Author Topic: cheapest shipping from US to UK?  (Read 63401 times)

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Offline mommy_grrl

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cheapest shipping from US to UK?
« on: August 27, 2009, 09:53:23 AM »
We have been here a mere three weeks now, and already my mother is beginning to fuss/fret over shipping rates and what she'll do about Christmas gifts!!!!!

 [smiley=dizzy2.gif] [smiley=dizzy2.gif] [smiley=dizzy2.gif]

Tell me, please, what is the absolute cheapest way to ship from the US to UK, be it air freight, sea freight, or courier. Its certainly not the USPS (unless you are sending an M bag).


Offline ChillyWilly

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Re: cheapest shipping from US to UK?
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2009, 01:03:18 PM »
mommy_grrl!
So glad you posted this!  I ship USPS and it cost me over $30 for less then 2 pounds in there box.  The last thing I shipped was August 5th from Austin - it sat in New Jersey till August 12th and didn't arrive at the BF house till August 18th  - seriously I think I donkey swan to get it there and it cost over $30!

Now the BF mailed me my birthday present registered mail and it was 10.50 pounds so like under $15 US dollars and I got it in 5 days!

I have been wondering what better way to ship

I wonder if DHL, FEDEX or one of those company's are less expensive and FASTER but I have not had time to research.

I can't wait to hear what other have experienced ;-)

Offline Lady RebeccaJaneStClair

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Re: cheapest shipping from US to UK?
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2009, 02:07:09 PM »
We have been here a mere three weeks now, and already my mother is beginning to fuss/fret over shipping rates and what she'll do about Christmas gifts!!!!!



I'm not even there yet, and my mom and aunt are freaking out about this, because when I was there last christmas, it cost $40 to send a package to me.  I've politely pointed them to websites like Amazon.co.uk where you can pay with a US credit card and send things t a UK shipping address. I know it's not the same as going out and picking out the gifts personally, but she could go to a store to look at things, then go online to find them at websites that ship to the UK. 

The $40 package was sent via global priority and when she asked at UPS, they told her it would have been over $100.

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Offline mirrajay

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Re: cheapest shipping from US to UK?
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2009, 07:58:00 PM »
Sadly, my experience has been that for small shipments (ie gifts and such) the USPS is indeed the cheapest way since they have introduced the flat rate boxes.  It still isnt cheap by any means, but its the best I have found.  If you use priority mail, you should still expect 7-10 days. You will pay MUCH more for anything faster than that.
DHL and FexEd are definetely not cheaper.

Offline karin

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Re: cheapest shipping from US to UK?
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2009, 08:36:03 PM »
When I was in the US in June, I was informed that there is no longer the "Slow Boat" or sea-freight shipping method for international parcels.  They got rid of it earlier this year.

So the cheapest way to send things is via normal Priority mail.  The flat rate boxes works out well if you are mailing heavier things, but if you are mailing cotton-balls, not so economical.  Does that make sense?

I agree with amazon.co.uk.  That is pretty much my family's standard practice these days.  With the exchange rate being more in their favor than a year ago, it's not that painful paying UK prices, if you factor in savings on shipping.

I would tell her to go talk to the post office.  They will have tips for how to ship things as cheaply as possible.  i.e., the thresholds for when the packages jump up in price.  I think My mom was once told that is you keep it under 2 lbs, it's not too bad.  But best to go in and ask a professional :)

Offline Lady RebeccaJaneStClair

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Re: cheapest shipping from US to UK?
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2009, 01:46:46 PM »
Sadly, my experience has been that for small shipments (ie gifts and such) the USPS is indeed the cheapest way since they have introduced the flat rate boxes.  It still isnt cheap by any means, but its the best I have found.  If you use priority mail, you should still expect 7-10 days. You will pay MUCH more for anything faster than that.
DHL and FexEd are definetely not cheaper.

When I was in the US in June, I was informed that there is no longer the "Slow Boat" or sea-freight shipping method for international parcels.  They got rid of it earlier this year.

