Author Topic: How to package and post your item for safe transit and avoid negative feedback.  (Read 21799 times)


  • Guest
    A good seller’s objective should be to get the buyer’s item to them quickly, safely, and intact. 

    That heart-sinking feeling when you open an email to the claim an item has arrived damaged, or the parcel has not arrived at all, can generally be avoided if you follow some simple procedures.

    This commonsense guide shows how to appropriately pack and post your articles to avoid claims but please note I have not covered items sent by couriers or other means, just by Australia Post. 

    Comprehensive Australia Post guidelines, can be accessed via the official Australia Post website,,CH2002%257EMO19,00.html

    Generally the two main basic rules are
    1.   Always ensure you confirm and use the correct address
    2.   Package and label appropriately


    Australia Post require articles of any kind to be packaged to:
    • complete its transit intact
    • revent injury to any post staff handling the article
    • prevent the contents escaping
    • prevent damage to other equipment and vehicles.

    To ensure contents do not suffer damage by the handling stresses and pressures that the article will be inevitably subject to during postal carriage.

    • Use sturdy packaging (this is an Australia Post guideline as they accept parcels up to 20 kilos and a parcel of this weight could be placed on your box/parcel in transit).
    • Cushioning materials should be light and readily able to absorb pressure and impact.
    • When using cellulose beads, if practicable, place them loosely then tie in plastic bags first. It is still easy to wedge them around the article and the buyer does not get a shower of beads on opening their parcel.
    • If you use recycled boxes ensure you have removed all old labels and bar codes to prevent scanners picking up an incorrect code. This will ensure post staff don't use incorrect information along the way or your parcel may end up in Timbuktu.
    • If you cannot remove bar codes or old address labels it is not necessary to waste money on brown wrapping paper to cover this, just turn the box inside out. It is easily done and saves money and time.
    • Tape all box edges down to ensure the box does not get caught on a conveyor belt in transit.
    • Ensure all staples are affixed correctly and no sharp ends are protruding.

    Extra care for fragile items:
    • It is essential to pack fragile items in a box sturdy enough to withstand a 20 kilo weight.
    • Ensure the box is big enough to allow enough packaging to prevent the item bouncing around inside.
    • Pack with cushioning materials. It is unwise to use broken pieces of polystyrene boxes as are these are too firm for this use and breakages have occurred.
    • For extra fragile items, box as above, and then surround this box in more protective material and place it inside another (larger) box.
    • Discussions on forums indicate that if you put a "fragile" sticker on your parcel it may be treated less carefully by AP staff but even if this is not so, Australia Post state such stickers are unnecessary because notices such as FRAGILE or THIS WAY UP are of no use once the article is in a mail bag or at any time that it is not being handled as an individual article.
    • Lastly, pick up the box and forcefully toss it across the room. If the item does not break it is packed appropriately to post :)

    The Australia Post preference of address-style is:
    First line: Name of addressee
    Second line: Street name, PO Box number, or Locked bag number
    Last line: (no punctuation or underlining. Use capitals): SUBURB  STATE  POSTCODE. Keep the postcode clear and away from any other writing to ensure it is easily and correctly scanned.

    • For a parcel, the address must be on the largest surface area
    • Typed addresses are safest as they scan more accurately.
    • If you want a professional look but don’t have adhesive labels, just print out the address on plain paper and attach it to the parcel by covering completely with clear tape. This makes the address look professional and waterproof in case the parcel gets wet.
    • If hand-writing the address, print clearly and cover with clear tape to ensure it is waterproof.
    • The recipient’s address must be clearly distinguishable from the return address i.e., use smaller text for the return address.
    • The return address can be put on the front of the parcel (in smaller text and best in the top far left corner of the parcel), and covered with clear tape to ensure it does not become illegible if wet. You may place the "Return Address" on the opposite face of the parcel, however, this has led to parcels being inadvertently sent back to the sender.


    Australia post will not handle parcels which are too big or too small which is generally the criteria below:
    • The maximum allowed weight of a parcel is 20 kg.
    • The length of the greatest linear dimension of a parcel must not exceed 105 cm.
    • The girth of a parcel must not exceed 140 cm.
    • If the parcel is irregular in shape, its length is the distance between the two furthest-apart points on the surface of the article and must not exceed 105 cm. The girth, measured around the 'fattest' part of the article at right angles to its length, must not exceed 140 cm.
    • The girth of a parcel must be at least 16 cm, e.g. a broom handle or a pencil-shaped parcel is not acceptable.
    • If the parcel is box-shaped, both its length and its width must be at least 5 cm.

