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eHam Forums => Misc => Topic started by: VK2NZA on September 06, 2018, 06:16:20 PM



Title: Postage/shipping realities for non USA amateurs.
Post by: VK2NZA on September 06, 2018, 06:16:20 PM
Thought I may just slip this into the forum.
Like many amateurs residing outside of the USA I purchase a fair amount of accessory from the US due to it having the best range of aftermarket products for amateur radio.
Locally Japanese and Asian products (transceivers etc) can be purchased here in Australia at quite competitive prices from local retailers.
Generally I find the US suppliers I use  ie Craig at K1CRA, DX Engineering, Universal, HRO, AESand  (Recently SK W8MAZ) excellent to deal with and very courteous when requesting extra information re a product via email.
However the cost of the product is one thing , the cost to ship or post is another!
An example : today I attempted to purchase an Icom interface cable from 3 suppliers, ( LDG IPAC) to suit an LDG-200 auto tuner, recently purchased via my club selling on behalf of the family of one of our recently deceased members.
The cost of the cable was between US $10 - $14 .95, but the postage for this small item from one supplier was US$68.35 and the others $49.50 and $42.67, converted to an Australian dollar that's AUS $95.16 cents, $68.88 and $60.00 respectively due to rise in the US dollar recently.
Emailing the suppliers to see if they could do a better postage/shipping rate was not productive and was told that's the price.
Obviously I didn't purchase the cable! but downloaded the diagram from LDG's website , ordered the fittings from China for less than $6.00 ( free postage) and will construct my own.

In contrast I recently purchased a Johnson Match-box from a private USA seller recently that cost US$96.00 shipping, considerably larger and heavier than a 6 " cable.
A high quality 7 position remote antenna switch unit + cable, brackets/fitting and desk switch-box posted from Bulgaria cost $15.55.
Many of us also purchase products from the Canada, EU, UK, Ukraine and postage is considerably less expensive and becomes first choice when looking if similar items can be purchased.
This is the lot for many amateurs in the more distant areas of the globe.

My point is this does reduce sales of American products overseas and I wonder why a 6" cable in an envelope can be almost the shipping price of a Johnson Matchbox weighing in at 24 lbs double boxed and carefully packaged?


Title: RE: Postage/shipping realities for non USA amateurs.
Post by: KLONDIKEMIKE on September 06, 2018, 06:38:25 PM
... and was told that's the price.
I sell products on eBay and have shipped to your country (AUS). I shipped product in a padded envelope for around $11 USD Economy with no tracking. I started getting numerous lost shipment claims and lost $$$. I no longer ship Economy to AUS but now ship a tracked packet that costs $23 USD. I now get very little business from AUS. I guesstimate many other business's have experienced the same and you are seeing the result.
 


Title: RE: Postage/shipping realities for non USA amateurs.
Post by: VK2NZA on September 06, 2018, 08:10:54 PM
Hi Mike, thanks for replying,
 I'm sure that happens, and I agree a registered  tracked item is preferable. Our postal system, Australia/Post has an excellent reputation for delivery and we generally don't have postage delivery difficulties that some other countries with a high loss an theft record.

Unknown to many, Australian logistics development and  expertise lead the world in establishing the pattern for many of the international shipping companies and we have excellent delivery services due to our remoteness from much of the world and high export and import of products.

Your price of $23 USD for a padded envelope is very reasonable in comparison to what many of us are finding and I would find that quite acceptable

Incidentally, I purchase quite a lot of componentry from China, over 300 purchases and I have yet to not receive my items albeit a 2-3 week delivery time.
Ukraine and UK, Germany have excellent postal services I find also.

The high cost is a real pity as much of our heavy mining machinery, autos and electronics are American and we are very alike as people I find having lived in the US MD/VA and Cal.

Bet you've never seen a factory right-hand drive 1974 Ford Hi Boy F250 4WD pickup, I've one one parked in the shed alongside the later model right hand drive F350  4WD super duty.

Our military is coordinated with the US for compatibility and this year Australia has 72 new F-35 joint strike fighters arriving here, 12 new "Growler" Super hornets, replacing our 75 Super hornets 25 of which are being purchased by Canada.

Always appreciate this forum and the great people I meet and receive assistance from.
regards Ross.


