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The CRPF "Bad Packing" awards

Started by Dan, March 01, 2009, 04:54:43 PM

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Dennis Markham

I have one to add to the "Bad Packing Awards" list:

I recently took a chance on a soft plastic Light Beige 500.  The price was right, Buy It Now with free shipping.  It left California via USPS Parcel Post.

I arrived at home today to see what looked like a pillow on my front porch.  I wasn't expecting anything other than the phone.  Sure enough, the seller wrapped the phone in some bubble wrap and put it in a bag.  It shipped all the way across the country in one of those thin postal service bags.  Remarkably there was NO damage.  None.  I couldn't believe, first of all that someone would ship a plastic telephone in a bag and secondly that it wasn't broken.  I could feel the plastic through the bag.  It was wrapped with MAYBE 3 layers of bubble wrap.  A soft bag for a soft plastic phone.

eBay Line:


Wow, that is terrible, at least it didn't break. Which, is a minor miracle!

Nice catch, too.



It's an unfortunate occurrence to place a phone here but the recent eBay purchase by HarrySmith of what was once a fine beige 554, posted here on the forum, has made it to this topic.

Kenton K

I too also have the unfortunate pleasure of posting to this topic. After sending the seller a standard shipping instructions and receiving an "OK, Will do", the phones came in a bursting flimsy box with paper packing. RIP ivory 302 and soft plastic red 500.

A moment of silence for all the fallen phones.

Mr. Bones

Moment of silence duly observed....

I am so sorry for the losses I have seen listed here, so completely avoidable.

At least you have the courage to post them; I still have not posted pics of my black, soft plastic 554, that arrived in 20-some parts, several years ago. At least the shards were still pristine.

Perhaps, someday, still a bit sore about the subject.

While this pales, when compared to an Ivory 300-series, or a coloured  500-type, it made a dent in how I roll.

Best regards, and enjoy your Sunday! ;D
   Mr. Bones
      Rubricollis Ferus


So sorry for your losses, Kenton. At least that red 500 housing can be fixed, the ivory transmitter cap I don't know about...
Christian Petterson

"Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right" -Henry Ford


After seeing this sad event, one that has happened over and over again, I am starting to wonder if it isn't caused by a seller having wrapped the phone for shipment, to get the shipping cost to put into the listing, before starting the auction on eBay. That way, when the auction ends, all the seller has to do is pay the postage and put the label on the box. As such, any packing instructions sent by the buyer will go unheeded, with a seller dismissal reply of "OK" or "will do" because the seller has no intention of honoring the buyer's request. The seller will not take the time to open up the box and repack the phone, and possibly incur additional shipping costs for the extra weight of good packing, to prevent damage,

Just a thought but it may be a good idea to send the seller this link in the buyer's good packing message

or its "TinyURL" eqivalent:

to show what happens to a poorly packed phone in hopes that the buyer will then open up a poorly packed phone and repack it right to prevent shipping damage. That along with a statement that the buyer will not pay for a phone damaged during shipment but will pay for any marginal increase in shipping costs for good packing.

Just a thought, and if anyone tries this, a reply posted here stating if the link can be sent in eBay along with any seller response to this suggestion would be helpful.


Example packing instructions written by Dave F"Hi ____ .  Before I pay you for this nice ____ , I want to say something important about packing: The housing of this old phone is really very fragile, and it can easily be broken if not packed well. I have had similar nice phones ruined in the past when the sellers didn't pack them well.  PLEASE use MULTIPLE LAYERS of bubble wrap (NOT crumbled up paper), and wrap the handset separately so it can't rattle around and bang into the rest of the phone.  Also, please use a box that is large enough to absorb the abuse it will get from the P.O. without hurting the contents, and fill any void spaces with additional packing material to keep things from rattling around.  I will wait to hear back from you before paying so that I know you have received this important message.  This is a really nice phone and I will be happy to add it to my collection.  Thank you for the auction.  Dave F."

These would have to be edited down to make room for the TinyURL link and to make the instructions your own and specific to the item purchased. Others have suggested similar shipping instructions, this is the first set I have run across in going through the Bad Packing topic.


I just bought a phone and found that this paragraph is the maximum amount of characters allowed in the message to the seller at the time of purchase (actually, 4 characters short of the maximum). I've used this for many purchases and have received undamaged phones almost all of the time. There was no room for the link to the PhotoBucket collection.

