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ARF's guide to international shipping

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ARF-GEF

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Post Sat Mar 01, 2014 2:44 pm

ARF's guide to international shipping

During my time in this community I gathered a lot of experience when it comes to international shipping.
I would like to share my tips and experience with you all to make international trade easier simpler and safer.

The construction which is most suitable for lock trade
from the US
USPS: Priority Mail International® Small Flat Rate Box
Value of contents can not exceed $400.00
USPS-Produced Box: 8-5/8" x 5-3/8" x 1-5/8"
Maximum weight 4 pounds.

There are also Priority Mail International® Medium and Large Flat Rate Boxes available for bigger weights and volumes.

As of now the small flatrate costs around 24$ to anywhere in the word and AFAIK that includes tracking and maybe even some coverage against loss (not sure about the details.)
The medium flat rate box is 62 but it accepts a huge amount of stuff. I never needed a large flatrate until now.

Outside of US you might wish to explode the options of the local post apart from FEDEX, UPS, EMS and similar companies, they often offer much cheaper options with the only difference of slightly slower service.
Sometimes when it comes to lighter packages in smaller boxes it might be better to send them as letter not a s package. Much better prices, but some restrictions to weight and size.

The basic:
For addressing it's wise to use waterproof marker or pen, with evenly sized bigger legible (block) letters.

The advanced stuff:

-> What I always do and can strongly recommend is to cover the whole box in 1 layer of see-though broad (like 3-4 inch broad) scotch tape. Not sure if that's the exact name. It gives a lot of added strength to the box and since it's perfectly clear and see-through you can cover the address wit hit as well.
This has several benefits: firstly as I mentioned it gives a lot of extra strength to the box. Since it covers the whole surface it makes sure the address is not soaked and smudged so it guards against it becoming unreadable.
Sometimes careless postage workers throw the boxes around, so the box can get seriously deformed and even torn at places with heavy jagged objects like locks.
At occasions the box can get wet further weakening the cardboard.
Keys and such can get lost in even small holes, I did have keys getting lost that way!
Plus when a box is covered with tape it's a discouragement for "curious" post workers to open it and find sth he fancies...

-> As for keys. You may consider to either fix them to the locks with scotch tape or fix them all on one piece of cardboard to makes sure they don't rattle too much and further reduce the loss eve nif it gets opened and messed with at customs.
-> That is why it's wiser to avoid labels on the outside stating gift. Gift implies universal value and thus have a higher chance of getting stolen.
Rattling is also an attention grabber.

-> Generally it's important to use padding, either those poppable plastic sheets, or just newspaper, you can get somewhat inventive here. It's important to protect the locks from each other and from tearing the sides of the box.

-> What I often do is I include a little piece of paper on the inside with the address and declaring the contents value and so on. If it's a gift you should write that here instead of the outside.
That is because if the address gets mangled the post the workers will open it to try to determine the sender or the addressee.
It may get opened at customs as well.

-> It's also important for the receiver to be clear on the customs and charges he might have to face when he gets the box.

-> Also if you ship a lot of stuff which are valuable it might make sense to divide it to 2 boxes, (depending on the amount of stuff) to minimise damage in case of one gets lost. (This clever idea is from Gwiens so the credit is his! :) )

That is my little guide, I hope you found it informative and useful for the future. :)
To infinity... and beyond!
=== WARNING DANGER OF TYPOS!===
Arfspeak: calnin cladycomes: you allow her key in themodning
Equals in plain English: cleaning lady comes: you allow her key in the morning
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GWiens2001

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Post Sat Mar 01, 2014 3:05 pm

Re: ARF's guide to international shipping

A nice guide. Think I will fill out the customs forms (there are two main kinds) from the United States with a fictitious address as an example of how the form is filled out, then take pictures and post them here if you do not mind, ARF-GEF.

On the United States customs declaration forms, there is a check box for what category of products are in the package, and this form is attached to the outside of the package by the post office or whatever shipper you are using. You fill out the form. However, if you do not check 'gift', then in some countries there is a higher import tariff for 'merchandise'.

Check with the person who will be receiving the package and see if they know what the maximum declared value of the package can be before the receiving country adds an import tariff. This can be quite low in some countries.

A problem with a low declared value (to reduce customs tariffs) is that the postal system will only pay the declared value of the package if the package is lost, stolen, or damaged. It reduces how much the recipient must pay, but it also increases risk.

The customs form requires you to declare the value of the contents. As stated above, this form is attached to the outside of the package.

Finally (trying to keep this 'short'), ARF-GEF's comment about having a slip of paper inside the package with information is very good. This paper should have:
*Shipper's full mailing address (same as on outside of the package)
*Recipient's full mailing address (same as on outside of the package)
*Full, specific listing of the contents of the package
*A comment such as "Here is the list, same as I emailed you" (So customs knows that the recipient will know if something is missing, even if the paper is removed, too)

If you are shipping multiple packages, have a list on that paper of which package it is (1 of 3, 2 of 3, and so on), and what is inside each package. The list inside each package should list the contents in all packages, so customs knows you will notice if a package is missing.

