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Shipping packages outside the US

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by panda81, Aug 1, 2008.

  1. panda81


    Feb 7, 2008
    In a lot of FS ads, I see some US sellers who prefer not to ship outside the continental US. Why is that? For example, if I want to ship something to Europe, what are the extra steps I need to take or things I need to beware of that normally isn't an issue if shipped only inside the US?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. It is not just the extra price but the time to ship and the difference in money. I am very leery about selling to anyone out of the US because of the transfer of money issue. If I could get cash in my hand in US dollars, I would be very happy to sell to someone overseas.

    Too many times a buyer will get their money back via PayPal or credit card by claiming the item is not as advertised. Then you never get your item back. You are now out the money and the item.

    Best is to sell locally and meet the person. Second best is to sell to someone in the US so you can contact the authorities if that happens.
  3. Lurker


    Jul 21, 2007
    Laziness... For selling in the US all I need to do is print out an address label through the US Postal Service website and then drop the box off at the post office. And I get delivery confirmation for free as well with priority mail!

    For international, now I have to fill in customs papers, buyers want me to lie about the value of the contents (I can understand the resentment towards import taxes, but I'd rather not fight with customs either) and hope that the package arrives on time (and is not 8 weeks stuck in customs, thank you very much Portugese govt!)

    Especially on eBay there are buyers enough in the USA already - no need to go through all the trouble to get two or three extra bidders.
  4. turtile


    May 12, 2008
    Its easy to ship overseas. The customs form doesn't take much time but customs takes forever at times. I had something that was stuck in customs in the UK for almost 3 months! (should have only took 5 days max)
  5. adrianaitken

    adrianaitken Guest

    As a bulk buyer of Nikon goods from the USA, I can honestly say I've only once had a customs issue (ie they wanted money !!!). Most times they've sailed through.
    And if you don't like Paypal (and their fees), Moneybookers is the one for you - they only charge the seller Euro1.50 max (about $1.50) unlike Paypals sellers fee and forex conversion fee.
  6. deadmeat


    Jul 18, 2008
    Sarasota, FL
    Being I'm in the shipping business, I guess I have a bit of authority posting here.

    As others have stated, one of the biggest hassels of shipping is customs forms. Depending on what company you ship with, you have to declare EVERYTHING! Lets say you ship a packet of documents. You NEED to declare the PAPERCLIP in that envelope. There's been a few times where people have shipped documents, and had them returned because of an undeclared paperclip or one of those black triangly binder things. It's not our fault it gets returned, it's because of customs. DECLARE EVERYTHING!

    Second, if you use the postal service, the services of other countries seem to have a bad habit of letting things sit around for weeks (months) at a time, and on a few occasions, whatever was being shipped was stolen out of the package/envelope and the empty husk was forewarded to the customer (my grandfather ships rare coins and other collectibles through the post office).

    Also, some companies, such as DHL, for example, are easy to have the "wool pulled over their eyes." Recently I heard of a scam, where people are assigning a shipping number to your address, but actually putting a different address on a box of nothing, and shipping it. What happens, is DHL shows that there is a package in their system with the tracking number given by you. The person who "sold" you a product, actually just took your money and ran. The package in the system is a box of nothing and doesnt go to your address, but goes to the other address on the box, and the seller then says "It's DHL's fault, they keep loosing the package and shipping it to the wrong place, I have nothing to do with it, it's between you and them now." and they end up getting away with it. Yes, it is fraud, but if you use fake names, emails, ect. it's reasonably easy to get away with.

    And unless you use a brokerage firm, who's to say that the thing you "bought" even exists?

    It's just easier to do business in person.

    I lost $2k on a laptop over ebay.

    I also lost $5k on a motor I bought from a guy 3 hours away from me in Orlando that disappeared.

    It can happen globally or locally, just be careful.

  7. Spectre


    Feb 20, 2008
    I sold a camera from here on the Cafe to a recipient in Europe. They sent the money, I sent the camera, the camera hung up at customs because there was no "Bill of Sale".

    I had already filled out all of the customs declarations when I sent it USPS International. By the time I found out it had been delayed, customs was threatening to send it back to me within 5 days if they didn't get the bill of sale.

    I ended up writing up a bill of sale, scannning it, so it would have my signature and attaching it to an E-mail. The recipient printed it out and took it to customs.... and that was that.

    Not really a big deal, I just felt bad that it was delayed. I didn't know that the bill of sale was required and the Post Office never mentioned it either.
  8. genera


    Oct 6, 2005
    I've never had a package take anywhere near that amount of time but I have had a few that took several weeks. Usually the problem is that the buyer isn't notified by customs when the package arrives. If I get a "Where's my stuff?" message I resend the tracking number along with the customs form number and tell them to call customs. If I hear from them again it's "I got it!. Thanks!". UPS and FedEx require the addressee's phone number and I always include that, even on USPS froms where it's optional. It can be helpful to include an email address as well as fax numbers and alternate phone numbers, or email addresses, just to head off problems.

    I'll agree that the basic USPS customs forms (2976/2976A) don't take a lot of time but for high value items they aren't the only forms required. This doesn't apply to most things sold on NC, probably only some higher cost bodies and exotic or telephoto lenses: as of July 2nd, an electronically filed SED (Shippers Export Declaration) is required for almost every item and every circumstance when shipping something valued at USD2500 or more from the U.S.

    The SED can take an incredible amount of time, especially for someone who only ships occasionally, to complete accurately. The software is horrendous. Their list of accronyms is never-ending. The details required are absurd (do you know the point of export for your shipper? No, not the place where you dropped the item off or where they picked it up, not their local terminal, not their regional terminal, but the dock or the airport it's leaving the country from? You do? Good for you! Now, what's the code for that terminal? Repeat for port of entry and then again for any number of other bits of infomation that you or the buyer shouldn't need to know or care about. Of course, before you get the privledge of completing these forms you have to be certified, before certification comes the exam, before the exam the mandatory tutorials, before the tutorials registration, before registration proof that you are who you say you are (1). Then, if you don't use the system for a few months, you lose access and can start over near (1). Yeah, that's the beginning.

    By the way, if you make a mistake (and I'm not talking about fraud or anything like that, just an honest mistake) it can cost you thousands of $$$$ in fines.

    If you are part of an organization that has a department or a specialist assigned to this sort of activity and does it regularly the forms may be an acceptable burden. But to me, shipping something of that value only a few times a year, the burden is enormous and not worth the effort.
  9. NPA2008


    Apr 15, 2008
    An important point is the word continental. I usually sell used items only to continental U.S. buyers. Here are a couple reasons why...

    Unfortunately, I have been asked a few times by Canadian buyers to misrepresent the contents of a package so they don't have to pay tax. Guess who could be sent to U.S. federal prison for doing this. Not the buyer!

    Items shipped to Alaska and Hawaii must be sent via air delivery. Incredible as it might seem, some buyers in these states do not understand this point. They think they can have something delivered for the cost of Ground shipping. When was the last time you saw an underwater delivery truck?

    Another problem with shipping to Alaska and Hawaii is that in the event of a dispute you have a big problem with shipping charges. The buyer does not want to return something at his expense and he has some legal recourse because he is located in the United States. You could end up paying so much in shipping charges one way or both ways that it is not worth selling the item.
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