View Full Version : Idea about Overseas Shipping

01-24-2002, 04:26 PM
I know that for various reasons, many of us don't ship overseas. What if we all posted what we know about overseas shipping to individual countries, such as:

The best method of shipping for a given country,
whether you can insure a package going to said country,
the length of time it takes to ship,
and any other useful info.

What do y'all think about that idea? We may be missing out on better prices and more sales by limiting ourselves to just our home countries.

I do know that when I shipped a painting to Spain via USPS, it took 3 months. Fortunately, I know the man that was receiving it, and he was very very understanding. Someone has since posted that art should be sent to Spain from USA in another method....Federal Express, I think.

01-25-2002, 01:07 AM
I think it a good thing if others who do ship internationally could tell us a little about it. Lack of knowledge on the whole thing is what keeps me from shipping internationally. Surely it can't be too big a thing cuz military families ship internationally all the time I'm sure considering that they and their families move around frequently.

01-26-2002, 04:09 PM
I used to ship a lot overseas.
Paintings, but also stuff to my family who lives in Germany. I also often ship toBusiness associates that live in the UK & Italy.

Based on past experience I do not ship paintings oversees anymore.

If I for some reason got some "off the wall sale" that I could not resist, I would ONLY use FedEX. Especially shipping to Germany, based my experience.

Why? Many years ago I had an enlightening experience, when I shipped a Birthday Gift for my mother to Germany. It was a nice sweater & jacket that had cost me about $ 400.00 (It's my mom right, so I was generous)

When I shipped it I used USPS, filled out all the papers they told me to fill out and noted the values of the content and that it was a gift for my mom's birthday.

Long story short, 3 months after I shipped it, my mom finally received it. The package had been opened, the sweater was covered in some lint and was all wrinkled up. It took an insane amount of back & forth communications with the German Customs office, that refused to release the package, unless my mom pays duties that mounted to about $150.00 Dollar. At the end she told the officials that she would turn it over to her attorney and they finally released it to her, damaged of course.

It was a hassle to say the least.

After that I decided (by recommendation of the German customs official) to only use FedEx, who has special arrangement (so I was told by with the German customs office) and the package will go through easier.

Also people in different countries have may different expectations. I know Germans are very picky (please don't scream at me now) not all Germans but in general they are NOT as easy to please as Americans. I am half German and lived there most of my life, so I have a bit of an idea.

High quality is top priority in Germany.
You may have to be more descriptive down to the "T" of whatever you're trying to sell, in hopes of avoiding "Complainers"

If you use FedEx you can insure it of course and they already are very reliable in overseas shipping and most important accepted by customs in most countries.

Local post offices at least here in Georgia have staff that repeatedly gives you conflicting information on what papers need to be files for shipping which often results in packages being delayed or denied in the receptive countries.

I was at one time even told to lie about the values of the content and just put $1.00 in the paperwork. I don't believe in fraudulent information.
I would never do that and advise against it.

It is very important that you state when you sell something on EBAY or wherever that the buyer will be responsible for possible customs fees.
All of that stuff can become so time consuming that I decided to not do international at least for awhile until I can sell pieces for enough money to make it worth while.

Hope that was informative. Again various countries have various rules.


01-27-2002, 01:54 AM
Thanks Ginette for some very good information.

01-27-2002, 04:24 PM
For the UK:

The best method of shipping for a given country,
Anything really, I've used Fedex, UPS and USPS with no problem. USPS is slower and you need to make sure it's going AIR and not surface. Also make sure it's air letter if small enough and not letter post - which is technically surface. Basically: airmail airmail airmail! Ask and double check that's what they're selling you. Do not use the USPS website for prices, I never got a consistent quote from there. (using the UK post office site, on the other hand, is usually spot on!)

whether you can insure a package going to said country,

This I'm not sure with USPS but it's fine with UPS and Fedex.

the length of time it takes to ship,
Airmail is usually 5-7 days. Surface is 8-12 weeks and has always worked out on the slower end for me. UPS and Fedex both do a slightly cheaper option that take 5-7 days which I've found to be useful.

[b]and any other useful info.
The "gift" limit to the UK is about 35 ($50). Anything over that will be liable for customs duty even if marked gift (it works the same to any country, including the US). Customs + fees usually works out at about 19% (our VAT tax is 17.5% so the fee is about 1 to 1.5%)

You're probably looking at similar sorts of info for other European countries. The British are renowned for their tendency to not complain and just live with it. :)

Unless you're sending large, framed work I recommend buying a kitchen scale for weighing. :) That's how I figure out my fixed prices for shipping. I ship everything in mailing tubes - easier and consistent, low shipping prices. Both UPS and Fedex have downloads with all the prices for different countries.


01-27-2002, 04:33 PM
Tina, do you prefer to ship things overseas unframed just to avoid the extra shipping costs and hassle?


01-28-2002, 11:17 AM
Well, everything I sell on eBay is roll-able - flat canvas or paper. That's intentional for shipping.

My "real" work is different, but since it's only framed when intended for an exhibition it will sometimes be framed sometimes not. I ship those framed, but none have ever *started* their journey in the US. Always UK to somewhere, and I use UPS Expedited. It's worked well to the US and Japan, no problems.


01-28-2002, 12:25 PM
Originally posted by Sumafra
Thanks Ginette for some very good information.

You're very welcome. :-)
Also check out this forum on EBAY about internationa trading.
EBAY International trading Forum Link (http://forums.ebay.com/[email protected]@.ee7b9c8)