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Straying from the straight and narrow — Chicago Tribune

By Karen Klages and Mary Danie

SHIPPING FURNITURE MADE EASY: Like many other eBay auction users, Sandy Buffington of Spring Grove, Pa., found that after she had bought something on the Web auction, she had trouble finding a way to have it shipped to her.

Last October, Buffington found a Heywood-Wakefield dresser on eBay. The blonde beauty from the 1950s was exactly what her 84-year-old mother had been looking for to match her existing pieces. When Buffington purchased it, she had not paid too much attention to the fact the seller in Lansing, Ill., said “no shipping included.”

Buffington then spent the next few months trying to find someone to ship the dresser, chair and glass top. One shipper, she says, wanted $800 (more than she paid for the dresser), and refused to ship the glass. “FedEx wanted to charge me for wrapping it, and nobody wanted to load it on a van,” Buffington recalls.

By chance she saw an ad for uShip, a firm Matt Chasen founded in January 2003.

Listing the price she wanted to pay on the uShip site, Buffington put down $150. That was what she eventually paid to a shipper who waited until he got a full load, then dropped the dresser, chair and mirror off at her mother’s house.

“It was a fantastic experience,” says Buffington of uShip, a relatively new Internet service whose time seems to have come. The user-friendly Web site,, helps consumers find ways to ship large items such as furniture and appliances, for a fraction of the cost of conventional shipping.

In February, a new option was launched on the Web site, a free consumer directory of shipping and moving service providers.