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TCB => Trader & Shipping Support => Topic started by: Gator on September 25, 2021, 09:10:29 PM

Title: Help. Americans shipping overseas.
Post by: Gator on September 25, 2021, 09:10:29 PM
Hi there.  Can any Americans help me with a question?  I have not done a whole lot of overseas shipping.  I helped a few people get Stranger Things Applejack (which, um, not very many left me any positive feedback here sadly :huh:) and every time I've gone to ship overseas, the employee at the post office tells me that there is no way to track my package once it leaves the states.

Then, most recently, I did a trade with a fellow collector in France.  Post office said the same thing, I won't be able to track once package leaves the states.  I got her package in a couple weeks.  After four weeks, she hadn't gotten hers from me.  Well, I tried the tracking number anyway.  It worked.  It said it was at the post office in her town in France, then like the next day "out for delivery" and she got it that day.  So it DID work overseas.

Is the post office lying to me?  I am about to do another trade with someone in Europe.  How do I protect my trade partner and myself if the post office keeps telling me the same thing.  Am I doing something wrong?

Thanks in advance.
Title: Re: Help. Americans shipping overseas.
Post by: SunPony on September 25, 2021, 09:36:33 PM
I'm not sure about the tracking, I usually send a couple packages overseas each year but I'm not sure if I've ever even looked at the tracking to see if it worked or not (I'm typically sending gifts, not purchases, so I'm less concerned I guess).  Hmm. 

That said, I have definitely gotten conflicting information at different post office branches.  I would suggest you go to a large branch where there is probably alot of international shipping going on, at a time of day that is not busy, explain your situation and what happened last time, and see what they say.
Title: Re: Help. Americans shipping overseas.
Post by: lovesbabysquirmy on September 25, 2021, 10:33:47 PM
It's not guaranteed to work, that's all.  Not all the databases are the same and they don't communicate with each other.
Sometimes the number stops working because the next country issues it a different number, and if you don't have that new number, you can't find it in the other country's postal tracking website.  It's up to the country's postal workers to have time to do that, and honestly I find that most of the time, they have only the time to deliver it, not tell you where they are taking it!
Title: Re: Help. Americans shipping overseas.
Post by: Barnacle_lady on September 26, 2021, 09:50:24 AM
There are tracking websites that mentions the complete route to different countries. So you can see which local carrier is supposed to deliver.
Title: Re: Help. Americans shipping overseas.
Post by: Carrehz on September 26, 2021, 02:42:08 PM
I dunno about the US side of things, but I've had stuff shipped from all over and my experience is that tracking can be kinda spotty. Sometimes the tracking has a perfect record of every single place the package stopped at, other times it just says something like "10 Sep. Left country of origin. 20 Sep. Arrived in UK" no updates between. Maybe your post office just meant they can't guarantee the tracking will be updated all the time, or something?
Title: Re: Help. Americans shipping overseas.
Post by: kitkatvintage on September 28, 2021, 12:53:05 PM
USPS can only guarantee tracking until the package leaves US customs, after that the tracking may or may not be scanned by the receiving country's mail system. The post office employee has probably been instructed to err on the side of caution & tell customers that tracking is "not available overseas" when the more correct thing to say would be "tracking may not be available overseas".

First Class international out of the US is less likely to be scanned & tracked compared to Priority international. Priority is more expensive, but offers somewhat better tracking & limited insurance.
Title: Re: Help. Americans shipping overseas.
Post by: Rainribbon31 on September 28, 2021, 03:24:18 PM
I don't have anything to add, but just wanted to express my appreciation for your question, Gator, and to those who responded. I've been trying to figure out how the customs/import/tracking system works and it's kind of confusing.
Title: Re: Help. Americans shipping overseas.
Post by: Taffeta on September 29, 2021, 09:43:33 PM
First of all I know you got ST AJ for my sister and I. I was between moving back and forth from uni and stuff at the time and I haven't left feedback for a lot of trades as a result, but if you still would like me to I'd be happy to do so. I'm not very organised so my apologies about that.

In regards USPS tracking and the UK at least...it seems to work here. I don't know what that means about insurance or claims if it goes missing, but I've had a couple of ponies sent from the US who went astray and the tracking showed the whole trip. Including one that went from the US to Bangladesh and then Dubai before finally arriving in the UK. I don't even know what happened there. But it got tracked. The ones that accidentally get sent to Canada from Chicago also came up on the system.

I think it's just that the USPS can't guarantee what a foreign service might do with their packages, and are covering themselves. I don't know what courier services might offer in the way of cover/insurance/tracking to the door, and it may well be there are more expensive shipping forms that guarantee cover and tracking door to door (we have these here). But on the whole the tracking works for me here in the UK.

The caveat to this whole post is that it's based on pre-COVID rules. I have shipped nothing since the pandemic began, and Brexit has also happened since I last did online trading, so I may be a little out of date.
Title: Re: Help. Americans shipping overseas.
Post by: Griffin on October 08, 2021, 09:27:44 PM
I agree with the others, they're probably just covering themselves, because they're not responsible for what happens to the package when it leaves the US. And often packages are not regularly scanned, and sometimes the tracking numbers change like stated.

However, it's always worth checking the destination country's system, give it a try! I know that when I ship something internationally, once it leaves the country the tracking in my local post's database won't update anymore. Let's say I'm sending something to the US - I go to the USPS website and can usually find the package using the same tracking number. Not all countries have sophisticated systems in place and depending on where you're shipping to, it may be an adventure trying to navigate a website in a different language, but I personally like that sort of detective work. :D At least if it's a swap or gift I'm sending. I totally understand if this is not something a seller looks forward to doing, especially someone who frequently ships stuff overseas!
Title: Re: Help. Americans shipping overseas.
Post by: LadyMoondancer on December 04, 2021, 08:06:29 PM
The tracking sometimes works on First Class International packages, but it's unreliable . . . not guaranteed.  But always worth trying.  I haven't shipped anything overseas recently so I'm not sure if the postal changes of the last few years have changed this.

It also depends on the country it's going to . . . since the tracking is done by that country's postal service once the package changes countries.

If you want tracking to be guaranteed (and the package to be fully insured) then you have to use Priority International shipping.  Whenever I was selling something really pricey on eBay that's what I insisted on for international packages. And boy did buyers hate that, lol!  But that's the only protection for sellers.  If the buyer says "the package never arrived" and the seller can't prove otherwise, the seller has to refund.
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