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International shipping

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International shipping

Postby xadrian » Wed Feb 18, 2009 10:13 am

I hope this is right. I'm not a seller so I haven't done all the steps to post in the B/S/T forum, but this is just a general question.

I've not shipped anything to anyone before, but someone found me who wanted to trade a couple minifigs. I live in the US, they live in the UK. Does anyone have tips, suggestions, avoidable landmines when sending internationally? Do I have to declare anything, and what do I call it? What's the best packing method? Also, it's a trade and I don't want to spend $40 on shipping, so would the $7 "book rate" suffice?

Cheers.
-ben
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Re: International shipping

Postby Solo » Wed Feb 18, 2009 11:06 am

Sending toys by media mail is considered mail fraud, and it's a federal offense. I doubt if they caught you they'd prosecute you, but it's not worth the fine and the possibility of having it confiscated.

Now, a couple of minifigs should absolutely not cost $40 to send. You're doing something wrong here. ;)

Typicaly when mailing something small, a bubble mailer will suffice, and you need a customs form. It's a little green sticker that gets put on the package where you have to say whats in it and what the value is. See here - but don't try and print this and use it. They're free at the post office anyways. "LEGO Figures" is sufficient description, and $5 is reasonable to put even if they're worth more. If it's lost you wont be reimbursed so you don't need to worry about being exact, and the lower you put the lower customs fee they'll have to pay on their end. And I always mark mine as "gift" because that's the closest category offered.

Most important thing about sending it is to make sure you have the address written correctly. Print it and put tape over it so it can not smudge if you can. Then just make sure the envelope is fully closed and you should have no trouble.

Good luck!
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Re: International shipping

Postby bigospedros » Wed Feb 18, 2009 12:37 pm

Solo wrote:And I always mark mine as "gift" because that's the closest category offered.



oops ... if it's a commercial transaction that has caused you to send the item, then marking it as a gift is also technically fraud! ;)
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Re: International shipping

Postby xadrian » Wed Feb 18, 2009 2:21 pm

Solo wrote:Sending toys by media mail is considered mail fraud, and it's a federal offense. I doubt if they caught you they'd prosecute you, but it's not worth the fine and the possibility of having it confiscated.



Well, if I mark it as Lego Figures, how will they NOT know it's toys and think it fraud? And why is it fraud?
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Re: International shipping

Postby Solo » Fri Feb 27, 2009 2:05 am

Sorry I never got back to you on this, kind of got sidetracked by the rest of the forum. Media Mail is specifically for "books, manuscripts, sound recordings, recorded videotapes, and computer-readable media" - and it's subject to inspection at most stations because people abuse the lower rate. Even if you mark it clearly it's still limited to those things so they will probably just refuse to mail it if they're paying attention, but if they miss it at the counter it could be stopped at any point along the way. It's considered mail fraud because you're misusing the service and shorting them money.

And Pete, with the options given on the customs form gift is still the most accurate description for a trade like this. But, if in doubt, mark it "other" since it's not a document or commercial sample. When I sold and traded more often and used the same station to mail stuff all the time the counter workers would ask what it was I kept mailing all over the place, and I said it was "Star Wars toys mostly, usually LEGO" they never corrected my customs forms. So that's nothing to worry about.
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