Title: RE: Postage/shipping realities for non USA amateurs.
Post by: AE5GT on September 06, 2018, 08:54:18 PM
The price of a flat rate international priority envelope  through the post office is $66 US the cheapest is about $35 . Even regular international is $20 or better. So they are probably quoting you priority mail flat rate. Even a 3.5oz international letter is close to $4.

These prices appear to have more to do to international postal agreements and  less to to do with the actual cost . Its cost about half as much to send a package from Brownsville, Texas to Canada $11 , as it does to send it a mile across the border to Mexico $17.

Domestically it isn't that much better , I can get stuff shipped EPacket from China in  about 10 days , regular services usually about 14 days.  If get it domestically the shipping is twice. Lately some of Chinese suppliers appear to be stocking in the US, because I have been getting stuff in less than 10 days. 


Title: RE: Postage/shipping realities for non USA amateurs.
Post by: WA8MEA on September 07, 2018, 12:46:28 PM
You see Ross, us little guys not only have to pay shipping for our products... but we also have to pay the cost of Chewy(dot)com's 50 pound bags of "free shipping" dog food.

The next thing they want to do with us little ham radio mail order businesses is come after us for over 1200 municipal and state taxes. 

Soon, ham radio mail order will be a thing of the past...


Title: RE: Postage/shipping realities for non USA amateurs.
Post by: VK2NZA on September 07, 2018, 09:21:34 PM
WA8MEA, too true, the concept of the level playing field for trade is problematic,  certainly the Chinese regime has some very interesting manipulations of currency, trade, and those who choose to manufacture there have to share their technology, their designs, and certainly major subsidy's of the postal system out compete most other nations.
As to ham radio being a thing of the past one only has to look at the average age of a ham today to see that it isn't growing in the way in did in the past and we are an older demoghraphic.
However if and when digital and centralised comms systems are hacked or crash there may be a resurgent interest in traditional comms such as HF.
I believe the US military has re-installed upgraded HF systems as a safe guard backup in case the satellite and cable links systems are knocked out or are hacked in Guam and Port Hueneme Cal around the time of Nth Korea's missile tests.
Realisation that these sophisticated comms technologies can be affected has created a major rethink for military's around the world.


Title: RE: Postage/shipping realities for non USA amateurs.
Post by: AK4YH on September 08, 2018, 03:52:10 AM
Things are not so bad from the U.S. to France. The problem on eBay is that many sellers do not ship outside of the USA. I asked once why a seller wouldn't do it and he replied that he didn't want to bother filling the little green customs sticker, which takes 30 seconds... There is the Global Shipping Program any seller can use. He ships to an address in the U.S. and the service then forwards it to wherever. It's painfully slow but at least it has the merit of allowing easy overseas shipments. I don't think many sellers know the option exists. Given the age of most ham operators, I think a lot of them aren't so able to use a web browser and figure out how these options work. The eBay shipping options page is a big mess, which doesn't help... Buying small items at a reasonable price seems to only be possible from China, but of course, it's all subsidized...

Gil.


Title: RE: Postage/shipping realities for non USA amateurs.
Post by: WA8MEA on September 08, 2018, 05:10:26 AM
Ross...

I didn't say ham radio would be a thing of the past.  I said ham radio MAIL ORDER businesses would be a thing of the past. (If they keep nickel and dime-ing us to death.)


Title: RE: Postage/shipping realities for non USA amateurs.
Post by: W9IQ on September 08, 2018, 05:29:07 AM
Things are not so bad from the U.S. to France. The problem on eBay is that many sellers do not ship outside of the USA. I asked once why a seller wouldn't do it and he replied that he didn't want to bother filling the little green customs sticker, which takes 30 seconds... There is the Global Shipping Program any seller can use. He ships to an address in the U.S. and the service then forwards it to wherever. It's painfully slow but at least it has the merit of allowing easy overseas shipments. I don't think many sellers know the option exists. Given the age of most ham operators, I think a lot of them aren't so able to use a web browser and figure out how these options work. The eBay shipping options page is a big mess, which doesn't help... Buying small items at a reasonable price seems to only be possible from China, but of course, it's all subsidized...

Gil.

Sans déc?

