Selling breakables? Avoid disputes with these hints for postage

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An older collector I spoke to awhile ago was horrified at the thought of buying porcelain, china or glass from overseas sellers. I confidently assured her that breakages were not a problem because sellers took care when packaging these precious goods to arrive to the buyer unbroken. Famous last words!

While I have had to unwrap layer upon layer of wadding, padding, foam, paper towel, newspaper, tissue paper - and even Glad Wrap/Saran wrap one time and toilet paper another! - carefully nesting my new treasures, three eBay purchases have arrived damaged. Two were domestic packages, the other from overseas.

For the methods to successfully package fragiles for postage, read on.

1. If you are wrapping items in newspaper, put the item in a plastic bag -  even if it's only a thin sandwich freezer bag -  otherwise the newspaper print will be transferred onto the piece of china or porcelain during transit. I had this happen once and I was not thrilled. It took a lot of time and care to remove the newspaper print off the porcelain.

2.  Wrap each item  individually. Bubble wrap is best but newspaper, paper towel, plastic bags or even toilet paper will suffice. Make sure it's taped up so it cannot unravel in transit. NOTE: THE NEXT PIECE OF ADVICE IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT. In the case of trinket boxes, glass decanters with stoppers, etc. or whenever there are two parts to an item, each piece must be wrapped separately. If two pieces are touching (for example the lid is sat on top of the trinket box and they are both wrapped up together) chances are it will not make its destination in one piece. It's all to do with physics and one piece absorbing the energy of the other piece if Australia Post happens to drop your package, but basically it results in a breakage and one unhappy buyer!

3. This is optional but it does pay to wrap a layer of cardboard around each piece after the bubble wrap. It just provides an extra layer of protection.

4. Don't be stingy with the parcel box and its size. If you send the items in a box that only just fits them, then you just about might as well drop the items on the floor and break them  there and then and just refund the buyer. Because that's probably what's going to happen in transit anyway. Make sure there is enough room to put the bubble wrapped items towards the centre of the box and then surround them with polystyrene 'peanuts'  or crumpled newspaper or even rubber foam etc. Whatever you use, ensure it is packed pretty tight so the items cannot move around. DO NOT even think about placing the items directly on the bottom of the box - the golden rule is to ensure the peanuts/newspaper cushion the item/s ON ALL SIX SIDES of the box, including top and bottom. For good measure it's worth adding a layer of bubble wrap between the box and the packing to absorb energy in the event the package is dropped. If you are thinking 'this is going to seriously increase the postage cost', then factor this in to your postage fees before listing. I would rather pay an extra $5 or $10 more in postage and receive my item intact than getting it in pieces. 

l would like to thank the numerous eBay sellers who took the time, effort and care into ensuring the breakables I have bought arrived safe and undamaged. I would also like to thank the sellers who made every effort to provide a resolution when I contacted them to advise my item arrived damaged (but buckets to the seller who indignantly  claimed they had packed their item suitably).

That's my guide for now. If I have directed you to this guide because I have bought a fragile item off you on ebay, I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to read through my guide to ensure my purchase is packed as safety as possible to arrive on my doorstep in one piece.
If you are a regular glass, china or porcelain buyer on ebay who is fed up with receiving your items broken on arrival and have stumbled upon my guide, feel free to send the link or copy and paste it in a message to any sellers you purchase from in the future. I plan to one day add photos to this guide. 

Other guides coming soon:
Tips to prove your case when an item arrives damaged (for buyers)
Tips to ensure a claim for goods arriving damaged is legitimate (for sellers)
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