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Help, How do I send PCB's internationally?
Help, How do I send PCB's internationally?
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Old 4th June 2019, 01:22 AM   #11
Tubelab_com is offline Tubelab_com  United States
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Location: West Virginia panhandle
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Postal Service is Fedral - policies are not going to be different in different states.
Yes, it is. The rules are clearly spelled out in the International Mail Manual. Somewhere in that huge document it states that international mail must be presented in person to a USPS employee. Enforcement varies a lot by post office.....most post offices have never actually read their own IMM, and get flustered when you quote it by page number.

In big city Florida it meant that I had to physically go to the post office, wait in line (up to 1 hour in December) then hand the envelope to a clerk who often argued with me about the rules, which they themselves had never read. Just dropping an international envelope in the mail box got it returned to my house several days later. Our letter carrier who was a personal friend was not allowed to accept international main on his route. During the December craziness I could get him to take some of my small stuff and put it in the outgoing bin. Shipping transformers to Australia in a flat rate box required waiting in line.

Here in rural West Virginia, I print the postage using Paypal. Usually I take them to the post office since it is on my way home from the gym and I go there almost every weekday. When I don't make it to the post office, I just hand them to the letter carrier and she takes them. I asked her is this was OK and she had no knowledge of the restrictions on international mail. Neither did anyone in the post office.

I used to print postage for international mail on the USPS web site. That went away over a year ago. The Paypal thing works, but there are some quirks. If someone pays me for a board using the pay for goods or services option, there is a fee, but the address, email address and the print postage option shows up on the Paypal "details" page. If they use the "send money to friends and family" option, the address, email, and postage options do not appear since you are presumed to know all that.

I use Priority Mail for PC boards in the USA. I can stuff 4 or 5 boards into a 6 X 10 inch Priority Mail envelope which can be ordered directly from the post office for free. They will ship as many as you want directly to your house for free, although I assume that check to see if you are actually shipping with them. Paypal charges $6.95 to print postage for them.

You must use your own packaging for international parcel post. The first price break is 0 to 8 ounces, so weight is important. I buy cardboard mailers from Uline for about 40 cents each. They weigh just under 2 ounces each. Most of my boards are about 3 ounces, so I can stuff 2 boards in one envelope for 8 ounces, and ship most anywhere for under $12.

Accept the fact that some international mail will get lost and figure that into your prices. There is no insurance coverage on international parcel post, and collecting anything from their domestic insurance claim system is a crap shoot at best. Russia, Italy, and India account for most of my losses, so I will not ship to those countries any more.
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Old 4th June 2019, 03:03 PM   #12
jackinnj is online now jackinnj  United States
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Help, How do I send PCB's internationally?
George, the Italian p.o. seems to have improved but years ago there was a WSJ article on how citizens of Rome would have their parcels shipped to the Vatican GPO!

btw, the USPS is employing "secret shoppers" who watch the behavior of the staff behind the counter.

Last edited by jackinnj; 4th June 2019 at 03:31 PM.
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