You'd obviously be surprised by how many companies will not ship internationally... LOTS... which, in my opinion defeats the purpose of being on-line, but that's how it goes.
For instance, even Amazon, has a branch in every conceivable country rather than ship internationally... it's probably custom (paperwork) and cost related... maybe even an exchange rate/banking issue for all I know. It's just frustrating to me when not every branch carries the same merchandise. Costco, ToyRUs, Walmart, Sportcheck are others with the same issues attached. Specialty companies/products can be better, or worse.
RE: "I don't know how you would be able to circumvent any vendor restrictions regarding selling to consumers outside the US domestic market."
The companies I'm looking at provide you with a US address so that you can order, pay, it's shipped to them and they forwward to you... DHL provides this service. Most of these companies also provide personal shopping services... if a company won't accept a billing address outside the US... you tell the shipping company exactly what you want, they purchase it, you pay them and they ship to you directly.... Basically what a friend might do. Believe it or not, this is really common, and there are a number of companies that do this... a quick gooogle search easily pulls up a hundred.
That's why I wanted to see if anyone had any experience with them (before I commit to one), but it turns out I am the only person who shops on line, and wants to ship direct, in all of Sparkdom, LOL!
Edited by: _RAMONA at: 8/2/2013 (22:04)
Fitness Minutes: (11,546)
1,025 8/2/13 2:25 P
Ramona, You are welcome! Glad I could help!
As for DHL,,, well.. when it was just Airborne Express (prior to the buyout), our error rate was less than 1%. That was one of the lowest in the industry. We were the 3rd largest carrier and achieved that without advertising. (UPS and FEDEX were #1 and #2 respectively.) After the DHL purchase, there were some adjustments and DHL opted to focus on their international services instead of the US domestic market. But please be assured that DHL was and still remains a reputable viable shipping company. I know for sure that Airborne and Airborne/DHL provided the PROD service. I did look on the DHL website and it appears they still offer that service. There are probably a few smaller shipping agencies who may offer a similar service, but off hand, I don't know who they might be. They would be more localized.
DHL is a Germany company with a number of divisions including Deutsches Post. They are widely recognized as the most used international service and employ well over a quarter million people worldwide. So it's certainly not a fly by night company by any stretch of imagination. As a whole, I know the company is very reliable and reputable. I would use them if I needed to.
Keep in mind that you would still have to arrange the pick up and provide the information for the waybill creation. But once you set up an account, since you would be a "bill receiver", they will have your delivery address available. If the shipment has to be sent signature required, you might want to check to see if they can offer you a service called "signature on file". Basically that means you provide a letter with your signature on it to the local office (you can leave it for the driver as well!) stating that it's okay to leave your shipment. You can even designate where to leave it. Those letters are usually valid for a year.
I don't know how you would be able to circumvent any vendor restrictions regarding selling to consumers outside the US domestic market. You might need to fall back on using a friend with a US address for delivery receipt or maybe even ask the shipping company you go with if they are willing to accept the product as your "US address" and then forward it to you. It seems odd to me that unless it is a product expressly prohibited from passing through customs that a company would decline to sell to you or anyone else internationally. It might be because of their experiences with shipping and customs problems in the past. If you can assure them that there won't be a repeat of any issues they may have had, they might be willing to forgo their restriction. Especially if they know they're not going to have to arrange the shipment transportation. It's worth a try to ask.
First of all, while I am aware of how the process works and the ins and outs of shipping with regard to size/weight, I wasn't aware that Fed Ex and UPS could provide this service, and you've identified another company whose name has come up about whom I had wondered, DHL. I'm assuming that because you worked for the compnay, and that you recommend the process/service provided that this company is reliable. Yes?
There have only been a couple of times when I've felt rates were unreasonable, and have declined to purchace... the iea of paying a compnay to do this isn't my issue, it's making sure I feel good about the company I'm hiring (UPS gives me lousy service now just delivering stuff for other companies... and I don't want to have to personally arrange delivery for every purchase).
There is the added issue that some companies will not sell to anyone who doesn't have a US address. I will look more carefully at DHL.
