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Subject: Why is anything sold with US only shipping as a condition? rss

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Graham Dean
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Time after time I have a look on auction lists (either user created auction geeklists or GG auctions in the Bazaar), see something I like, and then find that I'm excluded because I don't live in the US.

Why is this? Postage costs are paid by the buyer (usually) so why do some Americans (and it is almost always Americans) make this stipulation? It can't be that much harder to write the name of a foreign country onto the package.

I don't mean to come over negatively on this, but I'm getting really fed up with being unable to buy games I see on these listings for no good reason that I can see.

Please please open up your auctions to the rest of the world. We're nice people - honest!
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Chris Schenck
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CHAPEL
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Too much risk, harder to track. I've been bitten once before with British post. Never do that again. Nothing against gamers from the motherland.
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darksurtur
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Uncle G wrote:

Why is this? Postage costs are paid by the buyer (usually) so why do some Americans (and it is almost always Americans) make this stipulation? It can't be that much harder to write the name of a foreign country onto the package.


It is much harder. Say you are shipping via USPS (the only realistic option; UPS and Fedex charge additional fees that can add hundreds of dollars for the buyer). You have to fill out a long customs form in addition to the label. You have to hand deliver it to a post office location and wait in line instead of leaving it in a drop box. It is much more expensive and tracking doesn't work, leaving you at a much greater risk of a bad transaction. And people often ask you to lie about the value to avoid customs fees, which is totally illegal.
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Shane Harris
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Uncle G wrote:
It can't be that much harder to write the name of a foreign country onto the package.


If it were that simple, we'd be shipping internationally.
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John Kovacs
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cbs42 wrote:
You'll get nothing and like it!
:laugh:


Thanks! That was my big laugh for the day!

Yeah, obviously there's too much paperwork involved to ship things overseas. And I don't have the time to wait in long lines at the post office, either. If I ever put up anything for auction, I will probably exclude non-US buyers, too. Sorry.
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Alan Goodrich
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darksurtur wrote:
Uncle G wrote:

Why is this? Postage costs are paid by the buyer (usually) so why do some Americans (and it is almost always Americans) make this stipulation? It can't be that much harder to write the name of a foreign country onto the package.


It is much harder. Say you are shipping via USPS (the only realistic option; UPS and Fedex charge additional fees that can add hundreds of dollars for the buyer). You have to fill out a long customs form in addition to the label. You have to hand deliver it to a post office location and wait in line instead of leaving it in a drop box. It is much more expensive and tracking doesn't work, leaving you at a much greater risk of a bad transaction. And people often ask you to lie about the value to avoid customs fees, which is totally illegal.


I wouldn't say it's much harder - it's a little harder, but really, filling out the customs form takes all of 2 minutes. (I must admit, I take all my stuff to the postal counter anyway, so it's not like I have to make a special trip). I've shipped stuff to Uruguay, Romania, and Canada, and haven't had an issue in any case - as long as the buyer pays all shipping costs, and accepts the risk for a lost package (which I've never had happen, on the sending or receiving end of foreign orders), I don't see why not to sell abroad. Why should I exclude potential buyers? It certainly helps me to have more people interested in what I'm selling.
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Rik Van Horn
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Anything I have up for trade I'll sell and ship overseas for a fair offer.
I just normally look more to trade than sell, so I don't bother listing them.
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Jennifer Schlickbernd
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The further things ship, the more likely they are to get damaged because of all the extra handling. The recipient of the box doesn't feel like it's their fault the box is damaged, so this means I have to pay for the return shipping, plus ship out a replacement at my expense. Not worth it for overseas shipping.
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Martin Stever
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After selling about 500 times on eBay and 100 times here through the BGG Marketplace, it boils down to three things:

1. I've taken it on the chin three times shipping to Europe and having the receiver say, "Oh, you know, I'm leaving negative feedback because I'm not happy about X," or "I'm unhappy with the item and I'm disputing the transaction." Twice I felt it was just a set up. The "buyers" had figured out that for anything under $50, there's no way it pays to have the item shipped back. So essentially they game the system to get a freebie.

2. I must stand in line to ship overseas, even if I print out the postage and labels at home. Here on my little island the line in November and December is typically 20 or 30 minutes long.