    Cubic weight: Australia Post assesses the weight for parcels over 1kg that are square or rectangular in shape, as whichever is the greater of the actual weight in kilograms or the volume in cubic metres multiplied by 250 i.e. the cubic weight.

    Australia Post reserves the right to also apply cubic charges to a parcel weighing less than 1kg, and to parcels that are irregular.

    This extra charge can almost double the cost to post a parcel so weigh and price your parcel’s post cost carefully before you put that cost in your auction. There is nothing more annoying to a potential buyer to be asked to "email for post cost" or "I will take the parcel to AP after the auction and let you know the cost". You WILL lose bidders if you do this.

    A professional way to sell is to pack and assess the post cost before you list. If you do not have scales at home, take your parcel to a post office to assess the correct weight and dimensions for a basis to the post cost. Some sellers think this is too time consuming but if you have enough parcels that this is a major impediment, then you should have scales at home.

    eBay and most other auction sites have postage calculators built in to their listing templates so use the post office dimensions in your listing. This will give you an exact post cost to any Australian or overseas destination. It is time saving to both buyer and seller to have the correct post cost in your listing. If you cannot work out how to utilise a post calculator, ask on the forum, there are many members eager to help you.

    For a complete explanation of all post costs, including the cubing policy please visit the Australia Post site  .


    Ensure you have the correct address:

    When you send the invoice always confirm that the postal address showing on the invoice is correct (lots of buyers forget to change their address details when they move house). If the item is paid through PayPal as well as checking the address is correct also ensure you send the parcel to the address in PayPal as the buyer can claim for recompense due to a lost parcel if an address other than that in PayPal is used. The claim would be upheld and PayPal would refund the buyer from your PayPal account. If a buyer asks to have the parcel sent to a third address they must set up a third address in PayPal as a 'gift' address.

    Proof of posting
    To obtain proof of posting you must lodge the article over the counter at any office of Australia Post. You receive a postmarked receipt that you should retain. Best practice is to staple that receipt with the eBay invoice(s) in case of a claim.

    If you do not require proof of posting, you may lodge an article in a street post box but this is not good practice. Australia Post street boxes have been vandalised and/or set alight, especially on a weekend, so unless it is an absolute necessity, always post over the counter and get a post-coded receipt.

    However, proof of posting is not sufficient for a parcel when the buyer paid by PayPal. It is suggested that parcels over the value of $50 be registered as the paperwork completed in this process will show the name of the person the parcel was posted to and proof it has arrived at its destination. Registered Post offers additional security and a range of optional services to give even greater peace of mind:
    • a unique identification number for each parcel
    • proof of posting if parcels are lodged over the counter at an office of Australia Post
    • a signed record of delivery
    • compensation up to $100 included in the registration fee provided that proof of posting exists (optional extra cover up to $5000 can be purchased at extra cost)
    • optional Delivery Confirmation card
    • optional Person-to-Person delivery.

    For PayPal proof of receipt requirements it is necessary to use a delivery system which requires the buyer to show proof of identity and sign on receipt of the item.

    Regarding valuable items please note: Within Australia, senders must use the Registered Post Service to be eligible to make a claim for a lost parcel containing a valuable item of any nature, not limited to but including, jewellery, coins, stamps and precious stones, regardless of value.


    Items under the value of $50 MAY be compensated by Australia Post (jewellery, coins etc. will not be), items over the value of $50 should be insured for peace of mind. I have never had a buyer who protested about the extra small amount for insurance because I state in my auction's Terms of Sale that all items over $50 will have the insurance cost added to the post total. Do not be talked into not registering a parcel. They are your terms of sale and they are for the safe completion of the transaction for both buyer and seller.

    If a parcel is deemed "lost" it is the seller’s responsibility to complete an Australia Post claim form.  To support the claim attach the post-coded postal receipt and a copy of the eBay invoice (which has a description of the goods) as proof of postage and value of item. Every time I posted parcels I attached all my eBay invoices for those items to the Australia Post receipt and kept them in a safe place.

    If a seller does not have proof of postage and the parcel cannot be found it is wise to refund the buyer as it is your responsibility to ensure the parcel gets to the buyer. Make sure you don't suffer losses by keeping your receipts and invoices.

