Plasma televisions are increasing in popularity, making them a popular gift for the holidays or a birthday. Plasma TVs are also commonly found on auction sites like eBay, so sellers will need to ship the item to the winning bidder. Unlike old, bulky CRT TVs, mailing is much easier since the TVs are much more compact. But mailing a plasma television can still be a nerve-racking experience, as it involves shipping an item that's both expensive and fragile. Whether the plasma TV is new in the box, or used, the same basic packing and shipping methods should be utilised.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Shipping box
- Plastic bags
- Styrofoam blocks or inflatable cushions
- Styrofoam peanuts or newspaper
- 2-inch-wide packing tape
- Permanent marker
Place the television inside a plastic bag and seal it or tie it closed. You can use normal trash bags, but it's wise to double bag. This should be done even if the TV is inside its original box. If the box gets wet during shipping, this will prevent damage to the TV. If the TV is outside its original box, this will also prevent packing debris from entering the TV via the vents.
Enclose a packing list, receipt, note, an owner's manual, power cord (if detachable), remote control, accessories or any other items that you want to include. These can be placed in a separate bag or included in (or taped to) the first bag.
Place packing material on the bottom of a shipping box, place the TV inside and then place packing material around the TV on all sides. It's best to use foam blocks or inflatable cushions around the TV, then fill in any random spaces with peanuts or crumpled newspaper to limit movement.
Write the recipient's address and your return address on a piece of paper and place it inside the box. If the exterior of the box is damaged and the addresses become illegible, shipping company staff will open the box in an attempt to determine its origin or destination.
Close the box and seal it with packing tape.
Bring the package to the post office or a shipping company and select the shipping time frame.
Write the recipient's address and your return address on the box in permanent marker. If using address labels, as is required by some shippers, ensure that you use a ballpoint pen or a permanent marker.
Ask for insurance on the package. Insurance costs a few additional dollars, but it will cover the cost of damages during shipping, so it's well worth the price when shipping a fragile, expensive plasma television.
Ask for delivery confirmation and require signature for delivery. When shipping a valuable item, it's best to get delivery confirmation with a signature required, so you have proof that the item was delivered.
Indicate that the contents of the box are fragile and request "fragile" labels/stamps for the package. You can always label the box on your own, but it's best to use the shipping company's labels/stamps, as the handlers will be familiar with these labels, making them more noticeable to the shipping company's staff.
Tips and warnings
- Wait until you arrive at the post office/shipper before placing the address on the box, as some shippers require use of a special label.
- Always ask for delivery confirmation with a signature requirement. This way, you'll avoid a situation where the package is left on a doorstep and stolen. In addition, a customer cannot claim that they failed to receive the package in an attempt to get a "replacement" sent out.
- Always use a plain, unmarked box for shipping. A box that's labelled with a product name (especially in the case of electronics) is more apt to be targeted by thieves.
- If reusing a shipping box, reinforce the strip of tape on the bottom of the box with a few new pieces of tape. Also, use a permanent black marker to black out text and company names on the box.
- If there is a hard deadline for the package's arrival, allow one or two extra days to allow for delivery when requiring a signature. The recipient may not be home when the first delivery attempt occurs, and a second attempt may not be made until the following day.
- Large and heavy packages are not eligible for shipping via drop boxes. Bring the box to the post office/shipper yourself and avoid opting for "print and ship" services, as this means that the box could spend eight or more additional hours on a truck, placing it at more risk of damage.
- Can't find a box to fit a very large plasma TV? FedEx offers customised boxes and other services like custom packing materials and a package packing service. (See the Resources section.)
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