Part of the shipping and receiving process actually involves receiving that, which one has purchased.  However, care must be taken when receiving an item.

Start questions, pertaining to receiving, even before you make an offer to purchase the item.

If you are buying in person, and can view the bicycle, then you might want to spend some time learning about Buying and Selling Vintage Bicycles.

If you are buying on-line or remotely, and direct viewing is not possible, spend some time learning How To Buy Bicycles on Ebay, which targets one selling vehicle but applies to all, such as Craigslist, Kijiji and BuySell.

Once a purchase, that requires shipping, is made, all the buyer has to do is wait for that package to show up.  However, it is wise to ensure that the seller has insured the shipment and offered an opportunity to track that item's journey to the buyer - you.  And, it is wise to actually visit the tracking vehicle, every day, just to make sure the shipment is still on target.

When the package arrives, one of two things will happen.  Either the doorbell will ring, and you will be asked for a signature, indicating you have received the package.  Or, the person, driving the delivery truck, will just drop the package, at your front door - unprotected.  Honestly!

You can avoid having the package dumped, if you insist that the shipment must be signed for, before it will be accepted.  This helps to ensure that your very costly, high end, vintage Velo wonder will not be left sitting, for the next passer by, to scoop up.

A package can, and often does, arrive with some external damage apparent.  A little scuff or tare is, usually, no big deal but is, at the very least, an indication of rough handling.  DO NOT OPEN SUCH A PACKAGE YET!  Get the digital camera out immediately, if you see any external damage to the package.

Take good, clear pictures of the complete container.  Take extra pictures of the apparent damage.  Write down - when the package was delivered, by who and include any tracking number, associated with the package.  To that, include what ever else you see that might prove useful to have, later on, should a damage claim be filed.

With the shipping container's condition documented, open it up.  Start with the camera again.  Once open, the pictures can be used to demonstrate what, if any, damage did occur.  Those pictures will also help to define how well the item was packed, to begin with.  A damaged shipment is not always the carrier's fault.  Poor packing is a poor place to begin a shipment!

Remember, shipping damage is NEVER the receiver's fault!  The fault will always lie with the shipper and/or the shipping company.  Every time!

Keep taking pictures, and jotting down any information, you feel to be pertinent.  Continue to unpack the item.

Once the item is fully unpacked, and assembled as required, consider the condition of the item.  If is undamaged, which is usually the case, great.  Get on with your day and be thankful that the bike, or what ever, arrived intact.

If there is damage, of any unacceptable kind, contact the seller immediately, in writing, and inform him/her of the problem.  Be specific, and include any pictures that support you claim of damage.  The buyer must go through the seller, to initiate a shipping damage claim.

How the seller handles the shipping damage claim, is beyond the scope of this article.  However, the seller should, immediately, enter into an investigation, of the situation.  He/she should accept responsibility, to help sort out the problem.  And, once again, how each individual problem is solved, goes well beyond this presentation's scope.

Damage of a shipped item is one thing and, perhaps, the easiest to deal with.  Lost shipments?  Now there is another potential problem, for the person sending and receiving an item.  Again, claims will be initiated from the buyer, to the seller, who must then work with the shipping company to file a shipping loss claim.

Travel times, for shipped items, to and from, vary greatly.  Most of the items I send from Thunder Bay, to anywhere in the mainland US, takes at least two full weeks to arrive.  This includes FedEx Shipments, Expedited postal shipments, and even Small Package postal shipments.  Two weeks, and usually a day or two more. 

Domestic shipments, in Canada, three to five days.  International shipments from Canada to mainland (not Hawaii or Alaska) USA, fourteen days+.  Shipments to anywhere else in the world, via surface post, up to three months.  So, as you can see, shipping times are not consistent and, as a seller, it would be wise to inform a buyer of expected travel time.

As the person receiving a shipment, be sure to allow enough time for it to arrive.  If you do become worried about elapsed time, contact the seller and express your concern.  As a seller, as soon as this situation presented, he or she should initiate an investigation, following up with a report to the buyer.

Investigation involves using the tracking number, to view the shipment's travel progress.  Tracking information will usually help to determine where things went astray.  Often times, fixing the lost item problem is a fairly simple thing to do.  And, more often than not, a lost item is a product of the seller being given the wrong address to ship to.

If, after an acceptable amount of time, a package does not show up, get on the horn and complain to the seller.  Ensure that the seller accepts responsibility to help.  If he, or she, appears reluctant to help, get Ebay or PayPal involved immediately, if that option is available to you.

If all is well, with your shipment, have the courtesy to contact the seller, indicating that the package had arrived and that you are satisfied, or whatever, with the item.  Leave feedback, if it is an Ebay purchase, and the deal is done.

Oh, there is one other really important thing to know, before buying a vintage bicycle or frame set from a seller - who and how will the bike be packed?

If the seller has never packed up a vintage road bicycle for shipment, then you might want to insist that a local bicycle shop implement the packing for you.  Do not trust the packing skills of someone who has never packed up an old bicycle before!  Packing, though not difficult, is complicated and time consuming to complete properly.  There is lots to learn, about putting a bike in a box, and making sure that it is still in that box, when it arrives at target destination.