So the cheapest way to send things is via normal Priority mail.  The flat rate boxes works out well if you are mailing heavier things, but if you are mailing cotton-balls, not so economical.  Does that make sense?


Interestingly enough, the $40 package from my mom showed up in a flat rate box, and her PO charged $40 for it, which seemed a little on the high side to me.
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Offline 0phinky

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Re: cheapest shipping from US to UK?
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2009, 03:02:47 PM »
Interestingly enough, the $40 package from my mom showed up in a flat rate box, and her PO charged $40 for it, which seemed a little on the high side to me.

I needed to mail some pill pockets (to bribe my cat to take his pills) to myself when I was home last.  They're really light.  I had a flat rate box and packed everything up and brought it to the post office and the woman at the counter nicely stopped me, saying if it's in a flat rate box, they'll charge the flat rate.  Period.  So she gave me a plain box, I re-loaded and paid $15 to ship the stuff.  She saved me $25!

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Offline AngelaK.

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Re: cheapest shipping from US to UK?
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2009, 08:29:09 PM »
Re: shipping directly from places... Just remember that you'll likely have to pay VAT on incoming things. Let me tell you the short story of the $100 umbrella!

Last year my bro and SIL were late with my birthday gift so they found me this gorgeous umbrella from the NYC MOMA and had it shipped to me directly from there via UPS Expedited (or something like that). I had the courier show up at the door and demand cash from me so that I could get my birthday gift.  :o  It turns out I had to pay 17.5% VAT on my $49.99 umbrella PLUS VAT on the shipping charges (which were expedited). Add to that the £11.00 convenience charge from UPS for graciously paying the VAT when it came through customs... factor in the exchange rate and VOILA! My birthday umbrella would up costing about $100.  LOL  I immediately sent a mail to my whole family explaining that I'd much rather receive a gift late than have to go through that again. (My brother was sweet and paid all the extra costs, but still...)

Offline Lady RebeccaJaneStClair

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Re: cheapest shipping from US to UK?
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2009, 09:48:20 PM »
As long as people order from UK companies, you should be able to avoid that issue, I would think.
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Offline BoozeBaron

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Re: cheapest shipping from US to UK? (Bump - 6 years later)
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2015, 07:21:45 AM »
Hello All -

Just did a quick Google search about UK shipping, and this thread popped up towards the top - but is from 2009 - so 6 years has now passed, and ALLOT has changed in the world - and with shipping / freight - so thought I'd ask for an updated assessment of the shipping situation from the USA to UK??

Like one poster above mentioned, I totally got hosed this past xmas when I sent my Fiancee a VERY nice handbag that is only available in the USA - I used USPS Priority Post (or whatever it's called that gives 2-5 days service to London from Colorado) ... and indeed it left here like on the 12th and was there (received) in London (Customs) within 48 hours.... brilliant I thought! - I've got 12 days till xmas and should be easy... NOT...  :\\\'(

UK Customs/Royal Post (who I guess now pawns this 'service' off to Parcel Express or something similar now) SAT ON THAT PACKAGE FOR 2 1/2 weeks!!! Did not even 'process' it till 5-JAN!!! ... and even though I'd written and called them asking WTF - they'd not give me any answers (let alone apologise) - and instead mailed my fiancee a tax (duty) bill for ₤42 and once she paid that - then they 'arranged for delivery' for which she had to take off time from work to be there to sign for it (shared flat setup) -

All the while, this was supposed to be a 'surprise' as we'd agreed to just exchange cards this past year - and instead, not only was the surprise ruined, she gets hit with a duty invoice (that I told Parcel Express or whatever the %^&* they're called now) that *I* wanted to pay for that bit - and to deliver before xmas... Bzzzzz wrong.... I paid $82USD for "Priority Service" to the UK - and and in fairness to US Post - they did deliver to the UK as promised, as it did arrive to London within 48 hours... Just so annoying that after it's 'passed off' to the UK system - they did nothing with it for 2 1/2 weeks, and we all know that 'customer service' in GB is a total joke - but really? I'd think if we (USA-side) pay for 72 hour service - we should get at least some sort of 'effort' from the UK parcel partners to honour that agreement of service, no?

