Shipping Issues, Options, Ideas etc.....

Hoser

Passed Away
Check a local bike shop. The Bicycle Boxes are easy to cut down an make the right size. Pad the ends well and leave extra room. Ive had bad experiences with UPS and Fedex so I use USPS. Claims work out alot better plus they have PO everywhere. Actually there is a thread on shipping lightbars here some where. Indiana and New York vollies use the blue.
 

tsquale

Site Minion
Platinum Supporter
I would stay away from UPS. The last time I shipped a bar from them I brought it to the UPS store, paid for it, then was charged an additional $136 by the receiving facility because they felt it needed the surcharge for being beyond specs. It took a BBB complaint and numerous emails and phone calls before being refunded.





I have never had any trouble with USPS though and like their Parcel Post. I also agree on contacting a local bike shop for boxes, since they usually will give them away.
 

cook2890

Member
I have been using FedEx with no problems so far, but I have been padding the heck out of my boxes. I had someone give me a large sheet of 3 inch thick foam (kind of like seat cushion foam) that I have been using to pack items in. I have a cardboard box facility near me that I can get 'seconds' from for free, so I make most of my lightbar boxes myself. The best advice I have is to tape the ever loving heck out of the box! I go to a local dollar store to get my clear packing tape and on some boxes I have used an entire roll of tape just to make sure nothing gets busted open or falls out. So far I have had no complaints...
 

lotsofbars

Veteran Member
I've always used UPS for the 20 or so lightbars I've shipped. Out of those 20, only one dome has ever gotten cracked. When you ship the bar, whether you made your own box or somehow found a box that fits, always make sure that the box is a little bigger than the bar. Then, do all you can with packing to make the bar as SNUG in the package's corners as you possibly can. Also, crumble up a lot of newspaper or something similar and fill whatever isn't snug with that. It may sound inconvenient, but if your bar gets damaged in shipping, that's something that can help you get the insurance compensation with it because they like to skewer people for "insufficient packaging" when they're without said filler material.


I try to stay away from the USPS for large packages like lightbars because it's both extremely expensive and they dropped an Edge in front of me and killed a power supply. I've never used FedEx but I've heard good things. Good luck!
 

Tom

Premium Member
USPS Parcel Post usually takes 6-7 days. Although the tracking is pretty non-existent, I've never ever had an issue with USPS losing a package, and Parcel Post is very affordable (probably the cheapest shipping service for large/heavy boxes). Note, I ship about 8-10 packages a day and use USPS exclusively. I've never had a lost package


The bike shop boxes was also a good idea
 

chief1562

Silver Supporter
I've bought from U-Haul their boxes they call closet minus the metal bar.


Great for light bars cut them to fit.


Really great for those awkward Vista bars. I just make sure I got lots of bubble wrap on them.


Also Uline.com has boxes too.
 

JohnMarcson

Site Founder
Administrator
Neither UPS nor FEDEX will pay your insurance claim if you package it. End of story. If you take it to a FEDEX hub you will pay about $35 and you have to package it. If you got to a UPS store and package it, it will run around $60, but they may pay the claim. I purchase boxes on uline.com and package with various materials. Loosening the lenses and domes helps with breakage. Some poeople have had success getting sheets of carboard, wrappingt he bar in bubble wrape after loosening the domes and then build the box around it.


So a few basic options:


At a store or retail center with their packaging = expensive, possible insurance success


Your own packaging at a retail center = mid price, they will weasel out of any claims


Your own packaging at a hub= cheap, they will weasel out of your claim.
 

chief1562

Silver Supporter
Hoser said:
Just wanted to throw this out there since Chief brought up bubble wrap. Check your local appliance store Refigerators come in bubble wrap now so it will give you a big supply of the stuff, Ive got a monster roll of it now.
Also sometimes you can find the cardboard corners they use now on appliences. Great for renforceing the corners.


Also I look for the styrofoam corners too.


