5 Damaged Parcel Horrors and How to Prevent Them


We’ve probably all been there – you’ve ordered something special online and you’ve even had to take time off work, so that you can be there to sign for it when it gets delivered. Sometimes it may not arrive when promised, so you have to take another day off, but there can be even worse to follow. Because what can be more disappointing than finally receiving your purchase, only to discover that it’s arrived damaged or in an unacceptable or unusable condition?

It shouldn’t really be that difficult – we can, after all, get aircraft and people safely into space and back, so surely it shouldn’t be beyond our capabilities to get a dinner service from Brighton to West Bromwich in one piece.

At Davpack, we don’t think getting parcels safely delivered is rocket science (unlike getting aircraft and people safely into space and back!), so here’s our guide to the five most common damaged parcel horrors, and what you can do to prevent them.

Collapsing1 Collapsing

Perhaps the most common of damaged parcel horrors. Cardboard is undoubtedly a strong packaging option, but if you place something heavy on top of it without anything to support it underneath, it will bend.

Making sure cardboard boxes retain their shape therefore requires either having ones that are exactly the right size for your product, so that it fits snugly up to the sides and top, or using some kind of void fill to fill any space. Whichever solution you want to go for – and that will generally depend on how sturdy the contents are – we can help.

We already have probably the biggest range of in-stock cardboard boxes in the UK, so most of our customers are able to quickly find one that matches their product. Should that not be the case, however, we also make custom cardboard boxes in-house, so getting the right box is never a problem.

If you want to go for the void fill option, which will also provide an extra bit of protection around your product, we have several solutions, from packing peanuts and foam lined boxes to paper void fill and air cushion packaging.

Just make sure you don’t use too much, though, or you might run the risk of suffering the second of our damaged parcel horrors…

TOP TIP: to reduce COLLAPSING – avoid too much space in boxes and fill them well

2 Bursting

Just as putting too little into your parcel can cause it to collapse inwards, so putting in too much or something too heavy can cause it to burst outwards – or, even worse, downwards! Naturally, getting the right size box for your product (plus protective packaging if used) is a good start, but there is more you can do.

Firstly, you need to be confident the box is capable of holding the weight you’ll be putting in – for instance, our standard single wall boxes will hold up to 10 kilogrammes, while our double wall boxes are good for up to 30 kilogrammes. Even stronger options are available, by the way!

Secondly, you want to make sure you’re using a good quality packing tape that will hold its seal for the duration of your parcel’s journey. Which tape that is might depend on a number of factors, like whether you’re using new or old boxes, how long that journey will be and whether it will be exposed to dampness or humidity. Our expert Sales team will always be able to advise you of your best option.

Lastly, there is the further option of using a bit of plastic strapping or strapping tape around your parcel as another way of ensuring it stays together.

TOP TIP: to reduce BURSTING – seal boxes securely along all seams with packing tape to retain shape and rigidity

3 Crushing & buckling

CrushingMany parcels will get stacked one on top of another at some point in their journey, and you can never be sure how much weight is likely to be placed on your parcel. Poor quality boxes may look okay and may even be cheaper, but can you be confident they’re up to the job?

Our boxes have a guarantee of quality borne of over 45 years of experience, hundreds and hundreds of satisfied customers and internationally recognised ISO 9001 quality management certification, which ensures the quality of materials, produced goods and services from an initial enquiry right through to delivery to the customer.

TOP TIP: to reduce CRUSHING & BUCKLING – don’t over-stack pallets, or if you don’t trust your courier, use a heavier duty box


4 Damaged contents Damaged-Contents

Even if your parcel looks okay from the outside, opening it up can unleash a whole new set of horrors. Bumping and shaking a parcel can quickly result in fragile or delicate contents being broken or scratched, while electronic components can be easily ruined by an electrostatic charge. Choosing some appropriate protective packaging is therefore an essential requirement.

Listing all our solutions would take a lot of space here, so let’s just say that if you go to the protective packaging part of our website, you’re bound to find the one that’s right for you. Otherwise, as usual, we’ll be more than happy to advise you if you want to call us on 01332 821200.

TOP TIP: to reduce DAMAGED CONTENTS, choose your protective packaging extra carefully

Fragile5 Not handled with care

No matter how many precautions you’ve taken when packaging up your parcel, there are some things you can’t allow for. Like someone at the courier’s depot using your parcel to demonstrate how Wayne Rooney should have taken that penalty on Saturday, or handling it with the same loving care that England’s front row handled the ball in the Calcutta Cup match at Twickenham.

If you want to draw the attention of whoever’s handling your parcel to the fact that it contains breakable items, we can supply a range of packing tape and labels with printed messages like ‘Fragile’, ‘Handle With Care’ and ‘Do Not Drop’ (although surely the last should not be necessary!).

But if all else fails, if you’ve packaged your parcel like a true professional, you’ve covered it in message labels and tape and it’s still arriving looking like it’s just gone ten rounds with Wladimir Klitschko, then I’m afraid that all we can do at this point is advise you to get a different courier.

TOP TIP: to ensure parcels are HANDLED WITH CARE, use warning labels to clearly identify fragile goods

We’ve been sending and receiving parcels of all shapes and sizes for years and think we’ve seen just about everything that can be done to a parcel in that time. We’d love to hear your stories, so why not either leave us a comment below, or maybe even tweet us a picture of a damaged carton you’ve received to @DavpackUK?

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Dave Smith

With a background that has included spells in marketing and editorial management in the publishing and performing arts industries, Dave is now a valued member of Davpack’s marketing team, where he is our lead blogger and senior copywriter. Still relatively new to the business, he will be aiming to look at the world of cardboard boxes and packaging materials from a slightly different angle to the usual. Davpack

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