For those of you readers who are frequent sellers on Poshmark, eBay and Mercari, you know the joy that comes with making a sale. But when that item is fragile and complicated to ship, there can be an element of concern about how to get it to they buyer in one piece.
Shipping fragile items can be a challenging endeavor. Whether it’s delicate glassware, intricate ceramics, or priceless artworks, the vulnerability of these items during transportation cannot be overstated. Fragile items demand special care, attention, and meticulous packaging to ensure they arrive at their destination intact. The journey from sender to recipient can be filled with bumps, jolts, and unpredictable circumstances, making the task of safely shipping fragile items a big one.
The logistics and handling of such delicate cargo present a unique set of challenges that require expertise to overcome. This blog post is about the complexities associated with shipping fragile items, and sheds light on the process that happens with Poshmark when an item arrives broken. We cover what occurs with claims, refunds and more.
The idea for this blog post came after I had an incident myself with a buyer and a broken item. I was heartbroken to learn that a very unique vintage ceramic pitcher that I shipped to buyer had arrived in pieces. I truly thought that I had done my due diligence and packed it very securely, but clearly I was wrong.
The buyer opened a claim with Poshmark, stating “The pitcher was not wrapped sufficiently.” I was not sure how to respond, and I also didn’t know how Poshmark was going to handle the claim. Keep reading to see the breakdown of events, including the final outcome.
I also highly encourage you to scroll down and see real-life examples from 37 other sellers who found themselves in the same situation. See how they handled it, and what their resolution was.
How Does Poshmark Handle the Situation of Items Damaged in Transit?
While each situation is unique, there’s a common process that happens when Poshmark orders arrived damaged. I have outlined the steps below, and provided insights on what each steps entails.
The Buyer Reports an Item that Arrived Damaged
After the order has been shipped by the seller, the buyer receives the package. It is the responsibility of the buyer to promptly open the package and inspect the item. If there’s damage on the item that was caused by shipping, then the buyer needs to report it to Poshmark ASAP.
The Buyer Requests a Refund for an Item that Arrived Broken
The buyer will report the item damaged by opening a claim and requesting a refund. Poshmark will usually ask the buyer to provide a written description along with photo proof. In the case of items broken in transit, they will specifically ask for the buyer to count, describe and/or photograph how much packing materials were in the box. They will also ask for photos of the box exterior to see if it has been smashed. Poshmark is trying to determine if the seller put enough effort into trying to protect the item.
All of this photo proof will also assist Poshmark in filing an insurance claim with USPS. All of their packages are Priority Mail, which means they come with $50 worth of insurance.
The Seller Responds to the Open Claim
During this process, the seller also has the option to respond to both the buyer and to Poshmark. The seller can also describe how they packaged the item, the condition it was in when it was shipped out, and also provide any photo or video proof. This may help Poshmark decide whether or not the seller did their due diligence to protect the item.
Poshmark Determines Whether the Buyer and Seller will Get Reimbursed or Paid
When it comes to who gets paid, this is determined by Poshmark. The buyer almost always gets reimbursed, unless they have been flagged for possible misconduct or schemes in the past.
Whether or not the seller will get their funds released to their account depends on how Poshmark felt the seller did with packaging the item. If they believe the seller made an honest effort to securely package the item, the seller may get their money too. In my own case, both the seller and buyer got their money.
Does the Buyer Need to Return a Broken Item?
If Poshmark determines that the seller will not be receiving their earnings from the sale, the buyer may be obligated to ship and return the item to the seller. This also goes on a case-by-case basis.
How to Avoid Having Your Items Break During Shipping
Shipping fragile items can be a nerve-wracking experience. However, with the right precautions and packaging techniques, you can significantly reduce the risk of your items breaking during shipping.
Choose the Right Packaging Materials
The foundation of safe shipping for fragile items is using the appropriate packaging materials. Invest in high-quality boxes, bubble wrap, foam padding and peanuts, packing paper, and packing tape. Avoid reusing old, damaged boxes as they may not provide the necessary protection. Select boxes that are just the right size for your item to prevent excessive movement inside the box.
