Alex Hill, G7KSE, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Cumbria, UK. Contact him at [email protected].
I’ve order the Argent Data Arduino Shield Kit for a little project and been well and truly had by the post Office. £3 worth of customs duty on an £18 item and £8 for the privilege of them paying the bill. Best not choose that option again
Think what we’re having to deal with in the states. The small family businesses would always have to use the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) for DX orders. We don’t have the volume that a Universal Radio or AES has, so we don’t qualify for “quantity discounts” from UPS or FedEx.
This past January, many of our DX rates went up 100% OR MORE to many countries! The media always reports the price of a stamp going up, but they NEVER mention parcel prices….which the USPS can increase the rates upon at ANY time for ANY reason.
We’ve had to go to a whole new system, just for DX orders. I’ve got to use PayPal invoicing, which figures the new postal rates to a particular DX country. Then the customer has the option of paying the price or just not going through with the order.
It is sad to see that in some cases, such as with our lowest priced products like the TinyTenna or or a single reel Yo-Yo-Tenna, the price of shipping outweighs the price of the product!
It depends if you are lucky and the parcel slips through. We can order amateur radio gear up to £18 INCLUDING postage before VAT is due. No customs duty on amateur radio eqpt, just VAT at 20%. The one off £8 fee by the Royal Mail is cheaper than some other carriers.
I guess I should have clarified in my first post that I am a small ham radio business owner….and not complaining from a customer’s standpoint.
When the dollar is up and gasoline is down, I always have ample domestic orders. If the dollar is down and gasoline is up, my DX orders increased.
Not so this year. The USPS has pretty much killed off my DX business. Seriously considering closing up shop this January 6th, 2014. It will be my 25th year and after seeing what is coming around the corner for new health care taxes, I think it is best to just shut down and go work at McDonald’s and flip burgers for a while. 😉
Bill, doesn’t the USPS have the international flat rate box? I guess that’s a bit expensive but at least it’s a bit more predictable.
A DVD size box runs $24 Priority Int’l. Can’t stuff much antenna into that.
A medium Priority Mail Int’l flat rate box; $60. A large; $78.
The DX First Class rates do not differ that much from the DX Priority. In fact, the USPS has set the system up similar to domestic Priority versus Parcel Post; only about a few cents difference; not worth fooling with.
We get used to it being prepaid that sometimes you forget all about it. I’ve prepaid before in the past and had to pay forwarders as well, it was the cheek of the post office for paying for something they didn’t have to and then charging me for the privilege. Our rules are very clear. If its under £9 the fee is waived.