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Shipment to Australia -- 3 weeks not arrived
Old 08-12-2009   #1
35mmdelux
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Shipment to Australia -- 3 weeks not arrived

Friends,

I shipped a lens to Australia from USA listed as used camera part/used lens, flying USPS First Class Air Mail. Three weeks on and the buyer has not received. Ive shipped Hasselblad/Leica to the Ukraine, HK, Spain, Portugal, Italy (!), CHINA (Bejing) and never one problem. Can you guys/gals in OZ shed some light on your experience USA-to-OZ please. [yes I know UPS, DHL, EMS is better].

What say ye. THKS -- Paul

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Old 08-12-2009   #2
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i waited 3 months for a lens from oz.

oz to canada...
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Old 08-12-2009   #3
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I sent an M6, and it was held in customs for over a month. Then they couldnt find it, then they almost sent it back to the US.
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Old 08-12-2009   #4
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ALWAYS ship with tracking, especially if you are shipping international. I always use USPS, and the only time I've ever had a lost package was when I sent without tracking, which means you need to ship at least priority (to common destinations) or express (to less common destinations). At the very least, you would know where your packages are stuck (usually in customs), which decreases some of the anxiety with buyer and seller...
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Old 08-12-2009   #5
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Priority from the US to Canada usually takes a week to a week and a half depending on how long customs holds on to things. First Class is slower than Priority iirc
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Old 08-12-2009   #6
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classic. I think I had a 3 week deal once on a lens I shipped to Oz. Now I only ship EMS, it's about $30 but it gets anywhere in a week or less.
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Old 08-12-2009   #7
Gary Sandhu
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I sent a lens to a fellow rff'er mid July by Canada post and it hasn't arrived yet-- I'm hoping it's tied up in customs (Vancouver Canada to Australia)
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Old 08-12-2009   #8
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Sellers from the USA always used USPS Priority Mail International with tracking or Express Mail International with tracking, and the items always arrived at my place around 5 to 10 days. Fortunately I never had any problems yet.

And I think that USPS First Class Air Mail should not take that 3 weeks long...
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Old 08-12-2009   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suckerpunch View Post
I sent an M6, and it was held in customs for over a month. Then they couldnt find it, then they almost sent it back to the US.
I'm in the US and have bought frequently from overseas. If a package gets caught in customs it's like a black hole. It just disappears until one day you get an email from a private contractor that says no duties were assessed but you need to pay $30~50 to get it released from customs. No tracking mechanism, post office, UPS or Fedex can tell you what happened to the package. It just disappears from the face of the earth for 4~8 weeks.
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Old 08-12-2009   #10
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I have had a few lenses, cameras, plus assorted gear sent to Australia by B&H. Generally, if my order was in NY on Monday their time the item arrived here on the Friday of the same week.

Had the same experience with a camera from KEH.

Just checked. B&H sent via UPS World wide saver. Don't know the significance of that but it had tracking. I watched it cross the States, to Hawaii, then Sydney, customs and finally to my home town.

One thing: each shipment was of a declared (and actual!) value below AUD 1,000.00 - it seems that Aussie customs may snag anything over that amount and apply duty or GST (known in other places as VAT). That would slow things down.
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Old 08-12-2009   #11
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USA to Sydney is generally 7 to 10 days. After three weeks I'd be starting to ask some questions. It might be held at Customs depending on the value you gave it.
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Old 08-12-2009   #12
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First class airmail does not necessarily mean that it goes by air the entire way. Typically, it will go via USPS First Class to the outgoing airport, then on an airplane to the destination country, through customs, and then into the basic form of delivery in that country. I have had delays at all stages for various reasons. I would hold tight a while and ask the buyer to afford a bit of patience for the item to arrive. In the meantime though, they should talk to their local post office and use the customs form number (i.e. the green form that you attached to the box) as a reference. That number might be traceable through the USPS system. I think the reference number starts with LC.
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Old 08-12-2009   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelW View Post
USA to Sydney is generally 7 to 10 days.
This has been my experience also (near Brisbane). I've never had anything sent via USPS go missing. Surface mail used to take 6 weeks or more, but I'm not sure if that option is available now? Surface mail from Canada does indeed take the cake on waiting time - months and months. Customs is not an issue in Australia unless the item is over $1000.
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Old 08-12-2009   #14
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Only one experience sending to OZ from Canada via surface mail and that took the better part of 6 months. It was only a gift CD so no problem.

