Okay, once again I have been asked by an international customer to list a jewelry item as a "used fashion item" on the customs form. This customer went one further and asked that the invoice not be included inside the package. The item is going to Australia. According to postal regulations, jewelry sent there must be sent via priority mail (for which the customer has agreed to pay), Form 2976-A to be clearly labeled as jewelry and an invoice included inside the package. I should note here that the item is fine jewelry, over $400 and the shipment is insured. I have shipped costume jewelry of low value via first class international (cannot be insured) and felt comfortable labeling it as a fashion accessory (because it is), but this is a jewelry item and I don't to be party to anything that would be considered "under the table." Am I being a prude?
You're not being a prude, you're being a good citizen and want to conform to the laws of the land.
I always write Used widget on customs forms as I've heard that if something is used they don't get charged at customs, however I still write what it is and put a full value on the item.
I'm not too experienced with Jewelry but If the rules say an invoice has to be included then an invoice has to be included. I would quote the restrictions to your customer and explain that the law obliges you to do these things but you're happy to write Used jewelry on the customs form to try and save them the duty tax.
If you don't do what the regulations say you're putting your business on the line NOT your customers. Do what is right for you and what you are comfortable with.
I agree with you when dealing with fine jewelry of high value. What if there is a problem? Your insurance could be invalid (I don't know this), or worse yet, you have a written record that you were asked to commit mail fraud, per Australian laws. If it is a PayPal transaction, the one problem I have had with a nondelivery, PayPal sided with the buyer and refunded her money before the USPS investigation on what became of the package has even been completed. If the package gets delivered at some point, it is completely up to the customer whether or not she pays me. You are talking about too much money to put yourself at risk this way. Besides, no one would ask Sears or Amazon, etc. to do this sort of thing!
You have to show the value on the Customs form, and if it is insured for 400.00, Customs will know that anyway. So it really doesn't matter whether an invoice is in the package or not. Right?
Here are the Australia restrictions per the USPS site:
Jewelry is permitted only when sent as an insured parcel using Priority Mail International service. In addition, Australian Customs regulations prohibit importation of jewelry that is made with ivory or from endangered species, such as snake, elephant, or crocodile, that does not have an accompanying Import/Export Permit in relation to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Meat and other animal products; powdered or concentrated milk; and other dairy products requires permission to import from the Australian quarantine authorities.
Permission of the Australian Director-General of Health is required to import medicines.
I think that the buyer is concerned about theft.
Putting "jewelry" on a package often makes it a target for theft. I often put "used fashion accessory" on items, but for something worth $400+, I would be specific.
I don't think you're being a prude.
I think there's something on the RL site even about following the "rules" and "laws".
I just can't find it right now.
Although I have had that one bad experience (which I fault PayPal policy for and have complained directly to them about); about one quarter (perhaps more on a dollar basis) of my business is international, so the pluses in terms of added sales far outweigh the negatives. I think one of the great aspects of being on line with a home like Ruby Lane is that we are open 24/7 around the world. Nothing makes my day like waking up to a sale! If you click on your Web Analytics addresses, (most recent, longest time, etc.) you will find that many of the true addresses that show up as USA are actually international. With the insurance, you should be fine!
In order to be insured, the package has to be sent regular priority....not flat rate priority boxes. I send jewelry insured via priority mail regularly. I think they must have meant that the flat rate boxes (which cannot be insured internationally) cannot be used for jewelry. One exception though (that I know of): you cannot ship jewelry to UK via priority...it has to be First Class International which is not insurable. Hope that helps.
I am confused. For international packages, my post office tells me that the only way to get insurance through them is Express Priority Mail at $29.95 including $100 of insurance (plus I can buy more). I just visited USPS on line, and that seems to accurate. Are you referring to another option?
What I think a lot of shop owners do is send a package first class and then buy the insurance to approved places through Shipinsurance for $1.50/$100 of coverage. It looks like you don't need a tracking number for shipinsurance to accept it, which makes me wonder how they can verify what has happened to mail that someone claims is lost or otherwise damaged. Can someone else share more about how U-Pic and Shipinsurance handle international claims? So far, I've only used registered mail with Shipinsuance, but if there is no need to spend the extra money for it, I'd love to reduce shipping costs for our international buyers. But... it makes me very anxious to have no way to track a package. I love Express Mail International (so fast and great tracking), but hardly anyone wants to pay that much.
Yes, confusing it is. I have limited experience as I ship only to Canada, UK and Australia and I don't purchase or use an outside insurer. Each country has different requirements for the shipment of jewelry (pretty much all I sell). Here's the link to the USPS Index of Countries and Localities.
I was wrong about the UK only accepting First Class packages (I think it has been updated). Here's what the restrictions are for Great Britain and Northern Ireland:
Coins; banknotes; currency notes (paper money); securities payable to bearer; traveler’s checks; manufactured and unmanufactured platinum, gold, silver; precious stones; jewelry; and other valuable articles, may only be sent in registered First-Class Mail International shipments or insured Priority Mail International parcels.
I dont' think registered shipments can be insured, but they are very secure and kept separate from other mail.
Jewelry is permitted only when sent as an insured parcel using Priority Mail International service.
I have been able to track the Priority Shipments to Australia using the customs form number (large form 2976-A), although there is a big delay between the time it leaves the US and when it shows up again in Australia. I also sign up with USPS to be notified via email when it is delivered.
I have not had any trouble purchasing insurance for the priority mail (not flat rate) international packages, in fact, the postal clerks have asked me if I wanted insurance and there is a place on the customs form for it.