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Subject: Shipping costs from U.S. rss

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Alex Ferguson
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I realize there have been some shakeups in the services offered by the Postal Service in the U.S., meaning the end of surface mail, and greatly deterring making large orders from the States to Europe. What I find odder, though, is that most of the retailers only seem to want to offer the most expensive rates, such as Express Mail International and Priority Mail International. Or who quote an "air" shipping rate, which mysteriously seems to cost over double what the USPS table of costs says it does. To which add, that several of them offer "free shipping" to the continental U.S. on orders of a certain size, but no discounts otherwise: you pay full cost of the goods, plus full costs of whichever shipping service they choose to offer. In effect, then, the large international orders are cross-subsidising the large domestic ones, to some degree.

Can anyone, then, recommend a U.S. mail-order retailer that:
*offers shipping at "basic" airmail rate, or where appropriate "flat box" rates;
*bases discounts on order size, not purely on location;
*won't address orders made from "Ireland" to "Iran", resulting in nine-month delays (true story).
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Nadav Abramovitz
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Well there are several U.S based retailers I use.

Like CoolStuff Inc
http://www.coolstuffinc.com/

They have good prices and nice&cheap shipping options.

There is also Miniatures Market
http://www.miniaturemarket.com/

Who are quite good themselves.


If you want I can find you U.K based retailers that ship for cheap/free to Europe.
 
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Lacombe
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FergusWindbag wrote:
I realize there have been some shakeups in the services offered by the Postal Service in the U.S., meaning the end of surface mail, and greatly deterring making large orders from the States to Europe. What I find odder, though, is that most of the retailers only seem to want to offer the most expensive rates, such as Express Mail International and Priority Mail International.


There are pretty restrictive size/weight limits on the cheaper rates.

Quote:
Or who quote an "air" shipping rate, which mysteriously seems to cost over double what the USPS table of costs says it does.


The weight can dramatically change it. This may be what's happening.

Most retailers don't hand-calculate. Their estimates are from USPS.

Quote:
To which add, that several of them offer "free shipping" to the continental U.S. on orders of a certain size, but no discounts otherwise: you pay full cost of the goods, plus full costs of whichever shipping service they choose to offer. In effect, then, the large international orders are cross-subsidising the large domestic ones, to some degree.


This is almost certainly intentional. It's a PITA to ship overseas.

I imagine they only begrudgingly offer to send an international order.

If you asked them, my guess is most retailers would prefer domestic-only.

So, they "subsidize" domestic orders precisely because they want them.
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Boards & Bits
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Hi Alex.

First, it is almost always cheaper to send international orders *not* in the flat-rate boxes. Those boxes are good for heavy items, but not for board games.

Second, there is no Airmail for international orders. There is Express International, Priority International and First Class.

Express is the most expensive but gets there the quickest. Insurance is also very inexpensive.

Priority is less expensive and gets there fairly quickly. Insurance is more expensive, but the total overall will be less than Express.

First class is the least expensive, but offers no insurance and no tracking. It is also only good for small packages up to 4 lbs.

The problem with international orders is that they take more time and are more risky. If there is a problem, it is very time consuming and in the end, usually no one is happy with the results.

This is why most retailers don't give shipping discounts for international orders.

Where we can offer discounts is where we make enough profit to give a little back to the customer. Even though we do often subsidize US shipping costs, it's because shipping packages is dirt simple, we seldom lose the packages, and when we do, the shipper (FedEx in our case) is so much better than USPS to work with.

Sorry it can't be different, but those are the business realities.

Tom
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J.L. Robert
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Basically, unless it can fit in a USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope or smaller, you can expect any package to cost a fair chunk of change to ship overseas.

For example, I've had to send 2 games to Australia in the past 2 weeks, to 2 different addresses:

Game #1 fit in a Flat Rate Envelope, which is for anything up to 4 pounds. It cost me about $13.50 to ship it.

Game #2 weighs about 2-1/2 pounds, but is boxed. This package is going to cost me $35 to ship, and would cost $9 more if I sent it in a Flat Rate box.

So, if you can get a vendor to unpack a game and send it in an envelope instead of a box, you can save some money that way (even if it takes TWO envelopes!).

Once a game weighs over 4 pounds, it still has to fit in a Flat Rate Box, or shipping will continue to murder you.
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Paul Nowak
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1st Class is kind of like the new Surface mail as far as reliability.

