Inevitably, if you order on eBay you will occasionally receive damaged merchandise. DON'T PANIC. It is easy to resolve. You are protected in several ways by your payment method (credit card / Paypal), the shipping company (UPS / FedEx / USPS) and the seller. As with all eBay transactions, always pay with paypal. You have the most protection that way.
If you see the damage when it is being delivered, you can either refuse the shipment as [damaged - return to sender] or you can have the delivery company mark the tracking as [received damaged, subject to further inspection]. Please note, you have only a few days to report damage so if the delivery company does a [ditch - n - ding] with your package, call them right away. (UPS 1-800-742-5877, FedEx 1-800-463-3339, USPS 1-800-275-8777) You also must keep all boxes and packing material. When you call you will need the tracking number off your box, a description of the damage and its value). All of the companies will log the call. Wait about 30 minutes and then run your tracking number online. It will show that you reported the damage. Once it shows, you then contact the seller. I have found that if you do this one little thing before you call them, any of the [you’re just lying to get a discount] the attitude from some sellers tends to go away. As eBay and paypal state in their guides, you should always give the seller the opportunity to resolve the issue before you file a charge back or leave negative. Keep in mind, the seller did not break the part, the freight company did so do not take it out on the seller. I recommend you keep your communications with the seller in writing so there is never any doubt as to when you contacted them or what was said by either party. A reasonable response time is a full business day for them to get back to you with an offer of resolution.
If a seller claims the item was sold as is, that does not apply to freight damage. The item did not arrive in as is condition (unless they stated it was damaged in the auction) and you then move on to the charge back with paypal or your credit card company. You will find most sellers will either ship you a replacement at no charge, provide you with a discount if you can use or want the item as is or a full refund. Sellers that argue you can only get a refund of the item not the freight are incorrect. They will get their shipping back from the freight company if they file for it.
With UPS and FedEx all shipments have $100.00 insurance on them for free. It costs the shipper nothing and therefore should cost you nothing. It is automatic on all packages. USPS however does require insurance for any amount. So if your order is going with USPS ALWAYS pays for the insurance. Even if you do not get insurance, paypal and eBay feel it is the responsibility of the seller to get the item to you intact and will force them to help you.
As always, most sellers on eBay are fair and have good intentions. Almost no one intends for you to get a broken order. Keep in mind, if you are pissy or rude to them; expect that they are pissy and rude back to you. Seller / buyer interaction is like a mirror, treat it as such and even a bad experience like damaged shipping can turn out to be a quick and painless issue to resolve.