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Hi all,

How do you folks go about shipping high value items with piece of mind? Knowing that declared value is not insurance, and that any insurer is likely going to try every angle in the book to prevent paying out in the event disaster strikes (and this from the UPS guy!!) , Im at a loss.

What is the best way to protect myself and make the sale?

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I’ve sold less than 20 items in my life on eBay (I just collect mainly), but I always have shipped UPS and never had a problem, knock on wood, even with high-value items.  I usually don’t ensure, but if it’s high-value, I’ll pay for signature confirmation.  And of course, UPS always provides tracking info.  I believe PayPal requires signature confirmation anyway on items over $750.

Gotcha

I generally ship high value items FedEx with signature confirmation. USPS is too unpredictable.  I have also used UPS but for me, the FedEx office is more convenient. Under $700 or so, I use USPS Priority Mail sometimes with signature depending on amount.  I once had an item shipped USPS within the states that took six months to arrive.  That is when I changed.  I had refunded money but received tracking that it arrived six months later.  I contacted the buyer and he said it was undamaged so he repaid.  Flat Rate Priority mail does include tracking and $50 insurance and is generally more reliable than first class.

Ok, but what if the value is $2500 - would you still ship it uninsured and hope for the best? I dont exactly feel confident in declaring a high value knowing its not really covered and being that much more attractive to anybody handling the package on its way?

The worst case being my valued item is lost or destroyed, Im out what the buyer paid and have no item to boot and no way to “prove” value without paying out the nose up front and still being subjected to the legal definition of UPS packing guidelines.

Such a headache. I guess I have to roll the dice?

Fedex does not make you jump through the same hoops for insurance.  I have shipped items worth as much as $20,000 with only $500 insurance.  The $500 only costs $4 but it really has no practical value.  I have had no claims with FedEx or UPS but have had one claim with USPS.  I have numerous rerouting delays with USPS.

What exactly are you trying to sell?

I've been selling on ebay for 10 years now and the two times I didn't use USPS (I used FedEx and UPS) there were huge problems.

For UPS and FedEx insurance I dealt with employees who gave me every run around assuring me they just needed one more piece of information. The process took upwards of a month. UPS I wound up getting portions of money back piece by piece. FedEx denied and I couldn't even get help from my credit card company as FedEx blatantly failed to live up to the agreement even based on my American Express's definition .

USPS insurance is based on an online process. It's a little tricky but if you know how to properly use a computer/technology it should be easy enough and they pay off quickly. It has gotten a lot trickier (because I don't know how to properly upload) and they do require several types of documentation but it's definitely a lot easier than dealing with human beings who are knowingly lying or misinforming you.

I have a FedEx account where everything is online and their logistics processes are much more refined than those of the government (that admittedly have improved greatly).  To your point, Jason, it depends if your concern is related to damage versus getting lost.  If you are only concerned about something getting lost then I would always opt for Fedex  Damage risks might warrant different thinking.  I shipped 26 items out last week, ranging in value from $200-$3000.   A couple of minor delays with USPS, no delays with Fedex.

When receiving high value items ($10k +) subject to damage, I generally refuse insurance and instead add an inland marine rider to my homeowners policy.  I am not a business but rather a collector that turns over my collectibles from time to time.

And did you declare those high dollar amounts with Fed-Ex? Or did you “fly under the radar” and hope for the best? 

I only declare $500.

There were problems with fedex from the very beginning. There is a location about 2 minutes from me but trying to find a local area code number was impossible so I was dispatched to an 800 number where I was quoted a price about $70 less then the shipping price I was given in person. As I was already at the location I felt no choice but to pay. I knew I shouldn't have trusted the original operator.

My item was a large framed item that I spent almost an hour properly packing yet almost every inch of the glass was damaged inside the box. Multiple corners of this thick cardboard were also broken through somehow. FedEx employees most likely hearing the glass shards refused to deliver and instead sent back to me. I spent nearly a month calling the 800 number (again no local area code number exists for my location) and each time received a different human who referred me to just one more step to get my claim refund. I was eventually turned down and initiated a claim with my credit card company as FedEx failed to deliver the item to the customer. If the customer had gotten the item they would have accepted a partial refund and taken the item without frame. My claim with the credit card company met every criteria for a refund by I was turned down twice.

I warn anyone and everyone thinking of shipping with FedEx to think otherwise. There is no bitterness on my part. Just an honest belief that this company does not deserve nor care for our business.

Maybe I've been simply the luckiest guy on the planet but I have shipped over 20 years and never lost a package that I've shipped. All via USPS including international. I've never filed claim with the postal service nor needed to.

Knock on wood.

Ok. Im getting consensus now. Thanks all. Methinks I doth worry too much, perhaps. 

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