Why there is often little point in sellers using registered post

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Please Note

Please note that Australia Post policy has recently changed and that some of the information in this article may now be out of date.

Introduction

eBay policy means that sellers are responsible for delivering items to buyers, regardless of what the listing may say.  Writing "Seller not responsible for items lost, stolen, or damaged through post" or similar has absolutely no effect.

This is good news for buyers, so long as they pay by Paypal, as they can purchase items and select the cheapest postage option, confident that if they do not receive their item as expected, or not receive their item at all, that they will be reimbursed by Paypal for the item cost, plus the cost of postage.

Indeed, this demonstrates that there is no point at all in the buyer selecting "registered post" over standard post, if both postage options are provided by the seller.  The only time the buyer may like to select a postage option other than standard post is if the seller offers an express postage option and the buyer would like to receive their item faster.

What this means for sellers

This may not appear to be such great news for sellers, however, as if a seller who posts an item without any registration or insurance, they may suspect there is no recourse should the buyer claim that the item was never received, or that it was damaged when received.

Fear not, sellers; for as the title of this guide suggests, although you may not have used registered, insured, or even tracked post, there is a form of redress available to you.

A little known Australia Post policy is that senders are entitled to a refund of up to $50 for unregistered/uninsured items or $100 for registered items [without additional insurance], plus the cost of postage. This even applies if you post the item overseas.  To qualify, you must retain proof of postage.  I recommend that you do not use prepaid satchels, as the receipt does not state the actual weight of the package, which means that you may have no recourse should the buyer claim to have received an empty package.

This policy means that there is little or no point in sellers using registered or insured post for posting items which sold for $50 or less.  The claims procedure may be easier if your item was registered or insured, but you have to weigh this against the additional cost of doing so, and the buyers you may lose by only offering registered or insured forms of postage, which of course are more expensive.  Alternatively, you could opt to absorb the additional cost, although I would not recommend this, as the chances of your item not being successfully delivered are fairly low.

Conclusion

  •  I recommend that sellers should never offer registered post on their listings unless they expect to sell the item for more than $50.  There is little or no benefit for the seller in doing so, and the buyer would be wasting money on a form of postage which offers no greater protection for them than already afforded by Paypal.
  • If an item is expected to be sold for more than $50, but not more than $100, I recommend that the seller does not offer standard post, but instead offers registered post (without additional insurance), and/or express post with $100 insurance.
  • If an item is expected to be sold for more than $100, I recommend the seller does not offer standard post, but instead offers registered post with additional insurance, and/or express post with insurance.
  • Australia Post insurance charges are tiered based on increments of $100.  Therefore, it is in the seller's best interest to round the value of their package up to the nearest $100.  However, it is unclear what the implications are for potentially overstating the value of an item should you ever need to make a claim on it.

Goodbye

Thank you for reading my guide.  I have been an eBay user since 2001.  I mainly buy and sell gaming goods.

Disclaimer

Whilst every endeavour has been made to ensure the accuracy of this guide, I am merely an eBay user who has discovered this information after many years of buying and selling on eBay.  Users should check with eBay and Australia Post to verify the accuracy of the statements made in this guide.
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