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What's your experience with USPS international first class mail?

51 Replies
hsr said

USPS international first class mail is annoying. I sent a small box to India (New Delhi) 10 weeks ago and it is not yet delivered. Initially they said it will take between 2-4 weeks to reach. Tracking has not updated after 2nd day and the local USPS branch has no information on my package. Same is with usps-help number – 1-800-ASK-USPS. They simply give same 1st 2 day tracking information and refuse to tell anything beyond with justification that first class mail does not provide tracking service. They even didn’t confirm if it is on-way or lost altogether.
I used USPS first class because it is cheap and I didn’t bother waiting for 1 month. But seems like there is much longer wait time if not lost. My experience is frustrating and I will not use this service again.

NAMEERA said

Hello,

I am Nameera I was just browsing for how long does it take to reach the first class mail internationally and happened to see your post, I sent a post too to India, Hyderabad. Just wondering how long it took for your package to reach.

Thanks!

Hi Nameera/hsr,

Did your packages make it? How much time it took?
I mailed a couple of phones in one packet to India. It has been 4 weeks and it hasn’t made it there. I used $15 USPS international first class mail.

Will it ever make it?
It’ll be a loss of $600 for me…
Thanks.

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Zeks said

I think that’s what Verdant uses to ship overseas. One annoying thing is that it has no tracking. Other than that – I only had 1 of my packages seriously delayed (of maybe 5). Took 2.5 months to arrive instead of usual 1 month

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I guess sometimes it has to do with the postal service of the destination country.
Recently I sent a tea book from China by EMS to Russia. International EMS is supposed to take 3-7 days, and Russia is right next to China. But it took more than a month :-o This really shocked me. And EMS has immediate online tracking, which showed it did arrive in Russia in a few days and then barely moved. :-o My mailing agent says it happens a lot to EMS mails from China to Russia.
Anybody else had experience sending or receiving things from another country to Russia by express mail? Even my USPS regular mail parcel to Russia sometimes arrive within one month (that’s pretty good for regular mail), although sometimes it does take much longer.

Zeks said

From my experience – most of the time it takes any package to reach someone in Russia is spent in either of 3 places:
1) in customs. They are REALLY slow here. Sometimes it takes a week for them to process the mail.
2) Region’s sorting center . Some centers are better but sometimes one can just forget about the mail and it takes some serious work to even make them acknowledge that it’s in their storehouse.
3) Post office at destination. Post offices are largely underpaid and it can take up to 2 weeks between package arriving and end customer receiving notice of that.

Thanks for the information! That’s good to know. So far it’s just delay and no loss yet.

Zeks said

Yep, that’s the only consolation I guess:) They don’t seem to be losing tea packages. At least I’ve ordered tea from abroad more than 15 times already and no package went missing.

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Esch Dog said

I only read like half of these, way way off- base on first class international tracking from USPS. The tracking number is automatic and free unlike others USA shipments. The USPS tracks it to our BORDERS, that is it, thats all they legally can do. Every package I have ever shipped tracks to Chicago and ends. There is a very simple reason for this. You only see International tracking if THE RECEIVING COUNTRY’s Postal system enters our US number into their system. PERIOD. So as you can guess this is extremely random and completely up to the recieving country. Many may not have the technology to match up with our system, others can care less probably. So if you ship first class international and the tracking stops at our border, blame Italy for example.
I have sold on ebay a long time, my store survives through the dry US times because of it. I was initially really worried and would watch these shipments. I have shipped packages to all the first world countries that use ebay pretty much and a lot of South American from Chile to Bolivia etc. In years maybe 3 packages have given me trouble out of 1,000 roughly. BUT, knowing this I do rarely ship items over 100 dollar value, knowing I could lose them. I also do not bother with anything over 4lbs if at all possible because the rates go off the charts at that point.
I have had better luck percentage wise over the years with First Class Mail International that the good old USA buyers, believe me. International buyers have never complained about the item like USA buyers. The only package I ever remember was an Italy one that never showed up supposedly. There is a certain level of gamble going First Class due to no REAL tracking so I do go with a 50 dollar top on most items that go global for me.
Once it leaves the USA its not the USPS who has control of the tracking number however, people should know this before throwing the US Postal Service under the bus. I learned this gradually through talking to the clerks at my office.
LASTLY, through experience international buyers will freak out on you there package has not arrived. TELL THEM to go to their local post office and see if they are holding a package for them, and they do not know it. In Europe this has happend a ton of times, I have no idea why. A US postal clerk told me to tell them that, and bingo, they got their package. First class international has saved my ebay big time. Australia must be booming I ship a lot to them over the past 3 years. A common item here in USA no one cares about can really do well.