3. On average, overseas buyers take longer to pay and are more likely to dry up and disappear than domestic buyers. I think they sometimes haven't really thought through the implications of paying for shipping, even though I charge my own exact cost rounded to the next quarter.

So because of those generalities, I no longer ship overseas. It's a bummer, because it is the case of a few bad apples spoiling it for the whole bushel.
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Ron D
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cayluster wrote:
I wouldn't say it's much harder - it's a little harder, but really, filling out the customs form takes all of 2 minutes. (I must admit, I take all my stuff to the postal counter anyway, so it's not like I have to make a special trip). I've shipped stuff to Uruguay, Romania, and Canada, and haven't had an issue in any case - as long as the buyer pays all shipping costs, and accepts the risk for a lost package (which I've never had happen, on the sending or receiving end of foreign orders), I don't see why not to sell abroad. Why should I exclude potential buyers? It certainly helps me to have more people interested in what I'm selling.


You mention that you require the buyer to assume the risk of a lost package. How do you ask them to pay for that? If they use Paypal, it is the seller who takes the risk of the lost package, period. Paypal will refund a buyer who says they didn't receive a package, no matter what agreement was made about that.

Another point is that Paypal charges greater fees for international transactions, making things just that much more costly.
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Alan Goodrich
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Dr Lucky wrote:
cayluster wrote:
I wouldn't say it's much harder - it's a little harder, but really, filling out the customs form takes all of 2 minutes. (I must admit, I take all my stuff to the postal counter anyway, so it's not like I have to make a special trip). I've shipped stuff to Uruguay, Romania, and Canada, and haven't had an issue in any case - as long as the buyer pays all shipping costs, and accepts the risk for a lost package (which I've never had happen, on the sending or receiving end of foreign orders), I don't see why not to sell abroad. Why should I exclude potential buyers? It certainly helps me to have more people interested in what I'm selling.


You mention that you require the buyer to assume the risk of a lost package. How do you ask them to pay for that? If they use Paypal, it is the seller who takes the risk of the lost package, period. Paypal will refund a buyer who says they didn't receive a package, no matter what agreement was made about that.

Another point is that Paypal charges greater fees for international transactions, making things just that much more costly.


Well, I guess you are correct that if someone went to PayPal, there's not much I could do. I guess I don't worry about it too much, simply because I haven't had any bad experiences. Not saying they don't happen, but I also think by and large BGGers are upstanding people, and I also happen to think the USPS provides good service (I've certainly had more consistent service from them than from either FedEx or UPS). I've bought, sold, and traded many games this past year, and haven't had an issue.

If you don't want to ship abroad, that's fine. I just don't see it as that much of a hassle, and I have to admit, I've bought stuff from abroad and am glad I had that option. I agree with the OP that I can't recall seeing European or Canadian games on offer that come with shipping restrictions, and I'm happy for that.
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Jennifer Schlickbernd
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Part of the issue is that there are enough buyers in the US for Americans to be able to sell their stuff US only. Europe is one very large continent, but for example England could fit inside of California. If I had to sell only to Californian's, I'd certainly take a harder look at selling outside of the state.
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One other thing to note - I like to use USPS flat rate boxes, so I can know how much postage will be, and have it paid up front. I'd be more open to shipping overseas if someone wanted to pay the flat rate prices, but it's pretty pricey. I'd probably be open to shipping internationally if I know you. I don't do a lot of selling, I do more trading, and selling on craigslist, because of PayPal fees, commissions, etc.
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CHAPEL
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MartinStever wrote:


3. On average, overseas buyers take longer to pay and are more likely to dry up and disappear than domestic buyers. I think they sometimes haven't really thought through the implications of paying for shipping, even though I charge my own exact cost rounded to the next quarter.


My wife would testify that this is true. She sells stuff on ebay all the time, and in the last year she has had so many slow buys and flat out no buys from people in Canada and Australia of all places. She has never once had an issue with people paying in the U.S. strangely enough. She flat out refuses to ship abroad anymore.
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James Ludlow
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darksurtur wrote:
And people often ask you to lie about the value to avoid customs fees, which is totally illegal.