Anyway - I've lived in the UK for 2 years - I know their system is 'different' than the US Post (or EU for that matter) and I'm very familiar with VAT and Tariffs and duties - but this wasn't a cheap box of chocolates I was sending.... It was a pricey gift, and whilst I did not want to 'lie' about it's value in case it was lost or stolen, I did want to put a respectable value on it, just in case it did get lost, so that I'd at least get some of my funds back via US postal insurance...

So, fast forward to 2015 ... I just picked up a new Apple Watch for her B-Day... I bought it stateside simply b/c it's $189 USD CHEAPER to do so - and now have 1 month to send it, along with a card to London again... Not as 'big' as a large heavy purse, so should be a bit less for shipping - and the value is roughly 1/4 that of the previous handbag sent ... so that too I can kinda flex on (so she won't get tagged too hard with another tariff bill) if at all -

So my question is - What would you lot do in this case?? How best to send this watch, so that it arrives within a month - and clears customs without getting dinged for VAT or duties again?? - Also, it's not exactly 'cheap' as we all know - But she always insists and telling me to just write it down as a "$20 item".... Well - since the entire world knows the true cost of these things now as they're brand new to the market - I am concerned that I'll get called out on it if I mark its value only at $20 USD... Additionally, once a (UK) officer/clerk 'sees' what it truly is whilst clearing customs - and if I've only marked it for $20 bucks - I have a strange feeling it may magically 'disappear' and I'll be out 4 bills - less the $20 they'll give me for insurance....

Anyway - this too, is meant to be a 'surprise' - but I'm really stuck as how to best send this with the least amount of aggro and cost?? - I don't mind paying for high shipping on the USA side, *if* the UK (Royal Post) would pull their thumb out and execute the services I'm paying for - I've had 2 UK postal addresses (work and home in GB) and know junk gets dropped through the front slot that half the time isn't even mine - or will wait for like a month for a SIM card from EE that never arrives... So after 4 attempts of requesting one via post, I finally gave up and just went to the local shop ... So I know it's not a perfect system - and 'tracking' is useless, b/c the USA tracking only takes you to UK customs doorstep, after that, you're at their mercy....

I've not used FedEx or DHL to the UK (I have for other EU countries) and seems they're more efficient as they bypass (for a lack of a better term) the UK customs process? Maybe? I'm not really sure - I know in NZ they did do... But my god - the costs to ship with DHL and FedEx to London cost almost as much as the watch lol ....

Anyway - Apologies for the long rambling missive... It's just that I was so excited to get her gift today - but am now recalling the nightmare mess I had this past xmas - I'm just kinda clueless as which way to go with this one...

Anyone learn anything 'new' or 'better' in the past 6 years that may make this shipping transaction a bit smoother for me this time around? Am defo open to all suggestions - I did also think about having one of her relatives buy one there and send it on - but the bloody VAT and for whatever reason, Apple is charging loads more for the same watch in the UK... So I dunno  

TIA for any positive ideas -

Cheers,

BB
« Last Edit: April 25, 2015, 07:36:23 AM by BoozeBaron »
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Offline BostonDiner

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Re: cheapest shipping from US to UK?
« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2015, 07:50:21 AM »
Maybe part of the problem was putting a high valuation on the customs form?  My mother used to do that, thinking it was like for insurance.  (Not saying you should lie about the value but don't pad it up either  ;) )
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Offline eatoomey

