Parcel forwarding companies have become more and more popular in recent years. It’s easy to see why. (Check my review here of 5 of the best)
With easy to signup and use services at a low cost, people all over the world can log in to the website of their provider (and in some cases via an app), and arrange for parcel delivery, no matter where they live.
It really is very convenient.
Anyway, here I have put together an ultimate FAQ list for those that are either using a parcel forwarding service or are interested in doing so.
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What are parcel services used for?
Global parcel services are mostly used for online shopping.
Say you live in Germany and you want to purchase an item from an American eCommerce store that doesn’t deliver worldwide.
You can simply utilize a parcel delivery service to assist you. They will provide you with an American address that you can use for your order.
Once the item arrives at that address, the forwarding company will organize delivery to your home address.
Will parcel delivery companies deliver to any country?
Although it does depend on the service you signup for, the majority of parcel delivery firms will organize shipment to most countries around the world.
However, you should check the website of the service you are interested in to get a full list of what they offer.
Can I order items from any country and have them delivered to me?
This is where you will get less choice. If you are ordering an item from countries such as America, Europe, Australia it is likely that your parcel delivery service will be able to organize delivery from that region to your home address.
Less economically viable areas (in terms of eCommerce) will unlikely be catered for. Again, you should check the specifics of the service you are interested in for full details of this.
How much does it cost to have a US address to send my shopping?
This varies among the many service providers available. In the case of Shipito, you are given a US address immediately after free signup. You only pay once you start ordering, (they happen to be my favorite provider right now, based on price and a whole host of other reasons.)
What kind of security and ID checks are there to start using a parcel forwarding service?
Parcel forwarding services based in the USA often ask you to fill in Form 1583.
This is required by the USPS (United States Postal Service) for items where the forwarding company opens parcels before forwarding them to you.
In instances where you are asked to complete Form 1583, you will have to sign it and have your signature notarized by a public notary. You will also need to provide copies of your ID.
How soon after signing up can I start using the service?
Again, this is dependent on the service you use (and whether they ask for Form 1583 to be completed).
At the very least you should expect time for authentication and verification to take place. If a signup fee is required the transaction will also need to be cleared before you begin.
Can I ship packages to other addresses?
Most service providers have the ethos the more you order the better. (It is how they make money after all). Where you pay a small fee for each parcel processed you will be able to use your profile for multiple addresses.
However, with memberships that offer unlimited shipments based on an annual or monthly fee, the various end-point delivery addresses will be more restricted.
Will my account address ever change?
Account addresses can change, however, your service provider will inform you of this via email as well as within the dashboard login of your service.
It is obviously important to use the right address when ordering from an eCommerce store. Should you send it to the wrong address it will just be sent back to the retailer.
Are there any prohibited items I should be aware of?
Most providers adhere to national regulations when it comes to prohibited items in the post.
Common sense, as well as legal requirements, come into play here.
- Biological Objects
- Controlled Substances
- Compressed Air/Aerosols
- Flammable Objects
- Lithium Batteries not within a device
Your service provider will have a full list on their websites for clarification.
Can I choose the shipping service that the parcel forwarding company uses?
In most cases, a forwarding company will use more than one shipping service and will allow their customer to choose.
The difference obviously comes down to speed, price, and coverage.
The provider should give a breakdown of costs and shipping time dependant on the delivery service that you use, meaning that you can make a decision on a case-by-case basis.
I would recommend that you avoid a parcel delivery service that does not offer a choice in this area.
My items were confiscated by Customs, what now?
Forwarding companies take no responsibility when it comes to items being confiscated at customs.
In this scenario, customs will contact you, and you will need to sort the issue directly with them.
Confiscation normally happens when you have failed to declare items on your customs declaration, or the value has been mis-declared, or in instances where the item is prohibited.
A Delivery Duty Paid service will often eradicate any issues that can occur with customs.
If you have any other questions that I have missed, do not hesitate to send them across in the comments section below, and I will do my best to answer them.