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Subject: Geekmarket and shipping rss

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Paul
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I am curious to know: why so many sellers (usually USA sellers when I've checked for games I'd personally like to purchase) on the Geekmarket restrict the sale of games to that seller's own country?

Many sale offers state that shipping is additional to the cost of the game so why does it matter where the buyer is located if he is prepared to pay the shipping?
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Rich Shipley
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In my experience:

- People backing out of deals when they see how much shipping costs
- Higher percentage of lost shipments
- Having to fill out frustrating customs forms
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Joey Larsen
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Yeah, it seems like the odds of a transaction going sour increase pretty quickly when it's out of country, especially when you're just dealing with a random board game player who doesn't know anything about shipping.
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DB
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International shipping is a pain in the ass and the GeekMarket is generally folks who just want to unload some games or promos. If I was shipping something internationally, I'd want to charge not only for the postage itself but also for the time spent in preparing the shipment. It just isn't worth it to me.
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James Ludlow
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International shipping is a giant pain. The U.S. market is large enough that any given game will probably sell for nearly it's full value anyway, so why bother making things more difficult? That and being bitched at for whatever UPS is charging for shipping to Australia gets old.
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Stephanie Prince
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You could always send a "Hey I'm interested in this, would you consider shipping to Aus" geekmail.
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JPotter
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FWiW, I continue to offer to ship intenationally. And I buy from overseas sellers multiple times a year.

But I say "offer to ship" because to date .... not a single inquiry has led to a sale.

The problem is that the USPS, between heightened security concerns and termination of subsidies, now communicates loud and clear through its limited rate schedules that it has no interest in making small overseas shipments. If you insist, it's gonna cost ya.

Buyers in other countries, other, smaller, more social countries in which shipping internationally is more common and mundane, are used to certain costs, and so they naturally think they'll be fine paying to have something shipped from the US ...

... until they discover it will costs 2-3x what it would cost coming from other countries.

Typical quote to ship a typical boardgame to Europe lately has been $55 US. If it's a tiny game (less than 8oz), $14. 2-3lbs, $22-$34. Big games ... oh man, don't even ask.

Meanwhile, I've received games from Asia for less than $10 each, and average-to-large games from Europe for $20-$35 in shipping cost.
______________

The customs forms aren't so bad, eBay and Paypal prepare them for you almost completely.

______________

Lastly, the threat of damage and theft is a real one. Once a shipment exits customs and leaves the domestic post, it's in a weird phantom zone until it passes customs at the other end and enters the domestic mail of the other country. Once it enters the phantom zone, there is no tracking, other than, "it's somewhere out there".

Recently, I had a shipment of some custom game parts make it all the way to Dutch customs, where it promptly turned around and came back. Or at least, the envelope did. Parts stolen, no explanation given, just a blank "return to sender" form. Not a chance of recovery. And that took SIX WEEKS. Luckily, that was a very understanding customer....

_______________

If still reading, I'd be happy to sell and ship ya a game or two
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Quaama wrote:
I am curious to know: why so many sellers (usually USA sellers when I've checked for games I'd personally like to purchase) on the Geekmarket restrict the sale of games to that seller's own country?

Many sale offers state that shipping is additional to the cost of the game so why does it matter where the buyer is located if he is prepared to pay the shipping?


All good reasons presented:

1. PITA if something goes south during shipment. PayPal will crawl back the monies and seller is out of game and monies.

2. Forms.

3. Cost to ship. A pack of cards - 6 ounces - costs $14 to ship to most countries. An average sized game between $35 and $55. So, if #1 happens above, the seller is also out those monies.

If someone outside the US wants to buy one of my games, I require them to pay via Amazon GC so the risk is on them. Why? I can eventually sell that game to a domestic buyer with minimal to no risk of it getting lost or stolen.

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Liam
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Moved from General Gaming to BGG General.
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Paul
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aesthetocyst wrote:

If still reading, I'd be happy to sell and ship ya a game or two


Yes, still reading. I've taken note as I'll search your sales in the future (but after two recent purchases, one under bid, two pending and school fees for three kids due within a week I need to back off spending for awhile).

_________

In general, thanks for all the comments. I am well aware of the costs involved but it often still works out cheaper than buying locally in Australia (I always take that into account and with boardgames I can usually find out how much it weighs prior to any purchase). I was a little surprised at one comment that said your customs forms were frustrating as I thought they wouldn't be too fussed about what was going out of the country (in Australia I have just have to sign a pre-prepared declaration that they stick on the parcel that essentially says there's nothing dangerous/illegal in the package). If you have no trouble selling locally that's fine but many Geekmarket sale offers seem to be around for months.

Here's just one recent example of my experience. Once I get current expenses out of the way I'm looking at buying Bios: Megafauna (Second Edition) but with any sales advertised here (including from overseas) it will cost me about AUS$300 (including shipping) but if I order direct from Sierra Madre it'll cost me less than AUS$120 (including AUS$27 shipping).

