piatkow - 1:14 pm on Oct 22, 2010 (gmt 0)
Is it enough to just ship an item, or is there some reasonable amount of responsibility to ensure I actually receive the item?
Can vary by jurisdiction. Check local consumer protection regulations.
What does a merchant have to gain by not requiring a signature for receipt?
Sales. Not everybody is sitting around waiting for deliveries. I have a lockable parcel box in my porch so that packets that don't fit the mail box can be left.