International Shipping Considerations
Whether it’s shipping a sofa or importing an iPad, international shipping has become infinitely more popular recently, and there are more international shipping companies than ever before. Sometimes what you need to buy simply isn’t available in your home country forcing you to buy elsewhere. Perhaps you want to be the first of your friends to get your hands on the latest piece of gadgetry, or you want to compete in a foreign eBay auction and need a service that is experienced in shipping large items internationally.
Whatever the reason for your delivery, international shipping can be a cause for concern among many people. The uncertainty of international dealers, the worries about damage during transport and the increased costs associated with cross country shipping are enough to discourage even the most seasoned shopper.
If you’re unsure about international shipping costs or are concerned about the trustworthiness of some international shipping companies then you’ve come to the right place - we’ve compiled a checklist of what to look out for when you need international delivery.
Guide to International Shipping
Finding a Legitimate International Shipping Company
It seems simple to spot a dodgy dealer, but many scam sites can easily disguise themselves to look genuine, your first line of defence is a good firewall or antivirus software – these should curtail any unsolicited access to your data. Secondly, on payment pages it is vital that the site shows https:// the S stands for secure – you can also look for a key or padlock on the page or in the address bar. Also, keep an eye out for secure payment certification, such as Verisign, Sagepay or Paypal.
Sometimes the easiest way to tell if an international shipping company’s site is secure is to simply search the web, on your preferred search engine just try “site name scam” or “site name trustworthy” to see what others think of it. In the end, it’s down to you but we suggest you err on the side of caution.
Country of Origin
Buying within the EU is usually your safest bet, members of the European Union are obliged to repair goods that are under warranty so if something does go wrong you can take some solace in that. You might have to pay for it to be transported back to the manufacturer, however.
Make sure you check that the country you’re buying from isn’t just importing it from elsewhere, hidden costs and charges can quickly mount up when buying internationally. Foreign electronics can also be delivered defaulted to their home language or be packaged with unusable chargers for example.
Buying On eBay
eBay (and other auction sites) have opened up a wealth of previously inaccessible goods to the world, purchasing goods from abroad is made a great deal easier through these means but the ease of buying and selling goods internationally can lead to some shady practices.
Whether buying from an eBay store or an individual there are a few things that you should check to make sure that they check out before your checkout.
- Feedback: What was it for, when did they get it?
- Disputes: Has the seller been in any, what for?
- Item Description: An original description is often better than something copied from a website
- Photos: Be sure that there is at least one original photo of the auction, we’d strongly advise that you don’t quote on anything without a picture – regardless of how tempting the price may be.
- Try contacting the seller before quoting
Delays and Complications With International Shipping
As you might expect, there are few things that can hold up delivery when buying from abroad, but fear not, these are to be expected and whilst it can be stressful if your items end up being delayed sometimes it’s unavoidable.
- Clearing customs: Anything delivered internationally must pass through customs and excise, foodstuffs and pets brought in from abroad can be particularly susceptible to import delays due to contamination concerns.
- Unforeseen events: The weather, political action, impassable roads, or overzealous volcanoes can all potentially slow international shipping. The further your goods need to travel, the more things there are to hold it up – so keep an eye and ear out for anything that could delay your delivery.
Comparing International Shipping Companies
If you have the opportunity to choose your own delivery method, or you’re sending something abroad yourself then it’s important to pick the right international delivery service. There are a couple of different choices and things to look out for when looking for a cross country courier.
Large Courier Companies: Big parcel delivery services run large logistical chains and benefit from large economies of scale. However, their customer service and reliability are often drawn into question. Their price can be competitive, but you’ll usually get a less personable service.
Smaller International Couriers: Whilst this might seem like a slight misnomer, you can get an independent man and van services that conduct deliveries across Europe. These smaller businesses rely heavily on keeping their vehicles full, so if you can organise a transporter who is coming to the UK from your country of purchase then you could help them fill space and get a better rate.
Shipping: If you’re bringing in goods from further afield then shipping might be your only option (we discourage air-mail because it’s highly carbon-intensive!). Now you usually don’t have much power over how smaller packages are shipped internationally, it will usually be put inside a container for ease of transport along with lots of other consignments. This method can take a while but is a very safe way to import goods. When shipping large items internationally, you may be given a few more options as the item may need its own container, depending on what it is that is being shipped.