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Re: cheapest shipping from US to UK?
« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2015, 08:29:13 AM »
fwiw, I don't think customer service in the uk is bad. In fact, I quite enjoy that people in the uk are, as a whole, far better educated, so whilst the people you deal with behind the counter may be a bit more surly, they're not as bloody thick as your average American behind a cash register. And I don't care how 'nice' an American customer service person is, if they go go off shift to a car covered in 'abortion is sin' and 'marriage=one man + one woman' bumper stickers, I don't want their plastic niceties anyways.
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Offline BoozeBaron

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Re: cheapest shipping from US to UK?
« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2015, 09:32:34 AM »
Maybe part of the problem was putting a high valuation on the customs form?  My mother used to do that, thinking it was like for insurance.  (Not saying you should lie about the value but don't pad it up either  ;) )

This is spot on - and the dilemma I find myself in ... Seems nothing has changed in 6 years, nor in 6 months, since I last tried and failed over Xmas ...

The 'value' (from the US side) is indeed placed on there for insurance reasons ($100 is default - depending on which carrier and level of service you use) - but the 'other' reason is so they can charge the recipient with the appropriate tariffs and/or duties...

I'm simply wanting to get a watch sent to her within the next 25 days - preferably without her having to pay (and wait again) any additional unfair fees - and like you said, I also do not wish to misrepresent its value either ... I've shipped computers and jewelery to the Czech Rep, Ukraine, and even Russia for gosh sakes - and all made it no problem even with a hefty value placed on it for 'insurance reasons' ...

One would think if you could send a necklace to Prague, and have it skittle on through their system with a reasonable value placed on it, the UK could do just as well...  Of course this was right in the middle of the Royal Mail sell-off scam too... Who knows...

Either way - Am still looking for suggestions...

Ta,

BB
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Offline BoozeBaron

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Re: cheapest shipping from US to UK? (Bump - 6 years later)
« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2015, 10:19:34 AM »
fwiw, I don't think customer service in the uk is bad. In fact, I quite enjoy that people in the uk are, as a whole, far better educated, so whilst the people you deal with behind the counter may be a bit more surly, they're not as bloody thick as your average American behind a cash register. And I don't care how 'nice' an American customer service person is, if they go go off shift to a car covered in 'abortion is sin' and 'marriage=one man + one woman' bumper stickers, I don't want their plastic niceties anyways.


Would you like some dip to go with that chip on your shoulder?

This 'answer' does little to address the core question, about the most effective way to ship from the US to the UK, as the OP and I asked about...

But since you felt compelled to offer some commentary - I've learnt over the years, that (in GB) it's just not worth the aggro - nor my time trying to fight a system that is nothing like the US-style customer service that Americans are spoiled by... I've also learnt that Brits 'don't understand' why we are accustomed to polite customer service, that solves our problems, that company XYZ created in the first place....

It's like tasting chocolate, if you've never had it - you simply do not know what you're missing - That said though, any yank coming to a new country, Lesson No. 1 is to adapt to the culture and place you are living in - and check your ego, expectations, and arrogance at the door, and adapt to the culture you are now living in ... As the saying goes, "When in Rome.... you best become a Roman"...

The 'issue' here though, is that 50% of this problem 'starts' with the US Postal Service - who when called on a FREE 800 toll-free number, called and emailed me *daily* with updates and they bent over backwards working for me, and with me, trying to get my package through, so that her Christmas surprise would not be ruined ... You see, our 50% did their job... Parcel Express, your lot, dropped the ball - and didn't give a damn - Bumper stickers aside, just out of human decency, you'd THINK that someone being paid to do a job, would simply do it - and if you have/had ANY pride in your position, company, employer and realise that 'what you do' reflects not only on you, but the company that pays your wages and provides a public service - IF that mattered to you (Ms./Mr. Employee) you may want to reconsider why 'customer service' does matter... It's what builds brand loyalty - and keeps happy customers coming back for more - which drives up revenues and stock prices... not to mention morale, and maybe, just maybe, a little something extra in your paycheck as a Xmas bonus? Hmmmm - Imagine that...