Properly Wrap and Cushion Your Items
Wrap each fragile item individually with bubble wrap, foam, or packing paper. Pay extra attention to corners and delicate areas. Ensure that there is a generous layer of cushioning between the item and the box’s walls, top, and bottom. If you’re shipping multiple items in one box, separate them with adequate padding to prevent them from knocking into each other.
Use Double-Boxing Technique
For extremely fragile items, consider double-boxing. Place the cushioned item inside one box, then insert that box into a larger box with additional padding between the two. This extra layer of protection can make a significant difference in safeguarding your fragile belongings.
Clearly Label the Box as Fragile
Label your package as “Fragile” in bold, clear letters. This alerts the shipping personnel to handle the package with care. You can also mark specific handling instructions if necessary, such as “This Side Up” or “Do Not Stack.”
Reinforce the Seams
Use packing tape to reinforce all the seams of the box. This helps prevent the box from accidentally coming apart during transit, which could lead to damage to your fragile items.
Choose a Reliable Shipping Service
Select a reputable shipping carrier that specializes in fragile or valuable items. Many carriers offer specialized services for handling fragile shipments, and they often provide insurance coverage for added peace of mind. The most notable services are FedEX, UPS and USPS.
Consider Custom Packaging
For exceptionally delicate or valuable items, you might want to consider custom packaging solutions. Custom crates or boxes designed to fit your item perfectly can provide an extra layer of protection.
Document and Insure Your Shipment
Before shipping, document the condition of your fragile items through photographs and descriptions. Additionally, consider purchasing shipping insurance to cover any potential losses or damages during transit.
Over 35 Experienced Poshmark Sellers Share Their Own Advice and Stories About Shipping Fragile Items
Sometimes the best advice comes from peers who have been in your shoes and learned from the experience. I reached out to the Poshmark and reseller community to ask for their personal advice and opinions about how to go about shipping fragile items.
“If it’s your first time shipping fragile items that arrive broken, they will pay both the buyer and seller, and give you a stern warning. That is what happened to me.”
“If someone opens a case for a broken items and reports your package for insufficient packaging, just state your case on how you packaged it. They might be unaware that it is covered by insurance even if it is properly packaged.”
“When someone reports your package to Poshmark, just reply professionally. Apologize that the item arrived broken, detail your packing method (it was bubble wrapped, double boxed, etc) and say that sometimes, despite the best packaging, fragile items get broken in transit. At the end, again, apologize for the inconvenience. Experienced buyers that have opened cases in the past know to over exaggerate the problem to help get Poshmark to side with them. Don’t take it personally.”
“Been there, done that with shipped items arriving broken. Don’t take it personally when they file a claim.”
“Did you take a video or pictures of your packaging? If so add that to the case. I video everything I ship out just incase. I’ve had to use it a few times to prove condition before shipping.
I shipped out an item that ended up breaking in shipping. I was still paid because I had proof I packaged it well. I’ve also had someone state the condition being something that it wasn’t and my video and pictures were proof of what I sent.”
“You have to pack stuff to survive falling down the stairs. No joke, they are very rough on packages.”
“When someone files a complaint, just state your case about how well you packaged the item. Apologize and then move on. Sometimes there isn’t anything you can do to change a person’s mind.”
“Regarding how you should respond, apologize for an item arriving broken. Poshmark will likely pay you both—they have insurance for this.”
“I was admonished for packaging a long spatula utensil from Anthro. I wrapped it and put it in a Priority Mailbox. But I had to put it on the diagonal to fit it in the box. Buyer took a pic of the cracked spatula and said I sent it that way. I quickly deduced that she probably cut it while she was opening the box. What did I do? I apologized, got the email from Poshmark to be more careful with my packaging and moved on.”
“I’ve seen Poshmark refund the buyer and also release funds to the seller as a one time courtesy, but their policy is to not back up the seller for items that break in shipping. It could go either way. Did buyer open a case? If so, just politely ask Poshmark to advise on how to proceed and let them make the final decision.”