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USA shippint to AUS
Old 08-12-2009   #15
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USA shippint to AUS

I've had lots of items shipped successfully from the USA to Australia - Melbourne. No problems. In my experience the tracked items take 5-7 days - but are very expensive - say $32 for a lens and $42 for a small camera. I prefer the seller to just use normal USPS Air Mail because its much cheaper. It usually takes only 7-10 days to arrive safely. Never paid or had any issues with customs. Never lost anything.
If the location you are shipping to is somewhere remote in Australia then add another 7 days.
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Old 08-12-2009   #16
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I wouldnt call USPS First Class Air Mail surface mail. I live in Los Angeles, where I believe it would have flown out of to OZ. I do have the customs number and it was priced well under $1000 USD. Several days before I made two other shipments to OZ; both received in 10 days. Having said this Ive had shipments to/from Canada as well as to Sweden taking 1 month. The buyers get nervous and its understandable.
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Old 08-12-2009   #17
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Stuck in customs?. At work we once sent a parcel within the EU and it disappeared for a month or so, turned out it was in customs for no apparent reason, after a while they just sent it to the addressee.
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Old 08-12-2009   #18
David Murphy
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If the lens was worth more than about $50 you made a mistake shipping it 1st Class: this is not an insured service and there is no tracking. Nevertheless you still might be able to track it down using the customs number printed on the USPS receipt (that's the only shipping record of it you might have). Forward this to your buyer and ask him to take it to his post office for a trace.

For anything expensive (>$50 in my book) one should ship either USPS Priority (very good) or USPS Express International (the best). The latter service is tracked to the door of the recipient. Be sure to fully insure (and not over insure) the items with these services. The reason not to over insure is that if there is a loss, the sales records are the proof of value and USPS will not pay a claim larger than that.

These services may seem expensive, but international shopping is a luxury that buyers need to pay for it and sweating bullets over their lost expensive (uninsured) items is not worth it.

Finally Australia has a great postal system - it is fast and efficient and everything I've sent there just sailed on through whatever customs procedures they apply.

Take heart however, most wayward international parcels are eventually returned if they cannot be delivered. Sometimes it can take six months.

And BTW, UPS, FedEx, and DHL are not better than USPS EMS - unless you want to see how those corporate gangsters can abuse you and your credit card in amazing ways.
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Old 08-12-2009   #19
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By the way, ALL USPS international mail is now airmail. You can thank the USPS board of directors for that (many on it are actually anti-USPS). USPS sea mail once allowed one to ship heavy items abroad economically - no more.
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Old 08-12-2009   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalintrigue View Post
I seldom insure anything unless its truly expensive or unique. Insurance is grossly overpriced from any of the carriers. The best way to get through customs fast is to put a low value, keeps things under the radar and pretty much eliminates pilfering or disappearance.
Each to his own, but I'd not dream of shipping something like a $1000 Leica M lens without full insurance and tracking. With eBay you are on the hook 100% for a loss. If the buyer uses a credit card to pay with PayPal (outside of eBay) you are also on the hook for a full charge back. I'm certainly not going to expose myself to those sorts of loses. I will also not fall on the sword just so some big bank or payment service can provide the buyer with loss insurance at my expense.
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Old 08-12-2009   #21
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I'm in Melbourne and I've received many parcels from the USA using USPS. Everything has been quite fast except a shipment from B&H which took about 8 weeks. I think they used a lower rate that is no longer offered.

Anything with a declared value of $1000AUD including postage and packaging will attract customs' attention. I've never had anything "lost" in customs, on the contrary, they are brutally efficient. And with the economic turndown leading to diminished tax revenues, they might be even more efficient.
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Old 08-12-2009   #22
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Never had issues, usually within a week. Delays have nothing to do with distance to Australia or Aus customs.
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Old 08-12-2009   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Murphy View Post
Each to his own, but I'd not dream of shipping something like a $1000 Leica M lens without full insurance and tracking...............
Once Tony Rose (Popflash) sent me (in Australia) a new 50mm Summilux by mistake (it should have been 35mm). He said to mail it back to him at his expense, no insurance or tracking necessary. I have always found the service to be secure.
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Old 08-12-2009   #24
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Yes, here too (though not really in customs). The state always bulls everyone out of its way to feed at the front of the trough in hard times - that's one time when the powerful really flex their power.

Quote:
Originally Posted by john_s View Post
I'm in Melbourne and I've received many parcels from the USA using USPS. Everything has been quite fast except a shipment from B&H which took about 8 weeks. I think they used a lower rate that is no longer offered.

Anything with a declared value of $1000AUD including postage and packaging will attract customs' attention. I've never had anything "lost" in customs, on the contrary, they are brutally efficient. And with the economic turndown leading to diminished tax revenues, they might be even more efficient.
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Old 08-12-2009   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalintrigue View Post
I can't count how many packages I've shipped without insurance. It's called 'self insurance.' Ship a lot and it adds up.

