International Shipping Advice

The QUESTION today is about INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING

  • USPS only offers tracking past the US borders to a few countries.
  • I usually ship first class and yes, that will include tracking. As far as Etsy and Paypal are concerned, even if the tracking stops at the US border, they will consider that you have delivered the package.
  • Once packages get over a pound, I switch to flat rate priority and the padded flat rate envelopes are terrific to use. You won’t believe how much you can fit in them! The only rub is that for international packages, there is a 4 pound limit.
  • An additional complication for International Shipping is Customs and Duty requirements.
    I suggest googling restricted items to see if you have anything that is not allowed or questionable. Items that may be of concern are those obvious items like those that contain any liquids, hazardous and flammable ingredients. Also of concern are animal and plant products ( wood and shell beads), lead (some solders), nickel (some stainless steel).
  • Next is the duty or import tax that the customer may need to pay on the item. This is NOT the shipper’s responsibility as this is a tax imposed by the buyers country – but a statement about that is a good idea in your shop policies. Knowing the thresholds for commonly shipped to countries can be very helpful for example, The UK has a 15 pound (about $22 USD) threshold and once it is exceeded, they charge duty on the value of the package AND the price of the shipping. UGH! The value of the contents must be marked on the outside of the package and an invoice must be included inside. Customers who ask you to declare the package a gift or to mark a lower value are risking YOUR business license and again, have a note in your shop policies about this.
  • The last concern is insurance.
    This is something that everyone has to decide for themselves, but I almost never purchase insurance. I ship 100’s of packages internationally every week and almost all of them either arrive safely in their destination or find their way back to me. On the very rare occasion that a package is truly lost, I take care of it myself.
  • Included with this issue is the contents arriving unharmed. Again, I almost never have a package arrive with damaged contents but do put some thought into this as the package may be used as a make shift football!

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