Damaged Goods:What Can Be Done About Them?

Damaged Goods:What Can Be Done About Them?

If you’ve ever bought or sold anything over the internet, then you’ll have implicitly accepted the possibility that your package might be damaged as it moves from A to B.After all, however precise and careful a courier might be, no-one’s perfect:accidents can happen to even the most cautious carrier.

It’s easy to become frustrated when a package becomes damaged in transit.After all, as soon as the item in question has left the facility, it’s outside the control of both the selling and buying parties.But don’t worry – even if your package should arrive at its destination damaged, there are still things one might do to fight back.

Let’s take a look at some of the measures we might use to limit the chance of an item being damaged, and see what we might do after the fact.

The retailer is responsible

The first thing to note is that it’s the job of the retailer to get the package to you.This applies from the point that you place the order to the point that you receive it.This arrangement has been in place for some time, but it first came into effect in 2015, to replace the sale of goods act.If you’ve bought something online, and it arrives on your doorstep in pieces, then you don’t need to contact the shipping company.This is the responsibility of the retailer, with whom you should take up any complaints.

Signing for the delivery

When your package arrives at your doorstep, a courier will typically ask for some proof it’s actually been handed over.When you sign for a package, you acknowledge receipt of it (to put it in layman’s terms, it proves that the package hasn’t been lost or stolen).What you don’t acknowledge, however, is that your package is in a good state of repair.

If you’re signing for a package that you haven’t yet inspected, you might not feel comfortable.In this case, you might write a short note explaining that you haven’t yet inspected it.In most cases, however, you’ll be writing your name into a little box on a touchscreen.Doing so will not surrender your rights as a consumer, so try not to worry too much.

How do I make a claim?

The most popular postal service in the UK remains the Royal Mail, who offer compensation to parties who’ve experienced a loss through their service.If you’re the selling party, you’ll need to first compensate your customer, and then be reimbursed by the Royal Mail.You’ll have eighty days from the point of delivery to make the claim, and the amount you’ll receive will vary according to the type of package you’ve sent, and the amount of compensation you’ll opted for when sending.If you’ve selected enhanced compensation, then you’ll be covered for any losses up to several thousand pounds.If you’re sending something that’s particularly valuable, therefore, you’ll want to stump up a little extra and cover yourself in the event that something goes wrong.If you’re sending out thousands of inexpensive packages, on the other hand, this insurance might be more trouble than it’s worth – just accept the loss when it happens.


It might be that you’re the person sending the package – if you’re an online retailer, or you’re just sending a few items that you’ve sold on eBay, you’ll want to minimise the chance that they arrive intact.This means investing in a steady supply of polystyrene noodles and bubble-wrap.

By far the biggest cause of problems is parcels becoming lost as a result of incorrect or illegible address information.In order to minimise the likelihood of this happening, invest in a proper label-maker.These can be purchased inexpensively, and will sit happily on the desk of any home salesperson.


In order to give your clients the best chance of recording their address properly, you’ll want to offer a postcode lookup service.This technology allows customers to select their address from a list of drop-down options rather than having to type it in themselves.This helps to eliminate the errors which inevitably come with the latter approach.

To ensure that you’ve recorded your customer’s addresses as accurately as possible, then data cleansing software might be particularly useful.This works a little like a spell-checker for your address book, running through the database an ensuring that everything is accurately and validly recorded.Software which offers this often also brings to the table a ream of other features designed to make label-making as easy as possible.

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