Best to buy insurance from insurance companies rather than shipping companies, who buy it from insurance companies and mark it up 1000%.
Yes I know all of that, except I don't pay the insurance, the buyer does (unless I've struck a deal to do so). I don't misrepresent items on customs documents either. I will help a buyer in any way I can, but I won't cut corners on shipping, safety, or the law. A big reason for insurance is, as I said, the policy of the payment services to offer buyer protection and try to take it out the hide of sellers. It turns out though I won't play.
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Old 08-12-2009   #26
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I've shipped from Canada to Australia (and vice versa) many times and for the most part, it's been pretty good. I've shipped to RFF member hunghang on two separate occassions and it took a week both times when I sent it via air mail. Surface mail has always been about a month of waiting. The only really bad experience was when I shipped a pair of binoculars to Australia. It took over 2 months to arrive (via surface mail). Fortunately the buyer didn't jump to any conclusions and I made the effort to have the postal service put in a trace when it finally arrived.
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Old 08-12-2009   #27
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Generally its faster - usually 7-10 days, occasionally 14. But I have had one instance where a shipment from US took around 3 weeks. So this amount of time is unusual but not unheard of. Is there no means of shipment tracking? Do not panic yet but you are entitled to worry.
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Old 08-12-2009   #28
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I've personally found that things sent via the USPS to Oz via un-tracked shipping can be pretty variable in arrival times. My experience has mostly been with books shipped by Amazon (photograpy items tend to be tracked and/or via courier). Any time between 4 days and 6 weeks can happen, though with most clustered around a guesstimated 12 day mark. I wouldn't even start to worry 'till about 4 weeks have passed. (The 6 week shipment I referred to above had Amazon concede the shipment had been lost. They were about to ship a 2nd set of books when the 1st arrived.)

I don't know where things get delayed, but will note that tracked shipments seem to go much more smoothly (I wonder why? ) However, experience - and chats with post office staff - lead me to suspect mail handling within the big mail centres at good old Aussie Post. (The Redfern mail centre here in Sydney has a particular, um, reputation which doesn't seem to have changed much in decades.)

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Old 08-13-2009   #29
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One thing worth trying is the get the receipient to physically go to their delivery post office and ask if there's a package waiting. Many, many times Australia Post forgets to leave the little card telling you it's there.

It's probably just sitting at the post office!
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Old 08-13-2009   #30
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I've bought a lot of stuff from the US via normal post and nothing has taken more than two weeks.

My 'slow' record was a camera from the Ukrain that took three months ... then it turned out to be defective so I had to send it back!

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Old 08-13-2009   #31
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No problems here so far with parcels from the US. I received a lens yesterday (12 Sept) that was sent on the 3rd, so that's nine days with USPS Express EMI and Australia Post for the final 300km. Mind you, I was charged US$50 for that service, so it had better be good!

KEH have been good enough to find a service that minimises the cost, by using FEDEX combined with Australia Post. It's slow - three to four weeks - but at about $15 for the typical camera or lens parcel it's much more affordable.
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Old 08-13-2009   #32
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I have sent Items all over the world. I use USPS all the time my Items I sent ware under $1000.00. For Customs Declaration I put camera/parts or camera for repairs. Incase some body wants to get lucky with my package. They think I do not want a broken camera. I have never had any problems I use UPS one time because it was over 80 pounds knock on wood I keep having good luck on the delivering my packages to my customers. I have one Nikon 250 film back going to Netherlands right now I hope it will be deliver on time
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Old 08-13-2009   #33
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i'm in adelaide and i've had 2 items go missing in the mail, one from canada and the other from germany. to be fair, that's only 2 out of the 80+ i've received over the past 4 years, so i'll say auspost is pretty efficient, especially when it comes to trackable parcels.

your parcel is probably held up at the customs, they sometimes open them to check for items that need to be quarrantined. i've had that happen to me a couple of times.
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Old 08-13-2009   #34
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.......your parcel is probably held up at the customs, they sometimes open them to check for items that need to be quarrantined. i've had that happen to me a couple of times.
I had to wait for a lens from the USA that had been thoughtfully packed in a padded lens bag. When it eventually arrived with a notice from customs that it had been opened I noticed that it had a very distinct odour of a "special" sort of cigarette that the vendor presumably was in the habit of smoking.
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Old 08-13-2009   #35
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it had a very distinct odour of a "special" sort of cigarette that the vendor presumably was in the habit of smoking.
Cloves, right? That drives the dogs wild.

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