How Adagio Justifies $30+ shipping to Canada
Hey! So I emailed Adagio to see if they would consider revising their shipping policy as the way it stands now it is really expensive. To buy 3 oz of tea, they want to charge me $27 in shipping. What?
So I told them that there is a big demand for Adagio teas (especially fandom blends!) but the cost is prohibitive, especially when you compare what Harney & Sons, Butiki, Della Terra, Teavana and DAVIDsTea charge. (Which is a range from $15-$5). Adagio is a big company – they should be able to do something similar as a starting shipping price, then increase as needed depending on the size of the order.
This is the response I rec’d:
Thanks for your note. We formerly relied on Parcel Post to ship our Canadian orders. Unfortunately, this was a slow service that did not provide tracking details, resulting in many lost packages. We now use Priority Mail international, a faster delivery option that also provides tracking details, allowing you to easily view the progress of your order from our warehouse to you.
The rates for Priority Mail service to Canada are published here. (http://pe.usps.com/text/Imm/ce_003.htm#ep2041503)
While being more expensive for shipments of only a pound or two, the increase in cost is very gradual as the weight increases. As a result, the cost of shipping five pounds is only slightly higher than the cost of shipping a few ounces. We hope you may take advantage of this by ordering less frequently, but in greater quantity.
Please visit us again soon, and let us know if we can be of any further assistance."
Now, what do you guys think?
(And sorry if this is the wrong category – I thought it should go under tea company since I’m singling Adagio out)
It seems to be a policy that discourages new customers. An existing customer might be willing to buy in large volume, but I doubt a new one would. As well personally I would prefer to wait a little longer and pay less. Tracking is nice but I am unwilling to pay a 10-15 dollar premium for it. As well most of my tea purchases are under $35.00. I would prefer not to risk having to pay custom fees or taxes so I tend to keep my international purchases to a lower cost. So I doubt I would be purchasing from them unless I was part of a group purchase.
I agree! It really discourages new customers.
And for old customers you’d have to spend about $100+ on tea for the weight/size of your package to approach the $30 range for shipping. (I believe).
Not necessarily – postage is based on weight of the whole package, not just the tea. When I post a 15g (approx .5 oz) tea sample with minimal packaging, the parcel usually weighs in at 2 – 3 oz total.
Then Priority Mail isn’t the right option. I just ordered from Mandala, and they charge actual shipping costs. I did order quite a bit of tea – so it is a “heavier” order, but shipping was about 15.00 and I got tracking. So if Mandala can mail a package from the US to me in Canada for 15.00 with tracking – Adagio can too, they either don’t want to, or they haven’t found the right option… IMHO
I also get swap packages from US Steepsters, and they provide me with tracking numbers. Those packages seem to have 10-15.00 worth of postage on them – depending on weight. It can be done.
Personally I won’t pay 30.00 for shipping – I don’t how good the tea is.
That’s exactly what I was trying to tell them. It doesn’t seem to follow the actual price, especially when I can swap with people in the US and they pay at most $10.
Obviously if I were to order buttloads of tea, I could expect the cost to go up, but it’d sure be nice to have the OPTION of ordering just a few to try them out. (Or on impulse). I just don’t know enough about how US shipping works to see why they feel they are paying close to the actual cost when they’re not.
I order from Verdant quite a bit and while I don’t normally “pay” shipping – free over 40.00 (?) – I KNOW their boxes don’t have 30.00 worth of postage on them. I look at postage on my shipments and have NEVER seen anything close to that amount.
I wouldn’t pay 30.00 for ANY order, even 5 lbs of tea. Not going to happen….
Dexter-First Class International stops at 4lbs, so if you were buying 5lbs of tea (provided there is no free shipping option), you would likely be paying $30+.
Butiki, and that might be true. :)) But if shipping came up at 30.00 I would “play” with the order looking for a way to lessen it. Take stuff out to lighten package, add stuff to meet free threshold etc. Not that I’ve ever ordered 5lbs of tea, regardless – for me personally I wouldn’t pay 30.00 shipping for tea. Thanks for your perspective. Helps us if we understand how the system works so that we can try and work with it to make it affordable for all of us. :))
No, nope, never… I will never pay this kind of shipping charge, no matter how great their teas are or what sort of explanation for such charge is. Not. Going. To. Happen.
There is a lot of other fish in a sea.
Regular First Class Mail used to not provide tracking numbers until somewhat recently, now shipping to certain countries including Canada will have tracking numbers which has made it a lot more safe to ship to Canada. Before it was a much bigger risk. Still, to other countries it is a big risk especially where customs can take forever. I just heard back from a customer from Brazil that mentioned his package took 3 months to arrive. Oddly enough, priority packages arrive in the same amount of time as First Class.
Thank you for that. I’ll reply back to them and ask if they would consider going back to Regular Class Mail for Canadian orders. I just know I’d rather buy some cool fannish teas from Adagio than buy from Teavana or Davids (they are similar in quality in my head).
You’ve got your own class btw. :P
Well, you never know. Good luck. :)
I feel like a lot of companies fail to see the value of offering reasonable Canadian shipping options, which probably works to our advantage since we have a large and loyal Canadian following. We take a bit of a hit from the free shipping option, since in the US we only usually lose about $6 per order, where Canadian shipping can often cost us $15 (for the $75 range of tea) but in the end it is well worth it since it keeps our customers happy.
