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"Companies and "ok" packaging - Why do you do this?" Topic

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Baranovich14 Mar 2018 6:38 a.m. PST

Been down this road before, explained this before and it's starting to get very old. Very old indeed.

I ordered a single sheet of PVC plastic sheet to use for terrain bases. It was a 1' x 2' 1/8" piece from an Ebay vendor named SB Automation.

Price was very reasonable for a single sheet. Shipping was fast. But when I got the sheet, it was warped/stressed and one edge had an impact damage that cracked the end of the material and bent it up forcibly on the same side. So I got a damaged, bent piece of material.

The sheet had been taped to a single, thin sheet of corrugated cardboard. The whole thing was put inside a manila paper sheet envelope which was useless for protection.

Here are pics. that tell the story by themselves:


Now, to be fair to SB Automation they have an overwhelmingly positive feedback score on Ebay of 99.6%, which is nearly perfect. So obviously products are being shipped to a vast, vast majority customers who are happy with the product and how it is processed for them.

What I suspect happened here is that in the grand scheme of a company that probably ships tens of thousands of these sheets a week if not more, my single-sheet order barely registered on their radar in terms of sales. Ok. Whomever packaged the sheet must have decided that a single sheet wasn't worth the company's time to protect properly with any kind of box or actual protection.

How do I know this? Because if you ordered 10, 20 or more sheets, they would HAVE to be boxed because the bundle would be too heavy to hold up just being wrapped in manila paper, they would burst through it. And of course orders of 50 or more sheets would most certainly be boxed simply out of necessity.

If the philosophy of some vendors/companies is that single sheet orders aren't important enough to properly protect in shipment, then I have a suggestion

DON'T SELL OR OFFER single sheets of anything you produce. Just don't bother. Don't even bother. Have a minimum order of 5 or 10 sheets or whatever.

The fact that my order was insignificant in the grand scheme of things is irrelevant. The fact is I ordered a NEW condition piece of PVC sheeting and paid the NEW price for one. What I got was a damaged, bent, used piece of PVC sheet. I did not receive what I expected I was paying for.

But it gets better. The response I received from SB Automation was even more astonishing. I was told that this was a USPS shipping negligence issue and that I need to take it up with them. "Shipping negligence". Wreckless behavior on USPS's part. Now, let's wrap our heads around that for a moment.

USPS, UPS, DHL, Fed Ex, Amazon and the rest handle and process MILLIONS of packages daily. The schedules for the facility workers and drivers are brutal, the timetables leave no room for delay. Shipping employees/drivers are worked to death for what often amounts to pretty c**p pay overall. Short of deliberate abuse where someone is forcefully throwing a box against a wall or deliberately sabotaging boxes by stomping on them or punching them all these masses of people can reasonably do is to handle your package quickly and fluidly and move it on the to the next phase, and do it FAST.

How on earth is USPS responsible for a package that has no protection from outside impact forces? The outer edge of a sheet of soft PVC plastic WILL get damaged during the normal handling and processing. My package either struck the interior surface of the truck itself or another package struck the edge of it. Whatever struck it it was most certainly accidental and could not be prevented.

In either case the point of responsibility for that damage has NOTHING, NOTHING to do with USPS. The point of responsibility was 100% with SB Auto. who did not put any kind of impact barrier whatsoever between the product and the outside forces of the world. A sheet of cardboard and manila paper does NOT protect this kind of product from outside forces.

This experience reminded me of Redoubt Enterprises. Great company, great historical minis. But they are notorious for putting big, heavy piles of metal minis. into vinyl shipping bags so that the entire pile of minis. can be battered and bashed from the outside during the entire shipment. You have the pleasure of getting $70.00 USD worth of Civil War soldiers with bayonets and muskets bent or broken off. In metal no less, which is the most difficult to repair in terms of thin bits broken off.

Another example I've experienced are Ebay sellers who use retail boxes as the outside shipping container: i.e. they use Games Workshop retail boxes as the outer shipping box and simply wrap the thing in shipping paper. And then you get the package and its squashed right down to the sprues inside and the seller tells you, "well the mini. sprues made it there undamaged so what's the problem?"

So my question is to all sellers and vendors.

Why do you do this? Why? Is it because "most of the time there's no problem" with minimal shipping? Because it's "ok most of the time"?

If so let me explain yet again what the customer is attempting to do.

When I order a NEW product still in its NEW condition, I expect to receive that product in NEW condition as I saw it described on YOUR website.

"Slightly dinged", "well it got there with mostly no problem", "you can still use it" that is NOT what I ordered. I didn't f'n order "I can still use it". I didn't order "well it had a little damage but it's mostly new".

If you are a company or an Ebay seller selling anything in a new product state, YOU are the point at which that newness has to be preserved.

If it's a retail box, YOU must put it into another outer box that can actually absorb impact forces during shipment. I repeat for the tenth time now: a hobby retail/display box is NOT, NOT a shipping container.

If it's a piece of bare material like my PVC sheet, YOU must at least put that material completely wrapped in corrugated cardboard OR put it into a box that completely surrounds the material. A piece of cardboard backing is NOT protection for a new material like what I ordered.

I'm upset, yeah.

zoneofcontrol Inactive Member14 Mar 2018 7:16 a.m. PST

With a damaged parcel it is the responsibility of the SHIPPER to file a claim with the carrier. You can try to report it yourself to USPS but will probably be told to contact the shipper. Shippers are made well aware by all carriers to pack their products in such a way as to survive being thrown or falling 3 feet. That is a industry packaging standard.

1 save all shipping, packing materials.

2 photos attached to an emailed damage report are helpful.

