Protect Your eBay Transactions with Shipping Insurance
Despite everyone’s best efforts, sometimes eBay items get damaged or misplaced during shipment; that’s where shipping insurance comes in. You should offer to get insurance from the shipper if the buyer wants to pay for it, and especially on expensive items, one-of-a-kind items, or very fragile items. You should also make it clear in your item description that the buyer pays for the insurance.
The major shippers all offer insurance that’s fairly reasonably priced, so check out their rates on their Web sites. But don’t forget to read the details. For example, many items on eBay are sold MIMB (Mint in Mint Box). True, the condition of the original box often has a bearing on the final value of the item inside, but the U.S. Postal Service insures only what is in the box. So, if you sold a Malibu Barbie mint in a mint box, USPS insures only the doll and not the original box. Pack carefully so that your buyer gets what’s been paid for. Be mindful that shippers won’t make good on insurance claims if they suspect you of causing the damage by doing a lousy job of packing.
Alternatively, when you’re selling on eBay in earnest, you can purchase your own parcel protection policy from a private insurer like U-PIC. When you use this type of insurance, combined with preprinted electronic postage, you no longer have to stand in line at the post office to have your insured package logged in by the clerk at the counter.
Some sellers also offer their own form of self-insurance. (Keep in mind that the term “self-insurance” is used here as a descriptive phrase only.) You may not charge your buyer for insurance unless you are actually paying for insurance from a licensed third-party insurance company. Charging and not fulfilling insurance is a violation of state law. Here’s what you may want to offer your buyers at no cost to them:
On lower-priced items, you should be willing to refund the buyer’s money if the item is lost or damaged.
On some items you sell, you can have a risk reserve. That means you have more than one of the item you sold. If the item is lost or destroyed, you can send the backup item as a replacement.