Ask LH: What’s The Best Mail Forwarding Service For Online Shopping?

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Hi Lifehacker, Like many cashing in on the strength of the Australian dollar I have been making a lot of offshore purchases of late. The problem is the exorbitant shipping costs charged from the US, and the fact that many US retailers won’t ship offshore. So I have been looking at using a mail forwarding service, but there are a ton of options out there. Do you have recommendations on which way to go? Cheers, Shop Happy

Dear Shop Happy,

The topic of mail forwarding is one we’ve often visited at Lifehacker, especially given the dollar’s continuing strength, and there are a lot of options out there. Ones we have covered in the past include ComGateway, HopShopGo, PriceUSA and WorldPurchases.

I haven’t personally used any of these sites (since I get to travel to the US quite regularly for work, I concentrate on getting goods shipped to US hotels, though that brings its own challenges). As such, I don’t want to make a specific recommendation for an individual service.

The two key factors you need to bear in mind are the overall delivery charges, and whether the company in question supports the retailer you want to use. (Some will only work with a specific subset of stores.) As with most online shopping excursions, buying multiple goods may work out “cheaper” in terms of spreading the cost over a large number of items, but beware of ordering extra goods just to take advantage of that (a classic false economy).

One other important thing to remember is that some online stores have a blanket policy of not shipping goods to known mail forwarders. We’ve covered this issue in some detail before. If this happens, you’ll either have to use a mail forwarder which the store in question hasn’t noticed (which can be hard to work out in advance), or pursue a different strategy such as using a visiting relative or overseas friend.

If readers want to share their experience with individual forwarding companies, we’re all ears in the comments.

Cheers
Lifehacker

Got your own question you want to put to Lifehacker? Send an email to [email protected], and include ‘Ask Lifehacker’ in the subject line.

Comments

  • I’ve only ever used PriceUSA, and having nothing but good things to say about it. As long as you’re not ordering some tiny, cheap item it works out pretty good. The minimum fee may be a put-off for cheap items though.
    If I absolutely *had* to give PriceUSA some criticism, it would be that the website is very basic, and that there is perhaps a little too much communication regarding ordering. Don’t get me wrong – too much communication is FAR better than too little, but perhaps if they had a (optional) login system where you could track orders it would mean less work for everyone involved.
    That said, I have every intention of continuing to use their service as it’s pretty fantastic.

  • I’ve been buying my Nexus One phone, Amazon Kindle DX and HD camcoder using Shipito service. All three packages were shipped very quickly with FedEx to Australia on the same day when they arrived to them. Amazon Kindle DX ordered on Monday was delivered to me on Friday. It costs only US $8.50 per shipment + plus FedEx charge. They also have low cost air mail delivery, which is good for low cost items, but I didn’t used it so far.

    http://www.kozlenko.info/blog/2010/01/18/how-to-buy-nexus-one-phone-if-you-are-in-australia/

  • Used to be happy with Shipitto.
    However lately
    1) Their consolidation option cost WAY more than their individuals shipping price put together for all packages ( and they then wouldn’t let me “unconsolidate” the packages – even though it was only an estimate!!)
    2) They lost a package of mine and didn’t care.

    Needless to say I’m not impressed and am leaving the shipitto service.

    • Same, I used ShipiTo for a few months to get my packages sent to Canada.
      But now I use US Delivered because I found their rates and customer support are just too great.

  • There are many mail forwarding services which you can find on internet. It depends on your experience with one agency or more. I think mail forwarding from USA to anywhere in the world becomes really easy with some agencies which provides these services in affordable prices. In my opinion USAMail1.com is the best.

  • Here’s a workaround I use……………
    When you sign up with BPM, you get local shipping addresses in 6 countries.
    Drop points include: USA, UK, Germany, France, Belgium and Luxembourg. You then use these for buying from whom you want, regardless of where the seller ships or not.
    You then have all your purchases combined into one, even from the different countries, and use the parcel mail forwarding service to have everything sent home in only one shipment, wherever you are in the world!
    Membership for renting these addresses and using the service is only 5€ per month.
    You can check it out on http://www.bpm-lux.com

  • I recently starting using another company call AIEUS. I talked to their representative online before joining and they seem to be nice. The rates are good as well. I’ll drop a more detail comment after I receive my first delivery.

  • I currently use vykingship.com and they’re very reliable! I buy a lot of fashion items (clothes, shoes) and it was all tax-free!!! Customer service is quick and good (I often request for extra services). Shipping fees are very reasonable. I’ve tried but stopped using shipitto because their customer service is horrible, and a friend who tried bongo had a problem with lost packages.

  • I’ve been using myukmailbox for a while and i’m satisfied with their mail forwarding services. I would not say that they are much cheaper than other companies, but at the customer support they are the best. Before signing with them a membership i got detailed answers on all my questions and even advice on UK shopping.

  • So the Australian Dollar is not working in your favour any more but you can still pick up some great deals shopping in the USA using a parcel forwarding service. Picking the right parcel forwarding service is a bit of minefield and you can easily end up being stung with extra fees.

    I’ve created a league table to make it easy for Australian shoppers to compare the cost and pick the cheapest parcel forwarding service

    http://usaparcel-forwarding.com/index.php/parcel-forwarding-services-comparison/

  • Hi all. My sister is a heavy online shopper and she’s thinking of using HopShopGo. I can’t say that I shop in the US stores very often, but I had a nice experience with Parcl.com (https://www.parcl.com). I heard about it on ProductHunt. That time I needed to order special equipment for 3D printing, which I found only in the US. The process was not very clear from the start, but then I received several delivery offers from people living in the US, and I figured out how it works. Forwarder gave me his address for free, reinforced the package and lowered customs value. It took 24 calendar days from the moment when I purchased my items to the moment when I received the package. So if you want to try something new, try Parcl.

  • Try bpm-lux.com as an alternative. Forwarding from the US is not always cheap, but never had any major problems with them, and their support team usually answers within a couple of hours. Also you get addresses in other countries for the same price.

  • Hi,

    I live in the UK and shop online all the time. Many of the places I order from do not ship
    overseas. I use a company called Shipville to get all my items shipped to me. I have used
    some of the other companies that offer this service, but have found Shipville to be the best.
    Hope this helps.

    Regards,
    Chris

  • I have just been scammed by stackry out of $300 USD worth of goods. They put a block on my credit card and did not get back to me. I called their company several times and the customer service rep advised me that they do not throw away pacakges. After i got a new credit card they told me they have disposed of my package!! and i even consolidated it and was dealing with technical issues on their website. BEAWARE! STACKRY IS A FRAUD COMPANY AND SHOULD BE REPORTED TO THE POLICE! STACKRY IS A SCAM!!!

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