Used to get good boxes for applience stores til they went to shrink wrap.
 

Hoser

Passed Away
JohnMarcson said:
Neither UPS nor FEDEX will pay your insurance claim if you package it. End of story. If you take it to a FEDEX hub you will pay about $35 and you have to package it. If you got to a UPS store and package it, it will run around $60, but they may pay the claim. I purchase boxes on uline.com and package with various materials. Loosening the lenses and domes helps with breakage. Some poeople have had success getting sheets of carboard, wrappingt he bar in bubble wrape after loosening the domes and then build the box around it.

So a few basic options:


At a store or retail center with their packaging = expensive, possible insurance success


Your own packaging at a retail center = mid price, they will weasel out of any claims


Your own packaging at a hub= cheap, they will weasel out of your claim.
John, Good evaluation. My last deal with UPS my lights came broken and were packed and shipped by a UPS store. Their customer service sucked as did their claim service. Total fail. Since that I wont use them at all...
 

JohnMarcson

Site Founder
Administrator
Hoser said:
John, Good evaluation. My last deal with UPS my lights came broken and were packed and shipped by a UPS store. Their customer service sucked as did their claim service. Total fail. Since that I wont use them at all...
I stopped using UPS after a massive headache getting a claim paid too. I have had similar process but better results with fedex. I prefer US mail, but anything over 36" (or around there) isn't worth doing US mail. My current shipping of lightbars goes like this:


Loosen lenses and remove bulbs. Pack the inside of the bar with brown crumpled paper. Wrap the bar in bubble wrap. Use Styrofoam at the ends and corners. Pack it all in a Uline.com box and ship from the FEDEX hub. If the item is valuable I take pics of the process. I found armed with pictures of the process you can get money out of FEDEX, eventually. Sometimes I actually ship the bar and lenses in separate boxes. It can cut the bar size down so much that the extra shipping for the box is negligible.


Just keep in mind that the box will be dropped on it's ends from several feet and then stacked at the bottom of a pile. It should absorb corner impact and top down force. I am sending out a jetsonic soon and I will document the process.
 

Hoser

Passed Away
Photo's are worth a Thousand words. Great idea. Sure it's hassle but a great way to document it. UPS really dropped the ball with me on shipping. Pretty bad when they hassle and don't follow up with you about claim that should have been a simple issue to resolve. Had pictures of damage and their box. Broke 4 sealed beam bulbs literally knocked them out of the bulb holders with enough force to bend the bulb retainers ending up with a perfect dome being scratched and nicked up from broken glass.UPS did everything as far as the seller just dropping it off to their store....
 

car54

Member
All great ideas and suggestions, but I think I might have a new idea... How about putting a glass breakable red sticker on the box as well? Not they would really care, it's not theres but maybe if youre lucky to get someone in shipping/recieving who cares. Also would that might help the claims process out too? Just a couple of thoughts and suggestions on my end, Thanks.
 

chief1562

Silver Supporter
They can't read why do you think your stuff shows up somewhere else occationaly.
 

JohnMarcson

Site Founder
Administrator
I wanted to update members that after a few positive experiences recently I consider Germany to be relatively safe and easy to ship to. The USPS customs and tracking numbers merge with their German counterparts and are traceable. Personally I will ship anything smaller than a full bar to Germany without much of a second thought.


The rest of Europe I still only deal with well established members I trust and or know personally. Sadly the other EU countries don't integrate as well with USPS. Basically I have to be willing to let the other party have the opportunity to cheat me and not take it in order to do the deal. That said I think there are some true collectors and business on here from all over the world that I trust enough to buy pretty expensive items from.


Within the US I use USPS for everything smaller than full bars, and FedEx ground from their hub for full bars. I should be packing a few bars today, stand by for process pictures.
 
I wanted to add something here. I don't know if I am the only one here that uses a APO (Army Post Office) address on here or not, but in case people are wondering...