Gordon
Just when you think you've learned it all, that is when you find you haven't learned anything yet.
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ARF-GEF

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Post Sat Mar 01, 2014 3:34 pm

Re: ARF's guide to international shipping

Do I mind it? hahaha :D not at at all, everyone is welcome and andouraged to share their tips and ideas :)

Those are very clever and thoughtful ideas Gordon! :)
Thank you for sharing them :)
To infinity... and beyond!
=== WARNING DANGER OF TYPOS!===
Arfspeak: calnin cladycomes: you allow her key in themodning
Equals in plain English: cleaning lady comes: you allow her key in the morning
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scudo

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Post Sat Mar 01, 2014 3:56 pm

Re: ARF's guide to international shipping

If you have items that are an awkward shape and it leaves space in areas of the box I use empty fizzy drink bottles. They are light, offer protection and can quickly take up the free space. Sizes from 3 litre to the small bottles.
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GWiens2001

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Lock-Goblin-Gordon
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Post Tue Mar 11, 2014 1:40 am

Re: ARF's guide to international shipping

How to fill out the customs forms from the United States to international destinations.

As offered to do before, but now finally found the time, here are pictures of the United States customs forms needed to be filled out when shipping to other counties.

There are two forms - the short form, and the long form.

The short form can be used with the USPS Small Flat Rate Packages. These packages are of a standard size, and you an ship up to 4 pounds in weight (1.8 kilograms). This form is also used for any small parcels under 4 pounds in weight. This form is quick and easy to fill out.

Image

The important things to note are:

*Your name and mailing address (The form lists a phone number or email, but this is not required. It is only to contact you if they have any questions.)
*The recipient's name and mailing address

Image

*Check the "Gift" box for type of material. If another choice is made, there are likely to be more tariffs.

*List of items in the box. "Used" locks and keys is fine. It also helps reduce the arbitrary value the customs officer opening the package may decide to assign.
*Value of items - note - this is the value that is covered by insurance. It is also what is used to determine import tariffs in the receiving country.
- a low value listed helps the recipient to not have to pay import tariffs, but you also risk loss of the value of the package in case of loss or damage in shipping.
*Check the box for NOEEI 30.37(a) (essentially, this says it is not a weapon, chemical, or things that are banned from being shipped.)
*Your signature and date of shipment.

Image

NOTE: Do not fill out the total weight. The post office will fill it out when they weigh the package. They will not accept the weight you tell them.
NOTE: The number below the bar code is also the number by which customs can track the package. In this case, the number is LC178101954US



The longer form must be used when shipping a USPS Medium Flat Rate Box, or anything with a weight over 4 pounds. It is also used for shipping controlled or restricted items, or for shipping anything to a country on the restricted shipping list, such as Syria or North Korea.

Image

There is nothing on the right side of the form that needs to be filled out for shipping locks.

Most of the form is filled out with the same information.

Image

You will need to fill in the type for exemption (30.37(a) in space 10.

Image

Hope this helps some of you to ship to our valued members ouside the United States. The forms may look intimidating, but they really are simple to fill out. You can even do so online, and print the form already filled out.

Gordon
Just when you think you've learned it all, that is when you find you haven't learned anything yet.
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escher7

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Post Tue Mar 11, 2014 4:22 am

Re: ARF's guide to international shipping

Folks in the U.S. are lucky to have flat rate shipping. In Canada our postal service charges so much, even for local packages, that I often don't buy small items online because the postage is more than the item.
One thing I do not understand is how Aliexpress can send me a $3 battery tester with free shipping, all the way from China, and still make a profit. And the quality is quite good as long as you know what to buy. The only disappointment so far was a $12 set of generic picks which broke rather quickly because of lousy metal, but the $7 disk detainer pick was fine once I tuned it up a bit. Like Japan in the old days, Chinese products are slowly getting better.
As for international shipping, I often send expensive articles to English and U.S.A. addresses and as indicated above, it is best to cushion and wrap the hell out of things, address (both return and destination) on both sides, use tracking and pray. So far I have had no lost or broken items.
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MrAnybody

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Post Tue Mar 11, 2014 8:12 am

Re: ARF's guide to international shipping

That's a great help, Gordon. I'll be directing people to this for a long time for sure. Many thanks.

However, I was really not aware that Scooby Doo is now living in the UK, but whatever he's doing with Catwoman's panties is his own affair, I'm sure. Each to his own, an' all that. $5 is a bargain though. You know if there's any more floating around? :D :D

Many thanks, Gordon
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GWiens2001

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Post Tue Mar 11, 2014 12:43 pm

Re: ARF's guide to international shipping

MrAnybody wrote:However, I was really not aware that Scooby Doo is now living in the UK,


He has developed ulcers, and his doctor recommended he spend the winter trying out the food in the UK, seeing if he can survive on food that has reduced amount of seasonings, spices and flavor. Unfortunately it seems to be backfiring, and now the latest rage in the U.K. is hot fudge sundaes with ketchup, mustard, liverwurst and salsa picante.

