Cost of sending parcel to Europe

  Wilham 21:11 09 Nov 04
Locked

A month ago there was a report in the press that a visitor's return ticket across the channel bought in Paris was a third the price one paid in and starting from London. I'm wondering if there's a similar situation with parcel carriers?

My problem arose like this. February this year I bid for an oscilloscope in Germany via Ebay. Beforehand I asked the UK carriage, and was told the estimated cost 30 to 40 euros. When the a/c came the seller had added 50 euros.

I made no fuss about the increase, another time I'd ask a max quote for carriage. What did trigger my anger was finding the item for which I'd paid over 2000 euros was not the item I'd seen on Ebay.

This thread is about carrier charges, not about the non support I had from Ebay, Square Deal and so on. Suffice it to say that after 5 months of haggling the seller agreed to refund the bid price plus the 50 euro return carriage.

I re-packed the scope in the box UPS brought it. Rang UPS to ask them to collect and take it back to Germany.

It was a shock to be told the charge was £98. Therein was my first mistake. I said the box in cm was 60x46x44. UPS is American and if you measure in inches the Company allows you to round off inch fractions. But anyway, I asked them to check and after a longish phone call I was told the price was £92. (I omit the pence in these figures). I paid by Visa. The price includes £10 insurance excess to £1000. I felt I did not have to take it higher because the seller had offered to take that figure to avoid its return.

I wrote to UPS UK asking why three times the rate for return of same parcel? Short reply suggested the seller could have discounts as a regular client.

A month later by post an a/c from UPS showed my charge was £82. A further call from me and I got my £10 refund.

These events came back to me today when I was looking at an oscilloscope on Ebay. The UK seller advised customers abroad to get a local quote for pickup and carriage,- "...it may turn out a lot cheaper than paid by me over here."

A web page giving rates (not necessarily the best) is click here

  Wilham 21:17 09 Nov 04

To clear a point... The seller charged 50 euros and added this to the bill for carriage. He didn't add 50 to the 30 or 40. That would have been a rip-off.

  spuds 23:39 09 Nov 04

Usually the fee is based from the point of collection or despatch, similar to airline fares,package holiday bookings.Some companies deal with international usage on a regular basis, and on this point they can obtain favourable clientèle terms.People like Kodak UK have an arrangement with DHL, where they will pick up from the UK and despatch to the continent, then return the item back to the UK, at no cost to the customer claiming on a warranty.At what cost to Kodak, would be a subject well worth investigating.

The German postal service is trying to break into the UK market, whether this will make cheaper courier rates for the future, will we need to wait and see.

Regarding the extra charge added by the seller, I would suspect that they incurred administration,handling,local tax and packaging charges plus labour time and these were handed to the buyer, namely you.I have personally purchased cd's for £2.99, then found that I had to pay an extra £3.00 for the 50p postal stamp and jiffy bag.

  Sapins 09:23 10 Nov 04

Not just parcels, I have just booked a ferry crossing, the cost from the UK offices was £300+. I went on the French site and got the same crossing for €165, (£114)

Unbelievable or what?

  g0slp 10:01 10 Nov 04

Not unbelievable, just R.O.B. again.

  spuds 10:36 10 Nov 04

Apologies to Wilham for going slightly of track on this post. I queried airline fare structures with British Airways once, and the point I raised was their different charges for the 'same seat usage'on international travel. Their non-committal response was due to International Law Agreements.The more recent excuse addition is the terrorist threat and the extra safeguards that have been put into place.

More recently, I made further inquiries of an air international route via the internet,travel agents and discount shops. The same airline,the same time schedule,the same destination, the same seat but £300 difference from the high price to the low price.That £300 would make a vast difference to my stay arrangements.

  Wilham 11:47 10 Nov 04

No apology needed spuds, your contributions are always apt and welcome, as are the the others I've read above.

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