International sales
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Post Posted: Wed Mar 02, 2005 4:54 pm 

draco76 wrote:lol this kinda reminds me whats going on with the $ and the pound......

Subject: Fluctuations

I had a bunch of Canadian dollars I needed to exchange so I went to the

currency exchange window at the local bank.

Short line... just one guy in front of me...

The guy in front of me was an Asian guy who was trying to exchange yen

for dollars and he was a little agitated... he asked the teller, "why it

change, yestoday I get two hunat dolla fo yen - today I get hunat

eighty? Why it change?"

:lol:  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:


The teller says, "fluctuations" (fluc-tu-ations)

The Asian guy says, "fluc you white guys too!

May Eru's light shine upon you always.


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Post Posted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 2:44 am 

beyondthebreach wrote:Here is all you need to know about international shipping (I have sold several hundred items overseas with not one damaged or lost item).

When sellers say "they have had horrible experiences" it is probably because they did something wrong or packaged it poorly and it was damaged.

RPG stuff is an easy sell for two reasons:

1) They are books

2) They often fit in Global Priority Flat Rate envelopes

Get a stack of Global Priority Flat Rate envelopes and "Green" (short) Customs forms.  You can ship up to 4 lbs in a GP Flat Rate (which is more than enough for anything that can fit). Address everything clear and correctly and fill out the customs form. Check "other" for the contents (it is not a gift, sample or documents). Be brief in the description - "Book" or "used book" is more than sufficient. You can list the weight or let the Post office list it. Also, feel free to put the actual price - there is NO INSURANCE available for Flat Rate and, in any case, most countries are "easy" on books (in fact, many don't charge or concern themselves with a tax). A Flat Rate is $9.00 ($7.00 to Canada).

The only "commonly" sold to country that doesn't accept GP Flat rate is Italy. You will have to use Air Mail.

Even packages that are somewhat large ( I think the Max Height/Width/Depth limit is 72") can be sent Airmail letter Post if they are under 4 lbs.

If packages are larger than 72" (but less the 144") or are over 4lbs they must be sent by Parcel Post. Always offer Airmail Parcel Post and state that interntional bidders must email you first. Check your weight (usually it is in 1 lbs. increments so it is easy to guess) and go to USPS - The United States Postal Service (U.S. Postal Service) to find the cost. Insurance is available for these packages . . . if you don't want to risk an expensive purchase, don't ask you buyer if they want insurance, just bundle it up with the total shipping cost. For these packages you must fill out a "White" (long) form which has five carbon copies.  

- Country of Origin is United States

- HS Tariff number (just leave blank)

- Make sure you state "Books"

- Always make sure you fill these forms out completely and sign/date (you can't trust a postal worker to check your work).

NEVER offer to send Surface mail - I will do this if the buyer requests and then I make sure they have a full and clear understanding that it will take between 4-8 weeks (possibly more).

ALWAYS package items as if they would be tossed about the room like a football. MAKE SURE they are encased in cardboard protective sleeves and/or boxes with bubble wrap, foam, etc.

DON'T EVEN MENTION M-Bags unless the buyer requests and you feel comfortable.

Rember that if a buyer gets several books and they won't fit into a Global Flat Rate, it still might be cheaper to send them in TWO separate envelopes at $9.00 each, than in ONE envelopes with combined weight.

Make sure you have a return address on every envelope - when shipping to Canada, make sure nothing is abbreviated and everything is in capital letters (they may still accept and delivery it if not, but their new "official" policy is as I stated . . . so don't take chances.)

Finally . . . if someone can't use paypal, then insist they use a Western Union money transfer which is quick and easy. Or, failing that, I have allowed buyers to express mail me U.S. cash (which is signed for).

I have never had even a whisper of a problem yet . . . it is really no big deal.  8)

AS usual BTB has it all wrapped up with a shiny bow.  Great post. Here's all the tidbits I can add from selling online and overseas for over 10 years now:

The free global priority envelopes are a perfect size for magazines, modules, and most gaming books.  Like BTB said, typically doubling or tripling up on the envelopes is actually cheaper than sending in a priority box in most cases as flat rate is $9 a box ( I charge a flat rate of $10 an envelope but I will stuff an envelope as full as I can safely without it falling apart at no additional cost).

Greece is another country who doesn't accept priority mail; you have to send airmail to Greece and Italy.  A bit of a pain but some of my best buyers are in Italy!!!! (the motherland!)

I would avoid shipping to Africa, Russia, Mexico and South America except by special request; all of my problems over the years have involved these locations. I will sell stuff to these places on an individual basis but in general I would avoid them.  The problem is not with the customers in most cases; it's with the lousy mail service in the mentioned countries.  They treat packages like presents for themselves and open them regularly to check for money or money orders.  A guy I corresponded with who lived in South Africa said he had never gotten a package or envelope that hadn't been opened and rifled through first.

Write "books" or "used books" on the green custom form, and if you wish value the items what the original price is on the book/module/magazine.  Technically you aren't fibbing, as that is the price of the item, and your buyer won't get hit with outrageous custom fees. I personally believe in letting a customer keep his money rather than letting the postal service collect a fee for no reason.

If the buyer wants surface mail, make sure you let them know it could take up to two months.  A lot of them don't realize how long it will be.

Use cardboard stiffeners or extra envelopes folded over to bulk up the global priority envelopes and make them hard to bend.  

I've taken Bidpay, paypaly, money orders, checks drawn on US banks only, and cash (carefully wrapped and sent registered mail). I've never had a payment lost in over 10 years.  

International bidders will often pay more for an item because it's harder to find overseas....I find that a very large percentage of my sales come from international buyers.  I uniformly find them polite, very grateful, and good to deal with.  I've only had one international buyer in a decade stiff me, while in that same time dozens have done so from the US.   I really like dealing with international buyers for most part even though it requires a small extra bit of work, they are good guys for the most part even the French!  :lol:

Mike B.


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Post Posted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 2:52 am 

AdderMcOne wrote:
3. For the expensive goodies, Mr Taxman at the customs house just loves it. The actual cost from US is reasonable $US20odd, but it's the $AUD250 slug for a $US1,000 item that will kill you (including customs agent). 8O

The only way around it is to mark the actual price down (and subsequently the insured amount) even if it's marked as a gift, which opens up all sorts of ethical questions, and leaves the buyer open to loss if it goes missing.

No ethical problems for me.  I detest any government, even foreign ones, making money off average joes like you or me for a game or hobby. Just write down "Books" or "Used Books" or value the item at $20 or so. Don't let the Man get you down.

Mike B.

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