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"General questions about UK to US mail order" Topic

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715 hits since 31 Mar 2017
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Jeigheff31 Mar 2017 5:24 a.m. PST

Hi folks,

I live in the US. Occasionally in the past, I have ordered stuff from Great Britain.

About six weeks ago, I ordered about $55.00 USD worth of stuff from a UK dealer who has always been dependable in the past. Regretfully, this most recent order hasn't yet arrived. I had some contact with the dealer last week, who responded promptly to my inquiry.

My questions are, can packages sent from the UK to the US be tracked in any way? Also, if my package has indeed been lost, should I simply accept the loss or is it reasonable to expect any kind compensation from the seller?

As mentioned previously, this dealer has always been reliable and prompt in the past. So I would have to guess that the fault lies with either the US or UK postal systems. For what it's worth, I live in Austin, Texas, a city that is proud of being weird. (No joke.) The service we get from our local post office is generally dependable, but not completely. In the past, two packages (one coming, one going) took incredible amounts of time to reach their destinations. (One of these long-delayed packages was sent from Austin to Austin, containing my car's new license plates.) So I can't help but wonder if my stuff from the UK just might show up eventually.

Let me know what you folks think. I'm not upset, just concerned.


Personal logo Flashman14 Supporting Member of TMP31 Mar 2017 5:34 a.m. PST

I've always been assuaged with something about the order "getting stuck in customs."

Now, I only deal with vendors with a track record of good faith so I accept it.

Yes, vendors can track items, but it costs more to them and to you, so it's not always a default option. If it's a reputable vendor I keep communications open and friendly and follow their recommendations i.e., it can take 4-6 weeks. Because they are reputable they'll ususally resend an order at the 6 week mark.

shaun from s and s models Supporting Member of TMP31 Mar 2017 5:42 a.m. PST

tracked & signed is a lot more expensive than standard mail, but when i have tried using the tracking service on goods sent here in the uk it does not seem to work!
us customs is taking much longer than is has been, maybe they need a longer ladder to chuck the parcels over the new wall!

cavcrazy31 Mar 2017 5:58 a.m. PST

Dealing with that now, I have great faith in the company I bought the figures from but not so much in the mailing system.
Customs seems to work on a very slow pace.
Of course it may be that they are dealing with a lot of packages everyday, so really I'm thinking mine is a "first world" problem.

Random Die Roll Supporting Member of TMP31 Mar 2017 6:07 a.m. PST

U.S. customs seems to be taking much longer than usual

I once received a registered letter stating that the security check x-ray was suspicious/rejected----pretty much due to the metal and spikey bits---and my package took around 10 weeks to arrive

Personal logo jeffreyw3 Supporting Member of TMP31 Mar 2017 6:21 a.m. PST

Hmmm…Timecast, Gripping Beast, Baccus and Adler shipments have all been pretty consistent over the past three months to Orlando. I'm guessing a one-off glitch in your case.

Personal logo StoneMtnMinis Supporting Member of TMP31 Mar 2017 6:23 a.m. PST

Contact the seller and get the Customs Declaration Form ID#. Go to your local Post Office and ask to speak to the local Postmaster and give him the ID#. He should be able to track when it entered the USPS system using that ID# and give you the status.

It used to be you could do it online, but they have "improved" the online portal and you can't do that anymore.

TheOtherOneFromTableScape31 Mar 2017 7:03 a.m. PST

If its only $55 USD then the UK seller would have used a CN22 customs declaration, which has no unique ID. So I don't think there is anything that the seller can provide to track it through US customs.

It's the seller responsibility to ensure delivery, though some seem to think it's the buyer's once they've posted the package. Contact the seller and ask for a replacement. They may ask you to wait a little longer, until Royal Mail consider the package lost and a compensation claim can be made, but the seller has an obligation to replace the purchase or refund the whole cost including the postage.

Rapier Miniatures Inactive Member31 Mar 2017 7:05 a.m. PST

Hmmm the Customs form we use are stick on ones from the post office, with no serial numbers etc on them.

Giles the Zog31 Mar 2017 7:21 a.m. PST

That's the CN22 form (Rapier), I too have a reel of them for use for non EU/UK customers. There is no serial number on them.