MrAnybody wrote: but whatever he's doing with Catwoman's panties is his own affair, I'm sure. Each to his own, an' all that. $5 is a bargain though. You know if there's any more floating around? :D :D


It looks like Scooby made Batman some kind of offer. Must have been good, whatever it was.

:mrgreen:

Gordon
Last edited by GWiens2001 on Tue Mar 11, 2014 12:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Just when you think you've learned it all, that is when you find you haven't learned anything yet.
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ARF-GEF

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Post Tue Mar 11, 2014 12:46 pm

Re: ARF's guide to international shipping

An offer he couldn't refuse?
To infinity... and beyond!
=== WARNING DANGER OF TYPOS!===
Arfspeak: calnin cladycomes: you allow her key in themodning
Equals in plain English: cleaning lady comes: you allow her key in the morning
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rerun12

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Post Tue Mar 11, 2014 1:14 pm

Re: ARF's guide to international shipping

hahahah
Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly; Man got to sit and wonder, 'Why, why, why?' Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land; Man got to tell himself he understand.
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Riyame

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Post Tue Mar 11, 2014 4:11 pm

Re: ARF's guide to international shipping

I would also suggest a good quality reinforced tape. This will help protect the sides from blowing out if a lot of weight is placed on a box.

Not a duct tape since it rips too easily, I prefer to use this kind. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filament_tape It has to be cut since you can't tear it. I use a lot if it around all sides of a box then use the clear packing tape over that.
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macgng: i am an equal opportunity pervert
macgng: aww fuck thats goin in someone sig :-(

If life gives you melons, you might be dyslexic.
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huxleypig

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Post Tue Mar 11, 2014 6:50 pm

Re: ARF's guide to international shipping

If I can add to this...I recently got stung on items that were supposed to be combined international shipping. If there is no 'add to basket' button and no 'commit to buy' button after you click on 'buy it now' then you will NOT get the combined postage.

The only option I had was to but the 2 items separately but after you have done this (so long as it is under the Ebay Global Shipping Policy) they will NOT refund your 1 lot of postage and if you then decide you don't want the items at all then you don't get ANY of your postage back.

This applies to any other item too using the Ebay Global Shipping Policy. If you cancel a purchase they keep your shipping. I am not entirely sure that they are allowed to do this but it is in their bullshit terms and conditions nevertheless.

There have been a LOT of complaints about the Ebay Global Shipping bollocks so just beware...I won't be using that service ever again or any goods that use it, USPS is fine (for things from USA).
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Riyame

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Post Tue Mar 11, 2014 11:59 pm

Re: ARF's guide to international shipping

huxleypig wrote:If I can add to this...I recently got stung on items that were supposed to be combined international shipping. If there is no 'add to basket' button and no 'commit to buy' button after you click on 'buy it now' then you will NOT get the combined postage.

The only option I had was to but the 2 items separately but after you have done this (so long as it is under the Ebay Global Shipping Policy) they will NOT refund your 1 lot of postage and if you then decide you don't want the items at all then you don't get ANY of your postage back.

This applies to any other item too using the Ebay Global Shipping Policy. If you cancel a purchase they keep your shipping. I am not entirely sure that they are allowed to do this but it is in their bullshit terms and conditions nevertheless.

There have been a LOT of complaints about the Ebay Global Shipping bollocks so just beware...I won't be using that service ever again or any goods that use it, USPS is fine (for things from USA).




Yea, the people at the GSP cant pack items worth a damn either. I used them twice before and never again. Most US sellers use them because it means they dont need to fill out customs forms at the post office.
PhoneMan: I always knew I'd say something stupid and it would be someone's sig
macgng: i am an equal opportunity pervert
macgng: aww fuck thats goin in someone sig :-(

If life gives you melons, you might be dyslexic.
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Oldfast

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Post Wed Mar 12, 2014 2:25 am

Re: ARF's guide to international shipping

FantAstic stuff guys. Thanks for putting it together.

Sure, I've sent a few packages out of the states, but much of this is unfamiliar
to me (and many others to be sure). Much of what we do around here is shipping!

This will prove to be VERY helpful and, in my opinion, is worthy of some adhesive.
Part of the reason I say this is that I spent a good while last night searching for a couple
of past topics that relate to shipping, pricing, careful packaging, etc. Thought it do well to
link them with this thread. After finding one but not the other, I finally gave up and went
to bed, lol. They've been lost to the black hole of knowledge I call keypicking.com. lol
" Enjoy the journey AS MUCH as the destination."
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MrAnybody

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Post Sun Apr 20, 2014 9:50 am

Re: ARF's guide to international shipping

One more point to add.

Please, please, please don't ship locks with the key inserted in the keyway ...... or this happens

Image
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