Jun 15, 2010 at 5:57 pm #1260201
I (and others as well I am sure) have been getting steady requests from hikers abroad asking for our help to ship gear to them.
Some of you already deal direct with foreign hikers / buyers but many of you still don't. I don't pretend to know all your reasons for not doing so — but from my own experience, mailing stuff overseas is not hard at all — in fact, postage aside, the only difference is one very simple Customs form to fill out.
All this fretting about our country's trade deficit… I urge y'all to consider shipping abroad. It's easy. You broaden your market. You increase your profits. You make more people happy. And it's good for our economy.
Those of you interested in exporting, why not drop a PM to some of your fellow gear-making or gear-selling buddies for pointers?Jun 15, 2010 at 6:19 pm #1620420
For what it's worth, if I've never said otherwise:
I will officially ship to any country in the world, and will only charge extra what it costs me to ship.
That applies to the quilts I make, or any gear I sell here in gear trade.
For what it's worth, most countries don't charge import duties on handcrafted goods, as long as you make the custom's agent aware that it is in fact, hand made. (i.e. custom quilts :P)
edits: grammatical.Jun 15, 2010 at 6:26 pm #1620424
Travis LeannaBPL Member
Ditto.Jun 15, 2010 at 6:46 pm #1620429
John NausiedaBPL Member
I'm wondering how many of these contacts request that items be valued as gifts?Jun 15, 2010 at 6:58 pm #1620432
Ankar ShengBPL Member
@whiskyjackLocale: The Canadian Shield
I dunno why either, in Canada it gets taxed either way if it's over $50.
I just hate it when people–for no particular reason–declare the value higher than its worth, like rounding up to the nearest $100. Such a pain in the ass for nothing trying to get the taxes reimbursed.Jun 15, 2010 at 7:23 pm #1620440
@peter_panLocale: Co-Owner Jacks 'R' Better, LLC, VA
Jacks 'R' Better, LLC routinely ships quilts, hammocks and other gear to well over 40 countries…As a liscensed bedding manufacturer and liscensed, tax paying USA business we declare customs at the sale price of each specific transation… The USA does not extract export duties and import duties, if any, are the responsibility of the purchaser. It should be noted that duties if imposed are legitimate function of the governments elected by the citizens of each respective country.
Knowingly making false statements on a US Custom Declaration is a criminal offense and a poor business decision.
As stated in the initial post, exporting is easy… Just follow the rules… Preparing a custom lable and mailer is less than a 2 minute drill by USPS web site.
FWIW, Shipping costs are pretty reasonable given the distance traveled for most destinations…certainly far lower than travel to the USA to shop… :-)
PanJun 15, 2010 at 7:28 pm #1620443
There is absolutely no reason for any seller/sender to falsify. On the VERY SIMPLE customs form, just write down the item description, the actual price and tick off the "merchandise" box. That's it!! The seller / sender pays no customs or fees or anything else other than postage. Again, except for the one simple form — and maybe higher postage — everything else is basically the same as shipping within the US.
Different countries have different thresholds before they start levying customs duties. But that's all on the buyer / receiver's side — who will be notified by his/her country's PO as appropriate. Nothing that will affect or burden the seller/sender at all.Jun 15, 2010 at 7:33 pm #1620447
Kudos to you, Javan and John!Jun 15, 2010 at 9:43 pm #1620489
Robert ChavezBPL Member
We do ship all over the world and help our customers abroad. Our only issue is the constant amount of fraudulent transactions that we go through from specific countries. Unfortunately, we had to black ball some of these areas. We do still try to assist any person needing the help. We also always properly list amounts and values upon shipments.
Thanks,Jun 15, 2010 at 9:52 pm #1620493
I've shipped about 50 items to fellow hikers in Australia, Asia and Europe. Never got screwed once — and had to return deliberate overpayments quite a few times (even though I appreciate their gesture).
