I don't understand all this stuff about USPS being cheapest to Canada...

Discussion in 'Packing & Shipping' started by zunde, Feb 4, 2018.

  1. zunde

    zunde Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    705
    First off, USPS has limits on the size/ weight it will ship. I recently sold an M&K sub on US AudioMart, and the buyer lives in British Columbia. He had already researched the UPS rate for me to ship this 80 lb sub there in a 24" cubed box and it came out to $277. He did not want to pay that much and requested I send USPS International Economy which does not exist. When I researched USPS prices, every time I put in 80 lbs or the size of the box, USPS said it was too large. I finally figured out that the only way I could get USPS to accept my package was if I fudged the numbers to where the package was 70 lbs and 108" length + girth. Then it ONLY offered me Global Express, at a rate of over $300. The only way I could get a cheaper rate was by fudging the numbers even more--so I did, putting in 66 lbs and 108" L + G offered me International Priority option, but again, that was well over $200.
    Then I went to FedEx's website and got a quote of $190 with the original (correct) numbers. I copied a screen shot of the rate quote, and emailed the buyer back with it and we agreed to those terms. Now, I understand right off the bat that quote is highly questionable (another reason I printed a screen shot) and I might end up losing more cash-- but the point is, how can everyone say USPS is always the cheapest International shipping option when a) they won't even take items over a certain size/ weight, and b) even when I falsified the numbers to force USPS to accept the package, the minimum cost was still about $40 more than the FedEx quote I got?

    Oh BTW, to the other poster in the other thread that mentioned about using PayPal shipnow, I tried entering the info into the UPS option on that, to see what kind of a discount it offered, and when I checked the box to agree by PayPal and UPS's policies blah blah blah, it just kept saying "we're unable to process your request. Please try again later." Nope sorry.
     

     

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  2. osageaudio

    osageaudio Active Member

    Messages:
    244
    Hi Zunde,

    I've been shipping boxes of all shapes and sizes through the post office since the early 1980s. Based on your description, what you have there can be shipped through the post office. However, I don't know what the cost would be and I don't know that you can accurately compute the cost using the USPS website. Your package would fall into their Special Handling classification because it is oversized.

    I've also found when I've checked pricing using the USPS website for other things that the price I get there typically does not match the price I'm given at the Post Office. So just like it's always been, it's best to talk to someone at the post office face-to-face, tell them exactly what you have, and ask for them to give you a price and tell you how it has to be shipped. It's easier to get a correct answer that way rather than poking around a website.

    Happy listening.
     
  3. zunde

    zunde Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    705
    OK Osage will do, thanks. I'll stop by the local post office tomorrow, along with a couple other shipping companies and see what I can come up with.
     
  4. osageaudio

    osageaudio Active Member

    Messages:
    244
    Hi Zunde,

    I know that can handle quite a bit of weight and package size under the Special Handling Class. The JM Reynaud Orfeo speakers that I sell are shipped to me one per box that is about 60 inches long by 24 inches wide by 30 inches deep and weighs about 90 pounds. So I'm sure that your subwoofer will fit in that category.

    What you need to watch with any of the carriers when shipping as much dead weight that is made of wood like a subwoofer is to have it packed to where you can throw it from head high onto the floor without any damage to the contents. Otherwise the packaging likely would not conform to DOT standards and you would have a hassle if you had any shipping damage. Many hi-fi components, especially those manufactured overseas, do not have factory packaging that meets DOT standards. It's better to be safe that sorry, which I'm mindful of since we ship 300 to 350 packages every week.

    Happy listening.
     
  5. jdurbin1

    jdurbin1 Tandberg enthusiast Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,766
    Location:
    San Diego
    Osage, you must frequent a different post office than me... the odds of the folks working at my local PO ever being considered experts at shipping large heavy audio gear anywhere much less outside the country are longer than mine for winning the lottery.

    John
     
  6. osageaudio

    osageaudio Active Member

    Messages:
    244
    Hi Jdurbin1,

    I didn't write that they were experts at shipping large heavy audio gear. What I wrote is that if you have your dimensions and weight and what the item is, you can go to the post office and they can give you prices and options for shipping the item. I've used post offices in a dozen or so towns for this purpose over the years and have never been given bad information.

    Shipping the U.S. is a government regulated industry. They make the rules. How to package and ship delicate items is covered in the U.S. DOT manual, just as it has been for many decades. One of the first things I had to do when I became involved in shipping at a job I took in 1984 was to study and take a test on that manual. I have a current copy in my bookcase now.

    Tell me, Jdurbin1, why is it that anyone in business who may know something about a subject who posts any information whatsoever on an internet forum has to be automatically challenged? Hopefully you didn't bust a gut getting to the front of the line.

    Happy listening.
     

