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 Post subject: How to ship to and from the UK without paying a ton?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 11:59 am 
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Queen Bitch of Self-Righteous Veganville
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Okay so, Jojo and I just did a swap and the package she sent me was lovely, but we both had issues with getting them sent out. I hadn't sent anything overseas in about five years and I knew it wasn't going to be cheap, but hot damn. First, I was told that I could get a medium flat rate box over there for $30. Awesome! Not super cheap, but reasonable. So I packed that sucker to the brim. Then I went and got the customs form and when I asked if I had the right form for flat rate because there's more than one, the clerk said, "Well first off, a medium sized box is going to cost you $47.50. The small one (which is about the size of a couple of dvds but a little longer) is $16.50 and the large is $60.95. Also it can't be more than four pounds."

So I decided to split my package into two boxes because I knew it was more than four pounds (separately they were over two each), and they just went first class instead of priority. Total cost? $43! What kind of fuckery is this? Is there any way to send a package to the UK without paying out the nose? I get that it's all going airmail so it's not going to be like, $5 but there has to be a better way. I know UPS and FedEx always cost more than the post office.

Also I just looked at the USPS site and it says that a medium and large flat rate box have a weight limit of 20 pounds so now i'm thoroughly convinced that postal workers are forking with me.

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 Post subject: Re: How to ship to and from the UK without paying a ton?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 12:33 pm 
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I have an online business, so I ship a lot. Some USPS offices are just crassholes and will fork you over.

My best advice is to do it online at USPS.com, you can set up a free account and print Priority shipping labels online (which will include the customs info so you don't have to worry about filling out separate forms). Large packages overseas are just going to be expensive, it sucks, but it's just the way it is. I've never heard of a 4lb limit on international flat rate....I think your office is just jerks!

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 Post subject: Re: How to ship to and from the UK without paying a ton?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 1:58 pm 
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I effing know. On my sweet swap with Paprikapayapa cost me about 3 times the amount the stuff cost. Then it was impossible to even find packaging in this damn country! I would have loved to have done it again but the cost is just ridiculous. We only have one postal service here. Then the held my package captive for a month before finally delivering it to me.

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 Post subject: Re: How to ship to and from the UK without paying a ton?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 2:17 pm 
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Brain Made of Raw Seitan
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Still trying to figure this out myself. Depending on what sort of things you're shipping, using a Priority Mail flat rate envelope to ship from US to UK may work out cheaper... the 4 lb limit still applies, but the envelope doesn't need to be flat, so long as it seals and the contents fit reasonably inside. It works well for sending non-breakable items such as books, small games, and non-crushable snacks. I believe the current rate to Europe for the flat-rate envelope is $16.95. You can also still send boxes to the UK via USPS First Class mail, which may or may not be cheaper depending on the weight, but that method can take a lot longer. Plus for first class I don't think you can print postage online, you have to actually take it to the post office.

ETA: There are weight limits on Priority Mail international for sure. For the small box and envelope it's 4 lbs. I've never actually shipped the larger boxes, but the website says the limit is 20 lbs? So it sounds like the person at your local post office didn't know what they were talking about. :P You can also calculate first class rates here


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 Post subject: Re: How to ship to and from the UK without paying a ton?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 5:55 pm 
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Also, if you're shipping from US to UK, don't forget to mark the shipping form as a gift otherwise we get stung for import tax on the value of the goods too.

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 Post subject: Re: How to ship to and from the UK without paying a ton?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 6:58 pm 
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Aired her grievances, lost the feat of strength
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Haha, yep, this was kinda a nightmare shipping wise! Mine weighed over 4lb (4.6 I think) & when I got to the Post Office I was quoted £44 ($70!). I was told that it would cost £30 if I put it in two lighter boxes so I went home, re-packaged, took it back to the PO & was quoted £39!

I went home again & took bap's advice to look into a courier & in the end I shipped via Fed Ex using Interparcel which cost £29 ($46)...this wasn't as easy as it should have been because the Fed Ex guy refused to take the package because it contained food (I argued with him for ages because I knew I was right that I could send non-perishable food but he refused to call his supervisor to check & was just crazy rude), Interparcel apologised & switched me to UPS which was also pretty problematic but the parcel did get there eventually.

I wish there was a reasonably priced shipping option from here to the US. It seems that the only way to send a sort of acceptably priced package is to make it under 2lb and send it from the Post Office. I swear the last package swap I did in, I dunno, 2009, the shipping was what I considered to be stupidly expensive & way more than the contents of the package but nowhere near this level of stupid!

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 Post subject: Re: How to ship to and from the UK without paying a ton?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 3:07 am 
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I generally use Interparcel and have never had any problems getting them to take it, but yeah, prices seem to have skyrocketed recently.

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 Post subject: Re: How to ship to and from the UK without paying a ton?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:14 am 
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Not NOT A Furry
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It's all linked with fuel prices, no doubt. I know it's usually cheaper to send from this end to the US when it comes to small packets, but anything much over a pound or two in weight and it gets ridiculous!

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 Post subject: Re: How to ship to and from the UK without paying a ton?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 9:21 am 
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Yeah it was definitely cheaper to go with a courier (I think I used FedEx) when I did the swap a couple of years ago. The post office quoted me about £60 and said it could take up to 3 weeks to get there! I told them to go jump and booked a courier for half the price and it got there in a couple of days.

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 Post subject: Re: How to ship to and from the UK without paying a ton?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:07 pm 
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Queen Bitch of Self-Righteous Veganville
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Annnnnnnnnd I just found out that USPS rates are going up at the end of the month. Are carrier pigeons vegan?

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"The Tree is His Penis"

The tree is his penis // it's very exciting // when held up to his mouth // the lights are all lighting // his eyes start a-bulging // in unbridled glee // the tree is his penis // its beauty, effulgent -amandabear


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 Post subject: Re: How to ship to and from the UK without paying a ton?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:22 pm 
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Brain Made of Raw Seitan
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Oh shiitake. They're introducing a new flat-rate stamp for first-class international letters too ($1.10 for 1 oz)... that's only a few cents more than it cost last year to send mail to Europe, but it's a huge ripoff for those of us who sent cards to Canada frequently (it was only 85c!) They will also be "forever" stamps though, so I guess the trick is just to buy like 800 of them and hope the post office doesn't go out of business. The full new rates table is here


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 Post subject: Re: How to ship to and from the UK without paying a ton?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 8:48 am 
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Chard Martyr
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I know that international is 20lb limit (at least for med and large flat-rate boxes). My mom sent me loads of stuff while I was over there via flat-rate. I'm pretty sure that USPS is the cheapest of 'em all, and the prices you mentioned earlier are what they are. At least we don't pay by weight like they do in UK, but my shipping always ends up costing more than the package contents anyway.


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 Post subject: Re: How to ship to and from the UK without paying a ton?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 12:34 pm 
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Queen Bitch of Self-Righteous Veganville
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One tip that I thought of to make your box smaller/slightly lighter - if you're shipping something in packaging that can be removed, remove it! I thought of that because a lot of the ELF packaging for mascaras and lip pencils and the like are twice the size of the product - I could probably cram $40 worth of ELF into the small flat rate box if I did away with the packaging first.

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"The Tree is His Penis"

The tree is his penis // it's very exciting // when held up to his mouth // the lights are all lighting // his eyes start a-bulging // in unbridled glee // the tree is his penis // its beauty, effulgent -amandabear


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