There have been several packages sent to Brazil in G4GG lotteries (both mine and others) that have had transit times measured in months - with no tracking or insurance to verify or protect if it gets lost.
 
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Richard Pardoe
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overtheboard wrote:
1st Class is kind of like the new Surface mail as far as reliability.

There have been several packages sent to Brazil in G4GG lotteries (both mine and others) that have had transit times measured in months - with no tracking or insurance to verify or protect if it gets lost.


I believe that is more a function of Brazil than of the USPS First Class designation. Once it leaves the US borders - it really is at the whim and fancy of the recipient country's postal service. And from what I have seen online - Brazil is a country where many shippers will insist on Express for insurance and tracking purposes.
 
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Alex Ferguson
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BoardsAndBits wrote:
First, it is almost always cheaper to send international orders *not* in the flat-rate boxes. Those boxes are good for heavy items, but not for board games.

Second, there is no Airmail for international orders. There is Express International, Priority International and First Class.


By "airmail" I meant what they're now calling "First Class", though I confess I
wasn't aware of the 4-pound limit.

To particularise: I was, for example, looking to order Glory to Rome, and yours was one of the websites I looked at. By my reckoning, it'd be sendable by either "First Class" or by "Priority Mail International Small Flat Rate Box", either which cost about $13. You only appear to offer Express International, Priority International, which would cost at least $37: that's more than twice the cost of the game. To boot, you only post once a week, which isn't exactly an encouragement if one is going to be required to pay for a "Priority" rate, just to have it sit on your shelf for several days.

Hence this query in the hopes of finding someone who is a little more eager for my business.
 
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Alex Ferguson
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Tpek wrote:
Well there are several U.S based retailers I use.

Like CoolStuff Inc [...] There is also Miniatures Market


Thanks. I came across CoolStuff myself, noting they do offer to ship by "First Class" (and they even stock the item I was looking for); I'll also bear MM in mind.

Quote:
If you want I can find you U.K based retailers that ship for cheap/free to Europe.


I'm reasonably up to speed on UK options; thanks. Trouble there is that prices are already considerably higher (having been shipped across the Atlantic, to much smaller outlets), on top of which one then has to shell out for international shipping all over again. Not nearly as expensive, but still vexing when one finds oneself just on the wrong side of a 500g breakpoint.
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fightcitymayor
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There is an easy way around all of this:
Move to America.
All of the cool kids are doing it!


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Alex Ferguson
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fightcitymayor wrote:
There is an easy way around all of this:
Move to America.


I'm thinking a better approach might be:
*Wean myself off Ameritrash;
*Brush up my German!
 
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Richard Morris
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The other big issue is the duties that get charged by the authorities to import stuff. I suspect Ireland may be similar to the UK, where a parcel with more than 1 cheap boardgame in it triggers duty (at 20% or so) plus a handling charge (£8 in the UK), which means that the 'obvious' benefit of buying in the US because prices are so much cheaper is much less beneficial than it seems.

I used to travel to the US a great deal, so I would have things sent to my US office, and pick them up on my next trip. That way I got free shipping AND I paid no duty or fees. Those trips are over, now, but I hope to be able to piggy-back on fairly regular trips that my son takes.
 
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James O'Donovan
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I know exactly where Alex is coming from here. Postage costs just kill any deal and often is't tough to find the game you want on this side of the pond. I usually just put in one huge order every now and again and postage costs be damned.

It could be worth checking out http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/ They do carry "main stream" gamer games. FFG for example, but maybe not so many smaller publishers.

I have to say that I could never understand some people's obcession with delivery times. Maybe it's because I'm used to waiting for things to cross the Atlantic so my attitude is " they turn up when they turn up". And ccg booster boxes dont weight that mush anyway.

@Richard. I dont ever remember being charged extra on a package.


 
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Alex Ferguson
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I very much agree with the "occasional huge splurge" approach, and that in such cases, a somewhat longer delivery time seems less painful. I won't be able to play them all at once anyway! This strategy really suffers with the lack of the "surface" rate, though.

I notice that GMT quotes a possible "surface-like" shipping possibility ("Non-Asia Overseas SLOW OPTION - 4-8 Wks"); anyone know what that rate is, exactly, and whether anyone else offers it? Or have they just forgotten to update their table?
 
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Ashwanth RT
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Saw miniaturemarket, seems to have a good collection. How are they in shipping has any one purchased online from them. How is Boards&Bits, how is their online service.
Also which is the best store with best deals for cheap international shipping. I want to ship few games to Asia.
 
