Online auctions have become a regular facet of life in the last fifteen years. The trust placed in the larger auction sites has grown considerably, reaching the stage where these sites are now among the most trusted around and a common shopping venue for the savvy online customer. However, as with most online ordering, there is a key difference with online and offline shopping: you have to rely on shipping for your item to reach you. With such a low failure rate, the usual shipping methods are more than reliable. But what can you do to make extra sure that your orders reach you every single time? Below are a series of tips for your consideration, a few hints to help your new possessions make their way to your doorstep. Some sellers online, typically the ‘power sellers’ or those who conduct a large amount of business through online auction sites, will offer a variety of postage methods. This can range from a simple stamped right through to a signed, sealed and delivered next day parcel. When choosing the particular postage method, consider the security of any particular item and how quickly you will need it. When dealing with mid to high value items, you will want to make sure that a signature is required in order to receive the package. This will prevent the delivery being left on your doorstep or being left to an unauthorised person. Another aspect to consider is postal insurance. Paying slightly more for postage can mean that your item is insured should anything go wrong. If your item is needed urgently, consider paying for the fastest postage, though this is typically the most expensive. When browsing the online auction sites, consider the auctions and items which allow for an in-person collection. For certain items, this will be the only option available, as postage would be financially not a viable option (the item is too large or heavy or awkwardly shaped.) However, if you are concerned that an item or delivery may not reach you either safely or within a certain time frame, it could be a good idea to retrieve the item yourself. For smaller things, this could be conducted on public transport and larger items might require a car. Collection is an excellent option for those who want to be extra sure of their purchase, as it can also allow for a cash on delivery option and provide additional comfort for those wary of spending online. Perhaps the most important consideration when having any item delivered (especially an item which might not fit through a letter box or may need signing for) is whether anyone will be at home in order receive the delivery. If you have arranged to have the item delivered to an empty house, you may well miss the delivery and be forced to journey to the local collection centre. Alternative options are available: consider taking a morning off work in order to be present; you could have the delivery sent to a work address, or to the address of someone who you know will be in that day; you could even arrange for a friend to remain in your house in order to sign for the package. If you have purchased an item and had it delivered to an address which you know runs the risk of being empty, contact the seller and inquire as to whether it is possible to change the delivery address. Some sites do not allow this, but it may well be worth a try if you want to be certain that your ebay delivery will reach you safely.