This guide is aimed at occasional sellers of vinyl records but some regular sellers might also find it useful.
The two most common assumptions that sellers make are a) that vinyl is indestructible - it isn't, and b) that the Post Office and other carriers treat what they carry with any degree of care. Basically they don't! Carriers handle tens of millions of items every day, mostly with mechanical handling equipment, and items get dropped, crushed, bent and occasionally even completely destroyed. If you're responsible for shipping it, it's your job to make sure it's packed correctly. Don't assume it will survive the jouney if it isn't.
If you're going to ship a record just pack it as if it's very expensive bone china and you won't go far wrong. The stronger the packaging the better. Very few buyers are going to complain about too much packaging although some will rightly complain if you try to seriously overcharge them for this.
1. NEVER just put a record in a Jiffy Bag to ship it! IT WILL ALWAYS arrive damaged or broken.
2. NEVER ship a record in a just a polythene bag or a bin liner! Unbelievable? Some sellers do actually do this! You might as well just stick stamps on the record itself.
3. ALWAYS remove the record from its outer sleeve and if it has a special inner sleeve remove it from that as well. If you don't have a spare inner sleeve to ship it in then just wrap the record in a sheet of newspaper. No matter how well it is packed vinyl slides around in transit and if it's shipped in its sleeve will slice like a knife through the seams of outer sleeves and inner sleeves making them worthless. Sleeves are often far more valuable than the records themselves!
4. If possible always use a proper record mailer (essential if you plan to sell your entire collection individually) with additional reinforcement. To find a supplier just Google 'record mailer'. If you don't have a record mailer use THICK cardboard and plenty of it. Mark the item as 'Fragile'.
5. If it's a valuable item ofter the buyer an insured shipping option. Standard UK post only gives cover up to £34 but with Special Delivery you can insure items up to £2500. This might cost more but most buyers will prefer the peace of mind. All current postal prices are available on the Royal Mail web site.
It's just common sense really. Follow these simple rules and you won't go far wrong, AND you're far less likely to have any unhappy buyers.