Shipping to an APO is no different than shipping to any other domestic state. Be aware though that FedEx and UPS will not ship to an APO address as the APO uses no physical address, rather a P.O. type box. The best and easiest way is to ship thru USPS. The only thing that needs to be attached to the package besides address is a customs form. On average a package will take between 3-6 weeks if shipped normal. If shipped Priority, it can take anywhere from 7-14 working days, as our mail system is not delivered on weekends. During the holiday seasons, it can take even longer.


Also, when addressing a package for an APO please do not add the country it is going to. My parents sent a package for me and my mom thought she was smart and added GERMANY at the bottom of the address....the result was it took 18 weeks to get here after it took a whirlwind tour of the globe (verified by tracking). I do not know the reason behind this, other than it somehow gets put into international mail instead of domestic before it hits New York (where the main APO hub is)


I hope this clears up some things, as I have missed out on numerous deals (not thru here) because people do not fully understand how the APO system works. (I had one person try to charge me $100 for international shipping for a pair of tail lights for my truck. Needless to say he did not get my business.
 

JohnMarcson

Site Founder
Administrator
firefighter112 said:
I wanted to add something here. I don't know if I am the only one here that uses a APO (Army Post Office) address on here or not, but in case people are wondering...
Shipping to an APO is no different than shipping to any other domestic state. Be aware though that FedEx and UPS will not ship to an APO address as the APO uses no physical address, rather a P.O. type box. The best and easiest way is to ship thru USPS. The only thing that needs to be attached to the package besides address is a customs form. On average a package will take between 3-6 weeks if shipped normal. If shipped Priority, it can take anywhere from 7-14 working days, as our mail system is not delivered on weekends. During the holiday seasons, it can take even longer.


Also, when addressing a package for an APO please do not add the country it is going to. My parents sent a package for me and my mom thought she was smart and added GERMANY at the bottom of the address....the result was it took 18 weeks to get here after it took a whirlwind tour of the globe (verified by tracking). I do not know the reason behind this, other than it somehow gets put into international mail instead of domestic before it hits New York (where the main APO hub is)


I hope this clears up some things, as I have missed out on numerous deals (not thru here) because people do not fully understand how the APO system works. (I had one person try to charge me $100 for international shipping for a pair of tail lights for my truck. Needless to say he did not get my business.
I charge actual shipping on anything over 24" long USPS, but i will use it. Lightbars run $75 USPS vs $35 fedex. Almost everything else is cheaper via USPS and they make flat rate APO boxes. Thanks for the PSA, also people should use the USPS web site and see for them selves. APO shipping is no big deal...
 

Shawn L

Premium Member
guys what do you do for overseas shipments?


I have had a few transactions go bad with paypal recently , they are like ebay siding more and more with the buyer. I have no bad feedback and I have always held up my end of the transaction.


the issues I see now are that over seas addresses are not always confirmed, I have just decided not to ship to non confirmed paypal addresses, basically the package will go to the address that is listed on paypal, if their address is not confirmed they will get a prompt refund, this has worked well for US shipments, if someone cant confirm their address then they can do a personal transaction / gift payment


paypal is pretty specific about seller protection, they say the address should be confirmed, and delivery confirmation is a must.


what services are you guys using? fedex or ups? I have always used usps for international but I don't know that they offer delivery confirmation.
 

ERIC6913

Premium Member
USPS is the only way to go with these types of shipments. UPS and FEDEX charge way to much for international shipping. The USPS US Customs label counts as delivery confirmation. I have had no issues.
 

JohnMarcson

Site Founder
Administrator
I will do international shipping here, but not anywhere else. I used to refuse, because it is a bit of a hassle, but there are just too many really solid collectors in foreign countries for me to refuse. I only ship to international buyers whom I feel have an actual presence on the site outside of the classifieds. I need to be able to enter into a gentlemen's agreement because I know a paypal dispute over an international item may or may not go well for me as a seller. Before an international shipment, I make sure the buyer understands the following:


Buyer will pay all shipping and customs fees.


