Shipping options from the USA (which type of shipping)

I want to buy something from the US for $120.

My shipping options are as follows;

UPS Expedited
UPS Worldwide
USPS International Shipping.

Now, unfortunately, unlike our Chinese friends, these people won't mark the package as a $10 gift. So taxes become an issue.

Which is my best option? USPS is by far the cheapest, but I know for sure I'll be stung with VAT and the dreaded Royal Mail tax.

I've looked into UPS Expedited and Worldwide (which are near enough the same price) and there is a bit of confusing info that they take care of all the charges, and that is reflected in the price? Is that true? Anyone experience of either of these two services? And which one is best of those two?

Cheers.
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
You will get stung for the import tax whichever way you ship. UPS will calculate the tax, add their handling charge and send you an invoice, as will DHL or any of the other shippers.

If you want an express service, go with expedited, as that ensures it goes on the next flight out, while any other service will take longer and it may get bounced around a few countries before it gets to you. I once had a package from Germany shipped via Columbia!
 

Sloppy Bob

Distinguished Member
Also IIRC you are charged taxes on the shipping costs, so if you're not bothered about the timescale and there's a significant difference in the shipping costs, then do it as cheap as possible.

I'm sure someone can clear that up if I've got it wrong.
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
And it's normally cheaper to arrange the shipping from the sending country, as if you book a US shipper from the UK they usually also lob on an Out of Country charge. Try a booking a courier from China and see the cost difference compared to the rates the locals pay...
 

nheather

Distinguished Member
All you can do is cross your fingers that it won’t get stopped. You stand more chance of this if you use normal post services like USPS but even then it is still likely, just lower than using a courier which is definite.

Figure 20% of total price (product plus shipping) for VAT from HMRC
Then some surprise amount for admin charge from the courier - I usually reckon £15.

So before buying I always add 20% and £15 and then ask is it still a good deal. If it is I go for it and then if it doesn’t get caught that is an extra bonus.

So if you can put up with the longer shipping times and whatever insurance/tracking (or lack of) it has then go with USPS. You pay less in the first place and at least you get a dice roll to miss import taxes.

Cheers,

Nigel
 

psychopomp1

Member
OP, forget about asking the US shipper to ship directly to UK. Use a US freight forwarding company such as globalshopaholics.com or shipito.com (i've used both loads of times) and you will get a far greater - and cheaper - range of shipping options from US to UK. Aramex and DPD are usually the cheapest shipping options for globalshopaholics and shipito respectively but you will be given all courier options incl shipping times to UK based on your parcel weight & dimensions.

Once you open an account with the mentioned US freight forwarding companies, you are given a US tax free address in Oregon or Delaware. You ask your US merchant to ship to one of these addresses and you'll get an email notification from the freight forwarding co once your package arrives in their US warehouse. You then fill out the customs declaration form yourself (obviously be truthful ;)) online through your account and pay shipping costs by paypal/CC and the goods will be shipped the next day. Any taxes/import duties will be charged by the UK delivering courier.
 
Last edited:

nheather

Distinguished Member
OP, forget about asking the US shipper to ship directly to UK. Use a US freight forwarding company such as globalshopaholics.com or shipito.com (i've used both loads of times) and you will get a far greater - and cheaper - range of shipping options from US to UK. Aramex and DPD are usually the cheapest shipping options for globalshopaholics and shipito respectively but you will be given all courier options incl shipping times to UK based on your parcel weight & dimensions.

Once you open an account with the mentioned US freight forwarding companies, you are given a US tax free address in Oregon or Delaware. You ask your US merchant to ship to one of these addresses and you'll get an email notification from the freight forwarding co once your package arrives in their US warehouse. You then fill out the customs declaration form yourself (obviously be truthful ;)) online through your account and pay shipping costs by paypal/CC and the goods will be shipped the next day. Any taxes/import duties will be charged by the UK delivering courier.
Out of interest, what item value does this become cost effective at?

If I buy something for £20 with £5 shipping then I’d be looking at around £14 tax and admin.

With the forwarding company you have the shipping to them, their shipping to you and their fees for the service.

I can see when it gets to high value items it will become more and more viable but what is the break even value?

Cheers,

Nigel
 

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