AuctionBytes Blog
Covering auctions, collectibles and marketplace selling.

AuctionBytes Blog The AuctionBytes Blog has been giving a voice to online merchants since its launch in 2005. Named one of the world's top 30 blogs in 2008 by "Blogging Heroes." Weigh in with your thoughts on the joys and pitfalls of selling online.
Mon Mar 11 2013 14:04:15

Is Shipping Insurance Clear Enough?

By: Julia Wilkinson

Sponsored Link

As Ina reported today, a judge threw out claims by an eBay seller that eBay's Shipcover insurance is "useless" because it excluded the items he shipped from coverage. U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton dismissed  lead plaintiff Luke Knowles's claims eBay knew its ShipCover insurance excludes entire categories of products from coverage, but "intentionally conceals that information from sellers who want to buy insurance."

Knowles had purchased Shipcover insurance for a coin he shipped. The buyer later notified him that the package he sent "arrived open with the purchased coin missing." according to the Courthouse News Service article about the suit. EBay denied the claim, noting that the item insured was on the list of items that are ineligible for coverage.

I haven't bought shipping insurance in a while, but I went to the eBay site to see what the terms of the Shipcover insurance were. On eBay's shipping insurance page, it runs down the various types of shipping insurance sellers can choose to buy. One of them is Shipcover. When you click the link to lear more about Shipcover, there is another page with more information about that insurance, and a link to "About Shipcover insurance." which has a link to the "terms of coverage." Here is where you will find the complete rundown of what is *not* insured, as well as the conditions in which the insurance does not apply, some of which are quite disastrous-sounding: "Any weapon of war employing atomic fission or radioactive force whether in time of peace or war."

But it does spell out what physical products are not covered, to wit:

"- Coins, bullion, loose diamonds or stones, stocks, bonds, currency, deeds, evidences of debt, travelers checks, money orders, gift certificates, calling cards, lottery tickets, admission tickets, or any other negotiable documents...Plasma televisions or monitors."

It further does not cover, among other things:

"- Loss from delay, deterioration, spoilage or contamination of perishable merchandise except when resulting from fire.
- Merchandise shipped on consignment, memorandum or approval unless shipped in fulfillment of an order or request."

One thought that I has was how often we humans encounter massively long legal terms and just check the box stating we read it, to save time or if we are in a hurry. But, on the other hand, these terms are not nearly as long as some others I've seen.

My question for you is, do you think these terms or other shipping insurance terms should be spelled out more clearly, or succinctly, so purchasers have a better idea of what coverage they are getting? And if so, how?

Also, in what circumstances do you insure, and do you have an item price "threshold" for buying insurance? Or do you "self-insure," figuring it all comes out in the wash? What have your experiences been overall with shipping insurance? Post a comment here!




Comments (31) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Is Shipping Insurance Clear Enough?   Is Shipping Insurance Clear Enough?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ina

Mon Mar 11 15:48:31 2013

It doesn't seem it would be difficult to have software that can pop up a warning when a seller is trying to purchase insurance for an item that is ineligible.  

Is Shipping Insurance Clear Enough?   Is Shipping Insurance Clear Enough?

by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 11 16:21:47 2013

That is my thought too Ina.
To sell ''insurance'' in a category that cannot be insured is ABSURD- if a seller mistakenly bought 2nd party insurance as they did not know about the coin rule it would of course be a mistake of the seller.
For ebay to offer THEIR insurance on THEIR CATEGORY and they cannot be insured I really think folks should ASK FOR REFUNDS as this is clear theft.
If we sellers did this they would TAKE US DOWN- offering and being charged for insurance in a non-insurance category- BLATANT.
Mass Howler
Scary google article Ina, glad I did not join ''adwords'' and let well enough alone.
That ''stock'' price has fallen 5 bucks this week, WORD is OUT.

