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"USPS International Rates, Ridiculous! " Topic

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Cold Warrior23 Jun 2017 5:04 a.m. PST

Have not done international shipping for a few years. Getting prepared for a large sell-off (ordering USPS flat rate Priority boxes, etc.) and was checking on international shipping rates. Cannot believe how they have skyrocketed since I last shipped!

Has it made it impossible to sell internationally any longer? Unless you are selling something rare, or a very nicely painted army someone overseas really wants, can't see international customers willing to pay such high rates any longer. Used to do a lot of shipping to the UK, wonder if that will dry up now.

Rdfraf Supporting Member of TMP23 Jun 2017 5:36 a.m. PST

I agree, the USPS prices to ship international are crazy obscene now!

Personal logo ACWBill Supporting Member of TMP23 Jun 2017 5:47 a.m. PST

The postal rates have really put a dent in my UK sales, which used to be significant. I still ship to Canada with some regularity, but the cost for that is out of control as well. Distribution deals don't work well for 10mm figures as the margins are too small. Not good.

Bill Moreno

boy wundyr x23 Jun 2017 5:56 a.m. PST

I purchase less often from the US, saving up for larger orders or with the guys who can do smaller packets (though I would guess they eat some of the shipping charges). FedEx has a really basic shipping option that's worked on a couple of occasions.

Shipping from the UK can still be pricey, though recently I bought something where it was a "check with me about international shipping before ordering" situation, and he was able to find an economy shipping level that the post lady told him almost no one used (it was labelled a 6-8 week shipping time). Got here in a week and cost like 6 pounds for three mdf buildings.

Personal logo The Virtual Armchair General Sponsoring Member of TMP23 Jun 2017 6:59 a.m. PST

And it's not just the outrageous--functionally punitive, in fact--rates, it's the risk that must be run as well.

The USPS Priority Flat Rate Small mailing box is $33.95 USD to the UK, and most overseas addresses. This doesn't help when selling any number of items less than $10.00 USD. But, worse yet for a retailer, there is no Insurance option, either. The package can be traced (no proof anything lost will be found), but that's all, folks!

If lost or destroyed in transit, the customer is either SOL, or the retailer has to pay a second time, certainly obliterating any profit left over after the first shipment, then much more.

The next great fortune in the world will be made by the man who can figure out how to deliver small, low priced items overseas without breaking either buyer or seller.


Personal logo ACWBill Supporting Member of TMP23 Jun 2017 7:27 a.m. PST

TVAG – I had that very situation earlier this year with a shipment to the Netherlands. After a few weeks of futile pursuit, I sent a second package. While I awaited the package arrival to my customer, all of a sudden the first one showed as shipped (almost three weeks after the postman picked it up). Shipping cost of over 30.00 USD eaten by yours truely, indeed obliterating my slim profit margin as I sell 10mm figures.

DColtman23 Jun 2017 7:50 a.m. PST

I'm not sure what problem USPS solved with this change. I see more US sellers who won't ship to Canada – very common on ebay in particular. It seems just bad for commerce and with the loss of traffic did the USPS margin increase?

I order from the UK since shipping from there is much more economical. It's usually easier, cheaper and faster for a package to cross the Atlantic than the 49th parallel.

On the other hand, it is often cheaper for me to ship to a US address than Canadian one using Canada Post. Mind you – they are often closer geographically!

TodCreasey Supporting Member of TMP23 Jun 2017 8:08 a.m. PST

As a Canadian I almost never buy from a US retailer esepcially if there is a UK option. We did the math a whole ago and we break even of a US vendor has around a 40% discount over the FLGS once you factor in shipping and duty.

Cold Warrior23 Jun 2017 9:03 a.m. PST


You can no longer insure international packages? If that is the case would be hesitant to ship internationally at all any longer. Used to be 1st Class International w/Insurance would not be that expensive. Nice to see USPS killing international shipping.

Vigilant23 Jun 2017 10:15 a.m. PST

Between the exchange rate, shipping costs and the UK's Post Office charge for filling in an import tax form it is not worth ordering anything from the US unless it is for a large order that cannot be got any other way. There are a couple of ranges in the US that I would like but cannot justify the cost. There was a kickstarter at the end of last year where shipping was as much as the base cost, just not a viable option sadly.

emckinney23 Jun 2017 11:15 a.m. PST

And it's all due to politics …

Congress instituted a requirement for USPS to fund all of its future pension obligations, rather than the pay-as-you-go system that everyone else uses. Congress has also denied or greatly reduced requested domestic rate increases. The pension thing is aimed at the postal workers' union, based on contributions and philosophical hostility to unions.

GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP23 Jun 2017 11:20 a.m. PST

Same as Vigilant for me. It was always expensive buying from the US but odd bits I did buy, sometimes I got away without the duty, other times not – it evened out.

Now I can't even think about it. Cost for sending the smallish orders I'm likely to make usually more than doubles the cost and then I have the customs to pay when it gets here.

