Welcome back to our Essential guide for using courier services. We have already covered the case of lost packages, but some questions still remain. Probably the most burning one is, why does a parcel get damaged?
Why was my parcel damaged during transportation?
When using shipping services, we want the delivery to be as fast as possible. At the same time, we expect our packages to be handled with great care throughout their journey. We do our best to make that happen but packages reach several depots and go through multiple hands until they are finally delivered to their recipients. We can’t always control what happens in all the depots. Moreover, there are many factors that can affect the shipment. The most common ones include:
- Road conditions – sometimes there is no indication of the road hazard. Accidents can happen due to unforeseen circumstances. These could be animals on the road, poor road conditions, no lane markers, unmarked speed bumps or other vehicles being driven irresponsibly and at excessive speeds;
- Weather – no matter what time of the year, a package might temporarily stay on the ground while being reloaded;
- Warehousing conditions – fire, flood or other natural disasters can occur when least expected, similarly to any smaller incidents, such as burglary;
- Size and shape of your package, as well as the dimensions of other shipments travelling with it – remember that many other parcels are being shipped alongside yours, therefore each package is somehow exposed to distortion, especially when not protected and packed properly (bigger and heavier packages might damage the smaller ones which don’t have a sturdy packaging);
- The way they are loaded into trucks – even though most of the time trucks usually go fully loaded, it may happen that the packages move inside the truck. The shape of the package determines how well they can be stacked or stored. For example, a rectangular box can be stacked without too much space between the shipments being wasted, but unusually shaped packages could still move around a little;
- The content of other packages – placement of objects which can easily deteriorate or of liquids that can leak from one container to another can cause contamination to the items inside the package or other parcels around;
- Improper packaging and reused boxes – if the packaging is not strong enough, it can simply fall apart during transport;
- Machine or human error – behind each shipment, there is a team of individuals and advanced machinery. Even though the parcels are usually sorted mechanically (which can also cause damage), package handlers happen to be only humans and as we all know – sometimes people make mistakes. Our heavy packages can accidentally end up on the floor before they finally reach their destination.
What could be done to prevent damages?
Unfortunately, many packages are mishandled during transit in some way. As already mentioned, problems can arise at any stage of the shipment. This could be caused by temperature, humidity, vibration, shock or orientation problems (shipping the item upside down, as an example).
However, when our parcel arrives damaged, it might be due to its method of shipping. It could also be because the items were insufficiently protected inside the box. That is precisely why our goods should be carefully packed and marked.
Always consider the weight, shape, and fragility of the objects you want to send. Sometimes the selected packaging happens to be of poor quality or the wrong size, but as the sender, you are responsible for choosing a proper way to pack your goods. Your item should be protected against any shock or vibration it can suffer during transport, but it should also be moved, lifted and carried easily.
Here are some useful tips on how to prepare a shipment and pack your things properly.
What if I want to send multiple items?
If you’re planning to send several objects in a single parcel, separate the items and wrap each of them carefully. Remember to place heavier items on the bottom rather than on the top. Place any small or loose elements in an additional container or plastic bag, so that they won’t separate during shipment.
It is also important to fill the empty space inside your parcel and maybe even waterproof its content (by using plastic foil or bags). We strongly recommend covering your items with bubble wrap and putting them in a rectangular cardboard box. You can always reuse an old box for shipping, but make sure it is still strong enough and that there are no labels from previous shipments on it. They could confuse the couriers who are handling your order.
We also advise you to use wide packing tape (the best ones are usually duct tape or brown plastic tape) to seal all edges and seams while closing the box. It’s always a good idea to indicate which way is up on the package, in order to avoid it being shipped or opened by the recipient upside down.
Standard services are usually not intended for shipping fragile items, but having a label with Fragile or This side up on your package may actually affect the way it’s being handled.
Do the same rules apply to freight?
When it comes to any shipment, it is important to protect your goods as much as possible.
The biggest risk for pallets is instability in packaged loads, which can result from poor road conditions or from mechanical and automated handling machinery, such as forklifts or conveyor belts. The courier will use multiple vehicles to transport your goods, making your shipment prone to different shocks and impacts. That is why all items have to be properly secured for transportation and fully attached to a nonskid and sturdy pallet or any other solid base. This keeps them stay stable during transit.
We recommend using cushioning material and rigid carton boxes, as well as braces in order to secure and block large or uncommon shaped items. In order to secure a bundled load, we advise you to use load-protector trays, bands and stretch wrap film which will protect your shipment.
What to do in case of damage?
On the rare occasion that your package actually arrives with signs of loss or damage, we strongly recommend opening it while the driver is still present. You will be asked to write a report on the unfortunate delivery, including photos and a detailed description of the damage.
A claim procedure depends on the specific courier company. If you book your shipment through Eurosender, we offer customer support for submitting complaints to the courier service providers. Even though we are not responsible for the damage as we don’t handle your packages directly, we will guide you through the procedure free of charge. The only thing you have to keep in mind is to notify us within 48 hours of receiving your package.
Do you have some more questions for us? Feel free to contact us!
Last modified: November 29, 2019