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Importing from UK


pmccarthy
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I have twice in the last week received a message that a UK supplier cannot ship to Australia. This is despite their advert and website saying that they do in both cases. It must be a Covid related problem, hopefully temporary. One was a book order, the other parts for a car. Anyone else had this problem?

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Nope. I've recently had orders arrive from the U.K. - but they were eBay purchases. However, I've come across U.K. based businesses who won't ship outside the U.K. or Europe.

They obviously think they can make their fortune just by dealing in those countries. I believe some businesses have temporarily closed down due to COVID-19 problems, such as staff unable to work, transport holdups, etc.

Jerry might know more. Brexit may be causing a great deal of business upset, too. They're probably trying to establish the new level of their trading arrangements.

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There has been reported quite a bit of disruption in cargo to and from the EU through inproperly completed forms, systems creaking at the seams, etc This should not affect the supply chain to non-EU countries, but it could mean resources of both logistics and shipping agents are diverted to sorting out issues with EU freight movement in deference to the wider world.

 

We are in a tier 4.5 lockdown at the moment. Details can be found here for England: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home.

 

The long and the short of it, is that they don't have to close to clock and collect, or delivery services. Some businesses will elect to close for the safetly of their employees and community (and selves, I guess); otherwise they will be open and employees are allowed to travel to work. Once on the linked page, search for "Businesses and venues which must close"...

 

From @pmccarthy's post, they may still be open but just can't ship to Australia.. Unless Australia or some transient desitnation is prohibiting it, I don't see why not; there is no ban on experting to Australia (or any other country) from here.

 

I just checked with a logistics company and they are not aware of any restrictions per se, but asked could the part be problematic because itcontains a banned substance (e.g. asbestos), or have been used in agri-uses, etc.. Customs can sometimes become problematic in this case)...

 

 

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They were both small items. One was a history book, the other a set of shock absorber bushes. One was a UK book retailer, the other a parts company sourced through eBay. Both advertised shipping worldwide, the parts site specifically listed Australia. But when you get to the checkout and try to pay it says they cannot ship to Australia.

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I have had similar problems from the US. Although more often the postage from the US is a deal killer. In one case, it was a termite-detecting instrument which was hundreds of dollars cheaper in the US but they wouldn't ship to Australia. Eventually, I got it sent to a mate in the US who then forwarded it on.

More often, I  buy the thing from Asia. Not possible with some things I know.

I have seen ads for services which on-forward things and they claim to be cheaper than regular freight.

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But when you get to the checkout and try to pay it says they cannot ship to Australia

This is a problem with the sellers failure to tick the countries they ship to, in eBay's listing programme. I've run into this problem numerous times, usually American sellers.

 

They will say they ship to numerous countries in the wording of the listing, but fail to tick the right boxes, when setting up the auction.

 

Just contact the seller through eBay and tell them your problem, and get them to correct their listing, to include shipping to Australia. eBay's listing programme is tortuous, and it's easy to miss important boxes that need to be ticked.

 

Edited by onetrack
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3 minutes ago, onetrack said:

Just contact the seller through eBay and tell them your problem, and get them to correct their listing, to include shipping to Australia. eBay's listing programme is tortuous, and it's easy to miss important boxes that need to be ticked.

A lot can be sorted out by direct contact with the seller. I know one who won't post to Australia because he's had too many shipments go missing. I contact him and he sends to me ok, as I've dealt with him previously.

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1 hour ago, spacesailor said:

We need a Friend in Russia.

The post rate to there is somehow cheaper, & we all know the post rate from Russia to Aussie is reasonably priced.

l said years ago, they will kill the Goose that lays their Golden egg.

spacesailor

spacey, better off with a friend in Ukraine. The post there is cheaper, faster and more reliable than Russian Post. Cheaper than most parts of Europe.

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Postal fees are set by the Universal Postal Union. Established in 1874, the Universal Postal Union (UPU), with its headquarters in the Swiss capital Berne, is the second oldest international organization worldwide.

With its 192 member countries under the umbrella of the United Nations, the UPU is the primary forum for cooperation between postal sector players. It helps to ensure a truly universal network of up-to-date products and services.

In this way, the organization fulfils an advisory, mediating and liaison role, and provides technical assistance where needed. It sets the rules for international mail exchanges.