StoneMtnMinis23 Jun 2017 11:54 a.m. PST

While you can no longer insure international packages you can register them which requires signature at delivery and tracking through the postal system. However, cost is an additional $32.00 USD


Cold Warrior23 Jun 2017 1:57 p.m. PST


Thanks for the heads-up, with so many items about to be sold will feel terrible stating "US only". Unfortunately that is what it may come down to.
Sincere apology to everyone overseas about our short-sighted politicians. Used to be easy to ship pretty much anywhere in our "global community", they did a great job of killing that off.

Tony S23 Jun 2017 2:47 p.m. PST

As a Canadian, the only US company I ever buy from nowadays is Blue Moon, as their army card gives a 40% discount, which, as TodCreasey points out, makes it almost competitive. All my business goes to the UK now.

Shame. Used to get a lot from south of the border.

Personal logo Doctor X Supporting Member of TMP23 Jun 2017 6:04 p.m. PST

US shippers

For smaller/lighter packages look at using First Class International. Depending on size and weight you can ship up to 2lbs and cut your cost by approx 1/3. Possibly multiple packages may be a solution?

After that it is a jump. You can cram a lot in a medium size flat rate box. I've often times maxed out at the 20lb limit on flat rate netting me <$3.50/lb total cost to ship.

From what I saw on the USPS website international packages can still be insured. In fact, free insurance up to $200 USD is included in the cost. I didn't check all possible combinations but for Priority that is the case.

As bad an option as USPS may seem, I have never seen competitive rates from UPS or Fedex on parcels. USPS still best choice.

While all is not lost, it is definitely getting bleaker on the International shipping horizon.

bsrlee23 Jun 2017 8:18 p.m. PST

I think you will find that ALL national postal services have raised their international prices considerably over the last few years for various reasons.

USPS is still the best option for a lot of us International buyers, often by a considerable margin. One example I had was a US based shipper who offered 'bargain' shipping by UPS of $500 USD where USPS would have been less than $200 USD – and UPS is usually slower than USPS to Australia. Then UPS try to charge extra on top of that for unneeded 'services' such as fumigation, quarantine etc.

DHL is fairly good if you can get a corporate shipping account number – seems it doesn't have to be your own, just quote the number and pay at the time of shipping. FedEx is also pretty reliable and put a lot of effort into finding your parcel (or contents) if it goes astray.

Jeigheff24 Jun 2017 5:52 a.m. PST

A couple months ago, I sent two weighty paperback books to a friend in Germany. It cost close to $60.00 USD to mail the package. Yow! At least I know it arrived.

At the moment, I'm more worried about stuff getting lost and having little or no recourse when that happens, due to a recent experience.

TheBeast Supporting Member of TMP24 Jun 2017 7:00 a.m. PST

I've known all your pain, mind you, but the horror stories of costs and paperwork and delays coming out of the UK about Royal Mail AND the Customs Service…

Let me give a HUGE shout out to the several kind souls willing to ship to me. Makes me proud to be half-Brit.


Khusrau24 Jun 2017 9:37 a.m. PST

I have given up ordering from the US.

I pretty much bought out the last of the metal French pre-dreadnoughts from WTJ (Great Company!) – shipping was expensive, and UK customs slapped an additional 20 pound charge on the cost, :-(

Personal logo Rogzombie Supporting Member of TMP Fezian24 Jun 2017 4:21 p.m. PST

Its really sad. Its not cheap to ship inside the US either.
I would think its destroying small businesses that sell low ticket items.

International, I used to ship to the UK for $4. USD I recently mailed something to Denmark that was virtually the weight of the box and it cost $13. USD

Cold Warrior28 Jun 2017 8:33 a.m. PST

What really gets me is the fact we are subsidizing the shipping for Chinese sellers. I get massively overcharged (compared to what it used to cost) to ship domestically, but some strange arrangement allows Chinese sellers to ship into the US dirt cheap.

Something is just wrong here. Half my business used to be international. Took a few years off from selling, come back, and now not only is international selling near impossible, domestic shipping outside of flat rate priority, and media mail for books, is impossibly expensive as well.

Personal logo Der Alte Fritz Sponsoring Member of TMP14 Oct 2017 7:11 p.m. PST

As others have said, the USPS is the least expensive shipping option for international shipments from the USA. I've always had good experience using USPS, most shipments arrive within 10 business days, more often closer to five business days to the U.K.

If an order doesn't arrive within four weeks then I ship a replacement order at no charge to the customer. "Lost" packages tend to arrive within six weeks and I've had some out there for up to six months these latter boxes end up as "return to sender". I've never had more than 1-2 packages lost and never returned, so I'm happy with USPS service.

Dynaman878915 Oct 2017 3:01 p.m. PST

> Something is just wrong here. Half my business used to be international.

I read something about this a few months back, can't find it now of course, and it has something to do with international agreements and amount of mail shipped. The whole scheme sounded totally wacky.

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