I am not responsible for additional customs that may be charged on delivery.


I will not falsify customs forms, including but not limited to declared value and "gift status".


I will guarantee only the portion of the shipping where it is traceable by USPS.


I will not provide a refund for any reason other than if the item is returned w/o delivery. I will then deduct the shipping and issue a refund.


Full lightbars will be expensive, and I strongly discourage them for overseas all together.


Germany is by far my favorite overseas country to ship to. Their postal service is highly efficient, which I know is a stereotype... I ship to France because of the quality of the users, not the quality of their postal service. The UK is on par with USPS in my opinion, but doesn't always play nice with them as far as tracking.


So in summary, I guess I consider international shipping something between friends, or at least peers... not strangers.
 

chief1562

Silver Supporter
I resently sent some domes to a member in Lepsig Germany.


Used USPS once you figuire out the paper work it's easy.


And I make sure I get as much personnal info as possible from them.Including either phone number or email.


They say they use them to contact the customer.


Only issue was the wife mailed it at the local PO and it had a different zip.


Also if the customer contacts you that customs told them there was a package and it has a vague return try and remember what the package looked like when shipped.


It helped in this case I described how it was taped and he was able to get it because it matched the description of what was there.


Waiting for a sale to Belguim now.Should be interesting.
 
To give a little light from the "other side" on this topic: I live in Germany and receive lights and parts from the US quite often. Not as often as some other collectors here, but 5 to 10 parcels per year since ~2006.


I guess all parcels where shipped with USPS. Most of them as "priority mail international", some of them as "first class mail international". All parcels arrived over the years, no parcel was left or crushed.


Estimated (by me) delivery times were 1 week (10% of all parcels), 2 weeks (60%), 3 weeks (25%), more than 3 weeks (5%).


- Almost all Parcels run through customs at Frankfurt Airport, where they are opened and checked, if there is anything inside that's more worth than 22€. So there is no reason at all to label parcels as "gift". Customs don't care.


- If there is an invoice attached to the OUTSIDE of the parcel and it's good visible and parts listed on the invoice are identified as the parts in the parcel and values make sense, DHL handles all customs-procedures for you. In Germany DHL handles all parcels shipped with USPS. You pay your fees later at the postman/DHL-guy delivering your parcel.


- If there is NO invoice attached (or it makes no sense to the customs in Frankfurt) the parcel is forwarded to a local customs-office. You will be notified by mail where and when to fetch your parcel. (See image below) Parcels will be kept for 14 days, before they are returned to the sender or destroyed/auctioned (regarding to what the sender wants to happen to the parcel).


- In case you have to pickup your parcel at the local customs-office, you'll have to bring an invoice and payment documents with you. In most cases you have to open your parcel in front of one of the customs-officers and show what's inside and if it matches the invoice and the payment documents. If so (and it's no illegal stuff inside) they do all the paperwork and you pay the fees there.


Taxes (at least here in Germany) are: some % (2-5, I guess. For lights and parts it's something like 2.5%) "ZOLLEU" (customs EU tax ??) and 19% EU tax on top.


Taxes have to be payed on the whole value (parts-value AND shipping).


What is helpful?


- tracking-number sent to buyer to estimate delivery-time


- true value of the parts given on the shipping-label from USPS


- invoice attached to the outside of the parcel (invoice listing all parts inside the parcel and their value and shipping-costs)


- good padding on the parts


- a lot of tape to keep the parcel closed ;)


- address-form not taped over the opening/lid of the parcel (if possible), so they can easily open the box at the customs


Best advice for sender: Be honest with all information on the paperwork (value, shipping-costs, list of goods inside the parcel).