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DaDane the Dane
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Tpek wrote:
Well there are several U.S based retailers I use.

Like CoolStuff Inc
http://www.coolstuffinc.com/

They have good prices and nice&cheap shipping options.

There is also Miniatures Market
http://www.miniaturemarket.com/

Who are quite good themselves.


If you want I can find you U.K based retailers that ship for cheap/free to Europe.

I would love that

Dominion Intrigue, Seaside, Prosperity (pre-order) and Alchemy is around 100$, - but the shipping is at least another 50-70$ those two places (shipping to Europe).

Anyone know a place to buy it where the shipping isn't that bad?
 
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Scholle
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Last November I asked for a shipping estimate from a major US online retailer for a card game that was essentially the size of a deck of cards. I was quoted US$58.70 shipping... for a deck of cards. Retailers in the USA no longer get my business, nor the regular business they had from my immediate friends. Shipping costs have blown out to the ridiculous. Good news for local retailers though.

To illustrate the increase in postage costs, for an order I placed in November 2007 the postage was US$67.60. I made the same order in November 2009 and was quoted US$157.30 postage (for the same postage standard).

I'd say US retailers have lost a fair bit of international business due to (not necessarily unreasonable, yet much higher), postage prices. A shame they can't make use of their cheap Chinese currency $US to boost their game exports.
 
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Papa Alpha
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You don't have to be across the pond to be exasperated with shipping from the US. Shipping to Canada can be exorbitant from many retailers, and using courier services (UPS, Fedex, etc) usually means they automatically slap a brokerage fee on top of your shipment, which usually makes couriers a dealbreaker.

I try to find domestic sources for stuff I want unless the exchange rate makes it a really good deal; I once bought a high-end tent from an American retailer for about 2/3 the Canadian cost, even once shipping, exchange rate and everything was factored in.
 
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Boards & Bits
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Hate the price, don't hate the retailers.

Several years ago now, USPS removed ocean freight as a shipping option and now only ships by priority or express (first class is all but useless).

Nobody liked that move, but there was nothing we could do. Most of us at least use USPS list rates and do not charge more.

Tom
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Alex Ferguson
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BoardsAndBits wrote:
(first class is all but useless).


Why? CSI sent me Glory to Rome by "First Class Mail". It arrived in a bit over a week, with a cost of far less than half what most retailers were quoting. (Something like $13 vs. $38, if memory serves. Plus as you wait until the end of the week before shipping, it'd probably have been *slower*, too.)

I realize that shipping options have narrowed significantly of late, but it mystifies me that retailers will bemoan this fact, throw up their hands in horror, and then fail to offer their customers such options that *are* still on the market.
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Isaac Finkelstein
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Tom answered that question above when he said:

Quote:
First class is the least expensive, but offers no insurance and no tracking. It is also only good for small packages up to 4 lbs.


The lack of insurance and tracking is a problem for retailers. How would you deal with customers claiming non-receipt?

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Alex Ferguson
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In cases like my order, or the "pack of cards" that someone else mentioned, the four pounds limit isn't a problem. Do B&B (and the various others that operate similar policy) also *insist* that domestic orders are also shipped with services that include insurance and tracking? If not, why is this a deal-breaker for international orders? In other lines of business, retailers are prepared to send by "ordinary mail" services, and this used to be perfectly normal practice in the game industry, too.

And either way, I'm struggling to see that such possible difficulties rise to the level of FOM being "all but useless".
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FergusWindbag wrote:
In cases like my order, or the "pack of cards" that someone else mentioned, the four pounds limit isn't a problem. Do B&B (and the various others that operate similar policy) also *insist* that domestic orders are also shipped with services that include insurance and tracking? If not, why is this a deal-breaker for international orders? In other lines of business, retailers are prepared to send by "ordinary mail" services, and this used to be perfectly normal practice in the game industry, too.

And either way, I'm struggling to see that such possible difficulties rise to the level of FOM being "all but useless".

For us, domestic package all ship with FedEx, so tracking and insurance are included on all packages.

99% of the international orders we receive do not qualify for First Class International shipping as they are too big/heavy.

But if an international customer were to place an order small enough to fit into an FCI package, we would not make enough money on that order to make it worth our time.

I'm glad you found someplace that will do this for you. Unfortunately, it's not a good business decision for us.

Tom
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