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Sun Nov 7 2010 22:37:22

Shipping Insurance Needed for International Parcel

By: Ina Steiner

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To the Editor:
I am a small online bookstore. I have just sold a $500 book, going to Germany. However, I understand the USPS offers no insurance on overseas parcels. Any suggestions on how to safely protect this book going to Europe?
Thanks. 
James




Comments (21) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Shipping Insurance Needed for International Parcel   Shipping Insurance Needed for International Parcel

by: JanetLee

Sun Nov 7 23:33:35 2010

This is a tough one because you could easily get scammed. Express mail is the safest but most expensive way to ship. Priority mail is automatically insured for up to an amount I don't know offhand.  For sure mail at the post office so it is scanned upon receipt.  Communicate with the buyer before mailing, and perhaps google his info. Keep your fingers crossed.

Shipping Insurance Needed for International Parcel   Shipping Insurance Needed for International Parcel

by: Gary

Mon Nov 8 00:11:45 2010

Ship it USPS Priority International but do not use a flat rate box. You will have to fill a Form 2976A – you can get it in every post office. This form has 6 duplicate pages and Post Office will give you 6th page. Keep the page and Post Office receipt. On the form you can say that value of the book is, say, $50.00 but you can insure it for $500.00. USPS Priority International has a partial tracking – you and buyer will see the date it accepted at your local Post Office and maybe the date the package left US Territory on www.usps.com – that is it. If buyer claims he/she never got the book you have to call to a USPS toll-free # but it is not a general USPS CS # (I do not remember the # right now but every Post Office knows it). After you call this number you open a claim for tracking and you will get the claim number on the phone. Within 17 days USPS will have to get back to you with the date the package was delivered overseas…..THANKS!

Shipping Insurance Needed for International Parcel   Shipping Insurance Needed for International Parcel

by: NullApps This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Mon Nov 8 00:15:51 2010

Why not try ShipSaver from InkFrog?

http://applications.ebay.com/selling?ViewEAppDetails&s
tab=1&mId=744&appType=1&appId=insurance.inkfrog.com

or
Ship Insurance by Auctiva?

http://applications.ebay.com/selling?ViewEAppDetails&s
tab=1&mId=2000020&appType=1&appId=shipins.auctiva.com

Shipping Insurance Needed for International Parcel   Shipping Insurance Needed for International Parcel

by: Rick1313

Mon Nov 8 00:51:02 2010

In my case, using Canada Post, I will have to revise some listings as there are various maximum limits that Canada Post will cover, dependant on the destination country.

I have been negligent in not taking note of which country I can get the full value insurance coverage (some, Canada Post will not insure unless it is shipped via air mail).

I sell a $400 item to a country that Canada Post only allows a maximum of $300 value coverage (whether air or surface mail), it can come back and bite me, through no fault of the buyer.

Looks like the Americas (excluding Canada and the USA) and Africa are the biggest sore spots.

Nite all.

Shipping Insurance Needed for International Parcel   Shipping Insurance Needed for International Parcel

by: Ron

Mon Nov 8 08:38:26 2010

Hi James,

I use U-Pic.  It's a third party insurance provider for dealers on the internet.

They really are fantastic to use.  They insure against breakage, and there are very few restrictions as to what can be insured.

Plus, they're cheaper than USPS.  Just Google them.  They appear to be a well-kept secret, but they're really wonderful to work with.  The few claims that I've had were dealt with very expeditiously.

You'll have to sign a contract to get the best rates, but you can also use them on an individual shipment basis if you buy your stamps through Endicia.

Good Luck

Ron

Shipping Insurance Needed for International Parcel   Shipping Insurance Needed for International Parcel

by: Grave yard shift

Mon Nov 8 13:08:49 2010

OP.. Most third party insurers will only cover up to $499, which includes the ship price.

I recommend you use the online post office and insure. Do NOT mark the amount as $50 but insure it for $500, the post office considers this FRAUD, which it is and will ONLY cover it for the DECLARED value of $50.  You can also track it online, and you MUST get signature confirmation.

It is true that you do NOT want to use a flat rate package for ANY size because there is NO tracking and that will defeat the purpose.

The automatic indemnity goes on the weight, which will not cover $500, usually about 80-150 depending how much it weighs.

