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cteno4

SAL Shipping

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cteno4

There has been discussion of issues with SAL shipping here and there on the forum in the past. Some folks have had bad experiences with SAL shipping in the past, but i've found a lot of it has not been SAL from Japan, but shipping small package rate from countries (not japan) to other countries. so its a bit comparing apples to oranges, i just want to look at SAL shipping from Japan apples.

 

Has anyone had lost SAL packages from Japan to other countries from known hobby shops, ebay sellers, relatives, etc where you are reasonably sure it was sent and the address and shipping was correctly done? I would love to hear folks experiences both good and bad doing SAL from Japan specifically. things like

 

- time

- damage

- lost package

- customs flags

 

I present this as im trying to figure out over all what the quality of SAL shipping is from Japan. Your experiences and observations would be most welcome!

 

I put this in this forum as it seemed the most related to suppliers with the shipping of stuff from japan, mods please move it if you feel it should be elsewhere.

 

cheers

 

jeff

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Darklighter

No problems so far (after approx. 45 SAL shipments to Germany).

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dpkworldwide

I've been using SAL from Japan since I first shipped some personal items home (from Kyoto to Los Angeles) after a study abroad program in 2006. I've purchased repeatedly from Plaza Japan and numerous other vendors, and nothing has ever been lost or even damaged. Not only that, but I typically receive it in 7-10 calendar days--one time in less than 5! (However, that's probably due to the fact that I live 2 blocks away from a major LA-area regional USPS postage sorting facility, so my mail arrives faster in general.)

 

This certainly makes me quite confident in SAL services which is great since I'm also a notorious cheapskate who'd rather buy more trains than higher-priced shipping!  :grin

 

Your mileage may vary...

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Mr Frosty

I am quite sure one of my packages from Hobby Search has gone AWOL. It was posted end of April and a later one has since arrived. Fortunately, it was low value (£20) so I will take the hit knowing I am still up compared to EMS shipping over several parcels.

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cteno4

I am quite sure one of my packages from Hobby Search has gone AWOL. It was posted end of April and a later one has since arrived. Fortunately, it was low value (£20) so I will take the hit knowing I am still up compared to EMS shipping over several parcels.

 

frosty,

 

bummer on the awol package.

 

was that shipped to england? how many sals total for you and all others ok?

 

sorry just trying to get some numbers going.

 

thanks mucho

 

jeff

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JR 500系

I've had 3 shipments from Japan to Sillypore in SAL so far, 2 from Plaza Japan, 1 from an ebay seller.

 

No problems so far!

 

Items arrived nicely, but can take quite long. For Plaza Japan, the order was made into 2 SAL parcels. One arrived about 5-7 days after order was made, while the other took a good 15-17 days before arriving. I panicked abit for the 2nd parcel, contacted Plaza Japan, and the parcel arrived the next day to my delight...

 

I'll like to try more SALs, probably on train set, but limitations are there for larger items like tracks, starter sets and structures. EMS remains very fast and efficient, but expensive.

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cteno4

Jr

 

Yes SAL can be variable like that as its shipped air mail when there is extra space on the plane. Small packages have gotten to me in dc in as litt le as 4 days, while a larger box took 3.5 weeks. Most packages seem to take right around 2 weeks to dc. 2kg is the max for small package sal so that's why place split the order on you. Stuff over 2kg have to go ems. It was a fortune to ship my 1/144 Kumamoto castle model, but luckily at was a while back when the yen was lower!

 

Thanks

 

Jeff

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keitaro

between nov 2010 and now i have had 34 sal orders.

 

Only issues i had were

 

1 took 7 weeks to come.

1 was mailed to the wrong address. Luckily returned by receiver and resent to me (HWJAPAN)

 

last one wasn't sal fault though it was hw placed another customers address some how....

 

Never had any come damaged in sal either well no different to the dent or two you occasionaly see on the boxes sal or EMS alike.

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Mr Frosty

Jeff: Yes, shipped to England. I have had 6 packages from HS and another 4 from Plaza. All but one were SAL. the other was EMS. If shipping locos, I would go with EMS due to the high value though.

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cteno4

frosty,

 

Does EMS or SAL particularly trigger customs charges in england on packages from japan?

