I think it seems odd to us in England as we have to go to the Post Office regardless of where the parcel is going whereas I think in the US, domestic parcels are picked up from the sender's house.
Whenever I see a "post to US only" comment, it makes me want to sell something and add "I will ship to anywhere in the world except the US".
Here here Steve. I am lucky enough to have a brother who resides in the US and there has never been a package he has sent to me not make it to my address in Oz. I have had many packages not arrive at my brother's address in SF though, and the USPS has advised that the parcel was never rec'd for delivery on every occasion.
For more valuable goods I do insist on FedEx or the like and I am happy to pay for the added speed and security no matter where my purchases originate from.
I ship overseas.
Currency conversions? Let PayPal sort it out. Customs? The buyer usually knows what to do and what to put down on the forms. I also dated a girl from Canada and learned the rules of out-of-country and overseas shipping.......she visited Japan frequently.
I buy and sell overseas, no problem. For ordinary individuals, even if you have to fill out the white customs form, you don't need to supply the commercial tariff info. As long as I'm paid up front and the recipient understands the shipping options and potential issues, there really is no problem. I've shipped lenses to China and bought my Linhof 6x9 from Croatia. By selling internationally, I can get a higher price at auction. By buying internationally, I can find goods that are more common in other countries.
For AK and HI I recommend flat rate Priority Mail boxes, if the item fits. Residents if those states know this is the best deal going for them for domestic parcels to and from the mainland.
I've shipped to and bought from all over the world many times and really only had a problem once and that was shipping TO the US. Apparently the mailman left the package on the doorstep instead of giving it to the buyer in person and having him sign for it, but since I always ship insured there was no issue getting the money back for the buyer. Usually packages only take a couple of days from the US to Europe, including customs. It seems a lot of US sellers just assume it's a hassle without really knowing or bothering to find out. If the buyer is willing to pay the shipping costs and you make sure to ship insured there's really no risk as far as I know.
I was also surprised that the cost of sending something from the UK to the US wasn't much different to sending domestically.
Originally Posted by amsp
I've sold to and bought items from overseas. Haven't had a problem, certainly not on here and the large format photography forum. The people I buy from tend to have a significant number of posts as do the people I sell to. It's not quite as straightforward as buying/selling locally but often there isn't the option to do so, particularly down here in Australia. I've got good references from the various forums for buying and selling so if I see a "US only" for an item I'm really interested in, I'll ask politely if they'll make an exception and on occasions, sellers have done.
I regularly buy from the US and in over 100 purchases haveonly had two problems both resolved. One parcel ended up back in the US with the sender after a couple of months, it was returned by the Turkish Customs or Post Office as uncollected despite never getting onto the Turkish Mail computer system or ever reaching our local Post office, patience & good liaison with the seller here on APUG meant there was no mistrust, I paid for the item to be posted to the UK instead and it arrived in a few days. Another item went missing at O'hare but this had been sent by a company who I later discovered have a very poor reputation, ebay had closed his account, he never filled out the USPS claims form which only the sender an initiate for compensation.
Most of us factor in the shipping costs and potential Import Duties which are sometimes levied in the UK/EUbut as US prices are very significantly lower on both new and secondhand items it's still a worthwhile proposition. In fact as Steve says the costs of postage US to UK and vice versa aren't much more than internal postage in the UK.
I'm in the UK, sending overseas is the same as sending domestically except that you've got to fill in a customs declaration form. Means you can't do it using the quick service machines, and it can be a bit of a faff.
I guess the USA is a big enough market so that generally you don't need to advertise to overseas buyers, on the other hand the dollar is fairly weak right now, so if you sell to someone in the UK, you get a lot of dollars for not many pounds.
I live in Italy, and i received at least 300 photographica items (mostly vintage LF lenses) from abroad, the vast majority bought off Ebay, and a few from forum members. Not a single one got lost, or was seriously damaged during transport.
I had to file for refund only twice.
I got screwed two times on Ebay, but it wasn't anything photographic (professional HDs). It was long time ago, and both gentlemen were citizens of my own country :(
Of course the two payents weren't made via Paypal... after that, i decided to stick to Paypal if i smelled anything fishy.
I didn't let those two unfortunate events to scare me off: i had many very fortunate purchases, payed via bank money transfer, especially with german vendors, both professional and private.
I guess that such numbers must be statistically significative, we're not talking of a few lucky chances!
Most countries are perfectly safe, IF the shipment is both signed-for and insured.
If i am payed in advance (bank money order, or Paypal as gift), which is the standard for forum purchases, then i'm fine, whichever the nationality of the buyer. If anything goes sideways, it's just a matter of time: you'll get the insurance, and the buyer will be refunded.
What i find strange, is that the people not willing to ship abroad are almost invariably US-based.
It's dfficult to understand, as most of you know all too well that many photographic equipments are likely to be payed more by a non-US buyer!
In fact, any US pro vendor, especially those selling professional stuff and collector's items, is very happy to sell abroad.
I have seen very, very few online auctions, by european vendors, with a clear statement which precluded the purchase to foreign buyers.
Of course there are lots of Germany-only, UK-only, France-only, etc, sales, but when i asked i got a positive reply 99% of the times. Sometimes, while the seller was willing to ship abroad, the auction was set-up in a way, that Ebay didn't allow me to bid.
IMHO, it's more an american mindset, than anything else.
I don't think the customs forms are more complicate than in other countries, or that there are other major obstacles.
Quite the opposite, probably.
It's just the image the average (read: not so informed) US citizen has of the outside world.
Every national culture is affected, up to a certain degree, by a nationalistic bias.
In the USA, the newspapers, the television, the popular culture, the way history and geography are studied, all that (and more) is very USA-centric.
It comes as no surprise that those, who are less aware of the outside world, think that out there is still Middle Age!
The sad thing is that it's a loss for both sides:
for the buyer, there are many items which are very dfficult to find outside the USA
for the seller, it means less profit, 90% of the times
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