     

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  7. zunde

    zunde Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    705
    Getting ready to go to the post office now and check-
    I half agree with jdurbin, the post office folks in my area seem like the type who would just look up the same info I did on the computer and then tell me "sorry won't fit." I'll ask about special handling classification, but then we're back to the point of my original post- if I had to fudge the weight and dimension numbers LOWER than what they actually are just to get the USPS website to take it, and then the cost with those numbers actually came out HIGHER than the FedEx rate quote I got, what reason is there to believe that the actual correct numbers on this package and having to ship through special handling class would be cheaper?? The point is, USPS does not appear to be cheaper at ALL for bulkier/ heavier items even though everyone and their brother says they are. But I'll double check anyway.
     
  8. sKiZo

    sKiZo Hates received: 8641 Subscriber

    Hey, if the buyer suggested a specific shipping method and picks up the tab, that's what you go with, right?

    Worth mentioning, Express Mail is the way to go on MOST any such transactions that fit the size and weight limitations. Express mail is inspected either side of the border when accepted over the counter, so it can bypass customs, avoiding any of the "gotcha" fees that entails. I've had a couple shipments go south for whatever reason and was covered with no mess, no fuss. Only thing to remember is it defaults to the seller to initiate any claims, so keep good records and pics prior to shipping can make a big difference. DO let the post office inspect the contents and then finish sealing it yourself - they should have packing tape and such, or bring your own.

    PS - I've had it go both ways. One item I sold was damaged in transit, and I took my receipt and pics sent me by the buyer to the local office and was reimbursed. Other originated in Canada, so I sent the buyer pics of the labels, packaging, and contents so he could make a claim, and got an immediate refund from the buyer on PP.
     
  9. zunde

    zunde Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    705
    Not that simple as I have been saying all through ths thread. He wanted me to ship USPS, just like everyone else he heard it was the cheapest rate. When I plug in the numbers on their website it WILL NOT MEET THEIR GUIDELINES. That is the whole problem. I haven't checked their Special Handling category yet, but I get the feeling it's a waste of time.

    There is NO WAY my local post office has the time, space or materials for me to do that. Line's usually out the door and 2 people working the counter.
     
  10. stan65cutlas

    stan65cutlas Active Member

    Messages:
    161
    Location:
    duncan B.C.
    i live in bc and have shipped car parts south, local post office was always the best price, and tracking as well
     
  11. stan65cutlas

    stan65cutlas Active Member

    Messages:
    161
    Location:
    duncan B.C.
    i live in bc and have shipped car parts south, local post office was always the best price, and tracking as well
     

     

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  12. luvvinvinyl

    luvvinvinyl Aggie! Staff Member Admin Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,402
    Location:
    Windsor, Ontario, Canada
    Your buyer knows that USPS to CanadaPost will result in a ~$7 fee for collecting the sales tax that he will have to pay, when your subwoofer crosses the border. UPS will charge him ~$30, and FedEx starts higher than that, and charges a percentage on "high-value" items. They don't specify what that is, until they see one. (!)

    Nearly always, the difference in shipping costs and in 'brokerage/COD fees' make USPS the cheapest way to go. As you have discovered, in this case, the postage costs can eat up all the savings on fees, and then some, for a very large, very heavy package. It all depends on the rates and declared value, for customs entry into Canada.

    So, in the general case, USPS to CanadaPost is the way to go. It sounds like your shipment is the exception that proves the rule.
     
  13. blhagstrom

    blhagstrom Mad Scientist, fixer. Subscriber

    Messages:
    12,665
    Location:
    Duvall, Washington
    80 pounds and 24” cube is the problem.

    Do a check on 10 pounds and say 12x12x6 and see how USPS, FedEx and UPS compare and you will see what real difference the talk is about.
     
  14. jdurbin1

    jdurbin1 Tandberg enthusiast Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,766
    Location:
    San Diego
    I've never had any problem getting accurate costs out of the various online shipping tools personally, including USPS.com, so standing in line to ask a clerk to do it just made no sense to me. It's really not that hard once you recognize that there are specific cutoffs for weight or dimensions, as well as declared (insurable) value, that dictate what class of postage will be required and then the cost for same, AND that all of those can and do vary by region or even specific country.

    For Canada: https://postcalc.usps.com/CountryPriceGroup

    I also get better rates using the shipping tools I'm signed up for than what USPS charges over the counter. If I have to ship something bigger than what I can do that way, I just go out to the Shipping dept. and ask the real experts - we ship pallets of stuff out of here by the truckload every day, some of it quite large and heavy, to destinations around the world so there is always a way to get something sent whether by freight company or one of the usual carriers. But, it's rare that I can't do it myself. I did

    YMMV.

    Re: the original poster, pls let us know what you find out from your local clerk about how to ship something that exceeds the weight limit of 70 lbs, to an international (though neighboring) destination.

    John
     

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