Posting and Packaging on ebay

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This is short guide regarding posting and packaging and best practices that should be used to ensure a smooth transaction.
I have been a seller and buyer  for a number of years now and one thing that still remains a problem is posting and packaging items sold on ebay. Sometimes you can receive an item purchased very quickly and packed well, other times it can take ages and arrives damaged and then you are asked to send the item back for a refund replacement at your cost ! Obviously it all depends on what you sending and value.
As a seller you need to find the balance between costs of postal service and costs of packing  to attract sales and as a buyer you need to have confidence in knowing your purchased item will arrive safely undamaged .
So what can you do ?
Firstly you should never use postage costs as a mechanism to profit from, this undermines consumer confidence in charging higher postage costs  because you intend to package the item really well so the item will not get damaged.
For example i recently sold a item that weighed 300 grams but was very delicate because it had a plastic display case and was highly collectible.In my listing i clearly stated how i was going to pack the item and what postal service i was going to use.  To ensure there was no damage in the post i ensured i  bubble wrapped the item numerous times then put it in sturdy cardboard box which was infilled with shredded paper surrounding the bubble wrapped item, The actual  weight of packing materials was 600 grams double the item weight, the cost of posting the item was £6.75 and when the purchaser received the item he was extremely happy with the packing and condition and mentioned that he had a ordered a similar item from another seller paid £4 postage, it had been sent in a jiffy bag and the display case was damaged on arrival. 
Another example was a Xbox 360 DLC code card that i sent via first class recorded  delivery which cost £1.55. I could of sent it for the price of the first class stamp or even sent it via email but if it got lost or a dishonest ebayer denied receiving it what would i have done then ?
This way i know for a fact that the item has been received and the buyer believes they will be receiving a genuine product. 
So what did that extra amount charged actually get you as seller, well a happy ebayer who is not looking to return a damaged item to you or put in a ebay paypal claim against you and who likely will leave you positive feedback.
Secondly always use a a trackable service, insured for the sale  amount of item being sent preferably requiring a signature . Yes it is going to cost more but this instills confidence in you a seller, your auctions and means if there are any problems you will not loose money. If you do not dishonest ebayers can easily say they never received the item and how do you prove otherwise ? If you are smart you will have some sort of proof of posting, but ebay and paypal will always side with the buyer (i have asked them on the phone) in this situation and expect you to refund the buyer before you receive any money for a claim or worse still freeze your paypal account.
In the above above example £6.75 that was paid for postage also included insurance  , tracking and a signature on delivery, well worth it in my opinion. Personally i would rather avoid postage claims, ebay/paypal claims, negative feedback, disgruntled ebayers by charging a few pounds more for postage and maybe receiving less bids or interest because of this.
Lastly you should clearly describe in detail  how you will pack the items you are selling i.e bubble wrap , jiffy bag or cardboard box  and also what postal service, including insurance,  tracking and signature. So in effect justifying your postage costs to a bidder .

Ebay have now started charging 10% final value fee on POSTAGE cost !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Yes it is true, i was shocked when i first found out but when you are a monopoly in the online auction business you can do what you like. I recommend you add this cost to your postage costs in your auction e.g if royal mail are charging £2.70 you have to charge £3.00 and you should clearly state in your auction that ebay charge 10% on postage and this has to be passed onto the buyer.
There is nothing wrong in charging for packing materials or taking into account Paypal surcharge for monies received for postage. If you are smart and resourceful they can be very cheap, for example i have a shredder which i use regularly to shred all the junk mail and leaflets i receive daily and this is great packing material for sending boxed items.. From 99p pence stores four rolls of 25metre sellotape can be purchased aswell as  5 metres x 60cm of bubble wrap, brown parcel paper and also medium and small boxes, better still walk into the shop and ask if they have any empty cardboard boxes ! 
Do not just send goods in a jiffy and hope for the best you are better off wrapping the item in a bubble wrap a number of times then using brown parcel paper. Jiffy bags are good or dvds or xbox/ps3 games as they only have very thin layer of bubblewrap for protection, if you can bubble wrap the item then put in jiffy bag. If sending a hardback book do not use a jiffy bag without further protection there is nothing worse then receiving a hardback book with dulled corners or dents.
I hope the above has helped you better understand issues and solutions around post and packing on ebay and helps you as  buyer and seller

All the best

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