What’s the worst packed item you’ve ever received?

No primary category set

I was (unusually!) watching BBC Breakfast today and they had a segment on ecommerce at Christmas – what happens if your parcel is late, do you have any rights with the retailer (Yes! You have the right to return but that’s it!), What happens if your parcel arrives and the contents are damaged (Yes, you can expect a replacement or refund and the replacement should be sent quickly but you can’t demand a next day service!).

There were also interesting comments about the distance to collect from delivery depots (one viewer mentioned a 16 mile journey to retrieve a package), and the queues at Royal Mail sorting offices.

However the most interesting comment was a buyer who’s crockery mixing bowl arrived smashed to pieces. Most of the time this shouldn’t happen if items are packaged correctly, but again it’s the retailer who’s responsible for the item arriving safely. There should never be any of the nonsense about “We keep receipts so that you can claim from the courier if your item is lost or damaged” which are still to common on eBay.

With that in mind we’ve dug up a video from myHermes on how to package safely, for most sellers this will be old hat, but there are some sellers who definitely need to watch this video!

What’s the poorest package that you’ve ever received? Mine was a former eBay employee (who shall remain nameless to spare their blushes), who sent me a PayPal mug in a jiffy bag! Needless to say it didn’t make it through the postal system intact. Have had anything delivered with even poorer packaging?

17 Responses

  1. Slightly off topic but I have just been watching a postman emptying a postbox at Sainsburys.

    He opened his mail sack, plonked it down into a 1 inch deep puddle. He then chucked all the mail into the sack (and puddle). Half way through he lifted the sack and looked at all the water dripping from it. He then plonked it back down and finished emptying the postbox.

    This has made me really angry. I spend tens of thousands of pounds with Royal Mail. I think they should employ people who have a brain!

    Happy Christmas!

  2. Well it was actually last week and it was a return from a customer. It was a terracotta bird bath that she didn’t like and she returned it just in a grey mailing sack.

    It is now in about seven thousand pieces and she even had the cheek to write on the delivery note that she broke it when packing it!!!!

    We have said no to a refund, but she is still insisting that it is our fault and that we should of told her we wanted it back in one piece…silly me!

    I expect she will open a paypal dispute and get her money back anyway.

  3. Nothing broken or damaged here SO FAR, but I have managed to damage items while trying to unwrap them. ebay clothing sellers are particularly bad at this. Wrapping item in a binliner so the fabric is folded with the binliner, then completely covering it with tape, no gap to enter scissors or sharp implement and you can’t open it without making an incision somewhere. However carefull the garment gets snipped with the tape because there’s no gap. These sellers should be made to unwrap their own handiwork and start again or at least a seperate packing DSR instead of lumping it in with postage cost.

    I did read on the ps board once about an ebay seller (a very long time ago) who sold a high-end handbag and sent it covered with packing tape. No paper. No mailbag, just brown packing tape. The bag was completely ruined and the seller thought it funny.

    And elsewhere of the CD seller who just put address and stamps on the CD case.

  4. Early days on eBay, 98? I had been collecting vintage Historical Ports of England china in blue for ages, had almost a full set bar the sugar bowl and a few cups. I found a lot of four teacups and saucers one day for a very good price. The lady put the cups and saucers in a shoebox with scotch tape on the outside and mailed them. No padding, not even newspaper. The saucers and two cups were smashed to mosaic but the other two cups only lost their handles. She did the whole not my problem trip and quit. Never did get a refund.

    Bunchy have you tried turning a hairdryer on your ‘tight as a tick’ packages? It softens the plastic enough you can pull or pinch it into a peak and snip that. I do agree with you it is really annoying.

  5. Some buyers think that items should be packaged to withstand a steam roller.

    Item should only be package to withstand light knocks or dropping.

    not thrown from a great hight or the weight of 90 other parcels sitting on top off them.

    i think it is impossible to package and guarantee never too have any damage.

    Even the outer box should never be damaged in the ideal world

  6. Earlier this year a major organisation sent me a breakable promotional item in a plain white envelope. Not only did it arrive damaged , but was understamped , having a single second class stamp on it even though it was too large for Letter rate.

  7. A package should be able to survive a drop from 3 feet onto a concrete floor. I’ve sold over 20,000 items on eBay over the past 14 years and have yet to have anything broken in transit.

    I did have a handmade wood building for a train layout damaged by a UPS clerk checking to make sure the box was packed well. The clerk cut the box open and then dug into the peanuts to get a grip on the building and pulled a large chunk of it out as I stood by screaming at her.

    Worse package I ever got was a beer sign made of very tin plastic that was thrown into a large box with no padding at all.

    I did a video a few years ago showing me opening two boxes I’d gotten the same day. Here’s a link:


  8. I manage a large catergory-leading store. As you probably know, in the case that a buyer complains of damage in transit, it’s ALWAYS worth asking for a photo of the damaged item (before allowing buyer to keep). How difficult can it be?

    Well – surprisingly so: we’ve had many buyers suddenly can’t work their phone, or a camera, to facilitate a photo, or that the photo provided indicates hardly any damage. Of course, at the stage, we collect and return the item, which is fine, but not always in the buyer’s interest (because we can’t refund until the item is back with us and we’ve inspected the damage: which again, is not ALWAYS evident).

    Not discounting sellers who are lax with poor packaging … just a tip for sellers. GET A PHOTO FIRST! Saves lots of time. LEt ’em keep the damaged goods, or offer a part goodwill refund and keep your DSRS in tact and a happy customer for life who’ll return and appreciate the service.


Amazon Ships in Product Packaging sign up

Amazon Ships in Product Packaging sign up

Solving the bubble wrap recycling conundrum

Solving the bubble wrap recycling conundrum

French and Italian Packaging laws

UK brands & new French and Italian packaging laws


New Amazon Business Packaging Store

Post Office ends Royal Mail exclusivity with DPD & Evri

Evri Post Office service plus strikes

ChannelX Guide...

Featured in this article from the ChannelX Guide – companies that can help you grow and manage your business.

Register for Newsletter

Receive 5 newsletters per week

Gain access to all research

Be notified of upcoming events and webinars