- Glenn W9IQ


Title: RE: Postage/shipping realities for non USA amateurs.
Post by: WA8MEA on September 08, 2018, 07:31:40 AM
Gil is right; eBay has a great option.  You ship to KY and from their, your item is shipped to a single address in a particular continent or country.  From that DX location, eBay is able to send it the rest of the way via local postage.  Using this process, they are able to ship many items in one bulk shipment.  Yes, it does take a little longer.  But so far, I haven't had any issues.  And they inform me where the package is... every step of the way.

However, some people still don't get this.  I had a ham in Canada give me negative feedback because the package went to Alberta first, before it arrived at his Ontario address.  He didn't understand the DX shipping process and that Alberta was likely eBay's equivalent warehouse to our Kentucky's.  Luckily, I was able to get eBay to remove the negative feedback.

I also don't understand why more businesses don't go for this eBay option.  And I applaud eBay for finding a crafty way of getting around the oligopoly of the big three shippers: USPS, FedEx and UPS.  They all work IN UNISON to price fix the shipping of packages across country and around the world. (Haven't you ever noticed that when one raises their rates, they all raise their rates?  Just like our gasoline stations...)


Title: RE: Postage/shipping realities for non USA amateurs.
Post by: N9AOP on September 08, 2018, 07:46:39 AM
Recently a friend of mine had to send his Barat radio back to AU for repair and the tab was $300 USD.
Art


Title: RE: Postage/shipping realities for non USA amateurs.
Post by: VK2NZA on September 08, 2018, 06:30:06 PM

WA8MEA - quite correct you were referring to mail order,   I took off on a tangent!
However this also goes to the issue of reducing tariffs/taxes and creating "free trade" that is such a huge issue in the USA and other countries at present.
Recently the Australian Govt instituted GST" (goods and services tax) to be paid on items imported through E'Bay for items less than the previous $1000,00 threshold increasing the value of an imported item under this amount.

E bays international shipping program does work well!, however the purchaser often pays for it in spades, the price for some items is way out of kilter with conventional post, yet others are better, its a pig in a poke.
One item I just viewed on E'Pay from same country (UK) - 50 meters of Flex-weave antenna wire is $145.00 postage to Australia nearly double the price of the wire, yet a separate listing two items down from different supplier same wire $25.41 postage both through E'Bays global shipping program  - go figure?

Concurring with AK4IH, re international purchasers, many sellers on E'Hams classifieds nominate Conus only, that's a right sellers have,  however I have often wanted to purchase an item from E Ham classifieds but finding myself unable due to a Conus only sale. Paypal is a protection for both buyer and seller and payment can be adjusted for the small fee charged and postage.
Interestingly Alaska, Hawaii and several US territories are disallowed also.

N9AOP - yes thats a fairly hefty bill on top of the repair cost, I commiserate! 
This is not uncommon for us down here in the South Pacific although I had to return for repair an "Outback" brand solar regulator to Arlington WA ( Barrat sized metal case) and they had an excellent costing for postal return ($70 WA to VK) my total return cost $130 ($65.00 from VK -WA)
so there is a high variation in costs.

As Gil AK4YH mentions the Chinese subsidised post, is usually free to VK or a couple of dollars, it's unbeatable and I have not had a problem with items failing to arrive or item being fit for purpose in over 300 purchases from there.

Being "down under" in the South Pacific ocean, the combined population of Australia and New Zealand (with very close relationship and economic ties) would not even be equal to the population of California, around 30 million vs 43 million?? (although Australia's land mass is very similar to that of the Continental USA) therefore our local choices or availability of aftermarket amateur products is reliant on imports and the shipping penalty hurts.
Ross.


Title: RE: Postage/shipping realities for non USA amateurs.
Post by: VK6IS on September 10, 2018, 12:45:53 AM
the several times that I've purchased from fellow HAMs that are over in CONUS,
it was that postage issue again,, so on the occasion that I've found something
that I've really wanted, then I've just had to fork out for that item.

the last one was an Vibroplex keyer  - That I'd Just Had to Have :)

when it comes to Computers, though, they are tricky to get upgrades for,
especially for say - - Memory Sticks - - but they are available in CONUS ?
- yep - - sure are,, but look at that postage Vs item cost ?  a bit difference . .
sometimes, you can get stuff from the UK sellers, but not always so. .

so, it's a case of -  - if you gotta have it, then your gonna have to pay for it !.
- the Local Aussie market is fairly small & the choice is not that wide,
when compared to just what is available to folks in CONUS. ..