“When the buyers opens a case about a broken items, just reply with how you packaged it. I had something break but the buyer was super understanding. They refunded them and paid me.”
“I’m always worried about my fragile items breaking. I go way overboard on packaging. I also photograph each step of packaging with the shipping label just incase something happens. I haven’t had anything break yet but I’m always on edge until I get word it made it safely.”
“Take photos before, during, and after. Triple bubblewrap all glassware and use lots of paper stuffed around the item. The smaller the box the better to keep it from moving around.
It’s 50/50 with Poshmark refunding both the buyer and seller. They could go ahead and pay you and put in a claim with USPS, but if the buyer shows the item was not properly wrapped, Poshmark might ding you.”
“You have to pack stuff so if it was thrown across room it wouldn’t break. This is how I do it.
I first bubble wrap the item several time and stuffing inside any crevice with paper. Like a mug. Then on the outside I put foam on all side of the item. I leave no room in box because room makes things slide and shift . The tighter the box, the item won’t break. It has no wear to go. I then put fragile on outside if necessary.
With all these precautions, I have never have a issue. My first time doing packing I had your issue and lesson learned. Pack tight!! Leave no room. Even egg crates help too.”
“I sold a 36 piece Halloween village a few years ago. It was definitely very well wrapped but one of the lamp posts arrived broken. Everything else was fine! The customer was refunded, was allowed to keep the item and I was not paid. It was super disappointing! Hope this works out better for you!”
“If you wrapped your item in bubble wrap really well and put in a nice box, it doesn’t matter sometimes because the post office is just so rough.
We received a ceramic sink the other day (ordered direct from American Standard), they shipped it with ZERO wrapping or protection. Just a sink in a box and of course arrived broken.”
“I had ordered a glass candlestick holder where the seller had wrapped in newspaper but with no padding. It arrived broke and she accused me of breaking it. I wouldn’t go that route. Not sure how it worked out for her, but I got a refund.”
“Remember when you sell anything breakable, when you list it there is a warning that come up when you post. It’s says Poshmark does not cover those items and will not (usually) compensate. I sell a lot of glass and breakable pieces. If I even think there could be a problem, I take it to a professional pack and ship. Pretty cheap considering all the paper and bubble wrap we use. Just my example. I personally would refund them if you have proof from the buyer that it’s indeed broke.”
“Opening a case is the only way for the buyer to get their money back so don’t take it personally! Just respond with how you packed it and apologize it got broken. I’m an expert packer and had a Poshmark item break (I regularly sell crystal and glass). I was shocked it broke. I just apologized to the buyer. Poshmark asked for more photos from the buyer, and then paid both of us.”
“I have had 2 items break during shipping. I bundled them up very good wrapping them in layers and layers of bubble wrap. If you can prove you wrapped them up very good to mail them they will refund the buyer and pay you also.
If it is totally smashed up, tell Poshmark you don’t want it shipped back to you. Let the buyer destroy it. I wouldn’t want something in a million pieces sent back to me! And why have Poshmark pay for shipping on a busted up item. If Poshmark asks the buyer how it was packaged and the buyer says with a piece of paper for protection you may not be paid for the item. So if the item was wrapped up properly and the buyer validated that it was, you both will get paid!”
This is what I got from Poshmark: “The buyer reported that the package was damaged in transit. Therefore, we have processed this as a lost package and will be compensating both sides. We have added your earnings to your account, while also refunding your buyer as part of the protection we provide each of our users.”
“I received a broken tea pot on Mercari, and they sided with the seller. So sad. It was a unique hard to find gift for my daughter. There wasn’t enough packing and the handle broke off.”
“I wrap the item with bubble wrap, filled it with packing paper, put in a box twice the size filled with styrofoam peanuts. These boxes get tossed around even if marked fragile.
The clerks get them off pallets and then toss them to each carrier’s route bin (most call them pumpkins). Clerks don’t care. I’ve seen them toss boxes with live chicks in them.”