Good luck!

Shipping Insurance Needed for International Parcel   Shipping Insurance Needed for International Parcel

by: buck efay

Mon Nov 8 14:09:11 2010

Third party insurers like Upic want an affadavit from the buyer if an item is damaged. Who would waste time with that when they can just go to Paypal & get their money back? Because of that one rule, all third party insurers are worthless, IMHO.

Shipping Insurance Needed for International Parcel   Shipping Insurance Needed for International Parcel

by: Jack

Mon Nov 8 14:50:03 2010

Postal insurance in this case may be worthless. At my post office, they will only reimburse you for the amount that YOU paid for the book, not the customer. If you bought it for $100 and sold it for $500, the post office will only pay you $100 (even though you insured it for $500), and that is only after you provide a receipt.  I have argued with them several time about this policy. I am a retailer, and have a resale tax license, but it doesn't matter to the post office.  Has anyone else had this problem with insured packages?

Shipping Insurance Needed for International Parcel   Shipping Insurance Needed for International Parcel

by: buck efay

Mon Nov 8 14:57:21 2010

No never had that problem. Are you providing them with the Ebay receipt? Because the few times I had damage claims they paid the sale amount. As they should.

Shipping Insurance Needed for International Parcel   Shipping Insurance Needed for International Parcel

by: Jack

Mon Nov 8 16:04:09 2010

Yes I provide the sales receipt and all the documentation from ebay, or a copy of the order if not from ebay.  It still doesn't matter, they only pay the amount that I paid for the item, not what I sold it for. This changed about 2 years ago, before that they would pay the claim amount.

Shipping Insurance Needed for International Parcel   Shipping Insurance Needed for International Parcel

by: Ron

Mon Nov 8 20:31:16 2010

@Buck & Graveyard

Actually, there's no limit on the amount insured as far as I know, with U-Pic.  I've insured items that were worth $2000.

And, yes, an affidavit is required, but I've never had a problem with that.  And I'm sure that if you had problems with getting the affidavit that there wouldn't be a problem getting reimbursed.  Like I said, I've only had positive experiences with U-Pic.  But one could always ask them that question.

I hate to go against the general wisdom here that there are scammer buyers on eBay, because I'm sure that there are, depending on what you sell.  But I go back to the original premise that eBay was founded on, that people are generally good, but that was when eBay was a marketplace primarily for second hand, antique and collectible items.  I sell mostly antiques and vintage items and those types of buyers are generally not scammers.  My eBay account manager told me at one time that the scammers were mostly buying electronics and luxury items - new stuff that people want.  And I can say, from my experience, with my customers, that scamming has never been a problem, so people are always willing to work with me, whether it be an affidavit or whatever.  And I've been a Gold Powerseller on eBay for 12 years.  That's why I don't think that one would have a problem getting an affidavit from a book buyer.

Shipping Insurance Needed for International Parcel   Shipping Insurance Needed for International Parcel

by: buck efay

Mon Nov 8 21:51:29 2010

Ron, agreed most buyers are good. But I got robbed for $60 on an item swapped with PP SNAD aided theft. Most buyers are reasonable. Jack, you must have a high claim rate for them to take that step, maybe they think you are scamming them. I'd follow up with a registered letter to USPS asking them to outline the reason they are not paying the FULL REPLACEMENT VALUE of the items insured.

Shipping Insurance Needed for International Parcel   Shipping Insurance Needed for International Parcel

by: Jack

Mon Nov 8 22:26:22 2010

Buck,
  I had 3 small claims ($35.00 or less) out of thousands of packages sent in 19 years from that post office.  They have told other customers the same thing, that they will only pay the original price that you paid for the item and have a receipt for. If it happens again, I will follow up to a higher level in the postal system.

Shipping Insurance Needed for International Parcel   Shipping Insurance Needed for International Parcel

by: CAL in ABQ

Tue Nov 9 00:00:00 2010

Folks. Lots of misinformation here. I have done a fair amount of international shipping. The info is all readily available online at the PO website. http://ircalc.usps.gov/  No insurance or tracking is available on First Class. So, you could be out the book and your PayPal payment. Very risky for an expensive item. You can insure it for up to $650 via Priority Mail. However, you cannot get a delivery confirmation. So, you could wind up out the PayPal pmt and left with fighting the PO over the insurance. Your best bet is Express Mail as you get Tracking and can purchase full insurance beyond the initial $100 cheap. It will only cost a little more than Priority, but you will be protected with Insurance and delivery confirmation. Plus, it is much faster and you can talk to a real live person if you have to make a claim. Good luck.

