Over the past month I’ve had two Nord Lead 3 synthesizers shipped to my door in Nagano-city, JAPAN from the United States. I founded it interesting the differences between USPS and Ebay’s Global Shipping Program. To put it bluntly, the Global Shipping Program is an absolute bad deal for all parties involved and I highly do not recommend it for shipping large items overseas. Here are the facts in my two cases.
Important prelude here is that both Nord Lead 3 synthesizers were shipped from the West coast and were purchased for the exact same price.
My first Nord Lead 3 was shipped via USPS priority mail for $90. The Nord Lead 3 took exactly five days to reach my door in Japan from the US and duty was $35.00. I had full complete tracking on the item both in the United States and later in Japan where it was handed off. Tracking was implemented immediately with about a 6-12 hour delay on all notices. This I thought was absolutely fantastic service. USPS was amazing both with the cost of shipping and tracking. Duty was minimal. Plus there was minimal if any package transfers in the United States or Japan.
The second Nord Lead 3 was shipped via Ebay’s Global Shipping Program. In that case shipping was determined by Ebay which was $137 for the exact same Nord Lead 3. Duty was also paid before shipment which in total was $110.00. Compared to USPS that is $125 versus $247. I had to pay $122 extra for the Global Shipping Program which makes you wonder who pockets the money over there. That’s a pretty big difference.
In addition, it took two weeks with the Global Shipping Program to get the Nord Lead 3. It was transferred numerous times in the United States before it even left the country. That’s too many opportunities to damage a package. In addition, I found the tracking delays often took one day or more to update. Tracking was also often inaccurate because of the delays as well. When the Nord Lead 3 finally arrived I didn’t have to pay extra duty thank goodness because I’ve heard others had to even with the Global Shipping Program.
If you are an Ebay seller shipping overseas, I can’t imagine any reason to do so. It puts the package at risk with all the transfers and costs more for everyone. It puts a much larger price on the item which quite frankly you, the seller, could pocket yourself. I would rather have put the extra $122 I gave Ebay’s Global Shipping to the seller because they ended up taking a cut by accepting my best offer.
In the end, I found USPS to be much better in price, tracking, shipping time, and overall professionalism than Ebay’s Global Shipping System. Why sellers are using the Global shipping Program I don’t really know. Perhaps someone can comment and help me understand that. I sell overseas on Ebay and always opt out of the Global Shipping Program. I use a company called EMS that works with the Japan Postal System. Buyers always tell me it’s fast and very reliable. I feel USPS is very similar to EMS. I also have found through chatter on the web that more and more people are not even buying or bidding on items from buyers who use the Global Shipping Program. Sometimes I consider contacting sellers to ask about mailing direct, but I’m always afraid I’ll look like a shady buyer or something. Or perhaps the seller will get upset by me asking, not to mention I believe it is against Ebay policy. Not sure.
I should also mention another shipping solution, FedEx. I absolutely hate FedEx when shipping or receiving items to Japan. The FedEx company does not have routes in Japan obviously so they usually have no idea how to get around to the destinations. I once had a guy from FedEx spend the entire day driving around looking for my house. I finally spotted him on a street down from my house camped out studying a map. He was so relieved that I came out looking for him! So with FedEx, I usually have to look for the delivery guys themselves. Also, FedEx shipping costs are always higher and the duty is much more as well. I also find FedEx is not faster than USPS but rather the same. Tracking on FedEx is a bit more delayed as well.
USPS is the way to for International Ebay transactions at least to Japan. Is it this way in Europe or other areas, I’m not sure but I’d guess it’s similar. Ebay’s Global Shipping program is a mess and I try to avoid it at all costs. My Nord Lead 3 was an exception and dare I say that Ebay’s Global Shipping System will likely continue because buyers like myself make exceptions. I need to stop right now. It’s USPS all way from now on.
UPDATE: It has come to my attention that the Global Shipping Program can and does use USPS as one of it’s multiple carriers. I noticed on my second Nord Lead 3 it was diverted to USPS under the Global Shipping Program. However, it appears that the kind of USPS service allocated to Global Shipping is different than the more direct “USPS Priority Mail” used with the first Nord Lead 3. So while USPS is a good carrier they seem to be using a different service, route, or system for the Global Shipping Program than a customer shipping direct. I’ll have to look into that. In addition, on Ebay, the buyer is issued two tracking numbers. The first one is delayed and doesn’t give accurate info. You need to click the “Ask a question” button for the item, click the sub tab “shipping” and scroll down to the real USPS tracking number. Just FYI as I understand better the Global Shipping Program.