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The buyer from "Bahrain"


Lundberg

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I was recently contacted by someone from Bahrain about an eBay listing. He wanted shipping information and to know if I accept BidPay. Well, I set myself up to accept BidPay and I checked into the shipping. Everything there was OK by me, but I wrote him back and reminded him that I specifically stated in my description that any and all international money has to clear before I ship. The amount requested in my invoice will be the amount I expect, no less and no more, and I thanked him for his interest.

I'd be thrilled to sell to someone from so far away, but at the same time I feel leery of the potential transaction. I would really appreciate comments from anybody who has "been there and done that", so to speak.

The person has had only four prior ebay transactions, all for minor amounts of cash, but interesting: violin bridges, and also a woodwind instrument that is the size of a recorder but plays like a sax (I forget the name of the instrument)and all good feedback...?

If someone from a foreign country wins an item, are there any guidelines for making the transaction both safe and a good experience on both sides?

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I don't think the fact that the buyer has only four transactions should count against him/her. We all have to start from one.

I'm based in Australia and have bought two things from the States via eBay. I was also a bit leery about the transactions but, so far, have had very happy results. I purchased a third item last week and have received no communication from the seller, but as I'm not expecting it to arrive here for another week or so, I'm not panicking yet. Each time, I have used PayPal; I think that using a third party such as PayPal or BidPay makes both sides feel more secure about the transaction.

From a buyer's point of view, an email from the seller saying "hey, I see you've paid and I've shipped your stuff today" would be a good thing.

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The only problem I've had with selling overseas, and it's been 100% and consistent, is that it takes longer for the item to arrive than advertised by the carrier. For example, Global Express Mail advertises 5-7 days to the UK. But that's just onshore. It can take 20 days or more for the package to reach the buyer.

What happens is that the buyer gets very nervous and starts to ask you every 2nd day where the package is. Of course you don't know. This has happened to me 3 out of 3 times to the UK and to Hong Kong. One buyer even started to reclaim his Paypal funds. Happily the violin arrived safely the next day, so all was fine.

Just a warning to ask the buyer to be patient. International shipping, with customs and cultures, has not caught up to the pace of the internet. Cost and time to deliver are still what they have been in the recent past, and I'm not sure how that will change, if at all.

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I try to wait a few days before I ship on international payments. I had a Paypal payment from the far east reversed by Paypal 2 days after it was credited to my account. The buyer was using fraudulent money. Fortunately I had not shipped the item. This is the only bad experience in dozens of international transactions.

Jesse

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If you are a buyer, I would politely ask the seller to declare the goods as low, so you won't have to pay customs. And also spend the extra money on a shipping service with EMS tracking. Most items will arrive within a week and you can check on the web where exactly the item is.

EMS tracking is great, because as a seller you will know that the buyer has received the goods safely, and as a buyer you will know that the seller actually send the items.

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I tried to trace, or verify a package (U S Postal Service) that was sent to me, after it didn't arrive as expected. All they could tell me, by the number the seller furnished me, was that the seller did mail a package on the date indicated. There was no way to know what the package was, or even where it had been sent to. The package arrived about 3 weeks after it had been sent. Ron.

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Everyone-

Thanks for all of your thoughtful replies. I am glad to know I should be aware of the potential boomerang effect of duties. Also, the comment on tracking has me looking into other shipping options simply for the benefit of it. That would be a very good way to demonstrate honesty as well as command it. And I will definitely have the money in my hand if the fiddle is scheduled to go into limbo, so to speak.

You folks cannot imagine how important all of this is to me and how much more prepared I feel to handle the potential situation.

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There is a problem with a false customs declaration, in that it is a serious crime. That said, it is often done. I ship many items internationally and I will not make a false customs declaration. I have in the past, but I will not anymore. It is up to the buyer to be aware of his country's customs regulations. The risk to the shipper for making a false customs declaration is too great to justify the savings for the buyer.