Shipping Insurance Needed for International Parcel   Shipping Insurance Needed for International Parcel

by: iris

Tue Nov 9 06:05:28 2010


I would use USPS Priority registered mail with signature confirmation. Insurance is included up to 25,000. of the declared value. It will take longer to reach it's destination but better protection for the seller on claims for item not received. But not necessarily for damage.
As to the insured value when making a DAMAGED GOODS claim- for antiques and collectibles..a total farce. In order to make a claim, an independent appraisal, in writing, is necessary. The insurance is not for replacement costs, not for price paid, but for the APPRAISED VALUE.
On items over $100. international (over $500. USA) I have always registered with signature confirmation and have never experienced item not received claims on antiques and collectibles .., not sure how that would work...and hope I never have to find out.  

Shipping Insurance Needed for International Parcel   Shipping Insurance Needed for International Parcel

by: Pierre

Tue Nov 9 07:23:45 2010

The buyer should be warned that he will be charged taxes cash on delivery. Approx. 20% VAT on purchase price + shipping...Provide buyer's Telephone # on shipping documents for carrier to arrange delivery. USPS Priority Mail packages are delivered throughout Europe by a private contractor. They are not the Post Office and cannot deliver to PO boxes...

Shipping Insurance Needed for International Parcel   Shipping Insurance Needed for International Parcel

by: Grave yard shift

Tue Nov 9 10:52:13 2010

@CAL in ABQ

I am not sure what you have been doing but I know for a FACT that priority mail DOES provide tracking, I use it for ALL of my international PRIORITY mail packages.

Priority flat rates do NOT provide tracking  but regular priority mail does. And they come with automatic indemnity, although that often does not cover the actual value of the item so you would need insurance and anything over 200 needs to have signature confirmation.

I use my usps account.

I have not heard of the post office only paying for the sellers original price though, which this would not be make sense seeing that you would still be on the hook for the balance of the item to the customer but then again I would not put anything past the post office when it comes to actually PAYING a claim.

Shipping Insurance Needed for International Parcel   Shipping Insurance Needed for International Parcel

by: Eagle

Tue Nov 9 16:32:15 2010

Maybe I'm not following Jack correctly? If you sell a widget for $500 it shouldn't matter what you paid initially for it? Your insuring the cost/value of the widget sold to customer and use your sales receipt to the customer as value/proof for the widget.

Shipping Insurance Needed for International Parcel   Shipping Insurance Needed for International Parcel

by: buck efay

Tue Nov 9 16:49:07 2010

Jack, that is really not right. If you insure the item for it's value that it sold for, that is what they must compensate you for. In the last instance I had to use insurance, the buyer started the claim & handled it using the Ebay buying record as proof of value. That was for $175 claim & they paid it. But as we have seen, the post office allows some potmaster in Podunk to set their policies. Next time, go directly to postal inspectors, their number is on USPS site & demand the full "REPLACEMENT VALUE".

Shipping Insurance Needed for International Parcel   Shipping Insurance Needed for International Parcel

by: Grave yard shift

Wed Nov 10 13:17:28 2010

Jack.

I do not know if you have just been cheated by the post office or what but I actually had my postmaster send me a copy of the rules for a claim and it clearly says a BILL OF SALE, credit card receipt, email receipt etc are what is needed. This is what it was SOLD FOR, which is now it's VALUE.

What the seller paid is NOT the VALUE of an item, that is just the initial cost, besides if they wanted to start demanding that then they would have to include the sellers shipping cost as well as administrative costs for each item by the seller who must also calculate those into each item.

For example, just because your widget cost you 10 to buy it then the seller must pay to have it shipped, the stocker to stock it, their shipper to ship it, the packing materials to ship & secure it and so by the time it is all said and done that particular item may actually cost the seller $15-$20

The VALUE is what it is WORTH on the market and what was PAID.

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