrap and then any gaps left in the box would be filled with shredded material or packing peanuts so that it wouldn’t bounce around in the box.  None of this was done in this instance.  And if I misquoted the shipping on it, I would eat it.  That’s just good business.  Believe me, I’ve eaten my fair share of shipping charges in my time selling on Ebay.  But I have the good rating to show for it.

As I said earlier, this seller had good feedback, a 100% rating.  Their feedback rating showed no negatives, but in scrolling back after the fact, I found a negative rating for an item they sold.  Because it has been more than a year, it doesn’t show up in the Ebay rating system.  Ebay needs to fix this.  Who the heck has time to scroll through all the pages someone has???  I have done business with people who have ratings over 10,000.  My own has about 20 pages worth and I’m a casual seller.  This is one of the stupidest things I’ve seen Ebay ever do.

I haven’t left feedback on this purchase yet because I’m really torn.  Obviously, I don’t feel like leaving positive feedback, but not sure about negative either since the seller did give me a partial refund.  However, I feel that other potential buyers should be aware of this lapse in judgment in regards to packaging.  I suppose I could leave neutral feedback, or just not bother.  Have you ever had something like this happen, and how did you handle it?

Please feel free to share this post with others too.  Lots of people want to sell things on Ebay, but don’t know how to package things properly.  Others don’t think it’s that important.  Sorry, but it is.  And from different things I’ve heard/seen, it is a BIG issue.  I’ve had things that were well packaged broken, I think the USPS has the old Samsonite gorilla on retainer.  No point in taking chances.