 

One lot of those rules is the price included in the postage rate for mail going internationally. That's why, it you get onto Austpost, Royal Mail and USPS sites and get a price for sending a parcel between these countries, you'll find that the price is the same when you convert local currency to a reference currency, usually the USD. When the UPU set the rates, it biased them towards underdeveloped countries, so that they don't pay as much to the mail service in the destination country for delivering an item of mail. When the rates were set quite some time ago, China was included in the underdeveloped countries. Back then there wasn't much mail coming out of China to the rest of the world, but now with eCommerce the trickle has become a torrent. 

 

As a result, the postal services in Australia, Britain and the USA were losing money on delivering mail. Old Mate Donny spat the dummy at that and told the UPU that it wa going to pull out and set its own delivery of foreign mail rates (called terminal rates). His idea was to put a stop to cheap stuff coming in from China, but disguised in the economics of providing a postal service. Examples were given showing that the cost of delivering a package between two US cities was more than what the USPS got as terminal rates from China. Ultimately, that meant that an American could get a thinga-mebob from China, including postage costs, for less than he could from a US manufacturer in another State. The White House considered the ability to set its own rates as necessary to realize its goal of “unrestricted and undistorted competition.”

 

Commerce aside, U.S. citizens living abroad would have had their ability to vote put in jeopardy. It may have required unpredictable amounts of time and exorbitant courier rates to mail ballots, putting the voting rights of three million people at risk during presidential elections.

 

As usual, a United Nations body, buckled under to US bluster and agreed to let the USA set its own rates. Many countries agree with the United States that the UPU desperately requires long-awaited reform but are anxious about Washington’s ultimatum. The United States has historically been an institutional leader at the UPU, and members worry about the UPU’s future without U.S. influence.

 https://www.csis.org/analysis/universal-postal-union-lives-mail-another-day 

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6 hours ago, old man emu said:

One lot of those rules is the price included in the postage rate for mail going internationally. That's why, it you get onto Austpost, Royal Mail and USPS sites and get a price for sending a parcel between these countries, you'll find that the price is the same when you convert local currency to a reference currency, usually the USD.

I remember a few years ago getting an item sent from the U.S.. Postage was $45 USD which I thought was a bit expensive at the time. Out of curiosity, I checked with Australia Post on the cost to send it the other way. It was $160 and we were at near parity at the time.

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USPS postage rates have been ratcheting up and up, for the last 15 years. I bought a lot of eBay items (mostly books and catalogues) in the era between about 2003 and 2010.

I've just been going through a stack of those old envelopes and noting how cheap the postage was back then, compared to today. The USPS apparently has a lot of overhanging debt from way back.

They also had a policy of paying people according to their education level, not the job they were doing. They must've had a good postal union. The problem was, they had people with degrees sorting letters, on $100K a yr.

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I don't think high postage rates is economically good. They will potentially get to the point where international online trade dries up because of it. Take Australia for example. Our rates to post goods from here to overseas are not very competitive and that would stifle a lot of potential eBay based businesses. It's only really viable here to be an eBay seller if you sell domestically.

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I read an article about three months ago that the Chinese postal rates were set by the UPU some time ago, when China was a relativelly poor country, and haven't been reviewed since.. This is one of the reasons the postal rates are so low. I was lookign at  Aliexpress, and the postal rartes to the US were less than the cost of getting a can to the supplier, let alone 1/2 was across the globe. But, yes, I have no doubt, as in many things, the Chinese government subsidise it directly.. And of course, their enforced and exploitative employment practices also help subsisise output as they do not allow fo rthe free setting of prices or terms/conditions of labour to the most basic of market forces - supply and demand.

 

I am surprised the USA, the EU, Britain hasn't taken it to the WHO, as well..

 

Well, I am not surprised, as Australia is already in the throes of a trade spat with China and even Aus knows that a formal complaint to the WHO will likely drive more real retaliations. Having said that, despite the coal ban, Australia is not doing too badly - apparently, the price of a certain grade of thermal coal has skyrocketed since, so although they aren't selling as much, what they are selling is making them more money... And it has also affected the iron ore prices as well. Aus knows that China is developing supply chains fro melsewhere, so is in no hurry to bolster production or sort this mess out... One of the laws of uninended consequences, me thinks...

