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Fairness in Overseas Shipping

Started by Peter Glus, 01/10/2007 10:22AM
Posted 01/10/2007 10:22AM Opening Post
On a few occasions here on AM I was discussing sales with some overseas folks. We would agree to the deal, and I would do all the legwork to figure out the best shipping, lowest fees, etc., and then get frustrated becuase the potential buyer gets sticker shock on the shipping price. I am considering making most of my transactions "cont US only" but that seems sort of unfair. ALternatively, I could just ask them to do all the shipping research / leg work instead of me. Also, when they give me a "no" after a few days of work I have not given them a bad rating...although this is very frustrating and I am tempted to do so, at least as a comment, particularly when we agree on costs, box sizes, etc. What is your all experience, and is it fair to, say, make them do the shipping legwork?
Posted 01/10/2007 01:31PM #1
Peter,

Sorry to hear you have had such experiences. Normally, with the exception of Canada, I have restricted myself to shipping only small items overseas via Global Priority Mail.

As for large items, most overseas buyers know shipping is expensive. I personally would not want to leave the shipping hassle up to the buyer. One important lesson I learned recently is to stay away from the convenience store type shipping outfits like "The UPS Store" who charge a very hefty commission on top of the normal shipping rates. I ran into one that actually had a sign out front that said "no sir charge on UPS shipments". I never figured out what that meant but it sure didn't mean they charge the same as UPS. The quote I got almost killed the overseas sale of a Nexstar 11. When I finally started dealing directly with UPS the buyer had no serious problem with the shipping quote.

The next time you get inquiries from overseas buyers simply ask them if they are fully aware of what it costs to ship large heavy items overseas (if that's the case). For UPS, USPS, and Fedex you can get approximate quotes at their websites.

Sometimes your best offer comes from overseas even if you advertise CONUS ONLY. It's a shame not to accept such offers. Just be up front and frank about shipping expenses. This is nothing new for the experienced buyers.
Posted 01/11/2007 09:17AM | Edited 01/12/2007 05:16AM #2
I have shipped many items overseas, and will consider it for most items I sell (not a C-14, obviously).

In my view, overseas shipping MUST be on YOUR TERMS since you are RESPONSIBLE as the seller for the shipment getting to the buyer by the method chosen for delivery of the goods.

If you are to protect yourself and have a good transaction in the end, then making a good shipping choice at the outset is important. If the buyer is unwilling to agree to your shipping terms, then politely refuse the sale.

1.) Ship only by Global Priority Air Mail or courier service. Anything else is a 4-6 weeks delivery.

You can research Global Mail on the USPS site in ~3 minutes. Typically, about $10.00 for a 2 lb package and $40.00 for 10 lb package IIRC.

My experience is that I can ship to Europe or Australia and have it arrive faster than shipping to Canada every time. This could be a customs delay.

2.) For insurance (if available, depending on the service) and for customs declarations, declare the used fair market value, i.e., the selling price of your used item. Forget a gift declaration.

If you agree to a slow boat shipping method, after about 3-4 weeks of waiting, the buyer may become impatient and it gets awkward just waiting and hoping for it to show up. I've done it this way before, and won't do it again.

My $.02