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Shipping of Goods from and to the US and Canada


Bud
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I've been struggling with this topic for several weeks now. Couldn't decide if I was just being a curmudgeon or if this really is an issue. The subject is the cost of shipping goods to and from the US and Canada. I am not talking about household goods that would go in a container, for instance, but rather when (for example) some complicated special purpose electronic component needs to be repaired at a US or Canadian facility because the resources do not exist in Panama.

This topic is NOT about which mail service to use, such as comparing MBE Boquete versus eShop and the other service providers. This is about the costs charged by the couriers.

This happened again to me recently. I ended up shipping some expensive electronics to a company in Canada for service reasons. We use MBE Boquete as our incoming mail and outgoing package service. And I do want to be clear that I am NOT speaking ill of Velkys or Arturo or MBE in general. Arturo packaged up the electronic component and it made its journey to Canada without incident. Fantastic work on the packaging and documentation, etc. But it cost about $350.00 to ship the box via DHL. The surprising thing to me is that the company has completed the repairs, and shipped back the unit. The shipping cost from Canada back to Miami (for forwarding to us here in Boquete) is only $42.00 exactly. I am hanging on by both hands waiting to see how much it will cost to get that shipment back to Boquete from Miami..

My gripe is about the extremely high cost of getting items shipped to and from Panama to other parts of the world. My feeling is that we are getting taken to the cleaners on courier shipments into and out of Panama.

Should I just let this go? Am I being unreasonable? Again, this is NOT about MBE Boquete, but rather the costs charged by the carriers themselves.

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It certainly seems as though there is a "Panama surcharge".  I have always known DHL is expensive - both for getting documents into the Country and out.  I know an importer in Panama City, I'll talk to him and see if he has any ideas.  

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You are NOT being unreasonable.  One difficult thing about living here is being unable to return things because of defects or to be repaired.  If you want to buy something expensive, you might get the one in 200 that is defective, then you can't send it back.  It puts a damper on ordering anything expensive, because you will get stuck with it with no recourse if something goes wrong. 

I don't know if the incoming mail rates are excessive or not.  It's worth it to me to have some assurance that I will receive what I ordered and to have them deal with customs.  I have been told by people who do it that mailing by registered mail from the Boquete p.o. is safe and reliable.  Unfortunately they have a very low weight limit for outgoing packages  (4 lb., I think), so this eliminates a lot of mailing from there.

It's worth asking MBE, eShop, etc. why outgoing rates can't be the same as incoming rates.  They get the packages here.  Can't they send them out the same way without using DHL and those high rates?  Yes, the sending and receiving of packages is frustrating and expensive.

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My P.C. Guy has the same problems, he tells me it is a one way street, in and done.  He says to biggest problem is the required paperwork and customs stuff.  I wouldn't have thought that would be much of a problem returning stuff with a return authorization but apparently it is.

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14 hours ago, JohnF13 said:

My P.C. Guy has the same problems, he tells me it is a one way street, in and done.  He says to biggest problem is the required paperwork and customs stuff.  I wouldn't have thought that would be much of a problem returning stuff with a return authorization but apparently it is.

That still doesn't explain why it costs so much more to send things out than bring them in.  Customs gets involved on the incoming too.  Wouldn't the outgoing paperwork be similar?  Then again, Panama has simply figured out how to get their piece, like they do when you take your own dog out of the country and have to pay for an export permit.  Ridiculous, like it's an endangered species.

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Seems to me this is a business opportunity for someone.  I dont understand how EShop, MBE etc can get stuff here at a "reasonable" price but cant get items back out again.  Those companies are the experts, they should be able to figure something out - unless they have a no-compete clause with DHL.  Maybe the demand isn't there, but there has got to be a way.

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4 hours ago, Bonnie said:

Personally, I don't find the receiving costs all that reasonable. I have actually had the shipping cost more than the item ordered.

If you order something light weight, like a foam cushion, that weighs almost nothing but takes up all the room in a big box, you will be charged for volume instead of weight.  An item that should cost less than $8 by weight, will cost $45 by volume.

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I'm aware of the weight-or-volume issue. Unfortunately, however, I have no say in how things are packaged for mailing. Amazon is a major offender. They use huge boxes and lots of bubble wrap for most things whether it's needed or not.

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11 hours ago, Bonnie said:

I'm aware of the weight-or-volume issue. Unfortunately, however, I have no say in how things are packaged for mailing. Amazon is a major offender. They use huge boxes and lots of bubble wrap for most things whether it's needed or not.

Bonnie you do have a say.  Every time I order something, I write to the seller and tell them to put it in as compact a package as possible.  I tell them about the mail forwarder charging for volume.  They always comply.  Amazon for the past year or so has been very conscientious about using appropriate size packaging.  The one time I got charged for volume, I complained to them, and they refunded the entire shipping cost.  And that was even the right size box for the item.  It's just that it had no weight, so volume was charged. 

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9 hours ago, JudyS said:

Bonnie you do have a say.  Every time I order something, I write to the seller and tell them to put it in as compact a package as possible.  I tell them about the mail forwarder charging for volume.  They always comply.  Amazon for the past year or so has been very conscientious about using appropriate size packaging.  The one time I got charged for volume, I complained to them, and they refunded the entire shipping cost.  And that was even the right size box for the item.  It's just that it had no weight, so volume was charged. 

Early in the game down here I ordered two boogie boards.  They were shipped in individual very large boxes.  I paid an arm and five legs for them through MialBoxes Etc.  ( I'm embarassed to even say how much it cost me) One week later Boogie boards were on sale in PriceSmart.  Me?....not- so -Smart especially in that Barquetta is not exactly a user friendly boogie board spot.  I spent more time with my face and a** in the churning sand than riding my pricey board.

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