Anyway, thanks again for your comments and sorry for initially posting this thread in the wrong area.
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Quaama wrote:
aesthetocyst wrote:

If still reading, I'd be happy to sell and ship ya a game or two


Yes, still reading. I've taken note as I'll search your sales in the future (but after two recent purchases, one under bid, two pending and school fees for three kids due within a week I need to back off spending for awhile).

_________

In general, thanks for all the comments. I am well aware of the costs involved but it often still works out cheaper than buying locally in Australia (I always take that into account and with boardgames I can usually find out how much it weighs prior to any purchase). I was a little surprised at one comment that said your customs forms were frustrating as I thought they wouldn't be too fussed about what was going out of the country (in Australia I have just have to sign a pre-prepared declaration that they stick on the parcel that essentially says there's nothing dangerous/illegal in the package). If you have no trouble selling locally that's fine but many Geekmarket sale offers seem to be around for months.

Here's just one recent example of my experience. Once I get current expenses out of the way I'm looking at buying Bios: Megafauna (Second Edition) but with any sales advertised here (including from overseas) it will cost me about AUS$300 (including shipping) but if I order direct from Sierra Madre it'll cost me less than AUS$120 (including AUS$27 shipping).

Anyway, thanks again for your comments and sorry for initially posting this thread in the wrong area.


I definitely have empathy for BGGers outside of the major gaming markets, such as yourself. I offer to mule games for friends that live in similar countries whenever I visit with a generous baggage limit.

With that said, I think the greatest concern for US sellers is one of risk vs reward vs alternate markets. So, if an international buyer purchases an item via PayPal, and something bad happens to the item outside of the US (lost, stolen), the seller is most likely SOL and most likely is out of the item and shipping costs, as PayPal will claw back every penny and typically side with the buyer. Sure, there is insurance, but that process is long and convoluted, and the USPS will not cover loss once it has left their control/chain of command.

So, we balance that risk against a sale to a domestic buyer, who may experience similar issues (loss or stolen), but since it is domestic and if there is proof of delivery - then either PayPal will deny the claim or USPS will cover the loss.

US sellers would love to have worry-free markets that covered the entire world.

I think another option for you to suggest to a seller is perhaps to convince them to list it on eBay and use the Global Market Program - where the seller just ships to an eBay managed forwarding address/operations, and thus the risk is all domestic (and thus manageable). Of course, this would require co-ordination and your country would have to be on the list of eligible destinations.

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This exact or near-exact question comes up in the forums at least twice annually.

If you search the forums for associated keywords you will get all the answers and reasoning you could possibly desire.
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JPotter
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Quaama wrote:
Here's just one recent example of my experience. Once I get current expenses out of the way I'm looking at buying Bios: Megafauna (Second Edition) but with any sales advertised here (including from overseas) it will cost me about AUS$300 (including shipping) but if I order direct from Sierra Madre it'll cost me less than AUS$120 (including AUS$27 shipping).


Yeah, I hear that certain countries like Australia, Brazil, and ... well, lots of South Asia, the Middle East, Russia, probably others, are challenging places to game for a variety of reasons. Our postal service can be a pain but we are otherwise blessed here.

My understanding is that Sierra Madre ships cheaply to many markets because they use fulfillment partners to move product in bulk to each region, then distribute domestically. So, even though they are in Germany, ordering from them is like ordering from someone in your country, which will beat anyone overseas. I just ordered two from them, paid a whopping $10 shipping, and received product in a week!

Australia has always been isolated distribution-wise, right? Led to publishing starting up there out of necessity; a lot of great wargames came out of Australia. Any new gems there we don't yet know about?
 
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Paul
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aesthetocyst wrote:
Quaama wrote:
Here's just one recent example of my experience. Once I get current expenses out of the way I'm looking at buying Bios: Megafauna (Second Edition) but with any sales advertised here (including from overseas) it will cost me about AUS$300 (including shipping) but if I order direct from Sierra Madre it'll cost me less than AUS$120 (including AUS$27 shipping).


...

Australia has always been isolated distribution-wise, right? Led to publishing starting up there out of necessity; a lot of great wargames came out of Australia. Any new gems there we don't yet know about?


Yes, pretty isolated distribution-wise. As I understand it, one reliable retailer I purchase from gets a container-load of games from the U.S.A. a few times a year. If he has the item in stock he packs it and sends it almost immediately (the last one I ordered got to me within four working days) but if it's not in stock he adds it to the list for the next container load and you literally wait until the ship gets in. I think other retailers just order what they think will sell well and once they're sold, bad luck for anyone else. [Occasionally, this can work in your favour as this morning in a discount shop I got Ticket to Ride for the kids for roughly 33% less than I can get it for anywhere else.]

The 1970's and 1980's were different as quite a number of wargames (and no doubt other types) were designed, published and/or printed locally. I know of only one wargame designer that operates here now, Australian Design Group (think World in Flames and subsequent versions). There may be one or two others: they should make themselves known.
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Jeff Connell
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Why put yourself through all the problems people listed above when you already have a huge market in the US? It’s just not worth it.
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