Education and Beyond · Jewelry

Import Issues

Has anyone bought anything internationally? It was only last month that I made my first international purchase, and I probably picked the best time to do it – an unusually busy time of the year. I purchased some stones so I can increase the inventory for one of my bracelets, but the time and effort that went to receiving them is something that I didn’t expect.

Before going into my efforts, it didn’t occur to me that I had to pay for it to go through Customs. Now, if a friend were to tell me that this was their situation, I would suggest that same source to contact, but I couldn’t conceive it in my own situation. Anyway, when I finally found the page on internet purchases, the types of fees sprinkled in the help page include broker fees, storage fees, customs fees, and processing fees, all of which sound like they’re supposed to be there, because no one does anything for free and an operation like that takes a lot of people to do. I’m pretty sure there are other charges that weren’t mentioned. The fees may be greater than what I expected, so the total cost could be very expensive.

In the two weeks after the last day it is expected to arrive, I contacted the seller three times, of which the seller only responded to one, and the seller was unhelpful. If the seller were more responsive but may not have all the answers, I would be more forgiving. However, this seller chooses to ignore me when I am polite.

Now I’m recovering my order like a detective. First step: leave a voicemail for a designated person at the Port of Entry in my state and waiting for a response. I hope for good news in the near future.

If I have to pick it up and pay fees at the Port of Entry, I need to bring a receipt and everything relevant. (Side note: you don’t get notified when your order arrives at the port.) Like all things shipping, if it’s illegal to ship that item, it’s going to be held. If it’s heavy, it’s going to cost more. Things entering the Port of Entry are also subject to random inspection, so luckily I ordered stones instead of something embarrassing.

I am only at the beginning of my detective work, and so far, this experience gave me insight to go against shipping internationally. It’s too complicated, time consuming, and the variable costs of the transaction are not worth it. However, if there is someone who could teach me, I might be open to shipping internationally. Another thought for another day.

Buyer beware: be sure that what you’re ordering internationally is worth it.

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