    If a parcel is received "damaged" it is the recipient’s responsibility to take the parcel to the nearest post office. The staff will ascertain whether the damage is the fault of Australia Post or inadequate packaging by the sender. If the packaging is deemed inadequate by Australia Post, the seller must refund the buyer. If Australia Post agree the break was caused by them the buyer can complete an AP claim form and Australia Post will refund them. Use your invoice as proof of the parcel’s contents.


    Australia Post are very strict about letter size, weight and contents so if you intend to send an item as a letter you will need to ensure you comply with Australia Post’s guidelines.

    Paper envelopes are meant to carry only paper and to a maximum thickness of 5mm. If you include something in the letter which is soft or bulging, it would be wise to use strong cardboard each side to ensure the envelope will pass along the conveyor belt and through the stamping process without getting stuck.

    Any letter thicker than .5mm may get stuck, the envelope torn and the item marked by the belt, it may also damage other items around it. There will be no compensation by AP for such mishaps as the item should not be in an envelope and if it damages other items in the process you may also be responsible for recompense for that item as well. Therefore it is strongly recommended you do NOT post anything but paper as a letter and if you do you may get a claim from the buyer and Australia post and negative feedback.

    A small letter should be no heavier than 250grams and no thicker than 5mm.
    A large letter must be no heavier than 500gms and no thicker than 20mm (there are varying sized large letter sizes, see Australia Post website for full descriptions).


    Although convenient, padded bags add cost to your item. Consider alternatives when possible.

    Most padded bags and mailers have an area on the front for the address and on the back for the return address. When completed, cover the addresses with clear tape to prevent water damage.

    Padded bags and mailers when posted are costed by thickness and weight, over 2cm thickness they are regarded as a small parcel. To attract the lowest post cost they should weigh less than 100grams and fit easily, and without hindrance, though the 2cm AP slot measure. If it will not fit through the slot, it becomes a "parcel" and the post cost could triple. As the size and weight of the envelope/padded bag increase so does the cost up to the point the envelope/padded bag becomes a parcel.


    • Guest
    For PayPal proof of receipt requirements it is necessary to use a delivery system which requires the buyer to show proof of identity and sign on receipt of the item.

    For Australian Sellers, Paypal ONLY requires Proof of Postage, but that MUST also show the Buyer's name and Address.

    Subject to the provisions of sections 4.2.4 and 4.2.5 a transaction (where the buyer makes a PayPal payment on or after 27th March 2008 AEST) will be eligible for protection under the Seller Protection Policy where the following requirements are met:

    You sold the Merchandise via any eBay website; and

    You provide PayPal with valid Proof of Shipment of the Merchandise; and

    You posted the Merchandise via an Approved Postage Service; and

    You sent the Merchandise to the address specified by the sender of the payment which is highlighted on your account Transaction Details Page or otherwise notified to you by PayPal through a PayPal application programming interface ("API").

    The only practical method of achieving this is using Registered Post. Note that whilst you can pre-pay the Registered Post stickers (and get a discount if you buy 50 at once), you must lodge over the counter and get a stamped yellow copy of the lodgement form as Proof Of Postage.

    If you just drop the item in a normal postbox, you will not be covered by either Paypal or Australia Post, irrespective of the fact that it had a Registered sticker on it. If you think about it carefully, you'll realise why...

    Here is the Paypal "Proof Of Shipment" page... read it carefully!


    • Administrator
    • Knight of the RT
    • *****
    • Posts: 35154
    [...] you must lodge over the counter and get a stamped yellow copy of the lodgement form as Proof Of Postage.

    Absolutely imperative - all sellers, please take note! I've heard of some sellers who take the calculated risk of dropping their registered post items into the mailbox, but even though it may save you time doing that way, it's not giving you the protection of the proof of lodgement of the item. To obtain your yellow copy of that form is a necessary precaution in case of problems, and it's also (in terms of PayPal) the only acceptable Proof of Postage.

    It is of course your choice whether you deem the risk worth protecting yourself against.

    In case of problems, you can also submit a claim to the Ombudsman with a Stat Dec that you posted the item on such-and-such a date by such-and-such a method in such-and-such a mailbox - but I've always been in favour of trying to avoid problems in the first place. There's no doubt that you minimise your risk by getting that necessary form.
    "No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe; every man is ...a part of the maine; ...any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde"


    • Guest
    If you are just going to drop the delivery into a postbox, you might as well save the money and not bother sticking a Registered label on it.  ;D