Title: RE: Postage/shipping realities for non USA amateurs.
Post by: VK2NZA on September 10, 2018, 02:53:43 AM
VK6IS - echoes my experience and I suspect many amateurs living distant from Europe and the USA.
If I added up the cost of postage/freight I've paid over the years, I'd have a brand new IC 7610 sitting in the shack.
I have purchased some excellent Dutch, German, Ukrainian and Bulgarian amateur products and the postage is much better than stateside.
Its what it is I guess and I count my blessings, living here in a rural no RFI environment with plenty of space and large gum trees for antennas and the FT 1000D and IC-765 still do the job well.

Nice keyer!

all the best Ross.


Title: RE: Postage/shipping realities for non USA amateurs.
Post by: N7EKU on September 10, 2018, 08:08:09 AM
Ooof!

I've never had a good experience with eBay's global shipping program.  Actually it has just been horrible.

For one thing, the service adds a middleman that has to be paid so it adds to the cost.  This is seen in the customs/duties charge that is not shown until you buy the item, or add it to a cart and then check.  And this charge includes not only the duties charge, but also the handling charge for that business, which is usually about the same about as the duties.

Another thing is it takes a lot longer for deliveries.

Also you item may be unpacked by the Global Shipping house and then not repacked properly.

On a refund or return done through that method, the buyer and/or seller can lose a lot through the process.

The package is also handled a lot more and it adds many more miles in traveling which risks damage to the item a lot more.

I've never seen any bulk shipment happen.  It usually just goes throughone of the country's international customs receiving places.

Anyway I've never seen it cheaper that way -- always much more expensive than shipping direct.

My 2c of experience on that anyway,


Mark.


Title: RE: Postage/shipping realities for non USA amateurs.
Post by: KLONDIKEMIKE on September 10, 2018, 09:05:42 AM
...I've never had a good experience with eBay's global shipping program.  Actually it has just been horrible.
Hear, hear!


... There is the Global Shipping Program any seller can use. I don't think many sellers know the option exists.
The eBay Global ship program is a farce and a money grab. As mentioned a unnecessary middle man operation which adds 2-3x the cost to shipping which falls to the buyer. As a buyer in their right mind, why submit to such thievery?

As a US based seller, the advantage is only for them. When creating a listing, it is automatically selected. They have the option of NOT using the Global ship program but must deselect the option (if you can find it).



Title: RE: Postage/shipping realities for non USA amateurs.
Post by: VK2NZA on September 10, 2018, 05:12:37 PM
KLONDIKE MIKE, N7EKU, AK4YH - There's no doubt E Pay's global shipping program adds considerably to the cost and time!
Often I will contact a seller and ask if they can do better cost postage option and happily some considerate sellers will and often it is a better out come.
However much of the time the larger retailer will just reply that the program is the only option they use.
The cost is often exorbitant and the variation for similar product from close by origins is just weird often a 50% difference in shipping cost.
Sometimes to get something I really need and can't source elsewhere I just have to bite the bullet and get pasted!
There appears to be a high variation in postal costs from different countries postal services worldwide and as VK6IS refers (re purchasing UK) many of us will look for our needs in UK/Europe/Ukraine etc first as the postal costs are often much less, although the distance is considerably more and delivery time is very good.
Interestingly many of our countries have a higher basic wage than USA so the labour component should be competitive.
Having said that I find the small businesses I deal with in the USA very good to deal with and will continue to do so ie K1CRA, DX Engineering, Paul at Palstar who ships directly for very reasonable cost.
There can be no doubt there is a lot of "price gouging" going on with big business, as we in Australia are well aware after a large "Royal Commission" investigation into fraudulent practises in our banks, insurance, and superannuation industries, next the Telco's! Not unique to us though!
Profits for shareholders becomes the primary concern for much of big business and the general public become the losers much of the time.
"Just my take"



Title: RE: Postage/shipping realities for non USA amateurs.
Post by: VK6HP on September 10, 2018, 06:16:25 PM
Ross,

You'll often find that the Global Shipping Program works best for larger or more expensive items from the US - but only up to a point.  It's hopeless for small boxes or envelopes, despite the relatively high costs of the USPS (etc) competition on those items.  And, for very substantial items, many US suppliers will have freight contracts with particular shipping companies, especially when new and expensive items are involved.  But, like you, I'm astounded by the variation in GSP shipping costs for similar items - and sometimes from the same supplier! When I've occasionally pointed this out, some of the more reputable suppliers have offered to refund any excess over and above actual costs.