This one bugs me, and usually shows up in math trades. Canadians want to be included, understandably, but also want shippers in the U.S. to lie to customs and claim that the item is a gift.

On the occasions that I'm willing to ship to Canada, if it's a $75 game that's what will be listed on the customs form. Your tax-happy government really isn't my concern, but lying on a customs form is.
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Larry Welborn
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I'll still ship internationally but most buyers disappear after you give them a shipping quote. Most of the time, it will cost me $35+ to ship and buyers either think you are ripping them off or decide that the shipping cost kills the sale. Can't say that I blame them but I'm not taking a loss on shipping.

Added: A lot of buyers want you lie on the custom form which I won't do. So, giving all the potential aggravation, a lot of people decide it isn't worth it to ship internationally.
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Randy Cox
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I do ship overseas, but it's a royal pain in the ass. Yes, you must go to the P.O., unlike domestic, where you leave it on the porch and the letter carrier picks it up. Yes, people overseas much more frequently stiff you when they get the final shipping cost. Yes, the transaction fees for paypal for international sales are outrageous. Yes, tracking is pretty much non-existent. Yes, you are asked to lie for customs by 95%+ of all buyers.

The only reasons I still do it are a) you get a much better final bid price on eBay when you include internationals and b) I'm a nice guy.
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jschlickbernd wrote:
Part of the issue is that there are enough buyers in the US for Americans to be able to sell their stuff US only. Europe is one very large continent, but for example England could fit inside of California. If I had to sell only to Californian's, I'd certainly take a harder look at selling outside of the state.


Population UK: 60.587.000

Population California: 36.457.549
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Justin Fitzgerald
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When you get ripped off from overseas there is zero recourse. I stopped worrying about it after the USD dropped in price though because we were no longer the people buying things from the US anymore.
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Michael Edwards
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Seems like they need some sort of co-op international shipping bonding and shipping aggregate house!
 
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Todd Pytel
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For me it's purely convenience to ship US-only. I can print the postage sticker at home, pack up the box, and drop it off at the P.O. on the way home from work. Total time = 5 minutes, 10 minutes tops. I've never waited less than 20 minutes in line at my P.O. (so say 30 minutes minimum including paperwork time) and the experience is always truly unpleasant due to the staff there. It's not worth a few extra dollars or a slightly faster sale to deal with that.
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As stated by others, Paypal requires the seller to assume the risk. The only way one can get a tracking number is to do Priority Intl, so you get a lot of whining and lost sales because First Class Intl is much cheaper. Then when given the Priority Intl rate, Intl buyers will often either flake or give bad feedback.

In the old days when USPS had parcel post international and eBay did not require use of Paypal (or even when Paypal did not put the burden on the seller) it was much easier to buy from or even ship items cheaply to Europe.

Paypal putting the burden on the seller is a fairly new thing even in itself. I remember buying something in the early 00s that came in different shape than advertised. I complained to Paypal, and they told me to write to Lloyd's of London with my complaint. I never heard back. Now they simply take the money from the seller's account.
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KakarisMaelstrom wrote:
When you get ripped off from overseas there is zero recourse.


And this goes both ways.

On one hand, I don't like it when I see an item at an insanely low price that I'd still buy even with the 40+$ shipping and taxes that says "US only". On the other hand, ever since I got burned as a buyer by someone in the US, I can understand sellers unwilling to risk international transactions. You get a better price (Or pay less, as a buyer), but that doesn't help if there's an asshole at the other end, unfortunately, you can never know for sure.
 
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Dan Beale-C
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MartinStever wrote:

3. On average, overseas buyers take longer to pay and are more likely to dry up and disappear than domestic buyers. I think they sometimes haven't really thought through the implications of paying for shipping, even though I charge my own exact cost rounded to the next quarter.

So because of those generalities, I no longer ship overseas. It's a bummer, because it is the case of a few bad apples spoiling it for the whole bushel.


You make fair points. What people in the UK often seem to forget is that there's the cost of the goods, the cost of shipping, AND THEN there are import duties (which can be hard to calculate) AND THEN the courier will add a charge for doing the customs stuff.

This could add hefty dollars to a game.
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