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question about shipping internationally

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question about shipping internationally

Postby nanuck95 » Sat Jan 21, 2012 1:51 am

I don't sell tons of stuff on ebay, but every once in a while I will unload a bunch of stuff (sometimes Lego). The last two times I've listed items, they were won by bidders in other countries (I live in the US), which I don't have a problem with. The problem is, both times I've shipped the items to them, they never received them. I don't overcharge for shipping and I try to keep my shipping costs as close to actual as possible. Both times, the bidders wanted to keep shipping costs as low as possible, and the latest one the guy haggled with me to get the absolute lowest shipping rate possible, which was USPS First Class with no tracking order.

My question is, is the USPS really that unreliable when sending First Class internationally? One of the items was supposed to go to Mexico and the other the Philippines. Are some countries more reliable than others? As far as I know, I'm filling out the customs forms correctly, but has anybody had issues with things being held up in customs for a long time? I'd hate to have to list "US bidders only" when I sell stuff, but this has been a real problem for me and I hate giving out refunds because my stuff never gets there.

I know there is always the possibility with any order without a tracking number that it actually did get there and the buyer is claiming it didn't to get a refund and thus a free item, but I'm not going to go there and try pushing that. I figure if someone is ripping me off, there's no way I could prove it and nothing I could do about it anyway, so I just assume if they say it didn't get there, that it didn't.

Anyway, I'd be curious to know if others (not just those in the US) have had the same problem with shipping to other countries.
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Re: question about shipping internationally

Postby Bluesecrets » Sat Jan 21, 2012 2:15 am

I ship international a LOT, seriously. At least once a week I am filling out the customs forms and not once, has my package ever gotten lost arriving to them. (Knock wood because now you know that the next box will get messed up) Sometimes they get delayed. (Shipping to Alberta Canada, holy slowest postal service EVER...I often wonder if their mail is delivered on snail back.) But I have packages that have arrived in the Netherlands in 3 days time. But never has a package taken longer than two weeks to arrive to their destination in Europe. Another issue is rules for European packages. If the person receiving the package has to pay a tariff for the package because it is over the amount allowed, then it slows down. AND the most important thing to remember when shipping to Europe is...4 pounds...keep it under 4 pounds or holy mother of expensive shipping..and that horribly huge customs form of dooooooom that they have to type every single thing into the computer and track it. It is actually cheaper to send two boxes under 4 pounds than one box that weighs 5 pounds.

Now...I have had a few packages arrive from Europe that were shipped in bubble envelopes where the envelopes and contents were DESTROYED by the European postal services.

My advice for International shipping:
1) ship in a box, or ask for a box...you are running a risk with the padded envelope, especially if it is a fragile piece
2) Tape..more tape..and still more tape. Make that box or envelope so completely incapable of being destroyed as possible.
3) Don't be cheap about shipping, as much as people demand it..you are the one getting ripped off by it. If they don't like the price it takes to ship, then they can cancel their bid.
4) more tape...seriously

Also, you can cancel their bid because they won the auction that says "US only." Look into that with eBay. It is entirely possible.
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Re: question about shipping internationally

Postby Lego Stu » Sat Jan 21, 2012 12:44 pm

My wife and I were selling some stuff on ebay and although we had stated "US ONLY" someone from Canada kept bidding on stuff and won some. He turned out to be a good buyer, but this got us to look at settings. You can set your auctions for domestic only if you don't like the hassle. If you don't mind shipping internationally, you should list shipping charges and stipulate that buyers pay insurance. Although it's entirely possible that two packages got lost, I find it more probable that two buyers realized that they had found an easy mark.
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Re: question about shipping internationally

Postby wobnam » Sun Jan 22, 2012 12:30 am

I live in Norway, Europe and have shipped a bit and received a lot internationally, both from North America and continental Europe. We have some import tax rules here that can cause packages to be stopped in customs, and while it varies a lot I wouldn't be surprised if they were there for up to two weeks.

I mostly buy on BrickLink, and I always go for the cheapest (ie, no insurance) shipping available. Not once has something gotten lost.

Your views on refunds for lost packages is commendable. If I had pushed for cheapest shipping and the package didn't show up, I wouldn't expect a refund - but I'd certainly appreciate one. There is, of course, the chance that you are in fact getting ripped off. Instead of not shipping internationally altogether, you could demand that insured shipping is used (and/or that shipping without insurance is entierly at the customer's risk). I think this is fair.
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Re: question about shipping internationally

Postby nanuck95 » Tue Jan 24, 2012 1:59 am

Thanks for the responses, that was very helpful and has helped me figure out what to do for future auctions. Thanks again!
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