 

well the idea of self insurance is that by the time you have shipped 10 or so packages SAL you have already saved the cost of a train set so you are basically self insured at that point from the savings of not doing ems. so if you continue to ship sal and nothing happens your pile of money saves starts to dwarf the price of a shipment if lost and you can just use the excess buy more trains! If you do loose a package then you can think about if you want to keep taking the risk and self insuring or not. self insurance also allows you to pay more to replace something that you cant easily replace, where as ems insurance would just pay you the price paid, not the replacement cost.

 

cheers,

 

jeff

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ia909

One SAL went missing from HIT-Japan to the U.K.

 

The firm was very good though and refunded the full price very quickly.

 

Thing was, because delivery times can be variable, I only realised the parcel was missing when a later order arrived with the earlier one still outstanding.

 

No problems with HS or Plaza Japan (fingers crossed). HS in particular deserve a mention for their exceptional packaging even for a single pack of Tomix containers.

 

On the question of customs charges in the U.K. (and I think this applies across the EU generally), model trains are zero rated for customs (i.e. import) duty. However, we still have to pay VAT (at 20% in the U.K.), on anything with a value over £15 (say US $24), and that is supposed to include postage costs. Also, if you have VAT owing, the Royal Mail charge an £8 "handling fee" for sending your money to the Revenue. There's still some question on the legality of that action.

 

So I usually place several small orders a month and have SAL shipping. The very much higher EMS costs would only be covered by big savings on high value orders.

 

Best

 

Ian

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cteno4

wow nice of them to refund the full price! how many SAL shipments do you think you have total so far?

 

yes ive had some orders leap frog others!

 

nasty that the 20%VAT gets charged on the shipping as well, that really hurts with EMS!

 

jeff

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Guest ___

I wont go in to details on my SAL lost packages as you have heard it all before Jeff. But will close on saying I trust Congress slightly more than I trust SAL.

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cteno4

Aaron,

 

You are the only person so far ive bumped into with horror stories with SAL, but thats one of the reasons i did this thread to see if i could find more or patterns or other issues.

 

I could not remember if any were lost with yours or not, but sounds like some did. i know a few got crushed but those were in those thin plaza japan boxes that ive had crushed as well in shipping.

 

Im wondering if it was on your local end the issues happened as we are only 45 miles apart, but im in a big burb distribution and i think yours is more rural.

 

would be fine to just list the number that came, damaged or lost as well here as this is where i was hoping to get all this info documented in one place.

 

thanks

 

jeff

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Martijn Meerts

Only use SAL twice, both from HS, and both arrived just fine. I tend to go with EMS though, because even though I'm very patient, I hate waiting for packages, especially when I know they've been shipped =)

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ia909

Jeff - In total I've had 20 SAL shipments from Japan to the U.K. between January 2012 and now, so with one missing, a 95% delivery rate.

 

Yes the VAT is a real irritant especially as the tax-free threshold is so low. I know some states in the US will charge sales tax, but not all do, so yet again, Europeans are paying a fifth more for exactly the same goods as Americans.

 

I guess the only point to note is that the tiny amount of Japanese stuff available from retailers in the U.K. is usually priced about the same as importing directly from Japan.

 

Best

 

Ian

 

   

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cteno4

Ian,

 

thanks for the info. do you see sal trigger the vat more than ems? some have comment that all their sals get vat charged but for some reason many ems in Britain dont get the vat charge.

 

yes sales tax here varies by state and even city and county can tack on some more. the currently are not collected much at all from out of state (or country) mail order, but there is a big push on by many states with the highest taxes to have a way to collect it if you do mail order into a state with sales tax. its been a log battle, dont clobber the internet, but also its driving sales out of state. its a mess.

 

luckily there is no duty on importing from japan (sure there might be at some high limit) to the us.

 

cheers

 

jeff

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ia909

Hi Jeff

 

Interesting to read about SAL vs EMS and the VAT charge particularly as it's somewhat counter-intuitive.

 

The postage method be it SAL or EMS shouldn't, by itself, have a bearing on whether VAT is charged as the rules apply irrespective of how goods are imported into the UK / EU generally. In the EU, postage charges are deemed to be part of the "value" and therefore should be added to the value of the actual goods (as stated on the customs sticker on the parcel) to determine whether the VAT threshold has been reached (and bearing in mind that's only $24, it doesn't take much)!