One of the best deals around is the iParcel program used by companies like DX Engineering.  I've gotten quite good at maintaining "filler" shopping lists for items needed in the shack, so that I maximize the bang per shipping buck for a particular iParcel shipping threshold. Just keep adding small necessities until you pass the threshold, then back off a bit.

73, Peter.


Title: RE: Postage/shipping realities for non USA amateurs.
Post by: N7EKU on September 10, 2018, 08:59:03 PM
Hi again,

RE: eBay's Global Shipping program variation.  The seller can add in whatever handling charges they want and those will just be tacked on the the shipping price.  I don't think it shows up as a separate charge, so this can lead to big variations in price.  If you look as eBay's FAQ for the program, they carefully never mention that it's more expensive.  You also sign off power of attorney to Pitney Bowes for shipping so you lose some protections as a seller/buyer.

For country to country variation, that's all set by international postal office agreements.  I have no idea how the costs are decided upon, or how often they are reviewed, but it ends up causing a lot of trouble.  In the US for example, the USPS is losing billions of dollars per year accepting packages from China at a port and shipping them to your door.  There's nothing free in this world, so when you get an item shipped to you from China for super cheap, who is paying for getting it from the port to your door?  Not you, not China, but the US post office and eventually the US tax payer.  So it's basically a program to promote buying from China and not from local retailers.

I haven't looked much into how it affects e.g. EU to US, or US to Australia, but it's something that can cause a lot of variability and unfairness I think.

73,


Mark.





Title: RE: Postage/shipping realities for non USA amateurs.
Post by: VK2NZA on September 10, 2018, 09:28:09 PM
Hi Mark, I hadn't realised that the seller could add in handling charges!
This may go to explain the variation I often observe in pricing for same item.
There are grumble's here also re China post although I'm unsure as to how the system operates.
As in the USA some of the goods are warehoused here then posted from local Chinese distribution agencies, arriving I think in periodically shipped containers of purchased goods then re-posted/freighted, this may explain the 2-3 week delivery period that is clearly specified by Chinese sellers..
We did notice a price rise after 9/11 probably due to the increased scanning and security measures most Western countries undertook.
 73 Ross.


Title: RE: Postage/shipping realities for non USA amateurs.
Post by: N7EKU on September 11, 2018, 08:18:31 AM
Hi,

Yes I expect that's how Amazon does it.  Just fill up shipping containers with items for the warehouse and truck them directly to their distribution centers.  If the profit is enough through combined orders etc, they can offer free shipping.  And they can offer lower than normal shipping prices this way too, even if they use USPS/FedEx etc.  You can tell this as most of that only comes as a buyer of Amazon warehoused items and not from independent Amazon sellers.

73,


Mark.



Title: RE: Postage/shipping realities for non USA amateurs.
Post by: VK2NZA on September 11, 2018, 04:43:13 PM
Hi Peter VK6HP - re amassing a list of items for combined is a good idea and I try to do so as it does reduce the overall postage cost, 
At present I am looking for 100 feet of  Ladderline,
 the Ham shop has 50 feet for US$38.00 but the postage is $US 63.00 almost doubling the price,
       Gigaparts has 100 feet for US $41.00 but postage is US $40.00 (double the wire) go figure!

Searching for the wire elsewhere, I've just purchased 328 feet, (100 meters) of JSC 18 Ladderline from  a UK source, just outside London and the postage is US $33.00.

A considerably longer distance from the East Coast of Australia than Tennessee.

N7EKU - Amazon this year has established 2 large distribution centers here in Australia recently in order to do exactly as you suggest, previously they shipped direct from the USA.
If you were to come to Australia, other than the fact that Jeeps, Dodges, F series GMC Chevs Mustangs have a left hand steering wheel, you would feel at home , Costco, K'Mart,  all the usual fast food outlets, Burger King, Mc'Donalds, KFC, Pizza Hut, sometimes feels like the 52nd state.
When I cross the state border to work with my sons on their cattle properties their is a constant flyover of FA-18 Super Hornets and now F-35 Growlers from the nearby Airforce base.
Our location however ties us into Asia and we see ourselves quite differently in the world than Nth Americans to some degree, just my take!