Packaging leather and vinyl, especially clothing

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While I have always been very particular about carefully packaging all my items, I recently learned a harsh lesson that I thought others would like to know about.

The nightmare:

I recently sold a vinyl jacket that was in perfect condition. In order to protect the item, I zipped it up to keep its shape, folded it carefully along its seams to avoid unnecessary creasing, wrapped it completely in new tissue paper (including between layers to avoid sticking), then wrapped that package in plastic before putting into a 3kg Express Post satchel. The jacket had been folded to a size that fitted into the satchel perfectly so it would not move around in transit.

Little did I know that due to the hot weather at the time of postage (and obviously the parcel being thrown around in post bags, trucks and goodness knows what else), the top varnish layer separated in some areas from the coloured underside causing flaking and peeling on parts where the jacket was folded - mainly under the arms.

The buyer was obviously not happy and accused me of lying about the condition of the jacket in my item description which was not the case. While eBay explained that I was not responsible for damage in transit (luckily I had photos of the jacket just before I sent it as proof that it was fine before I posted it), I decided that I would agree to refund the buyer's money (including postage) in order to avoid bad feedback. I had to wear the expense and it was quite stressful at the time. Thankfully the buyer was appreciative of being able to work things out and provided positive feedback.

So, some tips:

  • Try to avoid posting leather or vinyl items during hot weather
  • Take photos of your items before you pack them as evidence that they were posted as you described them (beware, this may not necessarily help you in a PayPal claim but it is worth a try)
  • Ensure you send by Registered Post and add extra insurance if necessary so that neither you nor your buyer need to wear the cost if something goes wrong

The good news:

The buyer returned the jacket and I was able to restore it to almost its original condition by giving the very rough areas a light rub with a kitchen scourer and giving the whole jacket a few coats of Armor All. In some small areas this took a little bit of shine off the vinyl but luckily the most damaged areas (under the arms) are not at all visible while the jacket is being worn.

I hope you found this guide useful. If so, please vote YES below so that more people will be able to learn from this experience.

Thanks for reading!

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