Choosing a Reliable International Delivery Service: When you’re researching your options for shipping there are a few key things to consider:
- Reviews of the service
- Carriers insurance
- Flexibility on delivery dates
- Potential for delays
- Accreditation from independent organisations
International Shipping On Shiply
Finding and comparing all manner of delivery services can be a laborious task, getting the best quote for international shipping can take a lot of work, all the factors in play can mean that prices among couriers can vary greatly.
This is where Shiply can assist you! If you need to import French furniture or deliver Dutch documents then we can match your requirements to transport companies already making a similar journey.
Simply upload the details of your shipment to our site, we need to know what you’re moving, when it needs moving and where it’s going. Once this is online any courier who is planning a journey along that route will be able to quote you an estimate for the job.
Transport providers will compete to offer you the best price in a reverse auction format, you can then compare the quoting companies based on their price and feedback from other users on Shiply.
When Your Delivery Arrives
Once your items arrive from abroad be sure to check that they are as they were pictured or described when you purchased them. Also, make sure that no damage has been caused during transit, a dented box might be expected but if anything’s broken then you need to contact the seller and delivery service as soon as possible.
When you’re happy with your delivery please leave feedback for your transporter if you found them on Shiply – the feedback system helps all of our users spot the best delivery companies and helps the companies themselves improve their service.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Does Shiply Cover My Area?
Yes! There are couriers using Shiply all over the country and abroad, so whether you need to move a sofa across town or send a car across Europe, we have got you covered.
Does Shiply Have Different Sized Vehicles?
There are thousands of couriers on Shiply, with a wide range of vehicle sizes capable of handling any delivery. Providing the rough dimensions (and pictures if possible) on your listing will allow the delivery company to get the right vehicle sent out to you.
Can I Call Shiply?
Shiply Support is available from 9am - 6pm Monday to Friday on 020 3137 2454. You can also send an email to .
Who Will Carry Out My Delivery?
Whoever you choose! There are thousands of rated transport providers on our platform ready to make a bid to carry out your delivery. It is up to you to decide which quote to accept.
When Will I Receive A Quote?
You will typically start to receive quotes within 30 minutes. If you are worried about the lack of quotes, try adding some more detail to your listing as transport providers may be unsure of dimensions or weight and feel unable to provide an accurate quote. If your delivery is urgent, you can try our 'featured delivery' feature which moves your listing to the top of the search page for couriers.
When Will I Receive A Quote?
Whilst there is no guarantee of quotes, 98% of our listings receive at least 3 quotes, so you are likely to find someone who can undertake the delivery of your items.
Does Shiply Provide Packing Materials?
If your item requires packing materials or extra care then you should make sure this is highlighted in your listing and discussed with any transport provider whose quote you are considering. Couriers on Shiply are able to provide all levels of service and can help pack your items, just ensure you inform them of your needs.
Will My Goods Be Tied Up Securely?
Transport providers will almost always tie up an item in the transport vehicle, as the risk of damage from moving around during transit is high. You should always confirm safety precautions and packing needs with transport providers before accepting a quote.
Can Items Be Taken Upstairs?
Yes, items can be taken upstairs if needed, and can also be assembled. Transport providers on Shiply are happy to provide these services, but you should ensure that you are mentioning these requirements in your listings as it may mean a second person is required for the move.
Can I Travel With My Goods?
The majority of transport providers on Shiply are only insured for the transportation of goods, however, some are also able to take people. If you need to travel with your goods, make sure to mention this in your listing and to highlight this to any courier who quotes on your listing.
What If I Need To Cancel My Booking?
If you have accepted a quote and paid the deposit but wish to cancel the delivery, then you should first inform your chosen transport provider that you no longer require the delivery. You should then contact us at to have your deposit refunded.
Can I Change The Address Of The Delivery?
If you have not yet accepted a quote then you are able to change the address of your listing. Note that editing details of your listing after publishing will result in active quotes being voided, so you will have to wait for new quotes to come in. If you have already accepted a quote and need to change the address, please let your transport provider know and contact us at .
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