“Poshmark ships with Priority Mail, which comes with insurance. Broken items should be covered.”
“This is a good reminder for me as I have a few breakables listed. When items arrive broken and a case is opened, simply state your case as honestly as possible. The PO suggests stuffing/wrapping with bubble wrap and packing tight in one box then filling another bigger box with a base of packing peanuts or crumpled paper, placing the first box inside then filling up with filler all the way that there’s no room for the first box to wiggle, and its packed tight.
The most important thing is initial protective wrap and then filling the container completely with stuffing AND writing FRAGILE on the box. If you did that, then its on the post office. Also, for the future, take a photo before you close the box.”
“Priority mail comes with $50 insurance. Have them send you pictures of the box, wrapping, and broken item then file a claim online. This also will verify that’s they’re not scamming you as well. I believe Poshmark will refund the buyer, but not sure about the seller funds.”
“When a claim is filed for a broken item, I’d stay silent and let Poshmark handle it. It is likely that the buyer will be reimbursed and you will also be paid. This has happened to me once (in six years) and that was the solution.
Moving forward, I always double box and use plenty of padding. It doesn’t have to be fancy, smooshed up Walmart bags work great. For the inside box, I either fashion my own from scrap cardboard or reuse amazon boxes. Sometimes it’s not pretty, but it gets the item there safely. I try to never use USPS packaging inside, unless it is already used.”
“When packing up your items, shake test to ensure no movement within boxes. I also pack like my breakables will be drop kicked. Even with the best of packing items can still arrive damaged.
I am saddened by the comments about buyers scamming, it isn’t necessarily the case. If a buyer opened a case, then simply state I am sorry your item arrived broken. Explain to Poshmark how to packaged it and hope for the best.”
“I worked at an auto shop for a few months and I asked the delivery guys if I could have the “Trash”.. lol They had the BEST wrapping paper nice and thick as well as this plastic that they wrapped bumpers in.. I’ve never had anything broken on arrival. Oh and the bubble wrap, I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“When the buyer opens a case, just say ‘I’m sorry the item arrived broken. I packed it very securely’. And then explain how it was packaged. They suggest double boxing as well as something like styrofoam, bubbles or peanuts.”
“Something heavy like a drinking pitcher, it would be best to pack it with lots of packing in one box, and then put that box in a larger box with more packaging surrounding it. Rule of thumb, if you don’t think you can safely throw it down a flight of stairs, it’s not packed well enough.”
“Always take photos of the item before wrapping, with wrapping, and in box with your shipping label. Poshmark will ask you and the buyer for photos of the wrapping.”
“I would definitely recommend taking photos of the wrapping/packaging of any breakables so you can protect yourself from buyer claims. Items get broken when going through the mail ALL THE TIME – sometimes despite even careful packaging. I’ve ordered things direct from stores that had custom styrofoam, bubble wrap, etc and STILL have gotten broken going through the mail.
On the flip side, I’ve also seen a lot of Poshmark sellers just throw items into a box or envelope with no protection whatsoever.”
“One thing is to always record the packaging process. Doesn’t help now, but photos are your best friend!”
“First thing, I would apologize when a package gets lost. Then ask for a photo of box from the buyer so you can file a claim with the post office.”
“20 year plus reseller here with some advice. The way I frame it in my mind is this: My job is to get the customer their item, as described. If it broke during transit then I didn’t finish my job.
On all platforms, other than Poshmark it’s an automatic refund if the item arrives broken. Request photos, submit USPS claim for insurance and get refund check.
With Poshmark, I’d message back, apologizing to the buyer and letting them know that you will invite customer service into the convo to assist in the refund and the insurance claim for USPS. You should both get paid out and Poshmark will keep the USPS refund.”
“I always, always take pictures when I’m packing. In the event something was damaged in transit, having photos of your packaging can be incredibly helpful in proving you adequately secured it. Sometimes things just get mishandled, and no amount of cushioning will save it. I won both of my damaged in transit cases due to having photo proof of adequate packaging.”
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