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Esch Dog said

Lastly, First Class International is a bit of a lottery in theory , but over time it turned out to be a winner. USA buyers, much more picky and difficult I believe because they buy on impulse without reading descriptions, while with International they tend to read and be better aware of what they are buying, plus the shipping costs more so they may read more closely due to that.

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I prefer shipping all my stuff through the post office. Most of the times it’s cheaper and it supports my dad’s job:) I’ve always received/sent my packages successfully. I love the click and ship option when I can do it. Although it seems like I’ll have to start going to the post office for sending out tea swap samples b/c it would be too cost prohibitive to send 2-3 little baggies in a big bubble mailer. I love the post office:)

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I mailed a couple of phones in one packet to India. It has been 4 weeks and it hasn’t made it there. I used $15 (cheapo me !!) USPS international first class mail.

Will it ever make it?
It’ll be a loss of $600 for me…

Zeks said

FCI is quite slow.Dunn oabout India but 2 months are not uncommon for Russia for example. The customer might file a dispute though…

Thanks Zeks, hope that is the case. Otherwise my 2 samsung galaxy s3 phones would be lost. Bought used ones and used $15 shipping….now worried…..

My relatives confirmed from Indian Post Office that it hasn’t reached India. It’s still in US.

colter said

You item shows its in the USA because all you have is a customs number that is not a tracking number. you will only get a tracking number on express. Therefore you will only see where the item was before it left the USA. I tell my buyers 1-2 month delivery. I put that on my ebay page so if people file a dispute of slow shipping I am covered because of what I wrote.

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to people who sell Tea on ebay, this IS about Tea, and about using the internet as a platform from which to inform as many people as possible. First Gingko, I would love to speak to your friend regarding a class action law suit. You are correct, people are knowingly scamming eBay sellers, but worse, eBay knows it and won’t make changes to their policy. I’ve vowed never to sell on ebay again.

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colter said

I am an ebayer and I ship out of country. First, Do no ship first class! I did and I “lost” alot of items. I tried priority and I lost items but the percentage went down alot. Here is the key: if you want to ship do not ship to Russia! their customs are horrible! they are unreliable at the moment. until shipping changes I am not shipping there.
First class and priority mail you only get a CUSTOMS NUMBER which is a number that will only show where the item is until it goes out of country and after that it will be blank. if you get a unauthorized payment you can give paypal your customs number. keep your customs receipt for that reason! you will be covered if this happens.
If you want to be covered 100 percent get express!

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i recently buy some thing from ebay the seller lives in usa and im live in indonesia,the seller send the package using usps international first class mail the estimated delivery says that my item will be arrive betweeen 8-27 nov 2013, but today on the 13 nov 2013 when i track my item the tracking info is still on the pre shipment,and only says electronic shipping info received. im so worry because this is my first purchase on ebay, so what should i do, this is normal??pleas help me, thanks

I’ve bought a lot of tea from china and until it reaches US soil it says “Pre shipment”. From there it’s only a matter of days till it arrives. I’m sure you’re fine. You can also go to the Indonesia post website (they’ll generally have an English translated page) and track it within the country and see if it’s left the country yet. It can take a long time for it to move around within the country of origin. I’ve had it take almost a month just to leave China. Then it gets to NY or CA and I’ll get it within a few days. Depends how long customs takes. Good luck!

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