But in the land of flat/fixed wages, with no incentive to 'TIP' (waiters, cabbies, porters, etc.) there's no financial incentive to go 'above and beyond'... for you get paid the exact same wage regardless if your customer is 'happy' or 'not'.... Basically, you do not care... and it shows (to outsiders)... as does your massive chip towards yanks and our plastic fake smiles...

But given the choice of me being charged to ring EE, Vodafone, Lufthansa, Virgin, British Gas, to sort a 'problem' that THEY created by either not shipping a SIM or by not adding my credit card to my account, or by missing an installation time/date - I have to fork out .10p - .25p a minute, and be placed on hold for 10-40 mins 'waiting' for them to sort a problem, that they created in the first place!? - I am PAYING for the privileged of being abused by your stellar Brit customer service... Surely you can see the problem with that - no? Probably not... B/C just like chocolate, you've never tasted it - so you'd never know what it's like to be treated like a decent human being vs. tallying up a 10 pound phone bill trying to sort a problem that Vodafone created in the first place? The list is endless - but I suspect that no matter the number of valid examples I could provide, you'll stick to some redneck, plastic smiled, flag waving, bumper sticker yank that did you wrong down the line somewhere in life... and that's all you know - so I can't really fault you for feeling the way you do...

No place is 'perfect' - Not America - Not the United Kingdom... We're all imperfect ... and we all mess up and make mistakes... Does not mean I'm wrong, and you're right - nor you wrong and my way 'right'... It's just 2 different cultures - and you're more than welcome to stay right where you are and suffer (or tolerate all that you know) whereas I choose to live in different places and try to push not only myself to excel, grow, and be nicer to people I interact with daily (the golden rule, "Treat those, the way you wish to be treated") ... it's so very true... Or if you don't believe that one... then "you do catch more bees with honey, than flies to sh!te" ...

Either way - no amount of 'me' or my words are going to change your opinions of yanks ... But this was not about the person behind the counter anyway (American, or Brit, I've experienced my fair share at Boots and Tesco's that would give any 'fake plastic American' a good run for their money!!) (Innit?!:) ... Point is - I cannot paint everyone British with the same brush, and I will apologise NOW for every loud, boisterous, arrogant, needy, whingy, fake yank that have crossed your path... Gotta remember there's 9x times more of us than you lot - which means odds are, we're 9x times more chances to muck things up... But for every 'bad' UK customer service horror story I could share in the span of 2.5 years whilst in England, I can give you 5-10 stellar American customer services tales, where my business was valued - and I was treated with respect and dignity that I deserved, simply because I was a loyal customer, nice about the problem at hand, and a human being...

No matter which country we're from - I think given the state of the world today - we ALL could do allot more in treating each other with more respect, kindness, empathy, understanding, compassion, and if warranted, forgiveness... Has nothing to do with bumper stickers - Has everything to do with you as a person, and the heart you have inside...

Best -

BB

PS: I will totally agree with you that most Brits are better educated than your typical yank - and it shows... It's embarrassing how little most in America know about 'life outside their own back garden' - It's sad - Inexcusable - and I have no excuse or good reason 'why' that is? But I'd rather be street smart and know how to interact with people in a positive way, vs. book smart, and not even be able to carry on a civil conversation  .... Food for thought...

« Last Edit: April 25, 2015, 10:38:12 AM by BoozeBaron »
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Offline geeta

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Re: cheapest shipping from US to UK?
« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2015, 11:55:15 AM »
fwiw, I don't think customer service in the uk is bad. In fact, I quite enjoy that people in the uk are, as a whole, far better educated, so whilst the people you deal with behind the counter may be a bit more surly, they're not as bloody thick as your average American behind a cash register. And I don't care how 'nice' an American customer service person is, if they go go off shift to a car covered in 'abortion is sin' and 'marriage=one man + one woman' bumper stickers, I don't want their plastic niceties anyways.


Yikes! So just because a cashier doesn't agree with your views, you wouldn't want to be served by them? That's pretty intolerant. Who cares what their personal views are on marriage and abortion if they do their job well?