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Why do TB sellers usually state "CONUS only"?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Clarkybass, Mar 10, 2013.

  1. Clarkybass

    Clarkybass Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2010
    Hi, I'm curious as to why US-based TBers (the vast majority) very often state "48 states only" or "CONUS only". Are there additional hassles involved in sending goods outside the US? I know from having bought US-sourced products that the value of the goods has to be stated on a sticker on the package but presumably thats not such a big hassle? Are there other reasons that make shipping say to UK onerous? I ask as I have on a number of occasions seen things for sale on TB that I would love to buy but am precluded from on grounds of geography.

    FWIW, there are no additional hassles in sending an item from the UK to the US as compared with sending within the UK or to (eg) France.

    In the UK we do have to pay import duty (c.21%) on goods from the US which can make it very expensive when this is factored in, but that is for us to pay after we have been contacted by HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs).
  2. I like to think that it's because they've allowed for some US shipping costs in their selling price. Most seem to do this. I've only bought a couple things of TB (my Dingwall Combustion and GB shuttle max 12.0) and in both cases I arranged & paid for the full shipping to Canada. In effect this left them a little more money in their pocket for the shipping they had included in the price.

    In both cases they specified shipped in Con US but wasn't an issue went I dealt with them.
  3. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    The only time I'd normally mention it is when I'm selling an item and including shipping. I'll ship outside the US but at whatever additional costs apply. For example Paypal charges extra for international transactions.

    Some folks just don't want the potential hassles that could arise from international shipping. If they sell locally they only have to deal with those potential hassles.
  4. lomo

    lomo passionate hack Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2006
    I have shipped internationally before, but it's a greater hassle and expense and if something goes wrong it may not be simple to sort out.
  5. sunbeast

    sunbeast Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    Anytime you ship something fragile there is the possibility of damage or loss during shipping, and the hassle of dealing with liability becomes much larger when it crosses borders and possibly multiple shipping services. Compared to many people I know, I've shipped/received relatively little music gear, but I've been on both sides of transactions where things were damaged during shipping on multiple occasions and it is no fun! There is also the potential problem of an unsatisfied buyer- it happens all the time even when you think you've described the condition of an item beyond misunderstanding. The closer a sale is to home, the less the hassle in pretty much any case...
  6. Clarkybass

    Clarkybass Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2010
    OK thanks chaps. However, I'm still not clear on one thing - if the non-US buyer is willing to pay the additional shipping and transaction (paypal etc) charges, are there further hassles involved? If its concerns about what might might go wrong with shipping or disputes at the end of the deal, surely they are just as likely to occur within the US as outside. Plus the feedback system presumably is a useful guide to how reasonable a potential buyer is (I have none although I have bought some things on TB, wish everyone would fill in the form ... but I do have 9 pages of feedback on UK's BassChat, all very positive).
  7. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    People do not want to fill out the Customs paperwork to ship internationally. It takes time and is not second nature for most people so they make it out to be more difficult than it really is. People these days want everything as easy as possible and not have any extra work:confused:LMAO:cool:
  8. Clarkybass

    Clarkybass Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2010
    Understood! I guess in future I can always ask a US TB seller whether they would ship internationally, even if they state CONUS only. After all, if I'm the only buyer in town then that extra hassle might suddenly not seem so onerous :D
  9. I've done this for most of my classified listings, and here's why. I ship mostly using my brother's work place where he gets a crazy good discount (like 52% less then if I shipped out of the local UPS Store), but that only applies to lower 48/CUNUS destinations. And I post my adds to include my estimated shipping costs: "$XXX - Shipped". Sometimes I lose a few bucks in my guess, and I eat it. Once or twice I've refunded the buyer if my estimate was over. If you ask nicely, and are patient, cooperative, and willing to pay all charges above my original estimate, I'll ship anywhere. I guess, just ask the seller, they may be willing to work with you.
  10. bassie12


    Aug 23, 2008
    I always offer to pay extra shipping, as I live in Hawaii. But, apparently, to some folks Hawaii isn't part of the states and our US dollars are somehow different from the lower 48 - which isn't accurate. Hawaii is further south than all of you. :) Go figure.
  11. Stranger Danger

    Stranger Danger Feel Like A Stranger

    Jan 3, 2010
    I always say CONUS for the reasons stated above but I have sold to buyers in other countries if they:
    a) Pay the additional shipping
    b) Pay their own custom fees and duties that may be applicable
    c) Have good TB feedback
    d) Are willing to be patient in getting the item
  12. sandmangeck


