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11-24-2012, 09:20 AM   #1
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Shipping choice from USA to Canada and Australia

I'm asked to give shipping quotes to Canada and Australia from the states, though I don't have the experience to know if there is an optimal shipper to use. What comes to mind is USPS, UPS and FedEx. What with customs forms and other things to keep in mind, I'd appreciate your feedback on a good pick if there is one, and what your experience is using different shipping companies. If there is a better choice what would be the reason for that? I'm a little nervous sending to Canada or Australia for example, but open to try if its no big deal.

thanks in advance.

11-24-2012, 09:49 AM   #2
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for me I will only buy if it's usps. the couriers all screw canadians on brokerage fees. canada post charges a flat $5 if they broker it at all (low value never seems to get touched)
not sure for aussies though
11-24-2012, 10:10 AM   #3
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Same here

Same here. I have never had any issues shipping to Canada via USPS. I also don't know about Australia though.
11-24-2012, 11:56 AM   #4
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B&H uses Purolater to Canada. That allows them to show the exact total cost as you check out. Not sure if Purolater is a good solution for individuals shipping.

11-24-2012, 12:06 PM   #5
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I've received Postal service items from Australia, several European and Asian countries and the US. It's all been good and five bux!

I'm with eddie and lammie!
11-24-2012, 01:13 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by riff Quote
I've received Postal service items from Australia, several European and Asian countries and the US. It's all been good and five bux!

I'm with eddie and lammie!
I'm getting quotes of around $55 with insurance to Canada through USPS for fully insuring a lens at $1200. Are you using shipping with little to no insurance I'm wondering, and how slow/quick is the delivery? I can't find such low costs, usps is over $35 or more not including insurance. Maybe I should try slower shipping for quotes. Then there's customs forms I'm not looking forward to.

I appreciate everyone's chiming in, though I'm not further along at this point, but thanks.
11-24-2012, 01:22 PM   #7
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I have used USPS, mostly Priority International, to about a dozen countries from the US. First Class International has worked for me but I worry about it longer. (Once I sent something to Australia with First Class International and it got there in 4 days, some kind of miracle.) First Class International has to be done at the post office, not online. I like to print the forms online because I can copy and paste the names and addresses. By hand I worry about mistakes, especially to Asian addresses. Most of the time, Paypal offers the choice of printing labels from there. I still go to the post office with the box and the printed labels and customs forms, where the clerk puts them in a plastic liner and scans the package in. There are some rules about box sizes, insurance, etc., that might be important in special cases (like shipping gold bars or a canoe). It's just a little more work for international shipping, maybe a bit more care packing too, but not a big deal.
11-24-2012, 02:00 PM   #8
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With the high Australian dollar, we, Australian Pentaxians, find the US prices very attractive as long as the item price is below the equivalent of A$1,0000. Above that amount, we need to pay very steep duties. (You might keep this in mind....)

As an Australian based in Australia, I purchased a number of Pentax gear from B&H, Adorama as well as PF members (2nd hand). I have experience both USPS, UPS and FedEx: from my end, all were good, although I would rate higher the services of USPS and UPS.

My 5 cents...hoping that it may help.

11-24-2012, 10:53 PM   #9
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From Canada, I have learned not to buy from shippers using FedEx or UPS or other courier services which stick big fees on. USPS priority mail comes in different sizes; there must be an insurable option there. The buyer may still have to pay tax on an expensive item, but they won't have courier fees too. Basically I'd just look for something trackable, signed-for, and insurable. If someone's going to spend $1200 on a lens, they shouldn't quibble too much about $30-50 for shipping if it means insurance. It's the ridiculous shipping costs for arbitrarily-chosen options that bug me -- like $25 priority shipping for a DVD which doesn't have or really need insurance.
Customs forms shouldn't be that complicated... fill in all the little boxes & don't forget to sign it, & ask the postal clerk to make sure it's right. I recently bought something that was delayed when it was returned to sender because they forgot to sign the form.
Good luck!
11-25-2012, 02:55 AM   #10
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shipping to Australia

I will second the comment on postage to Australia. The price including postage and insurance must be under $Aus 1,000 or it cops a 10 % tax whacked on top (ouch). The rediculously high Aussie dollar makes camera gear artificially cheap. A thousand bucks goes a long way and will go even further as world wide deflation hits (until the big inflationary period to follow.) Never had any problems with USPS when receiving goods bought from the US on the net.
11-25-2012, 04:23 AM   #11
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I only buy if the shipper uses USPS to Australia. If you download the USPS software it makes it very easy to work out the shipping and print the forms. That's what I did when I visited the States. The USPS staff were really helpful when I went to a PO - it might have been my Aussie accent that won the ladies! Oh, and my charm, of course.

The only problem I had was the USPS website was not up to date on PO closures so couple of times I went to POs that had been closed for months!

USPS delivery is usually about 10 days and is trouble free. Having said that, I have kept under the magic $1000 (incl freight/postage) figure. USPS Rates are quite reasonable but some sellers really inflate their charges.
11-25-2012, 06:04 AM   #12
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USPS. Never had a problem. Most packages from the US take about ten days. With Courier service it's usually about a week and a half
All of the Couriers promise faster service but I've had them lose a parcel for weeks and then try to convince that I gave them the wrong address. I don't know where I live?!? And most of them turn the pack over to Canada Post after clearing them at Customs for exorbitant fees so what's the point.
11-27-2012, 09:43 AM   #13
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Thanks everybody!

I really appreciate everyone's feedback, sounds like usps and not insuring over $999 seems key, though for expensive items I guess it still needs to be insured fully if the package is lost or stolen.
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