Is Shipping Insurance Clear Enough?   Is Shipping Insurance Clear Enough?

by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 11 16:42:20 2013

Insurance is very unclear but it really just covers the seller. Real info on insurance, like most other things on ebay rely on answers from forum users (fellow experienced sellers) and we really have NO DIRECTIONS WHATSOEVER from ebay either, we've just been doing it for a long time and we know more than MOST folks do- we too are left to endlessly SPECULATE and PONDER THESE THINGS instead of working at making a living.
Talk to ''EXPERTS'' on the forums ebay says- OKAY, we are the EXPERTS (I guess?) and we HELP others but where the HECK ARE the durn DIRECTIONS FOR US from Y-O-U????
What I would love to hear about is what is happening to sellers in the ''gsp'' program?
How are sales, FEEDBACK, how quickly are items getting there; etc.
Also some clarification about the overall dimentions (sp?) being wrong on the ebay gsp specs page- ebay says 118'' maximum length- post office returning items to SELLERS saying 108'' maximum length!?
Insurance is a mess if this ''TECH company'' has insurance offered in an UNINSURABLE CATEGORY!!
I insure items myself depending on the popularity, potential for fraud or abuse, or based on buyer feedback left. It is about 1% of my internationals and maybe 5% of my domestics and I have had 1 claim in over 10000 transactions so it IS BETTER and CHEAPER to just make a fund yourself.
Look at those elements and DECIDE if YOU want to INSURE YOURSELF FROM A LOSS and use your head, you will be just fine.
MH  

Is Shipping Insurance Clear Enough?   Is Shipping Insurance Clear Enough?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Mon Mar 11 17:15:09 2013

Unfortunately for sellers, eBay intentionally attempts to force sellers to use eBay shipping, and, by default, eBay's cwappy insurance.

eBay is notorious for falling back on user agreements the seller "agreed" to when shortcomings of their processes and services are challenged.

Essentially, eBay's shipcover insurance is offered only for products that are unlikely to break in transit, thus rendering the coverage worthless. Boil it down, and eBay's ShipCover insurance intentionally obfuscates the categories not covered.

Typical for eBay's corporate culture, they do not prevent sellers from purchasing insurance for items not covered by their product thus accepting payment for coverage of products excluded from the plan. As such, eBay knowingly accepts insurance payments for items they will later refuse to pay claims on in the event the seller needs to file a claim for damage.

Only after it is too late does eBay clarify the item which they accepted payment for coverage on is not eligible for coverage.

eBay is taking payments for items knowing full well sellers do not understand what is covered and what is excluded from being covered. When the fraud is exposed, eBay simply points to the user agreement and claims the seller should have known.



There is a simple way to avoid the poor coverage inherent to eBay's shipcover insurance... Do not process your shipping labels through eBay and do not purchase their poor excuse for a package insurance product.

Sellers would be better served processing labels for packages which require insurance directly with the carrier and insure the product with that carrier's insurance product either through PayPal or directly through the carriers website.

As a general rule, we do not allow eBay to get any deeper into our transactions than absolutely necessary.

We ship primarily through USPS and process 95% of our labels through PayPal. When we want a package insured, we purchase the label and the insurance coverage directly through the USPS website to avoid the fraudulent practices inherent in eBay's ShipCover insurance.

We have had to file two recent claims on USPS insured packages for items damaged in transit.  

In both cases, we filed our claims online through the USPS website. We uploaded pictures of the damaged items, damaged packaging and scans of the invoice as part of the claim when we filed it.

Checks were received within 14 business days of the date we filed our claims without any further communication required.

Is Shipping Insurance Clear Enough?   Is Shipping Insurance Clear Enough?

by: Scotty This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 11 18:40:15 2013

"Ebay Insurance" = oxymoron

Is Shipping Insurance Clear Enough?   Is Shipping Insurance Clear Enough?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Mon Mar 11 19:48:42 2013

Being the ebafia cynic that I am, it appears ebafia requires a lot more effort than should be necessary in order to locate the exclusions.

Ina's pop up idea would easily solve that problem, but likely won't happen because it would diminish ebafia revenues.

Claims for items not clearly identified as exclusions should be paid. If not, then complaints can be filed against the carrier in the state where the carrier is located.

I won't use ebay labels and insurance.

I used UPIC for a couple of years until they substantially increased my rates after a British buyer claimed non receipt and then a year later UPIC refused to lower them after a perfect record.

I presently use InsurePost, which is a vision of ShipSurance. I pay a la carte rates to IP because the search changes The Ho made in 2008 eliminated 90% of my international business virtually overnight making the monthly subscription model expensive than coverage per shipment.

In terms of covered countries, IP is more restrictive than the ebafia insurance covered list, but the countries IP excludes are notorious problems for ebafia sellers so I don't mind. I've had one claim  for non receipt and was reimbursed within one month, and they didn't raise my rates.

