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Fri June 23 2017 09:04:45

Sellers Who List Shipping Boxes Separately

By: Ina Steiner

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An Etsy seller is listing items that they say will ship in an envelope, unless the buyer purchases a shipping box in a separate listing. A reader, Pennyemporium, shared the listings with us, telling us she used to sell on eBay and now sells on Etsy, and had never encountered anything like this. 

"A phenomenon on Etsy that I have NEVER encountered before in my years of selling, is the listing of a BOX for the widget and upgraded priority shipping for the widget. AS INDIVIDUAL LISTINGS - not as upgrades on the listing for the item itself! And the curious thing is... on the listing page on Etsy, there is a spot to offer a "shipping upgrade," which is where this sort of thing rightfully should go."

As Pennyemporium points out, it actually puts the seller at risk. Despite the fact a seller warns in her listings that buyers must purchase a box separately if they don't want their items shipped in an envelope and states that she won't be responsible if the item gets cracked or broken in the mail if the buyer chooses not to purchase a box separately, that's not how Etsy may see it if the buyer complains.

"I am completely flummoxed why a seller would offer to SELL a box, and if the buyer doesn't buy it, ship a fragile item in a paper bag and then blame any postal damage on the customer. Because why else would they be doing it? It's one big back-fire! I buy the item, do NOT buy the box, it arrives damaged, I file a claim with Etsy (their new big push now, and they have a clever safety shield on the listings like eBay!) and get my money back."

Pennyemporium said you can also search Etsy for "priority mail upgrade" and find listings where sellers offer the shipping upgrade separately instead of as part of their item listing shipping options.

While we could see a number of sellers listing shipping upgrades separately, we couldn't find other instances of sellers listing shipping boxes separately - but they may be out there.

To be clear, we're talking about boxes for shipping a purchase - there are plenty of standalone boxes listed under craft supplies and vintage boxes. 

Is it a case of sellers who don't understand how to set up their shipping options on Etsy? Or are sellers trying to "cheap out" on shipping costs?

Have you seen anything like this on marketplaces like Etsy or eBay? What advice would you give sellers who break up shipping boxes and shipping upgrades into separate listings, and what would you tell Etsy?




Comments (17) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Sellers Who List Shipping Boxes Separately   Sellers Who List Shipping Boxes Separately

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 23 09:11:08 2017

Novel idea. Wonder what the sellers feedback looks like???

That would really be something I would think that could be found on Ebay.

BUYERS HAVE NO CLUE AS TO WHAT IT COSTS TO SHIP ANYTHING BIGGER THAN AN ENVELOPE.

Sellers Who List Shipping Boxes Separately   Sellers Who List Shipping Boxes Separately

by: ignatz This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 23 09:40:24 2017

Never encountered that.

I've only sold three items on Etsy, so I have no experience with it.  But if it works anything like eBay, those sellers will learn sooner rather than later that this is NOT a good policy!

Sellers Who List Shipping Boxes Separately   Sellers Who List Shipping Boxes Separately

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Fri Jun 23 11:28:19 2017

Bingo on both posts above.  It costs me about a buck per box.  People who think "free" shipping is free are even less likely to understand that.  But I would never dream of doing this because it's a recipe for chargebacks.

Sellers Who List Shipping Boxes Separately   Sellers Who List Shipping Boxes Separately

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Fri Jun 23 11:35:28 2017

Do these sellers also charge for tape & bubble wrap / packing peanuts? And the gas used for the trip to the Post Office??

Of course, all these costs must be incorporated into the selling price. And if a seller cannot still turn a decent profit on the item after expenses, then they need to review why they bother to sell online.

Sellers Who List Shipping Boxes Separately   Sellers Who List Shipping Boxes Separately

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Fri Jun 23 17:00:44 2017

That's a crazy idea. If a seller is aware that an item they are mailing could break or otherwise be damaged in transit, it's their responsibility to mail said item in the appropriate envelope/box so it arrives in the same condition as described in the listing.

If one of my items has to be mailed in a box, my cost for the box is added to the price of the item.

And to state that you're not responsible if the item breaks, well, yes you are if you stuff a glass vase in a Flat Rate Envelope. And buyers are notorious for not reading descriptions, so I don't understand why this seller would even give a buyer an option to pay for safer shipping.  

Sellers Who List Shipping Boxes Separately   Sellers Who List Shipping Boxes Separately

by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 23 18:23:41 2017

It amazes me how many people selling on the net do not realize (or pretend not to) they are in the ''mail order business'' legally and ARE responsible for the safe delivery of the items they sale.

Jeeeezz the gal is out of it.

Sellers Who List Shipping Boxes Separately   Sellers Who List Shipping Boxes Separately

by: comments This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 23 21:55:14 2017

When I sell on ebay I take responsibility for safe delivery.

That said I pack and ship very carefully and cover the cost to return or fix damaged products. I would never upsell a safer delivery method. Also I think the selling of USPS boxes is against the law.

Sellers Who List Shipping Boxes Separately   Sellers Who List Shipping Boxes Separately

This user has validated their user name. by: Bill

Fri Jun 23 23:52:27 2017

Yes the selling of Priority boxes is against the law and again if you are in mail order you buy based the cost of the item plus safe shipping.
To ship a fragile item in an envelope is ludicrous.

Sellers Who List Shipping Boxes Separately   Sellers Who List Shipping Boxes Separately

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Sat Jun 24 03:03:55 2017

If the seller is selling USPS supplies that are given to the public for free, there may be some ramifications with USPS for doing this!!  This could have Federal implications, couldn't it???