 

As for the Europeans - they are slowly realising what an impact of turning a blind eye to the Chinese subsidisation process is doing to their econcomies. Although we consider Europe a mature market, in reality, the EU is a mix of mature and emerging markets. Before joining the EU, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and possibly the Czech Republic would be considered emerging markets by standard measures of economics - and credit models I worked with back in 2010 still considered them as such. China, believe it or not, is still considered by many, an emerging market. Well, the EU basically ignored the impact cheap Chinese goods were havingon the manufacutirng and economic development of their new members for too long; only in 2018 (from memory), finally admitting it was a problem and vowind to do somethign about it.. What they have done, I am not sure.. given we are no longer in that club, I don't care, either.

 

Anyway, back to importing stuff from the UK.. Shouldn't be any more of a problem in the past..

 

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Hi Jerry_Atrick

The other problem in Australia is the Loss of your product. Phil sent me a radio, but it never turned up, gone in someone's pocket l suspect !. Plus all the ebay items that don't arrive.

Left me with a guilt complex for a Long time, Just hoping its not the reason for his absence !.

spacesailor

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Jerry said, I read an article about three months ago that the Chinese postal rates were set by the UPU some time ago, when China was a relativelly poor country, and haven't been reviewed since..

 

That's the reason Trump threatened to pull out of the UPU. It is a thing called "Terminal Rates"

 

The UPU remuneration system for letters and small packets, known as terminal dues, ensures that the designated operator of the destination country is compensated for the costs associated with the handling, transporting and delivering of the postal items it receives from the sending designated operator. The current methodology for the terminal dues system was established by the 2016 Congress and is applicable for the 2018–2021 period. It places countries in tiered groups and applies different rates based on postal development indexes, with the goal of moving all countries into a single rate system. Rates also vary according to item format, with a different rate structure for small and large letters versus bulky letters containing documents and small packets containing goods. 

 

Basically, all Western nations are Group 1, and reimburse the other postal services in the same Group at the same rate. China is in Group 3, which means that it reimburses other countries at a lower rate for delivering its mail items. That means that the Group 1 countries must make up the difference between what it costs them to deliver an article and what China reimburses them for doing it. It means that for Group 1 and 2 countries, delivering mail items originating in China is an unrecoverable cost.

 

That's why the US Postal Service, and Austpost are losing money, and why Trump stood up to the UPU saying either the USA gets to set its own fee for delivery, or it would pull out of the UPU. Basically, the USA wanted the UPU to change China from a Group 3 to Group 1. Amongst other criteria, the UPU sets the rate based on the economic development level of a country and the amount of international mail it generates.

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Regarding eBay purchases, recently I spotted something on my credit card statement that I hadn't previously been aware of. On eBay, I normally pay through PayPal with my debit account as the default option. eBay takes 9% from the seller and 3% approximately is taken from the buyer via a lower exchange rate calculation. If I use my credit card, the bank charges a further 3% foreign exchange conversion fee. That makes a total of 6% with a credit card vs 3% with a debit card. Maybe I've got it wrong, but that's the way I calculate it. Can anyone verify or clarify that?

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Willedo, you always pay more for using a CC, as compared to using a debit card. One of the things I hate about eBay is the fact that they also take a huge slice of shipping charges.

If you sell heavy items, as I mostly do (parts and components), then you really get hammered on charges.

 

I sold an A/C condensor for a Komatsu front end loader to a bloke who lives in Miami, Fl, but who operates a contracting business in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

He paid $440 for the condensor, and the air freight to T&C Islands was another $360.

So I charged him $420 in shipping cost to make up for eBay's grab, plus my packaging costs. He paid it without a murmur, because the condensor is around US$950 in the States.

Accordingly, I got hit with 9% fee on the $440, plus another 9% of the $420 freight charge. A nice 'lil earner, as Arfur would say.

 

https://community.ebay.com/t5/Archive-Selling/Ebay-takes-10-for-selling-an-item-Why-do-they-take-another-10/td-p/22020690

 

I've figured out now to not list a shipping charge, just itemising it as a "freight" charge that the buyer has to enquire about. Even better, I can often get the buyer to use their freight company account to pay for the freight themselves.

This stops eBay charging me for freight, as it's not listed on the eBay sale invoice - and the buyer often gets a better freight rate, because they have an account with the freight or transport company.

 

Edited by onetrack
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