 

Purely from a tax perspective therefore, as EMS has a higher cost ("value") than SAL, it should mean goods sent by EMS are more likely to be stopped and marked as being liable to VAT. So to read many EMS parcels don't get charged is surprising, especially as I'd assume that they would be used for higher value goods anyway because of the tracking and insurance that comes with EMS. On anything less than GBP15 I'll always take the risk on SAL, and if I want something that warrants EMS, I'll save up and put a bulk order in knowing that there will be charges but the savings made at Japanese prices will off-set those extra taxes.

 

As ever there are parcels that make it through. Earlier in the year I had four hand built HOn3 turnouts sent over from the US, (Cream City Turnouts - exceptional quality), total value well over $100, came through without being liable for VAT, yet in the same week, a $32 value parcel from Walthers was stopped and I ended having to pay GBP 3.00 VAT and a "handling charge" of GBP 8.00 - total say $17, more than 50% of the value of the bridge kit I'd bought.

 

My experience suggests that there are four factors in play - firstly the description and value of the goods as stated by the seller on the customs declaration fixed to the parcel, secondly how well the value is checked, (i.e. someone looks at the currency exchange rate), thirdly whether the operative can be bothered to mark the parcel as having VAT due and finally time of year - at Christmas given the volume of parcels, there's a much greater chance of things slipping through the net.

 

The only thing that I can think of that might have a bearing is that SAL appears to handled by Royal Mail International whilst EMS goes through Parcelforce (which is actually a subsidiary of Royal Mail). It shouldn't make a difference but maybe it does.

 

Of course in all this, the really annoying point is that instead of modelling British railways that would be nice and easy and where none of the above problems arise, not only have I accepted the challenge of modelling a place I've never been to and is 6,000 miles away, but I feel being I'm financially penalised by having a hobby that broadens my horizons, gives me a greater understanding of a different culture and allows me to make acquaintences across the globe. These traits should be encouraged and we should be paid as ambassadors to do this!!

 

Best

 

Ian

     

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cteno4

Ian,

 

I agree it's counterintuitive, but that was the experience of Clem in Canada (I may have said GB at one point, if so my boo boo).

 

What has been your own overall experience with vat abs sal vs ems?

 

It is an ouch the vat is charged to the shipping (especially ems!) sales taxes here in the us are not charged to shipping and handling, just sale price.

 

Also always good to hear how local post works in other parts of the world as I send thing to folks all around the world now and then.

 

Cheers

 

Jeff

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ia909

Jeff

 

I only use SAL for under GBP 15- so that's below the threshold. For goods over GBP 15-, I use EMS, but I tend to order larger values (to make the VAT and handling charge worthwhile), and its the higher value that attracts the postal authorities rather than the postage method.

 

So overall, with EMS I tend to pay, but occassionally you'll get away with it - may be 20% of the time.

 

Best

 

Ian

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dpkworldwide

New anecdotal evidence just in:

 

I received my B Train Shorty E5 sets from Hobby Search yesterday, 27 June; they were posted on 15 June, meaning 12 days transit time which is about average for me. Once again, I'm in the greater Los Angeles, CA, USA area very near to a major USPS distribution center. I've received SAL items in anywhere from 5 days to just under a month, and nothing has ever gone missing. This most recent parcel was in perfect shape too.

 

Looking back over my history I think I've had probably two dozen SAL parcels from either Hobby Search, Plaza Japan or Hobby World Japan. I've also used SAL extensively with vendors selling used books (well over 50 SAL parcels) over the past 8 years.

 

Hopefully that will aid you in your quest for information and opinions.

 

---dpk

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cteno4

dpk,

 

thanks mucho! great data to add to the pot! appreciate it.

 

jeff

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linkey

I have had two SAL items that have gone missing which they were ebay sale items so I was very lucky to get my money back. Cause they were SAL shipped it, they were not tracked but they somehow managed to get onto the Australian shores (been longer than 2 months) which the post office was saying it never arrived but the seller did state and I had the documents to prove they were shipped out.

 

A big battle had begun with Australia Post with their slogan we sometimes deliver, other times we keep :P

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keitaro

haha anyway i think this thread has gone for too long It's mail and shit happens.

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