Jesse

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I contacted FedEx, and they told me that a package w/ my dimensions and weight valued at 100.00 (which is my bottom estimate for the instument's value) will cost 229.54 to ship using their economy service, TAX and DUTIES EXCLUDED. This hardly seems worth it, since the violin may not even bring that much. I can't imagine anyone wanting to pay for that unless the fiddle was worth a lot more and the fellow was wealthy. Since he has not replied to any of my emails my guess is he chooses not to even bid on it. Still, I am continuing to speculate on this type of transaction for whatever value it may hold for anyone.

In addition to the prohibitive cost itself, there is the matter of the Bahrainian having to have a fedex registration or else the duties will revert to me, because I will have one. This is worth knowing for anyone who sells anything overseas. I may stand corrected in that it could be a simple registration number for the transaction and not an actual account with FedEx, but for all practical purposeds, that amounts to the same thing. Also, the recipient must have a valid ID and phone number in order to collect the package. There are other things that, apparently, Customs may or may not do with regard to the shipment but the woman I spoke to basicall said "whatever they think they need to do..." which I take to mean if they think they should open it they will, so anyone who devalues an item and then ships it with the ebay invoice in it is in deep with the Arabs and may forever be held as not only an quintessentiual example of an infidel, but perhaps be dealt with in a manner only jesse amy be able to expound upon....

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Thanks, Jesse and Royce.

I did not know one could get tracking with USPS, as when I have sent items to AU. Japan or UK, I have been told by my local post office that they don't offer it. Maybe because I have used airmail parcel post as opposed to Global Express mail. That is a heck of a deal for less than $50.00.

Royce, that solves my dilemma. This has been a really valuable thread for me.

Best wishes, everyone!

P.S. I have noticed that I have one less watcher on my violin. Hmmmm.......

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Quote:

I don't think the fact that the buyer has only four transactions should count against him/her. We all have to start from one.

I'm based in Australia and have bought two things from the States via eBay. I was also a bit leery about the transactions but, so far, have had very happy results. I purchased a third item last week and have received no communication from the seller, but as I'm not expecting it to arrive here for another week or so, I'm not panicking yet. Each time, I have used PayPal; I think that using a third party such as PayPal or BidPay makes both sides feel more secure about the transaction.

From a buyer's point of view, an email from the seller saying "hey, I see you've paid and I've shipped your stuff today" would be a good thing.


I got my item today, earlier than I expected and in excellent condition, and with a personal, handwritten note from the seller, which was a very nice touch. :-)

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Tariffs vary!

As a buyer, it really helps to tell the seller what import category the item should be listed as.

I bought some supplies from Italy, and UPS decided (for no reason we could figure out) to classify them as "drum parts", which has the highest tariff rate. Bow parts, on the other hand, should have NO tariff, according to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the US. But you have to inform the seller what category to put on the form.

This is not a matter of proper, not of fraudulent identification. It gives the shipping agency the information it needs to assess the appropriate amount.

If you are in the US, and buying, here is the URL that gives US tariff codes:

http://www.usitc.gov/tata/hts/bychapter/index.htm

Hope this helps.

--Claire

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Quote:

I don't think the fact that the buyer has only four transactions should count against him/her. We all have to start from one.


I take this back. Today, I had a run-in with a "non-selling seller", that is, one who didn't like my bid when the auction closed and told me I couldn't purchase the instrument unless I made a "much higher, fairer, offer." She also said that 20 people were watching the auction and, therefore, "might have been willing to offer more".

She was a first-time seller and obviously didn't read the bits about her obligations to honor her contract. I told her that if she wanted more money, she should have set a reserve; also that 1000 people could be watching an auction, but if they don't bid, they don't count.

Anyway, I've lodged an official complaint with eBay and will never bid on a listing by a first-time user again.

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Thanks for the link to that site. It will certainly come in handy. I am not familiar with foreign customs charges.

What I quoted above was the actual cost charged by the USPS to ship an item. I sell only violins, and I declare "used violin" on the customs form. The buyer is responsible for customs duty. If one is importing to the US, then it is important to inform the seller how to accurately describe the contents. However, I have never been charged duty on a violin I purchased from overseas, usually from the Far East.

Jesse

PS Is tariff a term relating to shipping fees or customs duty? I always thought tariff refered to the transportation and duty refers to the customs charge.

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