We had problems shipping items to winning bidders from the online auctions because of staffing.
It was taking two days to pull, pack, ship and our staff was not set up for that.
My cure was to find a really good local packing & shipping company who is licensed, bonded, insured, motivated & fast.
Now we print out the invoices & paperwork for winning online bidders and hand it over to them a day or so after the auction.
The price at their most expensive is about 1/2 what a UPS style pack n ship store charges plus they can make crates, do LTL, pack on pallets or anything to be shipped anywhere in the world.
Once we started using Pacific Freighters the slow shipping complaints simply ended I mean they are gone.
Our customers are more than pleased with the quality of packing their auction winnings, plus they have the choice of how its shipped once its packed, weighed, categorized and all that good stuff.
I don't know the people at Garlic City Auctions but they might have dug themselves into the shipping hole that we had where some items were back logged for almost a month before getting out the door. Our customers were not happy and my staff was not happy getting angry customer calls or dealing with me as the angry boss wanting to know why their auction winnings were not shipped quickly.
PayPal offers protection to buyers & sellers if items are not shipped on time, they will "freeze" the funds in the auctioneers account when a "did not ship items won" complaint is made. Then everyone has to deal with the PayPal process of entering the tracking numbers and waiting for the items to be delivered before the money / funds are "unfrozen" or released to the Auction Company.
Most auction houses are small companies and when you go from shipping 4 or 5 items an auction to shipping 40 to 50 items it requires a change in your business model, trained staff that knows how to properly pack anything, then to obtain the best priced shipping, be sure its insured and packed properly so the insurance will cover you in the event of breakage.
The best part to me of outsourcing is:
1) Our customers are happy that their auction winnings are processed fast like its somebody's full time job.
2) Our 3rd party vendor who only does packing & shipping is getting 10 to 100 "orders" a month from us meaning extra business during this recession.
3) Complaints have dropped down to almost zero with the exception of a big piece of art coming in with the glass on the frame broken during shipping. That has turned into an insurance claim where we refunded the buyers money once we saw the pictures of the damage, knowing the insurance would pay. We are waiting for the insurance payment but our customer has their $350 in pocket so they "trust us" and have bid at http://www.theauctionarium.com
again on other items, while the wheels of a FedEx insurance claim slowly grind away.
Before bidding at these webcast auctions be sure to read the shipping terms and pick up the phone to call and ask about them.
The squeaky wheel gets the grease and anyone who calls that is polite asking "where is my stuff I paid for and when can I expect it to be delivered..." deserves answers and action. We move anyone who has politely called asking these legitimate questions to the top of the list.
I used to think that 3rd party shippers were more expensive than packing & shipping in house but quickly learned, since this is their main business, they can process orders in a fraction of the time we can for less money to our bidders.
Stay on top of the auction house, keep a record of each contact.
Read their shipping terms and hold them to it. We have actually lost money paying for shipping or giving bidders Auctionarium credit when their orders were late because it was our fault, not the bidders.
Be polite, not threatening and try to make a friend at the other end of the phone.
Watch the dates to file a complaint with either PayPal or your credit card company so you can file a claim within their time limits.
Auctioneers only make money by selling items to the winning high bidders, then delivering as promised or advertised
William F. Burke, CAI - AARE AuctioneerIt's all in my book!Secrets of an AARE Auctioneerhttp://www.aareauctioneer.comThe Most Comprehensive & Complete Guide to selling real estate at auction