Here’s the 6 biggest mistakes I made over the years sending parcels overseas. Australia or India, America or the UK – It doesn’t matter which countries you are sending to / from – these International delivery mistakes and tips are useful for all
Every country has a restricted list and a prohibited list of items that it can send. The difference?
Items on the restricted list may be allowed in small quantities and if correctly labelled, while prohibited items will never be allowed in the country. Make sure whatever you’re sending it’s not on the prohibited list, and is within allowable limits or rules on the restricted list. Click here for a list of Restricted and prohibited items by country.
In addition to this, people often ask ‘is it okay to send wine?’. This depends on the country, and Fedex has published a great International Wine shipping guide: Country and documentation advice here that should give you all the information you need to know to answer this question by country.
Courier costs to deliver have come down significantly over the years and are often the same cost if not cheaper than the local postal system. If you are using your local country’s postal system (e.g. Royal Mail or Australia Post) to send the gift, it is probably not as thorough or reliable as specialist international couriers like Toll, FedEx or DHL.
The advantage of sending through a courier company is threefold:
You get someone readily available on a customer service line to help you if anything unexpected happens. These phone lines are usually open about 14 hours a day – making it easy to fix if something goes wrong
You get a faster service
You automatically get excellent tracking and signature on delivery without having to pay extra
Every country has duties and taxes that can be payable by the recipient if your parcel has certain items in it over a certain value. It is true every country is different, but you can easily find out what the rules are for the country you are sending to using this link
Make sure you understand what the rules are. If you don’t want the recipient to pay duties and taxes, but know some will be due, you may have to give your own details at the time of sending the package.
I used to get frustrated at having to write what was on a gift or package on the outside because I thought it ruined the surprise for the receiver.
But trust me – this is a small price to pay to ensure smooth international passage! If it’s a gift it’s still worth putting in an invoice with the amount and itemised parts of the gift.
Make sure you are as descriptive as possible when writing this information and understand the rules for each country you are sending to. Some countries, for example like the US, want to additionally know the origin of the goods (e.g. where it’s manufactured).
In addition to this, if your parcel is a gift, make sure this is clearly marked in the local language. For example, if you are sending something to France, make sure you mark the address side of gifts “envoi isole gratuit”.
With security increasing around the world, customs seem to like it a lot better when a parcel has both a recipient contact phone number AND email. Not only will this help easy contact to arrange re-delivery should the recipient not be home, but customs seems to let these parcels through more smoothly.
Remember too – every country is different – if you are sending to India, for example, the recipient will actually have to come and collect the parcel showing appropriate ID such as a passport. So being able to get in touch easily is of great advantage!
In addition to all the above, and making sure you have the correct address, it is usually much easier to send a parcel to a work address. This is because there is generally someone there to receive and sign for it, and it saves all the to-ing and fro-ing in phone messages and notes to rearrange delivery; not to mention the hassle it saves the receiver having to go and pick something up on a weekend.
I started my business sending Australian Gift Hampers overseas to make it easy for Australians to send thoughtful gifts. Hope the above advice helps you wherever you are in the world!