From my experience, IP is superior to UPIC.

I selectively self insure international shipments more than $100 and due to the outrageous USPS January rate increases, only insure for domestic shipments of $200 and higher.

In more than a decade of ebafia selling, I've had zero USPS damages and the only two legitimately missing items were postal employee theft (the thief was caught).

Insurance is about risk management. Some items clearly should be insured, but sellers might want to think about re evaluating the use of universal insurance -- especially label postage and insurance that lines ebafia's pockets.

Is Shipping Insurance Clear Enough?   Is Shipping Insurance Clear Enough?

by: Truk This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 11 19:57:45 2013

Trust between seller's and ebay nowadays is tenuous at best

They have yet found another way to dissolve what trust remains

When or how can they return to the trusted business partner they once were?

Is Shipping Insurance Clear Enough?   Is Shipping Insurance Clear Enough?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Mon Mar 11 20:10:27 2013

Devil Wenig's comments reveal so much about continuing devolution of the efabia korporate kulture.

He and The Ho are apparently so insulated and far removed from the macro reality the rest of live in that neither one is capable of logical and rational analysis.

Of course Google is going to do things they perceive as beneficial to them just as you do for ebafia. They don't care whether ebafia is harmed just as YOU don't care when changes YOU make harm your sellers.

The concept of hypocrisy doesn't even began to cover their utter disconnect from reality.

This kind of cavernous disconnect explains so many bizarre and counterproductive things ebafia does on a weekly basis.

Ebafia should get rid of these Silicon Valley syncophants and hire an entirely different breed of  executive -- experienced ones who are grounded in reality, understand that cell phones should be off during meetings, understand the importance of intra company communications, who listen to subordinates, and who understand that the success of their customers will make them more successful.

Look at the way it is now:

Ebafia is constantly as war with one corporation or another. Right now it's Google. It used to Yahoo, and it will be someone else in the future.

Ebafia constantly wars against its own customers, sellers.

Ebafia created policies that now often pit buyers against sellers and vice versa.

Pierre, get rid these fourth raters before they complete the destruction of the company you created.

Is Shipping Insurance Clear Enough?   Is Shipping Insurance Clear Enough?

by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 11 20:31:06 2013

Amen!

This is the same as Mings approach, but he is a fine writer...

Do not let ebay into your deal anymore than you have to to close the deal.

This is the ONLY WAY you will survive here let alone achieve trs- trs have LEARNED to BRIBE and TO NOT TAKE CHANCES. I use no automation, check things by eye and pay for dc at the counter and they all get there.

Keep them OUT of all of the ELEMENTS you can- I write my labels by hand and stand inline at the po (11 years).

Gospel.

Every ''Service'' that ebay offers (labels, insurance, payments, $$ conversions, charge-back ''assistance''; etc) is so filled with bugs, fees, traps incompetence, deceptive software- many programs even seem INCOMPLETE- limit their access to your business or your involvement in their many ''programs'' will sabotage you (WORD).
I believe a User agreement can be found to be null and void if it is demonstrated that either party acted in a manner that was intentionally decietful, or not acting in GOOD FAITH.
What are the elements that can make a user agreement null and void Ming?
(Ming Knows).
MH
PS: I don't really worry about buyers getting me or damaging me anymore- I WORRY ABOUT EBAY gettin me- and I am their CUSTOMER. You have to keep ebays BAD ELEMENTS from MUCKING UP your deal.

Is Shipping Insurance Clear Enough?   Is Shipping Insurance Clear Enough?

by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 12 08:26:14 2013

Do ebay sellers trust ebay?   Ebay should hold a "TRUST ebay vote" in 2 categories LARGE SELLERS & SMALL AMERICAN SELLERS?  

I just read from this site that ebay is doubting Google search.  I hope ebay stop advertising on Google search and lower its fees to ALL items sold.

This is like NM did to ebay and ebay is doing it to Google.  After gaining enough customers from Google, ebay is now casting off Google.  

I dare ebay take pride of its new research finding and leave Google 100%.  

As always, I doubt any survey or research ebay did.  ebay always have ulterior motives on its statistics.  ebay already have concluded even before any survey or statistical study begin.

All the hardships small American ebay sellers got were apparently based on ebay's statistics aim to help and protect ALL ebay sellers.


