>We would like some feedback on these problems and based on
>your responses we will consider changing the shipping method.
I started a thread about International shipping and USPS in the Ask Cathe forum. I'd be glad to give you some feedback on your points here:
>#1 Import taxes and brokerage fees are supposed to be
>collected by your country's postal service just as UPS does.
>In reality this is quite often not done by most countries
>postal services for various reasons. It is really unfair to UPS and like carriers that this done, but nevertheless this is the case.
It is not THAT UPS charges brokerage and customs fees that I object to, it is the WAY they charge them that is the problem. I have lived abroad for the past 15 years in Japan and Sweden and am quite willing to pay customs duties and VAT (the law is the law and fair is fair), but whereas the post office doesn't charge brokerage fees (Japan) or charges minimal ones (i.e. $5 in Sweden) and only levies them on the value of the item in the package, UPS charges $20 to $25 to collect the fee, and then charges additional tax on the price we pay them for shipping (in the case of STS $29) and then on their own brokerage fee (that $25 I just mentioned) and then again on the tax they just collected (I know this sounds bizarre, but there it is). I once bought some DVDs and qualified for "free" UPS shipping from the US to Sweden. UPS were going to charge me $65 in customs and fees for something that only cost $49. Since duty is only 2% and VAT is 25% in Sweden, that would have cost roughly $13.25 plus $5 brokerage had my package been sent USPS. The UPS woman agreed to lower it slightly after I convinced her to open my package and see for herself that I had indeed been given "free" shipping, but through some glitch or other she charged my credit card twice and after the hassle I had to have one of the charges refunded I swore I'd never deal with UPS ever again!
>#2 The postal service will be much slower than UPS. This means
>you will be waiting for your order to arrive while everyone in
>the USA is using theirs. Instead of a few days it may take
>several weeks for your order to arrive. We know from past
>experience that International customers become very upset with
>these sometimes long delivery times. So the question is are
>you willing to wait?
To avoid UPS, *I* am certainly willing to wait. Their charges are exhorbitant, and their compentence questionable in my experience. The Japanese and Swedish post offices are very efficient. I have had one or two packages go missing over the years, but many, many, many arrive extremely quickly (1 to 2 weeks on average for parcel post, and oftentimes in as few as 3 or 4 days). The post office only charges a few dollars for insurance anyway. I don't know how many of your international customers have been complaining to you over problems, but you are not necessarily saving them any frustration by using UPS!! Why don't you give them the option of choosing USPS or UPS, whichever they prefer? It seems unfair that Canadian residents are given that option but residents of other countries aren't. (While I haven't had problems with Canada Post personally, most Canadians will tell you that it's reputation is not exactly stellar... On the other hand, we could all learn a thing or two from that model of efficiency which is the postal service in Japan
>#3 Postal service tracking is not on the same level as UPS.
>This means if there is a problem with the delivery of your
>order we will be limited in being able to help you quickly.
>This can be frustrating for both the customer and us.
I know there are some customers who literally check the tracking of their package every few hours and are really waiting with baited breath. For those customers, maybe UPS's superior tracking makes their high shipping charge, exhorbitant brokerage fee, and creative duty formulas all worthwhile. For me, if I'm willing to give SNM $200 months in advance for a product and I don't even know when it will be released, I'm not going to grumble over the extra week or two the post office will take for delivery. I'm not asking you to stop offering the UPS option, just to allow those who request it to have their packages shipped USPS.
It would also be a good idea to warn people about the considerable EXTRA charges they can expect if UPS rather than USPS is used to ship their package. It was a rude shock to me to learn that UPS wanted $65 (rather than the $20 I expected and the post office would have charged) before they would surrender my package.
I really hope you will provide us with a USPS shipping option.