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Author Topic: Postage/shipping realities for non USA amateurs.  (Read 1305 times)
VK2NZA
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Posts: 263




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« 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?
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KLONDIKEMIKE
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« Reply #1 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.
 
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VK2NZA
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« Reply #2 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.
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AE5GT
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« Reply #3 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. 
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WA8MEA
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« Reply #4 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...
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VK2NZA
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« Reply #5 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.
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AK4YH
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« Reply #6 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.
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WA8MEA
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« Reply #7 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.)
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W9IQ
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« Reply #8 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
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- Glenn W9IQ

I never make a mistake. I thought I did once but I was wrong.
WA8MEA
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« Reply #9 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...)
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N9AOP
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« Reply #10 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
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VK2NZA
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Posts: 263




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« Reply #11 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.
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VK6IS
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« Reply #12 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 Smiley

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. ..
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VK2NZA
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Posts: 263




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« Reply #13 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.
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N7EKU
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« Reply #14 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.
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Mark -- N7EKU/VE3
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