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Shipping Preference --International


#1

I’m really glad this thread came up. I have been considering
opening up my website sales to international customers, and low and
behold no sooner had I started considering it than I had an inquiry
from a potential customer in Israel who would like to place two large
orders, one to be shipped to Africa (Nigeria), and one to be shipped
to Israel.

I am VERY inexperienced with international shipping, especially of
jewelry, so I would be very grateful for some assistance from the
group with suggestions for the best shipping method that would afford
some sort of protection against loss or damage in transit, and what
about customs???

The order to Africa for instance, would be a $4,000 declared value
order. The customer suggests using Fedex, Tnt or DHL…anyone
experienced with shipping jewelry overseas using any of these
carriers?

Beth Alexander
Cryztalvisions Creations
Boulder Creek, CA, USA


#2

Make SURE you get info on import/export laws for each country as
well. Jewelry in particular can be sticky. You may well end up
restricting just what countries you wish to ship to.


#3

My husband just had a book published, and since he took part of his
advance in books, we are selling them on our web site with US
shipping costs added to the price of the book. Recently a customer
from Toronto ordered a book, and I took it to the post office and
shipped it out. Two months later he complained that he hadn’t
received it, so we decided to try UPS, since they have effective
tracking. It cost us $43 US to ship a book worth $20, and since it
was a replacement, the whole deal was very expensive. He went to the
post office to inquire about alternatives in the future, and was
told that probably Canadian customs had confiscated it. Actual
international type USPS shipping costs of a 1.5 lb book to Canada
would be about $20, or about the value of the book.

On our web site I’m planning to put “US orders only. International
orders please e-mail for shipping estimates.”

Janet Kofoed


#4

Addressing a different possible problem: Get paid in advance ! ! !
Make sure the payment is good ! ! ! It could be a major problem to
recover your merch. if it’s a scam. David Barzilay, Lord of the Rings


#5

I hope you have been paid already. If you ship an order to a 3rd
party overseas you are just asking to be screwed out of your
merchandise. Forget about how you are going to ship and make sure
that you have payment in full up front. Then figure it out.

Daniel R. Spirer, GG
Spirer Somes Jewelers
1794 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02140
617-491-6000
@spirersomes
www.spirersomes.com


#6
I had an inquiry from a potential customer in Israel who would
like to place two large orders, one to be shipped to Africa
(Nigeria), and one to be shipped to Israel. 

I know nothing about international shipping but the word "Nigeria"
sends up all kind of red flags. That country seems to be the source
of innumerable scams and I suggest you be concerned about getting
paid in full before you even think about shipping anything. There
have been several threads on this subject in the last year or two and
I recommend you search the Orchid Archives for them. Too many people
have gotten burned. Don’t be one of them. Good luck.

Beth


#7

My sister and her husband live in England, so I ship an assortment
of items there regularly. I always use USPS. Always list what is
inside, with value - which I make minimal so it doesn’t look like
anything to steal. I have never shipped anything over $100 in value,
as I have been worried it wouldn’t get there! She has the same
trouble many do here, with things being left lying on the doorstep to
her flat. Not good!

So we have learned to ship to her business address, which will have
someone there to receive the package.

I would suggest that for any shipping having items shipped to an
address that will have folks there (so not to a home!) is probably a
good idea.

Customs charges really add up for new merchandise shipped as a
purchase. When we were in England last we custom-ordered a bowl from
Spode, and pre-paid everything except the customs. They shipped it
through the post office, and I had to go down and pay a substantial
customs fee to get the package - about 1/8th of the value of the
piece! I thought that was pretty stiff!! Have no idea what it runs
on jewelry, but there is obviously a way to send it where the
recipient pays the duty on receipt, instead of you having to worry
about figuring it out.

Best wishes.
Beth in SC where the heat index is over 100!


#8
    international type USPS shipping costs of a 1.5 lb book to
Canada would be about $20, or about the value of the book. 

