I'm looking for information from quilters outside the US, who buy fabric and have it shipped to in from the US.
I think that most of the time, stores are shipping using the flat-rate USPS Priority Mail envelopes. And historically those have been the most economical method... at least, until USPS raised its rates on Sunday.
Since the envelopes cost so much more to ship now, I thought that maybe it was time to talk to that friendly FedEx salesman who keeps trying to steal our business away from the Post Office.
What an interesting meeting we just had! It turns out that maybe the USPS flat-rate envelopes aren't really the best choice for the customer's bottom line. (Though they are the least expensive, from the seller's perspective.)
FedEx has flat-rate international envelopes, and they offer a couple of features that USPS doesn't: they are automatically insured for up to $100, and (more importantly) they are fully trackable. Also, they should be delivered faster. They do cost more to ship, but all brokerage charges are included in the shipping cost for these envelopes. Only duty & taxes remain to be collected on the receiving end.
So I asked Mr. FedEx, what about the $5 cross-border administrative fee that CanadaPost collects on our USPS shipments? He said, there's no additional fee if you ship FedEx. Just duty/HST/GST/PST. (CanadaPost would also collect the identical duty/taxes on USPS shipments.)
Then I asked him, what about shipments to the UK? Royal Mail collects a hefty £8 Customs Clearance fee when they deliver those USPS envelopes. What do you charge? He said, there's no additional fee. Just duty/VAT. (And Royal Mail would charge the exact same duty/VAT.)
Hmmm.... it seems to me, that even with the slightly greater cost of sending the FedEx envelopes, the Canadian customer would come out ahead a few dollars by offsetting a portion of the $5 cross-border fee. And the UK customer would come out much further ahead, because though it would cost about $4 more to send a FedEx envelope, avoiding the £8 Customs Clearance fee (which is about 12.50 USD today)... well, you can do the math.
Am I missing something here? Or is FedEx really a better deal?
IMHO I think that even the trackability is worth a paying a little extra for (if you're a worrier).
I'd sure appreciate the thoughts of the international quilting community on this issue. Thank you, in advance!