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 
transactions -
"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
Rotdornweg 81
53177 Bonn (Germany)

Tel: 0049-228-352808
Fax: 0049-228-365142