??? Did you go to a USPS office or a CONTRACT USPS office (they
often offer UPS and other options in addition to USPS)? If you went
to the latter document your treatment and write it up and send it to
the USPS in Washington DC so their contract is cancelled (or at least
they feel some heat) ASAP. Even if you went to the former write it up
and send it to the USPS HQ. I ship copies of my 1.3 pound book to
Canada frequently for under $5 Global Airmail Letter-post (see rate
chart http://pe.usps.gov/text/pub51/51tblb.html#_Toc498745161). (I
ship in a light weight plastic bubble envelope, you must use a large
wooden box???:slight_smile: You can use a Global Priority Mail shipping envelope
(see www.usps.com to order—and check all rates and available
countries) and it costs a mere $9.95 for up to 4 pounds as long as it
fits in the envelope. DO NOT use any insurance or other “cost
enhancers” AT ALL, they are not appropriate for a book.

James E. White
Inventor, Marketer, and Author of "Will It Sell?


#9

I ship quite a bit overseas. The biggest problam is, of course,
third world countries. Almost no one ships to Brazil. USPS is not
a good option. The best price I was able to find was UPS and that
ain’t cheap. FEDEX works fine for Bangkok.

Richard
Visit our online gallery:  www.rwwise.com
Review Richard Wise's new book:  www.secretsofthegemtrade.com

#10

I sent home a box of jewelery tools DHL from Bangkok to Alaska last
year, and the driver delivered the box to the wrong address with no
signature. it was found and returned eventually, with the “inspected
by US customs” tape intact, but with all of my tools dumped out of
their bags…dozens of tiny drill bits, dapping punches, burs,
polishing wheels, etc, all thrown back into the box with a seeming
intent to cause as much harm to the contents as possible without
actually breaking anything, except for my ten pairs of nice
chopsticks, which were neatly broken in half. perhaps they thought
i had drilled my chopsticks and filled them with raw fermented fish
paste? (a prohibited agricultural item) … so does anyone know
of a better way to ship INTO the US? is there any way to garantee US
customs won’t destroy your stuff?


#11

Hi all.

I hope you have been paid already.  If you ship an order to a 3rd
party overseas you are just asking to be screwed out of your
merchandise.  Forget about how you are going to ship and make sure
that you have payment in full up front.  Then figure it out. 

I think this is a wisely cautious statement, but a little too
strong. As I live in Singapore and have things - metals, gemstones,
textiles, etc (and just recently 250 silver cast pods from Daniel at
Racecar!) a global statement like this makes those of us who are
honest look bad.

I hear this all of the time from people in the ISGB (international
society of glass beadmakers) who simply refuse to ship their beads
outside the US because they are afraid of being screwed and are also
too lazy to fill out the paperwork. Frankly I have filled out my
share of US customs forms from the USPS when I happen to be "home"
and shipping things back to the US and it’s no big deal. So
commercial invoices take a few more minutes, but why limit your
potential clientele because of this?

If you do the due diligence up front with payment like being smart
about checking that billing addresses match, etc. or getting a
payment up front you shouldn’t have a problem. I say “shouldn’t” but
there will always be someone out there who will screw you if they
really really want to.

As for shipping, I can say that to Australia or SIngapore the USPS
is really reliable. DHL and Fedex are also good to this part of the
world. The only one that is spotty is UPS, but then again, they are
spotty just about everywhere.

Hope this helps.

Cheers-
Carree
Kismet Studios


#12

I have mailed by FedEx overseas several times (native american
jewelery and navajo rugs) but not for that high of an amount ( only
2500.00) without any problems. You have to be careful of the customs
laws in other countries. You can find out what items other countries
don’t allow to be imported from the USPS site
http://pe.usps.gov/text/imm/welcome.htm


#13
 I think this is a wisely cautious statement, but a little too
strong.