3 notify shipper that you will file a dispute with ebay and give negative feedback.

4 notify ebay of the situation.

This past Christmas, I ordered some specialty Christmas cards and had an almost identical situation. However, mine was a direct purchase, not thru ebay. The cards were sandwiched between paperboard and put inside a paperboard* envelope. During shipment two corners of the paperboard envelope were torn open and crushed. The merchandise inside was damaged as a result. I took several pictures and filed a claim with the shipper. To their great credit, they waived the requirement to return for inspection and gave me the option of full refund or exact replacement.

* = Paperboard is heavier than a standard paper mailing envelope but not a corrugated cardboard. Think of something akin to cardstock printing paper.

Good luck.

Joes Shop Supporting Member of TMP14 Mar 2018 7:42 a.m. PST

ZOC: +1

foxweasel14 Mar 2018 8:57 a.m. PST

I only post things in heavy duty cardboard boxes with lots of foam in, then send it first class signed for. Costs a bit more, but nobody has complained (yet). Saves a lot of bother for both parties.

Joes Shop Supporting Member of TMP14 Mar 2018 9:01 a.m. PST

Agreed. I find its always better to 'overpack' and make sure the box passes the shake test before sealing.

Personal logo StoneMtnMinis Supporting Member of TMP14 Mar 2018 9:05 a.m. PST

Appears to have been shipped the cheapest way possible. What did they charge you for shipping and handling? If you were charged for Priority Mail or such, then you didn't get a bargain. Keep us updated on what happens.

Baranovich14 Mar 2018 9:51 a.m. PST

I was charged about $4.00 USD or $5.00 USD for shipping I think, I'll have to check…

Interestingly, if you look at the feedback for SB Automation there's only 20 negative feedbacks out of literally over 10,000 positive feedbacks. However if you read down through the negatives you'll see that many who gave negative did so because of the exact same issue that I had. And it seems that another part of their complaint is that the vendor didn't even respond to their complaint about damage or other issues.

Looks like a case of out of sight out of mind – like it only happened to a few people so who cares kind of mentality.

Oberlindes Sol LIC14 Mar 2018 11:08 a.m. PST

I feel your pain. I'm a curmudgeonly Luddite, so I usually just go to the store to buy things, but then I also live in a major metropolitan area, where there are plenty of actual retail outlets.

A lot of people don't have that option, and companies that sell through the internet -- which is just about every company -- should take care of their small orders as much as their large orders.

The shippers don't know which of today's small order customers is going to be, or be the lead to, tomorrow's bulk order customer.

I'm not in the shipping business, but I do sometimes sell things on eBay. I always send them out so that they'll arrive in the condition in which I would want to receive them.

Personal logo Der Alte Fritz Sponsoring Member of TMP14 Mar 2018 11:10 a.m. PST

I would think that the threat of negative feedback and filing a dispute with eBay would get results for you.

In my minis business I always replace damaged figures, no questions asked


TGerritsen Supporting Member of TMP14 Mar 2018 11:48 a.m. PST

I have the same problem with books and board games. I hate opening the box to find out that a corner is smashed in or the box has a crease from being pressed in.

In this case, I'm sure they tried to save money on shipping packaging costs. It's a lot cheaper for them to stick it in an envelope than a box. I get that, since costs for shipping are getting out of hand as they are, and the added cost of a firm box costs them more per item. You need to make it clear that they lost long term profits to save a few cents on this particular order. Even then, it seems the tide what their customers are reporting otherwise will probably make them not care.

Cerdic Supporting Member of TMP14 Mar 2018 1:48 p.m. PST

Why they do it is obvious. Money, innit!

Shipping costs often seem ridiculously high to many people. How often have you seen people complain "well I looked up the postage for that size of parcel and it is only 4.80 but the ripoff company charged me 7.30" whinge, whinge, whinge…

The extra 2.50 shipping is clearly for packaging, but a lot of people don't seem to understand! So the temptation for the seller is to pare your shipping costs to the bone.

Bunkermeister Supporting Member of TMP14 Mar 2018 8:31 p.m. PST

If a company wants to skimp on the packaging, that's okay, if they have a smoking good replacement, no questions asked replacement policy. Roll the dice and gamble that a minuscule 20 out of 10,000 will complain and save $1 USD on each shipment. But for the 20 that complain, ship a replacement right away and get it right. they are still $9,500 USD+ dollars ahead.

I usually order a tiny test order before I order something big and if the screw up the small order the big order is not coming.

Mike Bunkermeister Creek

teboj1715 Mar 2018 12:19 p.m. PST

Yep. If they did charge more for Shipping and "Handling" people would move on to another place which had cheaper shipping. It is a gamble but most of the time the package will be received without issue. And like you said I doubt they really are as concerned with a single sheet order where they make close to nothing over a large order.

AussieAndy Supporting Member of TMP15 Mar 2018 10:05 p.m. PST

Some suppliers obviously include the use of cheap packaging in their business models. As some posters have suggested, they presumably figure that it is cheaper to replace items that are damaged than use proper packaging. I'm also guessing that a lot of folk put up with damage, rather than complaining. I've found this most often with books. I'll put up with minor damage if the supplier has made a decent effort with the packaging. Where there has been no effort, I expect a replacement or refund. Some suppliers are fine with that, as they have, presumably factored into their cost structure (I've always got replacements from Book Depository – once I've rejected the initial offer of a 20% discount). Other suppliers have been pretty narky. Why you would expect a customer to put up with a badly damaged (very expensive) book, that has been sent to the other side of the world in a plastic envelope with no padding, I have no idea.

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