Fitness Minutes: (11,546)
1,025 7/31/13 8:21 P
Not sure if this will help or not but here goes. I worked for an international shipping company for many many years. One of the services offered was called a PROD. Basically that was a service where someone (like you or a company) would have us go to a location where there was something that you needed to receive. It didn't matter if the vendor we were picking up from used us or not. The shipper would be contracted by you. Not the vendor. We would prepare the shipping label, pick up the packaged product (if customs paperwork was needed the vendor would need to create the invoices, 1 original, 3 copies) and then we would send the package on to you. You would have to have an account with us to get this service and it would cost an additional fee for the extra handling but maybe it's something that could work for you? The company I worked for was Airborne Express later known as DHL (still a viable international shipping agency) but I do believe UPS and FEDEX offer similar services. I would give them a call and see if they can do this for you. If they can, it would go like this:
Basically, you would purchase the product from (let's say Toys R Us), have them package it for shipping and prepare the invoice. Let them know you are sending in someone to pick up from DHL, UPS or FEDEX so they know it's okay to release the purchase to them. Contact whatever shipping company you want to use, arrange the pick up. They'll send in a driver to Toys R Us to pick up the package and the invoice, The invoice could be as basic as the sales receipt but they would need to give it to the driver, not package it inside with the product! It has to go on the outside of the package for customs. The shipping agency would prepare the international shipping form with the content information and customs amount. The vendor doesn't have to do any of that. Once the pick up is made, the shipping company should be able to provide you with a tracking number. Remember though, this service is a premium service and would cost extra and you will have to have an account with the shipping agency to get it. In the end, it might not be cost friendly to do.
Also, keep in mind the cost of the actual shipping. If the child's kitchen is kind of on the big side and not heavy, you'll pay shipping for the space instead of the weight. It's called a dimensional weight charge. (Think pillow in a fridge box. You pay for the space the box takes, not the weight of the pillow) Also, make sure if the service is available to you, it's available at a rate or shipping method you can afford or are willing to pay for.
...Of course I have, LOL... and I do shop Canadian!
My point is that I WANT to shop internationally (one of the wonderful aspects of the internet) without restriction, and my only option for some of the vendors now on my radar is to shunt items through a 'package and mail forwarding service' (there are A LOT of them).
To clarify, I am asking help in vetting companies who provide this service (not opinions on where I should shop, lol).
Aside from my question, ... yes it is likely that small grassroots companies don't want the expense of customs hassles... but there are MANY larger companies that also won't ship to Canada... which I think is ridiculous. Recently, I had the experience of having to replace a child's kitchen through insurance (our house flooded and we just wanted some things to 'go back to normal'). We loved that particular kitchen for so many reasons and we found it... at Toys R Us USA... and they would not ship to Canada... not even if our local Canadian outlet requested it, and Canadian stores, on-line or otherwise, didn't carry the item. Really? All things considered (Trade agreements, etc.... and the fact that many American companies are already well established in Canada), I can't understand why there should be so many issues with shipping between Canada and the States.
...maybe I should have put a more provocative title on my post....
Edited by: _RAMONA at: 7/29/2013 (15:59)
Fitness Minutes: (6,555)
2,533 7/29/13 3:30 P
It looks like it's more of a customs issue than anything else, which is something you'd run into with some kind of forwarding service as well. Having handled shipping for my dad's small business for a while, I can testify that the customs forms for shipping internationally can be a pain in the a&& for small businesses (ie 1-5 employees), not to mention insurance for high value items. His business deals with repairs so customers are paying for shipping and are coming to him rather than the other way around.
Have you tried focusing on sellers who are in Canada?
Edited by: LEC358 at: 7/29/2013 (15:33)
Fitness Minutes: (8,498)
3,283 7/29/13 3:23 P
Hi, I don't have an answer but am hoping someone here will!
Hi! I realize this has very little to do with why we're all here, but I've always been amazed at the wealth of information Spark members are willing to share on anything and everything, so I've decided to ask my question here:
Does anyone have any experience with (good, or bad), or use/know of any reputable package and mail forwarding services?
I am a Canadian who appreciates all the amazing opportunities for shopping on-line (I've been doing it for years now with no problems), but have lately run into increasingly more issues with reputable companies unwilling to ship to Canada... they are usually small and still very local... but have some truly amazing products... check out www.thegrommet.com/
When I've encountered this issues in the past, I've actually had lovely SparkFriends receive my packages and forward them to me, but I'm now looking for a more independent solution.
I'd love any help/information you're willing to share!
(I trust SPARKlers waayyyy more than any other on-line resource for reviews and information... and yeah, I've already googled the issue from every perspective possible... still difficult to tell the scammers from legitimate companies, LOL!)
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