I think as you can see from the large response to this that my
statement was not too strong (note Hanuman’s own recent response to
the original poster’s statement that it looked legitimate). Anytime
a third party shipping address is given it is almost always a
guarantee that there is a scam of some sort involved. If you accept
credit card charges and ship to third party addresses (in or out of
the US) the credit card companies universally refuse to pay if it
turns out to be fraudulent. That is because it almost always is.
You will note that I was not questioning shipping overseas but
shipping overseas to a third party (although I would make the same
statement about shipping overseas until you have developed a
relationship with the company, i.e. always get paid up front). The
biggest problem with shipping overseas (whether from the US to
another country or from another country to the US) is that you have
NO legal recourse if something goes wrong. The laws vary from
country to country and to hire a lawyer to deal with a problem in
this type of situation is extremely expensive.

Incidentally I always tell my customer’s this as well when they are
traveling overseas and ask me what gemstones to buy. I always tell
them that if it costs $50.00 or less go ahead and splurge. Anything
more than that, if it turns out not to be what it was purported to
be, they have no legal recourse. I can’t tell you how many times
they haven’t listened and I’ve had to hold their hands while they cry
and moan over what they thought was a great deal but turned out to be
synthetic, or dyed, or plastic or just plain junk.

Daniel R. Spirer, GG
Spirer Somes Jewelers
1794 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02140
617-491-6000
@spirersomes
www.spirersomes.com


#14

Hi I want to thank everyone for their advice, you have all really
helped me out.

As was suggested by Niels, I have asked for and received a Letter of
Credit, which was validated by my bank. I also did some further
checking by having a friend in Israel check the phone book for the
Church and verify the address there as well as the phone number,
everything matches, she even drove by the location ;-). I have
communicated with this customer by phone, fax and email, as well as
speaking to other church staff who have verified that this person is
indeed a Reverend with the church. They are slightly amused by my
investigations, but have been very understanding about my concerns.
While everyone can’t always go to these lengths to verify a new
customer, it is very important to check and double check as much as
possible when dealing with international customers, especially ones
you haven’t dealt with before.

I’m feeling much more confident with this whole transaction. I
agree with others that I will never ship anything internationally
without a confirmed payment in my account. In the future I probably
won’t agree to such a large purchase from a new customer, without
references and/or a Letter of Credit. I will also more than likely
limit the countries I will ship to: Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, and
Europe. I’m still researching import restrictions on jewelry, any
known problems with those I’ve listed?

Also upon more research I have found it would be quite difficult and
costly to ship jewelry into Nigeria due to import restrictions, so
will be shipping to the client’s Church headquarters in Israel via
two shipments at their request, and they will figure out from there
how to get the pieces they want to have distributed to their Nigerian
people.

I have selected DHL as the carrier, and am billing the client’s DHL
account.

Thanks again!
Beth Alexander
Cryztalvisions Creations


#15

Dear Morticia,

I read your email and memories of my early days came flooding back.
The answer is there is standard answer. Sometime I will call a store
up to arrange a meeting and they will say they are not buying at the
moment, and I feel that if I had just turned up they would see that
my work is perfect for their store and there is more chance I would
get an order. On the other hand a buyer in an upmarket museum store
wont see someone who just drops in.

About consignment. Only worth it is if its a prestigious, well known
store, and the exposure will benefit you. Also less risky if its a
local store so you can check up on them. You must check with other
jewellers if they are reliable. Most stores I work with like this
send a check at the end of every month. Trust your instincts if you
think they may be dodgy.The main problem is usually that they don’t
tell you when a piece is sold and you have to chase them up, which
is a waste of your making/designing time.

Getting paid. I usually ask for the first payment up front ( I
deliver in person and take a check home) or, with overseas stores I
ask them to pay the first time before I post the order. I figure any
store willing to pay before they receive the goods the first time
will not cause problems later (when I send the order and they send a
check, usually a month or 2 later.) I wouldn’t ask for part payment
in advance, its just more paperwork and check chasing.

Laura Cowan