Best advice for receiver: Bring all paperwork with you at the customs so they have to ask less questions.


aimages.kitesurfer1404.de_t_tmp_sirenenbestellung_zoll1.jpg
 

chief1562

Silver Supporter
That's how I did it when I sent my first package to Leipzig didn't put anything on the paperwork that wasn't in the box.


And when I was emailed about it told him how it was taped and sent copies of the forms by email for him and he had no problem getting his package from customs.


No sence in lieing about what it is that's in there they'll open it up anyway.


Better to be honest about. Makes for good relations and possibly more sales in the future.
 

Jarred J.

Archive Expert
Silver Supporter
shipping issues?


Date/Time Activity Location


- 4/20/2013 - Saturday


4:57 am Departed FedEx location FEDEX SMARTPOST DALLAS, TX


Friday


9:42 pm Arrived at FedEx location FEDEX SMARTPOST DALLAS, TX


12:08 pm Departed FedEx location FORT WORTH, TX


1:44 am Arrived at FedEx location FORT WORTH, TX


-


Thursday


9:33 pm Left FedEx origin facility AUSTIN, TX


8:05 pm Arrived at FedEx location AUSTIN, TX


7:01 pm Picked up AUSTIN, TX


6:13 pm Shipment information sent to FedEx


uhhh lets see... lets send my package 3 hours south to turn around a day later and send it 5 hours north.... :bonk:


I orderd this package 2 fridays ago... same day i ordered a package from china.


Hodgkins, IL, United States 04/22/2013 1:36 A.M. Arrival Scan


Hodgkins, IL, United States 04/19/2013 6:00 P.M. Adverse weather conditions.


San Pablo, CA, United States 04/17/2013 12:54 A.M. Departure Scan


04/17/2013 12:44 A.M. Arrival Scan


Sunnyvale, CA, United States 04/16/2013 11:35 P.M. Departure Scan


04/16/2013 7:01 P.M. Origin Scan


the package i ordered from china got here saturday... :weird:
 

JohnMarcson

Site Founder
Administrator
This NOT how to get me to do an international deal with you...


FRI 1am

InternationalUser said:
Can you ship he whelen dual tone to (non-European country)?

FRI 11am

JohnMarcson said:
I possibly can, but you would have to pay exact shipping plus duties and a handling charge, which will be a lot, and we would have to have some very specific arrangements.

SAT 1am

InternationalUser said:
Can you check the shipping price for it?

SAT 10am

JohnMarcson said:
I'll take it to the post office with other items on Monday.

SUN 1am

InternationalUser said:
Do you had found the shipping price?

SUN 11am

JohnMarcson said:
No, I will be taking it down to the post office with other stuff on Monday. I have had too many incorrect prices from the usps website due to added fees and duties etc

Monday 1am

InternationalUser said:
Do you had found the shipping price?
Monday 1am

JohnMarcson said:
The post office opens at 9am, it's 1am here. However, I am just going to decline to sell the item to you. I'm not trying to be rude, but you seem very impatient, which is not something that is compatible with me doing an international deal. From my experience the international mail can be slow and unreliable. I have had people get impatient and file for refunds while the item was in the mail and end up with my money and my item. Because of that I only sell to established members I know personally when dealing internationally. Again this is nothing personal, just a business decision based on risk vs. benefit.
 

MEVS06

Site Regular
When shipping multiple items a few weeks ago I was informed that "parcel post" is now called "standard post" and it now comes with tracking included in the price just like priority does. It will take a few days longer just like before the name change.


I was also informed that all priority packages now come with insurance on all packages for $50, if you want more insurance you have to pay for it. I found that out yesterday when I shipped out several packages.
 

JohnMarcson

Site Founder
Administrator
MEVS06 said:
When shipping multiple items a few weeks ago I was informed that "parcel post" is now called "standard post" and it now comes with tracking included in the price just like priority does. It will take a few days longer just like before the name change.