"Please wrap the phone and the handset separately. Do not wrap the phone with the handset on the cradle. Please use sufficient packing to keep the handset from impacting the base during shipment and to prevent any outside impact to the box from damaging the phone. These are fragile and the USPS has a history of handling them rough and cracking the plastics. You may already do this when shipping phones and if so, excuse this tutorial. Thank you for good packing methods to insure safe delivery.

xzzx-shipping instructions-xzzx


Had my first bad packing incident...  eBay seller is out of town for a week, so I have to wait for the response.   >:(

- No packing material
- Box too small (see how the hookswitch has bent the cardboard)
- Reused box
- Modular handset adapter broke into about 10 pieces
- Back left corner crushed and plastic broken
- 1' x 3/4" hole near the hookswitch
- 1-1/2" Y shaped crack above the faceplate

Not happy with my first yellow 2500...

A phone phanatic since I was less than 2 (thanks to Fisher Price); collector since a teenager; now able to afford to play!
Favorite Phone: Western Electric Trimline - it just feels right holding it up to my face!


Aw, Jim, that is one beat up 2500. I feel your pain and have felt it many times. The first phone I won on eBay arrived broken and that was about 15 years ago. I've learned over the years to send a packing request before I pay for the item, unless it's a seller I know. It's saved many a phone. They seem to think that these phones are indestructible. As anyone can plainly see--they're not.

I usually try to put it gently because some can bristle at being told what to do. I usually say I hope they don't mind a packing request and if they could do these two things it would make sure the phone arrived unbroken. First, be sure the handset is wrapped separately from the base. (I can see that wasn't done on your phone because it got divots in the sides, which is what happens when the handset is on hook and goes crashing into the housing.) Second I ask them to make sure there is plenty of packing in the box so that the phone doesn't move when they shake the box. You may want to add something about the box being large enough and a standard shipping box. I've seen shoe boxes used before. One thing with some sellers--don't get too detailed or demanding with your request or they will ignore you.

I've had sellers actually thank me for my suggestions and who knows how many phones I saved because of them. I've also had a seller recently (not a phone seller) who wouldn't even respond when three out of four bowls arrived smashed to bits because of her bad packing. I had to use the eBay/PayPal money back guarantee and only got part of the money back. I hope that doesn't happen to you. Good luck with your refund and be sure to make the email to the seller calm and not too long. Calmer heads prevail in situations like this.


I'm glad it was a normal 2500 desk phone - if it had been a blue thermoplastic 302, I'd be beside myself...

I'm catching in with the folks who deal with phones and those who don't.  On the same day, I received a a Trimline, double-wrapped in bubble wrap, inside a grocery bag, with added packing, inside a wine box, inside additional packaging material (brown paper bag - crunched up into balls, it actually seems to offer some added cushioning)' inside a new box. Plenty of packing for a run-of-the-mill Trimline...

We'll see what happens, but the seller offers the eBay money-back guarantee (plus I used PayPal...)

A phone phanatic since I was less than 2 (thanks to Fisher Price); collector since a teenager; now able to afford to play!
Favorite Phone: Western Electric Trimline - it just feels right holding it up to my face!


I just received my turquoise Princess inside a bubble wrapped envelope. Thank goodness nothing was broken, but my heart sank when I saw the heavy envelope in the mail.  I sent the seller. The following note (after thanking them for the auction and explaining the difference between turquoise and aqua blue):

I do have one request, if you sell any phones in the future: please pack them in a box, with proper padding, and separate the handset from the base. The U.S. Postal Service throws these packages around and even though the phones seem indestructible, the older plastic can easily break or chip. They can get easily damaged if not inside of a solidly built box (if you're shipping Priority Mail, you can get boxes for free from your post office or online at delivered directly to you).

I wasn't too harsh was I?

A phone phanatic since I was less than 2 (thanks to Fisher Price); collector since a teenager; now able to afford to play!
Favorite Phone: Western Electric Trimline - it just feels right holding it up to my face!


More damaged phone sadness...

Green AE-80 - a little less easy to find than the yellow 2500...  Was packaged with a rose beige AE-80 that had no issues.  Both phones were packaged in a large flat rate box with bubble wrap, but was a tight fit (don't have the wrapped pics, as I didn't notice until all was unwrapped...).  Got a refund, but it's the phone I really wanted that was damaged...

A phone phanatic since I was less than 2 (thanks to Fisher Price); collector since a teenager; now able to afford to play!
Favorite Phone: Western Electric Trimline - it just feels right holding it up to my face!


Ouch, you've been having a bad week.



Have you found a replacement Jade Green AE80 yet? I have a couple of spares and I really need to start trying to sell off some duplicates.

At least the broken one looks as though it had a fair bit of sun damage.



Here's what I got in the mail today...what was an all-dates-matching 1965 WE 565 in beige! :'(

The seller shipped it without any packing whatsoever on the broken side!

Fortunately, the plastic was very brittle to begin with for some reason; it already has an area that was broken and then taped back on! Also, the phone was only $9.99, and the seller refunded all of the costs, so I got it for free!

Anybody have a WE 565-564 non-modular housing in beige they would be willing to sell? :-\
Christian Petterson

"Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right" -Henry Ford