Cornelius Supporting Member of TMP31 Mar 2017 8:29 a.m. PST

Given the strength of USD perhaps more people in USA are buying from overseas, leading to more work for Customs …

wpilon Supporting Member of TMP31 Mar 2017 8:29 a.m. PST

I had much the same thing happen with a figure order from the UK. The vendor shipped it via airmail but some bureaucrat decided that the package wasn't eligible for airmail and slapped a big, orange, DO NOT FLY stick on it and it took about 2 months to arrive…

wrgmr131 Mar 2017 8:49 a.m. PST

I had a package from Front Rank take 2 months to arrive. I'm in Canada.
Wait a bit.

dwight shrute31 Mar 2017 9:08 a.m. PST

The tracked parcels don't seem to help that much either . I sent two parcels to the USA on the same day , both tracked . One got to CA in 7 working days , the other to NC in 21 working days . Both took 28 working days for the Royal Mail to say delivered on their website .

Onomarchos Supporting Member of TMP31 Mar 2017 9:23 a.m. PST

I just had a $150 USD order from Warlord take two months to arrive. The lesson I learned on this is, make sure you pay the extra and have it sent with tracking. If possible, tell the vendor not to use the Royal Post … I have much better luck with courier services like UPS and FedEx.

jowady31 Mar 2017 11:34 a.m. PST

Shipping UPS or FedEx often costs more but in my experience is worth it. Their tracking systems are better. In some cases I have had USPS packages delivered to the wrong address but the USPS system merely shows them as "delivered". That being said though I have also had problems with UPS and FedEx, just not as many as with the USPS.

I have noted that some UK sellers seem reluctant to use UPS or FedEx. I had a case about 4 years ago that led me to stop dealing with a seller because of that. I requested that the item be sent UPS, he agreed and charged me more shipping to cover it, which I was okay with. When the item didn't come I finally requested the UPS tracking number only to be told that he had sent it Royal Mail. He did that to "save me money" except that I had already paid him extra! This led to a massive three way fight between him, PayPal and myself. Eventually the items came (after about 6 weeks, admittedly it took him 3 weeks just to put my order in the Mail)but I swore I would never deal with him again and I haven't. At the time I posted something about it here on the CA board so I won't name him again but I have also noted the reluctance about UPS from others across the pond. Is it more difficult to send stuff via these services in the UK? I mean here, I'm also in Austin, there's seemingly a UPS or FedEx facility or drop point on every other corner, in fact it's easier to send via UPS or FedEx in many areas of the US than it is to go to the Post Office.

GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP31 Mar 2017 1:58 p.m. PST


While I haven't much experience with FedEx or UPS I can say that most of the private couriers have a poor reputation in the UK. I have never known our postman to just dump a parcel on the doorstep when no-one was in but it has happened 4 times with other couriers.

Royal Mail are pretty reliable and I have found that parcels under 2kg are far better sent by them than any other service. Above that weight I look a bit harder but still sometimes end up with RM.

Tracking to the US is a very hit and miss affair. As already noted above the systems seem unable to cope with some parcels going to the US and even those that get through can take a week before the tracking info becomes available online. Tracking within much of Europe works fine but the US isn't reliable in my experience. Don't ask about Canada – I won't send anything valuable there at all.

Jeigheff31 Mar 2017 5:02 p.m. PST

Hi guys,

Thank you for all your answers. I'm hoping that being patient pays off. I'll probably send another polite message to the dealer too.

Cavcrazy, you're right: this is indeed a first world problem, even though I'd still like to get my stuff!


Doctor X31 Mar 2017 5:21 p.m. PST

In the last 4-5 months my UK to US shipments seem to take longer. Delivery went from 2-3 weeks to 4-5 weeks with one taking 9 weeks to arrive. All are small parcels.

custosarmorum Supporting Member of TMP31 Mar 2017 6:56 p.m. PST

I order regularly from the UK and still find that I get most orders in my mailbox in about two weeks or so.

That said, I ordered from two well-known UK companies at the end of January. One of the orders arrived in less than two weeks. The other, however, did not turn up and so I sent an inquiry to the seller who asked for a bit more patience. So I waited for just over another two weeks (about five weeks total) before sending a second inquiry to the seller who said they would send a replacement which was very nice of them.

The replacement was sent via Royal Post International Tracked and Signed. This allowed my to track the package in the UK and then via the delivery partner (USPS) once in the US. The package took 12 days from when it was posted until the postman rang my door for the signature. I would be happy to pay extra for this service!

By the way, the parcel spent about 48 hours in U.S. customs so at least in this case there was no real delay.

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