But you run a business — I don't. Curious, if you ship after receiving Paypal or credit card payments and you of course keep business records of the transaction — how do they get you?Jun 16, 2010 at 12:43 am #1620513
Fred ericBPL Member
@fre49Locale: France, vallée de la Loire
On the other hand its nice when some cottage gear sellers send items to international buyers at a reasonnable cost, last two that i remember :
Zpacks and Tim ( suluk 46)
I wanted some cuben overpack ( Zpacks) for countries when no overpack means you will carry more weight from your backpack being soaked even if your gear is dry inside a liner.
and suluk snow stakes, because i found nothing else even close.
and it was a nice surprise to see i didnt have to pay a huge % of the item value in shipping cost.Jun 16, 2010 at 1:42 am #1620519
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
There is a Free Trade Agreement between Australia and USA. This means there is NO Customs Duty charged on imports from USA.
There may be a charge for GST (10%) if the declared value of the goods is over AU$1000 – ie they charge AU$100 for the GST. Below that it isn't worth their while.
(GST: Goods and Sales Tax)
Edited from $500 to $1000 – thanks Rod. I'm am just behind the times.Jun 16, 2010 at 2:32 am #1620528
Rod LawlorBPL Member
The $50 limit was an old, informal rule, set by staff at Customs. The official ruling was that duty would be collected on items sent by Post valued over $1000, and by courier valued over $400.
This changed last year to a uniform $1000 value.
"All goods (except for tobacco products and alcoholic beverages) may be imported duty and tax free if their value is $1,000 or less.
Note: However, where there are multiple packages to the same addressee in Australia from a single consignor overseas that arrive at about the same time, then the value of all packages will be combined for duty and tax assessment purposes. "
There is still some argey-bargey about filling in a SAC if goods arrive other than by Post, and whether a carrier will bill you for this, but most don't.
Rules available hereJun 22, 2010 at 1:13 pm #1622426
>> Bender <<BPL Member
For ye gear sellers in the US check out the free USPS Shipping assistant program. It is very handy for printing customs forms/labels. I always hated hand writing everything! For domestic labels I use PayPal to get the online shipping rate. Unfortunately PayPal doesn't have many options for international shipping. They only offer Global Priority & Express which can be very expensive.Jun 23, 2010 at 11:23 am #1622721
I shipped gear to Australia just last week — there is international Air Mail — a lot cheaper than the so-called "priority" — same speed really — up to 4 pounds weight.Jun 23, 2010 at 11:33 am #1622726
@mikefaedundeeLocale: Under a bush in Scotland
It doesn't have to be expensive. John at Bear Paw Tents sent my modified inner tent to Scotland in a USPS Small Flat Rate Box, for $13, and it arrived in around a week.Jun 23, 2010 at 12:00 pm #1622734
@owareLocale: Steptoe Butte
I sent stuff to a customer in Canada who refused to pay
customs, so they came after me. They wanted $39 for
$50 dollars worth of fabric. It was no wonder the customer
didn't want to pay. It was FedEx that wanted the customs
money to pay their broker. It told 'em to stuff it and they
told me I couldn't ship with them anymore. I figure I came
out ahead on both counts.Jun 23, 2010 at 12:11 pm #1622735
David – I have had that experience with both Fedex and UPS. Only USPS and Canada Post refuse to extort.Jun 23, 2010 at 12:51 pm #1622746
Yes, definitely avoid Fedex and UPS for international shipping!!
Post offices are the way to go. I've shipped countless times domestically and internationally — and have only lost one shipment ever — and that was a good 26 years ago!Jun 23, 2010 at 3:55 pm #1622794
Dan DurstonBPL Member
As a Canadian, I know how frustrating some online shops can be with international shipping. It's super frustrating when you find an item you want, but they refuse to ship to you or they make a terrible effort to find a reasonable shipping method.
