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International shipping - your advice welcome

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi folks, I have a bit of a conundrum with regard to international shipping that at times makes me tempted to scrap it altogether or set minimum orders for international shipments. here is the crux of the problem: Sending things via Air parcel Post I can show that i shipped it but have no way of tracking it and on occasion i've had a few get lost. I always end up eating those shipments and on at least one occasion I know from a friend of the recipient (who took offense tot he practice) that the customer HAD received the goods but knew I couldn't prove it. (Yuck) Sending via Fedex/UPS/DHL is very expensive and they sometimes will charge brokerage fees and seem to charge higher duty BUT I can track it and prove delivery. And oh yeah - if the buyer doesn't pay the duty then they come back to me for it. Curious to hear from those who do a fair amount of international shipping to see what works for you.
post #2 of 7
I can only speak based on my job experiences, but I would advise the following. 1)Contact UPS and ask for a commercial sales rep. 2)Arrange that you use the UPS Customs Clearing House Exclusively. 3)Negotiate volume discounts. 4)Comment on how impressed you were with DHL (They hate that.) I think that you find once you use consistant avenues that all parties involved become familiar with you and your shipments and hassles are dramatically reduced. That is not to say it will be perfect, but rare. Hope that helps.
post #3 of 7
Quote:
Sending things via Air parcel Post I can show that i shipped it but have no way of tracking it and on occasion i've had a few get lost.  I always end up eating those shipments and on at least one occasion I know from a friend of the recipient (who took offense tot he practice) that the customer HAD received the goods but knew I couldn't prove it.  (Yuck)
Simple solution - make it VERY clear in the auction that if they do not buy insurance you are NOT responsible for the merchandise once it is shipped. Then buy a Certificate of Mailing Form for those packages so you can prove you sent it. And stick to your guns - if they are too dang cheap to buy insurance then it really is not your problem if the merchandise never gets there. That's what I do and I've never had a problem.
Quote:
4)Comment on how impressed you were with DHL (They hate that.)
good strategy.
post #4 of 7
Carlo: As I mentioned on a previous post.  As retailers I think that we are screwed.   .  There is no easy way around this. I just make it very clear in multiple corresondences with them as well as posted on my website that I am not responsible for import costs nor customs fees, and I ship a trackable UPS or Fedex.  With them if you do a decent volume which I do on my kids site, you can negotiate discounts (what they call "incentives" ) . When you ship USPS they dont do the whole job but they pass it off to their reciprocrating counterpart and that can be nightmarish.  with UPS or Fedex its one company handling your package and if they screwup you can speak to someone. I got a full refund on an express shipment to Kuwait on a kids dress which by mistake got left on a conveyor belt and came a day late (thankfully in time for a birthday) by calling UPS and complaining. Try that with a USPS package. I just sent a package and it arrived 4 weeks after I shipped it EXPRESS... Problem with buying insurance is the fact that as much as you insure it for thats how much they are gonna charge duties on it.  Try telling the Customs people that the 500 dollar insurance you are buying is not due to inherent value but sentimental value.  Doesnt work.  And the BS the Post office tells you about what customs will costs is just that.  BS.  I shipped a three hundred dollar value to a supplier in Italy of Goods of Italian Origin and the Cost was over 120 Euro, not the 50 bucks that USPS promised on their website. I dunno.  Every now and then I get people complain that shipping is too high but the rest just cringe at the price but as they want the product tolerate it. If its too much for them, then they cancel the order. Also I dont know about the post offices by you, but based on the ones around here...(Brooklyn, NY) its a wonder there arent many many more people "going postal" on a daily basis...So its not worth the standing on line and then getting employees that dont know what the hell they are talking about and are obnoxious or just plain dumb to boot. Only worse office I have seen is the department of buildings...Now THATS real fun. Good luck and if you have found a good solution by all means PLEASE share. Thanks. JJF
post #5 of 7
FedEx does have a custom-clearance arrangement with a list of countries on their website (I tried to find a link but I cannot, but it is there somewhere), thus any item shipped has duty charged as part of the package (depending on declared value) shipping cost, thus the package bypasses customs. As far as I know, UPS and DHL do not have this type of arrangement. Every single time I ship something via FedEx overseas, I never have any problems. I have shipped to Europe, Asia, the Middle East and South America, and everything has arrived in perfect condition. But, in the US / Canada, I usually use UPS and everything arrives without any problems, and many times they cost less than FedEx. Jon.
post #6 of 7
My comment is related to perhaps getting a better rate via DHL. I by no means ship the volume you do Carlo, but I have used DHL a number of times and have had no problem, but their rates can be high. Call a local university and see if they have a pack and ship at the bookstore. I ship shoes to Europe, Austrailia, Japan for about $32 (4 lbs). Our local university allows the public to ship and we get good rates. If I did it directly through DHL it would be about $80 from what they quoted me. Perhaps a local university has a better deal.
post #7 of 7
If your volume is enough, either now or in the future, youd be best seved by a freight forwarder. The costs might be a little higher but the aggravation is nil, and that's worth it. I use Delmar in NYC (go by the name OTS internationally).
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