    Jul 2, 2007
    I've got no problem doing international deals.
  13. I got burned once with extra duties and taxes when I shipped an item I sold to Canada. It ended up costing me an extra $40 that FedEx charged to my account and I had to pay. IMO there are so many extra hassles with paperwork, etc in shipping international that it's just not worth messing with.
  14. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    I see no problem with wanting things as easy as possible... if you pass up a sale, it's on you.
  15. That seems a little strange to me. All import duties & taxes are due & payable by the purchaser not the vendor on shipments into Canada. I've paid those fees to UPS on any purchases from here & EBay even though the shipping costs were prepaid (added to my payment to the seller).
  16. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    I call shenanigans on this whole thing. You have Geddy Lee as your icon, but you don't want the hassle of shipping to Canada?

    That would be like if I had Richard Burton as my icon, and I wouldn't ship to graveyards.
  17. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    I usually have no problem shippng to many countries. I don't have a problem spending the extra 2 minutes to fill out customs forms. USPS, Fed Ex, and UPS all have calculators for international shipping, labeling, and you can even print up customs documents.
  18. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Most sellers on here aren't businesses.
  19. It's a funny thing, this whole CONUS only business. Based on the last...oh, at least 5 or 6 transactions that I've done buying things from the US (including amps and pedals), the difference in shipping cost was less than $5. I always offer to cover it, but often the seller says its no big deal. Regardless, I think its always reasonable and good etiquette to make sure any "above and beyond" shipping fees over what the seller was expecting or accounting for are covered. On my end when I ship to the US, again its always been at or under $5 difference.

    None of my shippers have ever had to pay any duties or taxes, which makes sense - duties and taxes are the responsibility of the recipient, not the shipper, because they are a cost associated with the item coming into my country (Canada). The only *possible* exceptions to this are when you deal with couriers, who do all sort of strange things with their fees and costs. This is why I never use couriers anymore, and I also ask anyone who sells to me to also not use couriers. I've been charged on my end as much as $35 on a pedal valued at around $100 for a "brokerage" fee from a courier. I will though note that in that case, the shipper paid nothing extra on their end. Another thing worth noting here is that between Canada and the US, we have "free trade" on items made within our respective countries, so there should never be any duties on items made in either country when they go back and forth. Again, if the item was made in someplace like Germany and I was bringing it into Canada, *I* would pay the Canadian duties associated with the item, and of course the federal sales tax. The seller pays nothing.

    With Paypal, again I don't believe there is much in the way of fees there, unless people are not understanding exchange rates. If someone pays me in USD, they pay no fees for it, and if they receive money in USD from me, again there are no additional fees there (outside of regular Paypal transaction fees). Its actually Canadians who regularly get screwed by Paypal, as even when the Canadian dollar has been worth more than the American, Paypal's exchange rate was upside down. Its worth noting that one place where there can be fees is if you are dealing with something like a cheque that came from another country, but who on earth sends cheques to pay for things nowadays?

    As far as paperwork goes, when I ship to the USA, and when I talk to people who ship to me from the US, it involves writing about 2 words extra on a sticker that goes on the package - "instrument pedal" to describe the contents - along with identifying a value (e.g. $100). That's it. I personally don't see this as any sort of extra hassle, but to each their own.

    All in all, I think that the issue is more that people are reluctant to do things they aren't comfortable with or know a lot about, plus it doesn't help to hear about isolated "horror stories" where things went badly in ways that are not typical...but I have set to have a seller who after dealing with me didn't realize that its actually easy and seamless to mail things to Canada. However, I will still make and discuss offers with ads that are listed "CONUS", and try to do some education around how easy it is. I can only think of one or two sellers who were blatantly rude or unreasonable when it came to not even discussing what could be done, even when I offered to cover any extra costs.

    In general its a good community here on TB and most people are reasonable about these sorts of matters, especially when you take the time and effort to share information and discuss things with them, so hopefully you'll find that to be the case as well.
  20. Robert B

    Robert B Somewhere under the rainbow Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2000
    Wadsworth, OH, USA
    For me the primary obstacle would be seeking satisfaction if I was ripped off in a deal. It seems to me I'd have zero recourse trying to seek any legal remedy.

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