A recent example is Cubic Tech. I wanted to order cuben from them and they said the only shipping option was $123.25 to Canada. I ended up paying them $15 to ship to a USA address and then paying another $15 or so to get the cuben shipped up to me. A lot of time and money would have been saved if they would have just tossed it in a USPS flat rate box for $10 or so.
A popular thing right now seems to be 'free shipping' sales on online gear websites and/or websites that always have free shipping to the USA. These sales are fine, but sellers should consider allowing international customers to get a credit similar to the discount USA customers get. So if a company ships for $8/order on average, they should give international customers an $8 discount on their shipping. It just doesn't make sense to have sales that only apply to a portion of your customer base and it's frustrating.
Regarding the shipping methods, basically all couriers (UPS, DHL, FedEx etc) charge outrageous fees on top of the applicable tax. All sellers need to do is use the regular postal system and declare the value accurately and pretty much everyone will be happy. It boggles my mind why some sellers randomly list the value way higher than it is. The listed value should be the price paid, not the MSRP or some inflated number in case there is an insurance claim. eBay sellers are the worst for listing the retail price rather than the price paid. When I bought a MSR Carbon Reflex 2 on eBay last summer for ~$350 I contacted the seller to make sure he declared the shipping value accurately and he assured me that he would. A few weeks later the tent showed up listed at $600…very frustrating stuff and it tied up a lot of money for about 2 months until I got a refund from the government.
BTW, Canadian customers should be aware that there is an obscure tariff on tents that charges 30% tax on top of the 12% HST. I've bought several tents online and only had this charged once, but it can happen. With the MSR CR2 I would have been better off to just buy it at a local gear shop rather than pay an extra 30% tax.Jun 23, 2010 at 4:05 pm #1622798
@owareLocale: Steptoe Butte
While most of my stuff goes out USPS, it is hard to insure
for very much with them and often impossible to insure
things sent to many other countries. Tracking is often not on option either. Some customers demand FedEx, such as BPL.
It is good to hear the successes of USPS. Glad it is not
run like a business or privatized.Jun 23, 2010 at 5:08 pm #1622813
Dale WambaughBPL Member
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
I've worked for an electronics supplier and shipped via USPS all over the world with few problems. The only issue I have has is the USPS lists a First Class International option that was much lower than Priority Mail, but I could not access that option on line, which means going to the post office and standing in line. Near impossible with my working hours.
Similar issues come up with PayPal: First Class Parcel options aren't available on line at the USPS web site, but PayPal does *if* the personal payment option isn't used. Weird.Jun 24, 2010 at 1:13 pm #1623069
@rcowmanLocale: Canadian Rockies
Montbell owned me on a UL parka. I paid over 90 bucks for shipping and duties on it. it became a 250 jacket…. and I dont even like it that much but I have to sell it for a major loss to get rid of it…..id rather a sythetic one like a thermawrap.Jun 24, 2010 at 5:36 pm #1623148
Dan DurstonBPL Member
How did Montbell 'own you'? Did they overstate the value? Or did they ship via a courier which burned you on extra charges on top of the duty? If it was mailed via USPS then you should have paid the regular taxes (7-14% depending on your province) plus a $5 handling fee. If it was shipped via a courier (FedEx, DHL, UPS etc) then they'll charge you that same duty plus brokerage and handling fees which start at about $30 and go up as the item value does. For a $160 jacket via a courier you would normally pay about $25 in duty plus probably $40-$50 in brokerage fees. It sucks that couriers do this, but once you get burned once you never forget that lesson and insist on USPS after that.
I learned this lesson after receiving an $900 bike frame via FedEx with a $290 bill attached, of which only ~$100 was the duty.
BTW, if it's UPS and it's your first time getting burned then you can call them and complain and they will waive most of the fees the first time.Jun 24, 2010 at 10:08 pm #1623225
Lawson KlineBPL Member
USPS sucks but you can't beat their international rates, just pray they don't loose one of your packages.
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