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Thread: Need help from anyone who's OUTSIDE the US

  1. #1
    Super Member Favorite Fabrics's Avatar
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    There's a lot of wisdom and knowledge here on the board... and I need some advice and/or information from people who are outside the US.

    We just got a very large ($350+) order over the weekend. The order is to be shipped to a freight consolidator in Miami, who ships to Central America.

    If I understand correctly, a freight consolidator receives packages from many senders, and then "bundles" them together to ship to an international recipient. It's probably much more cost-effective to do it that way.

    Readers of this post, have you ever used a freight consolidator, or do you know anything more about how they work? Is it "safe"? Meaning... if we ship to the consolidator, do you think it's quite likely that the customer will get her package?

    The last thing we want is for an order this size not to reach the customer... because then it would come out of our own pocket (ouch)!

  2. #2
    Super Member Grama Lehr's Avatar
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    I'm in logistics, we use "freight consolidators" all of the time. It's just like anything else, there are good ones and bad ones. You can check them out on the web, they also have insurance for lost, or damaged products.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Favorite Fabrics
    There's a lot of wisdom and knowledge here on the board... and I need some advice and/or information from people who are outside the US.

    We just got a very large ($350+) order over the weekend. The order is to be shipped to a freight consolidator in Miami, who ships to Central America.

    If I understand correctly, a freight consolidator receives packages from many senders, and then "bundles" them together to ship to an international recipient. It's probably much more cost-effective to do it that way.

    Readers of this post, have you ever used a freight consolidator, or do you know anything more about how they work? Is it "safe"? Meaning... if we ship to the consolidator, do you think it's quite likely that the customer will get her package?

    The last thing we want is for an order this size not to reach the customer... because then it would come out of our own pocket (ouch)!
    I have never heard of them but have just googled and find there are lots of them.. Would it be prohibitive to take out insurance so that if they didn't arrive you would be covered.

  4. #4
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Favorite Fabrics
    There's a lot of wisdom and knowledge here on the board... and I need some advice and/or information from people who are outside the US.

    We just got a very large ($350+) order over the weekend. The order is to be shipped to a freight consolidator in Miami, who ships to Central America.

    If I understand correctly, a freight consolidator receives packages from many senders, and then "bundles" them together to ship to an international recipient. It's probably much more cost-effective to do it that way.

    Readers of this post, have you ever used a freight consolidator, or do you know anything more about how they work? Is it "safe"? Meaning... if we ship to the consolidator, do you think it's quite likely that the customer will get her package?

    The last thing we want is for an order this size not to reach the customer... because then it would come out of our own pocket (ouch)!
    Just curious, is this an order where they'll be sending you a money order for more than the purchase?

  5. #5
    Super Member Favorite Fabrics's Avatar
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    This is an order placed by credit card. The IP address indicates that the order was place in El Salvador. The billing address on the credit card is a PO box in New York City. After calling Merchant Services (our credit card processor), we find that this is an HSBC premier card (issued on a US bank) and the name on the card agrees with the name under which the order was placed. However, ALL HSBC premier card holders are issued the same address. Meaning, to us, it's basically an anonymous address.

    The freight consolidator is based in Miami and services Central America. We can ship to the freight consolidator, and even get delivery confirmation and a signature from the consolidator.

    However... if the customer then turns around and says that they did not receive the package, then what? The credit card company is going to side with the customer, not the merchant, because we did not ship to the customer's billing address. The official billing address is the only place that is "safe" to ship to, from a merchant's standpoint, as far as protecting the merchant from chargebacks.

  6. #6
    Super Member Charlee's Avatar
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    So why not ship directly to the customer? This reeks "scam" to me...like the Craig's List guys that want to use a credit card or send a cashier's check and have their guy pick up the item...only to find out afterwards that the credit card is stolen/fake or the cashier's check is counterfeit....

    A $350.00 order would not be worth taking the chance...

  7. #7
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Favorite Fabrics
    This is an order placed by credit card. The IP address indicates that the order was place in El Salvador. The billing address on the credit card is a PO box in New York City. After calling Merchant Services (our credit card processor), we find that this is an HSBC premier card (issued on a US bank) and the name on the card agrees with the name under which the order was placed. However, ALL HSBC premier card holders are issued the same address. Meaning, to us, it's basically an anonymous address.

    The freight consolidator is based in Miami and services Central America. We can ship to the freight consolidator, and even get delivery confirmation and a signature from the consolidator.

    However... if the customer then turns around and says that they did not receive the package, then what? The credit card company is going to side with the customer, not the merchant, because we did not ship to the customer's billing address. The official billing address is the only place that is "safe" to ship to, from a merchant's standpoint, as far as protecting the merchant from chargebacks.

    I know it's a large order but personally I think I'd decline the order. Huge foreign orders carry a huge risk of fraud. Just the fact that they can say they didn't receive the order and get their money back and you have no way to prove otherwise is a big red flag to me.

  8. #8
    Super Member hobo2000's Avatar
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    I just shipped my $36,000.00 printer thru a consolidator. It arrived perfectly. However, I was told, as a business, never let them put it on a credit card. The man put it thru a service that I had to go to a Walmart to get and it was paid to me in cash, took 3 days. Credit cards they can say it was not as advertised, arrived damaged, etc. You want the cash in your hands before it leaves your door. The consolidator is not your worry. Also, never accept a money order, only cash. I can't remember the name of the thing at Walmart but it worked like a dream. Fun to walk away with that much money in your pocket even if it went next door to the bank.

  9. #9
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    Your goods should all fall under the ECCN EAR99 so you should not need any licensing. As long as the customer is not on the "undesirable list" and your export documents are in order, there should not be a problem.

  10. #10
    Super Member Favorite Fabrics's Avatar
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    What's an ECCN EAR99 ?

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