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05-07-2020, 12:01 AM   #1
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US Shipping costs

As there are many of our American cousins on here....please help a Brit understand US postage costs.

As an addicted eBayer and old camera nut I am always seeing stuff in the US but the postage costs are almost always bananas, at least from a UK perspective.
$30 to ship two small screws, $25 to ship a plastic lens cap etc etc
Internally in the UK I can ship a whole camera complete with lens for about $5 and last Christmas I shipped Christmas Puddings to friends in the US for about $30 each and those weigh a lot....each one weighed about the equivalent of a Nikon F with a 500mm lens

So why the huge shipping from US ebayers especially as they often qoute the same for US customers. Obviously some sharpies out there bung a lot on postage and count it as profit on the sale but they cant all be doing that surely as I never see any stuff in the US being sold at what I would consider reasonable by UK postage standards except when I order seals from the redoubtable Mr Goodman.

I asked a couple of sellers recently, one was quite rude and aggressive and said he had the costs of packing materials ( last time I looked I dont recall jiffy bags being made of gold or unicorn pelt) and the other was even more rude and aggressive and gave out some guff about how the US postal service subsidised post in other countries like the UK...yeah right.

So is there a reason.....massive taxes, inefficient postal system, massive profit to a privatised postal system etc ???

05-07-2020, 02:00 AM - 2 Likes   #2
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Buggers using postage to jack up the prices. I shipped a center console for an MGB to Wales, maybe 2.5 kilos, and actual shipping was only about $25.
(Of course, Customs had it for most of a month...)

Kirk B.
05-07-2020, 02:17 AM - 1 Like   #3
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Maybe people can't be bothered to find out the actual cost so they just post some random (high) figure. The actual real life postal costs from the US are quite reasonable.
05-07-2020, 03:42 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Astro-Baby Quote
As an addicted eBayer and old camera nut I am always seeing stuff in the US but the postage costs are almost always bananas, at least from a UK perspective.
I have noticed the same thing and have given up on buying anything from the US. Even web shops often cite shipping prices of $30-50 for small items.

05-07-2020, 04:26 AM   #5
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Since shipping within the US is reasonable and competitive, the additional cost is likely due to paperwork, fees and insurances required by the destination country. Countries effectively use those tactics, in addition to tariffs, to protect their domestic businesses from foreign competition.
05-07-2020, 04:48 AM   #6
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The USPS Ships to other countries where they all have agreements to deliver each others incoming mail. That being said, The USPS is actually pretty reasonable in most cases. To the UK or pretty much anywhere in Asia, it is going airmail. I sent a large KP grip to a member in Australia in a tiny box, and that was about $16.20 USD. The item had to be less than 400 dollars value and fit in a small package. That rate probably went up a bit when all USPS shipping prices went up early this year.
In Comparison, I sent some goods to Japan from here in Maine and it cost over 7.00 per pound via DHL. (150lpounds+!) In comparison our postal system is a bargain.
05-07-2020, 05:48 AM   #7
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sometimes it is eBay's Global Shipping Programme that result in an incredulously high shipping charge.
05-07-2020, 06:40 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by rogerstg Quote
Since shipping within the US is reasonable and competitive, the additional cost is likely due to paperwork, fees and insurances required by the destination country. Countries effectively use those tactics, in addition to tariffs, to protect their domestic businesses from foreign competition.
Maybe, but I rarely see similar rates when ordering something from elsewhere in the world. The US really stands out. There may well be some international agreements between some, but not all, countries, though.

QuoteOriginally posted by SSGGeezer Quote
The USPS Ships to other countries where they all have agreements to deliver each others incoming mail. That being said, The USPS is actually pretty reasonable in most cases. To the UK or pretty much anywhere in Asia, it is going airmail. I sent a large KP grip to a member in Australia in a tiny box, and that was about $16.20 USD. The item had to be less than 400 dollars value and fit in a small package. That rate probably went up a bit when all USPS shipping prices went up early this year.
In Comparison, I sent some goods to Japan from here in Maine and it cost over 7.00 per pound via DHL. (150lpounds+!) In comparison our postal system is a bargain.
That is a point. Back before I stopped dealing with US based sellers my experience was that USPS was cheaper and quicker than the parcel "services".

QuoteOriginally posted by termy Quote
sometimes it is eBay's Global Shipping Programme that result in an incredulously high shipping charge.
True, they do take care of customs clearings (if any), but they certainly charge for it!

05-07-2020, 07:55 AM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by savoche Quote
There may well be some international agreements between some, but not all, countries, though.
It's only relevant how your country treats goods from US vendors. Your country will have different rules for different countries that want to sell into yours. EU countries basically trade freely between each other. US vendors often need to hire foreign agents to navigate the regulatory morass. It adds significantly to the cost.

Also, it's important to note that private sales are much easier and less expensive to get to European buyers. Somewhere along the line, I think eBay went from private sales to being treated as vendor commerce. Perhaps that has something to do with what changed.

Last edited by rogerstg; 05-07-2020 at 08:09 AM.
05-07-2020, 10:17 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by rogerstg Quote
It's only relevant how your country treats goods from US vendors. Your country will have different rules for different countries that want to sell into yours. EU countries basically trade freely between each other. US vendors often need to hire foreign agents to navigate the regulatory morass. It adds significantly to the cost.

Also, it's important to note that private sales are much easier and less expensive to get to European buyers. Somewhere along the line, I think eBay went from private sales to being treated as vendor commerce. Perhaps that has something to do with what changed.
We're an open economy with no restrictions on private purchases from abroad beyond paying VAT on imported goods - and that's buyers responsibility, not sellers. Commercial importers will have different rules, I'm sure.

But it's no big deal. I buy from anyone who wants my business at reasonable terms.
05-07-2020, 11:37 AM - 2 Likes   #11
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The lowest price shipping from US is USPS First Class Package International starting at $14.50 USD. Price is weight based and with restrictions on weight, package size and value. Over 4 lbs or $400 USD value Otherwise Priority Mail Flat Rate starts at $38.60 (8-5/8" x 5-3/8" x 1-5/8" box) max 4 lbs. Priority Mail International (weight based non flat-rate) starts at $58.15 USD.

USPS prices are usually way lower than carriers like DHL and Fedex. Prices have probably gone up by 3 to 5 in the past 10 years.

The receiver pays duties and tariffs and should not be paying these to the shipper.
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