Is Shipping Insurance Clear Enough?   Is Shipping Insurance Clear Enough?

by: Watching the Wheels This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 12 09:00:15 2013

I don't sell on Ebay, but have found that ANY insurance company seems to have more reasons why a claim will be denied, as to being paid out.

Add to this the extras as far as packaging materials to qualify said item as being claim worthy, it's easier and less expensive to just self insure your items going out.

I sell a predominance of glassware. Shipping is costly enough, BEFORE you add the weight of double boxing, a 2 inch buffer zone of peanuts and the possibility of higher postage for going past size limitations.

Small sellers still need to stay competitive price wise to large corporate sellers.

I also self insure, so a buyer isn't put through hoops after they are already upset, because something within their purchase went south. I deal with whatever needs to be dealt with in a timely manner and with as little inconveniance, as is humanly possible, for my buyers.

That's OLD SCHOOL, and in my oppinion, a much better way to take care of the people who have bought from us.

Problem transactions should ONLY account for a 2 - 3% potential loss, if you do your end properly. That SHOULD be absorbable.

Insurance companies are out for themselves and designed for profit, not losses.

Any policy I've read had far too many loopholes designed to protect the insurance compnay from paying out.

Is Shipping Insurance Clear Enough?   Is Shipping Insurance Clear Enough?

by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 12 09:18:17 2013

@Ming,
Pierre, get rid these fourth raters before they complete the destruction of the company you created.
Think maybe he doesn't think of anything but count his money everyday - in a trance - oblivious or doesn't care??? Think the same of all the other board members. They must be getting paid very well. Anyone who cared about GROWING ebay would have made changes to ceo and down a couple of years ago.  

Is Shipping Insurance Clear Enough?   Is Shipping Insurance Clear Enough?

by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Tue Mar 12 11:05:45 2013

I use endicia for my postage and use their U-PIC insurance when necessary. Whether I buy insurance depends on the cost and how flush we are with cash at the time. If money is so tight that  I couldn't cover a $50 loss, I will insure for 90 cents if needed. Some things I sell I can find more copies so I can replace what was shipped while others are rare HTF and so need insurance. I've only had to make 3-4 claims in over 10 years of selling and never had a bit of a problem with endicia or U-PIC.

Whether ebay pressures people to use their postage and insurance or not, I don't understand why people are wanting to give ebay more money and allow them to have their hands in more of the pie. When the shipping rates changed at the end of January, endicia was ready but I heard ebay didn't have some of the postage rates and wouldn't have them until sometime this month! Fulkl of excuses as well! Why deal with a company that can't get it's act together? I know some think they are saving money to use ebay/PP for postage, but endicia (and the other programs) are so cheap and so stressless, I don't understand why some don't use them. The insurance through endicia is even cheaper than the PO as well.

Is Shipping Insurance Clear Enough?   Is Shipping Insurance Clear Enough?

by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 12 14:52:40 2013

I used USPS EMS automatically insured for $100.  Send to Australia.  Parcel was lost.  USPS said it was taken by US Customs and it is not their fault.  So they neither refund the postage nor paid for the item lost.  USPS claimed it was not lost.  it was at US Customs.  So USPS is not liable to pay anything. I also have to send a replacement EMS parcel... this time the USPS Global Guaranteed.
All insurers are CHEATERS!

Is Shipping Insurance Clear Enough?   Is Shipping Insurance Clear Enough?

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

Tue Mar 12 15:06:06 2013

I don't buy Ebay insurance due to the fact that I know somewhere in the fine print the coverage will be found worthless, no matter the item or the circumstances. Also they do not cover postage costs or coverage ends on the airport landing strip.  

As for Ebay stating that Google ads do not work for branded businesses, I find that interesting as Ebay is charging branded businesses for the same service they state doesn't work.

I am not sure anyone took a look at the figures posted for Google's total ad revenues versus goods sold and did the math. For each dollar sold, Google got 33 cents. In my world that is no bargain or cost effective, but I am no financial expert and so what do I know?

Is Shipping Insurance Clear Enough?   Is Shipping Insurance Clear Enough?

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 12 16:04:55 2013

*I* use Shipcover and have never (2yrs so far) YET had a problem with ANY claim Ive ever had to make - to get reimbursed from the theft from eBays stellar buyers!