I was also informed that all priority packages now come with insurance on all packages for $50, if you want more insurance you have to pay for it. I found that out yesterday when I shipped out several packages.
Are you sure that standard/parcel post can be tracked outside of North America? In fact I can't even find standard post as an international option on the USPS website at all today. I still consider it slow boat no matter what they re brand it. In some case slow boat can end up taking the same amount of time as priority, or sometimes it takes 90 days. I recommend private sellers who cannot afford a refund or feedback issue avoid shipping internationally any way except Priority Mail. It's not worth the hassle to save the cash unless you both understand and agree to the risk, or the seller can eat the deal in the name of good business like some upstanding dealers do here.


I need to go down to the post office and research this more.... from the sounds of it eBay and USPS direct sites no longer access to parcel post rate calculators.


USPS Parcel Post Changes Could Be Costly for Online Sellers


http://ircalc.usps.gov/CountryInformationLookup.aspx


Country Group Lookup
 

chief1562

Silver Supporter
My Stamps.com has also done away with it too.


So now there is no cheaper rate to ship internationaly.


My overseas custumers are just going to have to deal with a higher price when it comes to shipping to them.
 

JohnMarcson

Site Founder
Administrator
chief1565 said:
My Stamps.com has also done away with it too.
So now there is no cheaper rate to ship internationaly.


My overseas custumers are just going to have to deal with a higher price when it comes to shipping to them.
Probably better that way from a feedback standpoint. Last year the majority of the international shipping issues on here were parcel post.
 

JohnMarcson

Site Founder
Administrator
Jared @ 911Lights said:
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. It is going to be a pain for us for lost and damaged packages because we use third party insurance who are now going to require that we file a claim with USPS before we claim from them.

However, now that USPS has a financial incentive to not lose packages, it may work in our favor.


Also, not sure if it was asked on this thread, but priority mail now has delivery confirmation internationally to about 15 countries.
The delivery confirmation/tracking for international priority mail is getting pretty decent. I am now pretty confident about shipping to Europe and Australia. I am also now willing to attempt some shipments to select South American and Asian destinations.


The Generic USPS Country Price Group Lookup list is a good starting place to get ballparks and USPS International Price Calculator works pretty well when you are ready to proceed. I still reccomend going down to the post office with the box packed before giving a final price, but you can get within $5-$10 with the online tools.


A strong word of caution- On the subject of customs forms; Fill them out completely, clearly, accurately and truthfully. Users from here have suffered legal ramifications from not accurately declaring items on customs forms. Don't lie on customs forms guys. Another problem people run into is filling out the form wrong. Ask the postal clerk or other party if you aren't sure which portion of their address is which.


We have some really good users outside the United States. Please be honest, upfront, detailed and patient. Please don't exclude "overseas" members. International shipping is the most reliable it's ever been. I used to say bear with non-native English speakers, but it hardly seems necessary anymore. Most non-native English speakers on the site have better grammar and punctuation than the US members (me included sometimes). :undecided:
 

chief1562

Silver Supporter
Just got this in the mail on the New Priority Flat Rate Shipping.

scan0001.jpg
 

shues

Lifetime VIP Supporter
chief1565 said:
Just got this in the mail on the New Priority Flat Rate Shipping.
That advertisement makes it seem that those changes apply only to USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate shipping. That's not so. Those changes went into effect for all Priority Mail shipments starting July 28, 2013.
 

JohnMarcson

Site Founder
Administrator
They are pushing Priority mail, but in fact standard (parcel) post comes with tracking. The Postal Service is going through a re-branding to compete with digital media.
 

shues

Lifetime VIP Supporter
Parcel Post is now known as Standard Post. When compared to Priority Mail, Standard Post gets substantially less expensive as weight and/or distance increase, and more permissive with the size of the parcel as it relates to being charged by dimensional weight.
 

chief1562

Silver Supporter
The PO loses about 2-5 dollers ever time I use Stamps.com.
 

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