Sending USPS International Priority to overseas customers is an enormous
While letter post will be delivered straight away, traceable packets
must go through customs, where both import duties and value added tax
will be charged.
One would have to pick up the packet at the customs house, which in my
case means travelling up to an hour by car during a working day, then
join a long queue.
The alternative is to email customs the invoice, and ebay numbers (since
for some inexplicable reason American sellers tend to never attach the
invoice on the OUTSIDE of the packet, as required).
My local customs office (in western Germany) then sends everything by
mail to a central customs office some 600 km away (at the far end of
eastern Germany), where it will be processed further. This normally
requires another fortnight (!) until the goods finally arrive at my home
-- with a customs invoice which has to be paid cash to the mailman...
On top of that, USPS Priority Mail charges are about double the charges
for regular uninsured letter airmail. And the advantage of airmail is
brought ad absurdum by this bureaucratic delay.
I therefore always URGE American sellers to send items as letters, not
packets, and adjust the invoices accordingly. I am prepared to bear the
risk of not being able to track the item (an alternative would be to
send by registered mail).
I just won two items from the same seller. I received what might be an
automatically generated invoice, charging the postage twice, and
stipulating USPS international priority mail.
I then contacted the seller:
"Could you please check the charges for combined shipping?
I prefer regular airmail, NOT USPS Priority Mail, because a packet will
always have to pass customs while letter post is unproblematic, and
The seller answered:
"Here is the message I receive from eBay when I try to invoice your
"you can't send invoice for this order .
The item(s) will ship using the Global Shipping Program. As part of the
program, buyer directly pays international shipping and import charges
to the third-party shipping provider. The buyer will still be able to
complete checkout even if you don't send an invoice."
It sounds like you will be hearing from the Third Party Shipper employed
by eBay as to the shipping charges owed. Hopefully you will be able to
work it out with them. Sorry I can't be of any additional help. Thank
you for bidding."
This sounds rather strange to me, actually, this never happened to me
before. Does any one have an explanation? What can I do?
Dr. Rainer E. Lotz
53177 Bonn (Germany)