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12-18-2011, 07:07 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxor Quote
nope. for future, AVOID UPS AT ALL COST !
Actually, I used USPS. The prices to use UPS or FedEx for international shipping are unreasonable for eBay sellers. But I've always had great experiences with USPS, both domestic and international.

The only problem with USPS First Class International is that there is no tracking/delivery confirmation, so there's no way to prove that your seller actually got the package, so eBay/PayPal's buyer protection will automatically rule in their favor when they claimed to not receive a package, even if you have proof of shipping. I believe there are certain international buyers that will take advantage of this and lie about not receiving the package. And it doesn't matter if your auction states that the buyer assumes all responsibility and risk for using First Class (as my auction clearly stated).

12-18-2011, 07:12 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
Always take photos of the package with the shipping labels as proof of shipping to the buyer as well as in the event of a dispute.
I've shipped plenty of packages worldwide, some without insurance and I've never had any dispute from dubious or deadbeat buyers that was unfavorable to me.
But have you ever shipped USPS First Class and then had the buyer file an Item Not Received dispute? From what I've heard (and experienced) the seller will lose every time when there's no delivery confirmation. In my case, I was even able to use the Customs Declaration number to show that the package had cleared US customs. Didn't matter, since there was no delivery confirmation.
12-18-2011, 07:17 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by Edgar_in_Indy Quote
Actually, I used USPS. The prices to use UPS or FedEx for international shipping are unreasonable for eBay sellers. But I've always had great experiences with USPS, both domestic and international.

The only problem with USPS First Class International is that there is no tracking/delivery confirmation, so there's no way to prove that your seller actually got the package, so eBay/PayPal's buyer protection will automatically rule in their favor when they claimed to not receive a package, even if you have proof of shipping. I believe there are certain international buyers that will take advantage of this and lie about not receiving the package. And it doesn't matter if your auction states that the buyer assumes all responsibility and risk for using First Class (as my auction clearly stated).
This is good advice. While I have shipped quite a few items via first class international mail to people on the forum, I would never do it on eBay as I feel the risk is too high. Granted, there is nothing that prevents someone on the forum from trying to take advantage of the situation in the way you describe above, but so long as the buyer has some feedback (or the items is very cheap), I will often go ahead and use first class international mail despite the small risk.

That said, Express/EMS is generally the way to go for shipping from the US to international locations. It's typically about $8-10 more than Priority, but the insurance is a lot cheaper for Express than Priority. So for a $1000 item, the actual cost to send it (insured) is about the same. Express is usually about a week quicker and has better tracking.

FedEx and UPS are typically much more expensive, and generally speaking are more costly to the buyer as well since they're often stuck with criminally large brokerage fees. As a general rule, I would avoid UPS/FedEx for international shipping unless there is a compelling reason to use them.

FWIW, for shipping within the US, I ship most things via USPS Priority or FedEx Ground and have been quite happy with both services. I typically do FedEx if I am going to insure the package and USPS if I am going to send it uninsured. There are exceptions, especially if I'm shipping coast to coast, as USPS Priority is faster for that type of shipment.
12-18-2011, 07:28 AM   #19
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Now that USPS Priority has improved their tracking system, I use them almost exclusively for my domestic shipments. Like you said, they are much faster than UPS/FedEx ground shipments over long distances, and I love the convenience of being able to stick the package in my mail box, or just giving it to the first postal worker I see driving around.


Last edited by Edgar_in_Indy; 12-18-2011 at 07:42 AM.
12-18-2011, 07:38 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Edgar_in_Indy Quote
Now that USPS Priority has improved their tracking system, I use them almost exclusively for my domestic shipments. Like you said, they are much faster than UPS/FedEx ground shipments, and I love the convenience of being able to stick the package in my mail box, or just giving it to the first postal worker I see driving around.
USPS has certainly improved their tracking, but it's still more prone to mistakes and mis-scans than FedEx. I'd say about 1 in 20 times packages I send don't get scanned until they're about to be delivered. Not a huge deal, and they (almost) always make it to their final destination, but at the end of the day it's still more of a delivery confirmation service than true tracking. But I agree, it's easy, cheap and convenient, so I still send >90% of my domestic stuff via USPS Priority.

FedEx is pretty easy too, especially if you sign up for a free account (which also nets you a little discount vs retail I believe). You print the label the same way you would a USPS label, slap it on the box (or in a clear plastic pouch) and just drop it off at any FedEx Office. Half the time I see a FedEx truck on the road before I get there and just hand it to them (they'll also pick it up from your house for free). Again, I usually use FedEx for more expensive/heavy packages as the total insured shipping price often ends up being less than USPS Priority.
12-18-2011, 07:47 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by dgaies Quote
USPS has certainly improved their tracking, but it's still more prone to mistakes and mis-scans than FedEx. I'd say about 1 in 20 times packages I send don't get scanned until they're about to be delivered.
But for gub'ment work, dropping the ball only 5% of the time is outstanding!
12-18-2011, 07:53 AM   #22
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I had a bad experience with FedEx two years ago,
when I ordered a DA35 Macro from Amazon/Buy.com.
Two weeks beyond the expected delivery date, nothing.
So after a refund from Buy.com,
I got the lens from Adorama instead.

The sequel: some time later,
the FedEx package showed up
(with the lens loose in the box,
no peanut or air-bubble protection)!
Since I'm not in to stereo photography,
I did return that lens to Buy.com.
12-18-2011, 07:59 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by Edgar_in_Indy Quote
But for gub'ment work, dropping the ball only 5% of the time is outstanding!
Hey, wait a minute, I'm a gub'ment worker too; I wish I only dropped the ball 5% of the time! (and it's only a minor ball drop, as they still deliver it that 5% of the time, it's just not properly tracked).

I've only had one major issue, which ironically came to a conclusion a couple days ago. I sent someone on the forum a couple lenses and sent it via USPS Priority (no insurance nor signature requirement). It was delivered around 1pm (according to the tracking info). The buyer PM'd me at 2pm saying the package wasn't on his porch. He assumed, based on the tracking info, that the package was stolen.

Fast forwards to 61 days later, I get a knock on my door and it's the mailman. He hands me the package I had sent, 61 days earlier, with the words "unclaimed" stamped all over it. Turns out, they never delivered the package and it was waiting to be picked up for the past 2 months. I guess after 45 days they considered it unclaimed and returned it to me. The buyer even called the local post office, who looked up the info and said it was delivered (but they clearly didn't bother going into the back room to actually check).

Anyway, I contacted the buyer, told him his lenses weren't stolen, but were in fact sitting on my desk. He was obviously pretty excited. I resent him the package, which he received this time two days later, and now all is well

12-18-2011, 08:28 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by dgaies Quote
Hey, wait a minute, I'm a gub'ment worker too;
Uh-oh...Now that you mention it, I also work for the government!
12-18-2011, 08:30 AM   #25
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When selling on eBay you have to play by their rules (and since they own PayPal those are their rules too). It's pretty simple. You have to have confirmation that the item was placed into the buyer hands - period. In cases where that is too costly I just refuse to send to that country. There are several countries with notorious postal worker issues and things "go missing" far too often (Italy among others) and I refuse to ship there for any reason using anything but UPS.

However, the bottom line is never, ever, ship something valuable without insurance, signature confirmation, and via a trusted carrier.
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