Im in the electronics end of eBay and I end up with 3-6 claims per year of INR.

I too used to use Shipcover in the begining .... The issue for me was the amount of claims they let you make. I insure EACH AND EVERY PACKAGE - USA or Domestic.

A good portion of eBay's buyers are a bunch of thieving SOBS. Worse, the incompetant postal systems in supossedly mature western EU countries they live in are "3rd world at BEST", and refuse to share data with USPS to get eBay and Paypal to get the magic word they love so much "DELIVERED".

The issue with Shipcover isnt that they wont cover coins (almost no one does - and the person who went to court should have known that) its like eBay's DSR system... the amount of claims, the dollar amounts of your "policy" are SECRET. Once you breach that number/amount - they throw you off the system and wont let you back on - ever. I called after I was denied and was told that the information is secret and they cant tell me ANY details and to STFU ... then they hung up on me (mind you Im an eBay seller since 98 and am a gold TRSP)(and this is the treatment you get from eBay!)

Shipsurance for me is 40 cents a hundred anywhere in the world except for about 15 countries - most of which none of us are shipping to anyway (like Iraq, Syria and parts of Africa)(yes I know ... Toto).

Ming, Annie, Ric and the rest here offer sage advice - the more you keep eBay OUT of your business - the better. The more you get into bed with them - the more you get ripped off, and the more you will end up loosing.

Is Shipping Insurance Clear Enough?   Is Shipping Insurance Clear Enough?

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 12 16:06:20 2013

typo - I insure EACH AND EVERY PACKAGE - USA or Domestic. should read I insure EACH AND EVERY PACKAGE - USA or Foreign.

my appologies

Is Shipping Insurance Clear Enough?   Is Shipping Insurance Clear Enough?

by: timeaftertime This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 12 20:31:33 2013

Buying shipping insurance is just like anything else - READ THE CONTRACT AND TERMS before using !

There is no "free lunch" in shipping, so if you're looking for "cheap" be prepared and expect to receive less in services.

Just an aside -- anyone using FedExGround or UPS should read the fine print on the back of those labels!! if you want some surprises with what is or is not covered.  

I self-insure cheaper parcels because I have saved so much not buying insurance, I can afford a "claim" or several. I have always had the best luck with USPS, actually only needed it 3 times in 15 years and hundreds of sales. Absolutely 100% top notch.

The worst was a $350 claim for a broken figurine sent via insured Priority Mail to an island off Scotland. It took about a year but I received my refund in good order and perfectly documented.      

Is Shipping Insurance Clear Enough?   Is Shipping Insurance Clear Enough?

by: timeaftertime This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 12 20:44:42 2013

@ Massachusetts Howler -- and anyone using hand labels out of frustration!!

Why use hand labels with all their pitfalls?  Sign up with USPS for a Click-N-Ship account, you register a CC and you can print pre-paid Priority and Express labels, both domestic and foreign. You can purchase supplies as needed right on line. I've had an account for years and love it!  

Also - Sign up for a Click-N-Ship-For-Business and you can print out labels for ALL services of mail, either without postage or by using a postage meter account  (I don't have a meter so dont know all details).

The computer printed labels are terrific - with the label comes a receipt with exactly what's on the label so absolutely no mistakes. No hand writing for a USPS employee or scanner to mix up. They come out with bar codes so no difficulty with scanning.

And you will get discounts off window prices, plus there are services you can only access online (example, cheaper ''Regional'' packages).  

Is Shipping Insurance Clear Enough?   Is Shipping Insurance Clear Enough?

by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 12 21:45:38 2013

Hello, fellows.
  ebay used anonymous email address. Then it force seller to use ebay message.  The anonymous email immediately expired.  If seller simply use REPLY, the email would bounce.  This appear to be happening to 50% of my emails.
  Is this happening to everyone?  Or am I being targeted?  Is ebay  creating new chaos to sellers' operation?
 

Click to view more comments
1 2  [Next Page]


Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment using your AB Verify User Name, fill in the form below. If you have not yet signed up for AB Verify, or if you'd like more information, go to the Registration Page
.

Login for AB Verify
Be sure and use your email address and password to log in.

 
Email:
Password:
 
 Forgot Your Password?
 Even though you are signed in with the AuctionBytes Blog, you will have to sign in to the EcommerceBytes blog. But you can sign in with your existing AB Verify info.