I'm not at all sure I understand this concept or why Etsy even allows it.

Sellers Who List Shipping Boxes Separately   Sellers Who List Shipping Boxes Separately

by: angryllama This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jun 24 05:55:29 2017

First and foremost I DO NOT LIKE that any seller would do / offer what is referenced in Ina's article.  My SECOND THOUGHT is that I almost... ALMOST... understand wanting to make that sort of "offer" to buyers. Most all that I sell go out First Class Package or MEDIA MAIL rate in PERFECTLY appropriate padded bubble-mailers.  Once.. I do mean ONCE I had a buyer of a full season of Murder She Wrote get all huffy that HER IMPORTANT PURCHASE had been mailed to her in an "ENVELOPE" when she expected a BOX. Not drawing too many conclusions from this 1 in 9,000 event, but I do think that AMAZON engendered a certain expectation on the part of some buyers that ALL shipments should be in boxes. This flies in the face of the way LIGHT PRODUCTS that go appropriately/safely in padded mailers can be pushed OUT of the First Class rate by the added WEIGHT of a box. I am especially aware of this given the way the First 8 ounces for International First Class Export Mail is ONE price and an 8.1 ounce package that has to RATE as 9 ounces is fully 60 percent HIGHER $price.  Sounds backwards, but I have taken to listing ANY DVD that FEELS heavier than the standard 6 ounces as NINE ounces. Why? That way IF the buyer proves to be International I won't have to take a CASH LOSS on the export postage when the Perfectly Right Buyer in Germany, Canada, Iceland, pays their $15+ and I have to pay $23 for that extra BUMP that nudged the Gross Mailing Weight into the 9 thru 24 ounce rate.  Just consider how often putting CD DVD Blu-Ray into a BOX would exceed the 8.1 ounce conundrum.

Sellers Who List Shipping Boxes Separately   Sellers Who List Shipping Boxes Separately

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Sat Jun 24 11:15:17 2017

Everyone wants your last penny!

Hotels are now charging a "resort fee" and rental car companies charge a "daily registration fee".

It's never going to stop until there are no pennies left. . .

Sellers Who List Shipping Boxes Separately   Sellers Who List Shipping Boxes Separately

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jun 25 01:05:17 2017

...... priority mail boxes are free, so while what she does is a novel idea - its abysmal customer service, it shows she doesn't care about her buyers and on top of that - isn't pricing her items right.

"Funny but stupid"

Sellers Who List Shipping Boxes Separately   Sellers Who List Shipping Boxes Separately

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Sun Jun 25 03:02:47 2017

USPS Priority Mail supplies are free from the post office. ... "This packaging is the property of the united states postal service and is provided solely for use in sending priority Mail shipments. Misuse may be a violation of federal law. This packaging is not for resale."Aug 6, 2016

https://www.thebalance.com/usps-supply-misuse-fines-403789
2

Sellers Who List Shipping Boxes Separately   Sellers Who List Shipping Boxes Separately

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jun 25 06:22:25 2017

Any shipment of an online purchase must account for secure packaging - and related costs - someplace.  However, secure preparation for shipment still remains seller responsibility regardless of any disclaimers.

Some sellers might choose to (or be virtually compelled to) embed those costs and label them 'free'.  Others have them calculated separately and disclosed, some even ethically passing on any bulk ship cost savings on to the buyer as well (imagine that).

But in no case would I purchase from a seller who would see fit to 'force' buyers to seperately transact secure shipment means or method.  It's not the cost factor, as those are unavoidable.  It's the presumption that such inconvenience in means to pay for them can be dictated.  Even if offered as an 'upgrade' within a listing, any less than secure means without the 'upgrade' resulting in 'damage' would indeed spoil that seller's day.

Sellers Who List Shipping Boxes Separately   Sellers Who List Shipping Boxes Separately

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Sun Jun 25 12:59:43 2017

@snapped

"Some sellers might choose to (or be virtually compelled to) embed those costs and label them 'free'."
As we all know shipping via any method is not really free, so if a seller doesn't add those costs into the product sale price, how is the seller suppose to recover costs?  I don't think it has anything to do with feeling "compelled to", it is simply a cost that needs to be recovered.  There is nothing wrong with that.  The buyer has the power to choose to purchase or not to purchase.

I certainly agree with you.  I would NEVER purchase from a seller that was requiring a separate purchase for getting secure packaging for what I've purchased.  It simply doesn't make any sense at all to me.

Sellers Who List Shipping Boxes Separately   Sellers Who List Shipping Boxes Separately

by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 26 03:21:21 2017

If you pay with Paypal or credit card and is comes smashed, the seller is responsible regardless of what they state in the ad. I would think this is a new seller or someone of advanced age that is getting cantankerous.  

Sellers Who List Shipping Boxes Separately   Sellers Who List Shipping Boxes Separately

by: Barbbie This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 26 10:19:38 2017

I offer a box on ebay on many items.  First one is cheaper, priority mail envelope, second is priority mail box, third is express.
Why? Because some nutcase years ago complained about getting his item in an envelope (even though his actually said envelope but there was no box  choice) it made me be sure it was offered on the items that it could be.
If the item can be shipped in an envelope and you offer a box as an upgrade I fail to see the problem. The seller is not forcing you to purchase any upgrade.
A lot of my competitors ship items that to me are bendable in envelopes and  I have had buyers ask if I do the same and have gained some from it by using a box.  However, that cost is included in the price.
As for Amazon always mailing in a box...you have not ordered enough items from Amazon. I no longer use FBA due to all the breakable items of mine they mailed in envelopes and I have received items in envelopes that I have purchased.



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