What bothers me, is companies offer free spring to the US but you have to pay if you are in Canada. I am essentially paying for my shipping and the shipping of the US customers.
A long time ago I started an order online with adagio then cancelled after I found out how much shipping work be. They sent me a $5 dollar coupon code via email to encourage me to finish the order, but with $5 off it still doesn’t make the shipping worth while. I told them so, and I got the same response back as Cavo.
I really doubt that tea companies are using international orders to subsidize their domestic shipping costs. They’ve probably worked domestic shipping into their price structure and have international customers essentially pay the shipping costs that are not covered in the price of the teas.
But if the cost is worked into the price structure, then international customers are paying for the shipping i the price of the tea AND eternally in the shipping, aren’t they? :| I hadn’t really considered that before.
I’m not an expert on how tea company proprietors run their businesses, so I can’t say for certain what they do. I’m just positing that maybe they don’t actually charge you twice for shipping.
Sending packages internationally is expensive, period. There’s not much anyone can do about it, short of a major technological breakthrough or the unification of the US and Canada. If it makes you feel any better, just remember that you don’t have to pay customs on stuff that you order from across the border.
Sometimes you do have to pay customs, it all depends how much you order, how the customs official is feeling that day, etc.
I think in regards to shipping charges, it just seems weird to me adagio, as well as other companies, charge so much when some companies charge less (ie.verdant, Butiki, harney, etc). I don’t know if the companies that are charging less are taking a hit on the shipping or not though. It just seems there is no common practice.
I mean, I think it depends on how the company manages customs, &c. Legitimately, it is a lot more expensive to ship things internationally. Besides having to pay two different carriers (US and Canada), as mentioned below, there are import taxes.
My boyfriend used to live in the Netherlands and I used to ship him things, as gifts, whose postage was substantially more expensive than domestic shipping, but not too bad, and since they were below a certain value and were gifts did not require import taxes. One day he and some friends decided to order some T-Shirts and send them to me and have me bring them on my next visit. But they then saw that shipping internationally wasn’t that much more expensive and decided to do that. Imagine how surprised they were when the postman who delivered them told them that they needed to pay an extra twenty-some euros in import duty! They went to the post office just to make sure, and, in fact, the reason why the international shipping was so cheap was because they just passed the buck on import taxes to the recipient.
(Also, yay, my first Steepster post. Which, of course, has nothing to do with tea…)
Exactly, that’s exactly why I keep my purchases within a limit. Tea actually has a large exemption before duty kicks in. But if you through in tea ware it’s best to keep purchases closer to 20$. Up to this point I have never had to pay taxes but so far all of my purchases have been under 50$.
Yikes. I wonder what that exemption is. Do you remember?
I have an order that customs has been sitting on for a week now, and I wonder if that’s part of the reason. (It’s probably $120 worth of tea, but it was shipped from a friend, not a tea company).
I have had to pay duty on an order worth $25 before ($14 in duty), and an order of $60 ($42 in duty). But I have also had an order of $90 (as well as several other orders of differeing amounts) that made it through with no charges.
If I am going to have to pay $30 for shipping, I am going to make sure I have a large enough order, but I also don’t want to get caught up paying duty. It is a game of chance I guess.
Cavo according to the most recent registers there is 0% duty as long as the tea is from a MFN country or other treaty covered country and it is under 3 kg for personal use. Where we might get into trouble is taxes which vary by province. If your order contained something other than tea than I believe they charge duty over 20 or60 if the parcel is registered as a gift.
If they do charge you anything either duty or taxes. Canada post charges a handling fee on top of the government fee of 9.95.
I don’t know about commercial postage, but in order for me to send a swap package to Canada, I’m looking at 8 bucks for basic parcel post no insurance for a 3oz package, or 20 bucks plus for that same 3oz package via priority mail with insurance and tracking. In the US, my 3oz package can go priority mail for 5.80, insured and tracked. I have no idea why, but the USPS really does charge a lot more to ship to Canada. I understand it for countries on other continents, what with needing a plane or ship involved.
I suspect part of that is the high rates that Canada Post charges – they want some of that money too!
Its true as soon as you move from letter mail to a parcel or above a certain volume the price more than double.
I wonder how much of the difference between companies has to do with the difference in profit margins… Adagio is pretty low/middle market pricewise as things go – I would imagine they make less per ounce sold then, say, Verdant, and find their profit in selling much larger quantities of tea. Perhaps this affects their abiliy to absorb shipping costs.
Well, from what Butiki is saying, they are using a more expensive method of shipping than regular post because they are worried about tracking numbers etc and missing packages.
As she has pointed out, first-class offers tracking in Canada and that drops the price down a lot.
I just did a sample 10 oz package from the US to Canada. Using Priority, it cost about $20-29, depending on the size of the box. Using First Class, it cost about $8. HUGE difference. And to me, that’s the problem. They need to drop it down to First Class shipping to make it more affordable.
I actually emailed Adagio back with screen shots of these prices, as well as the policies for First Class shipping to see if they would consider making this change.
I haven’t heard back yet (and the first reply was immediate) so I am hoping that means they are considering my proposal and not just ignoring me. A quick reply would have just been a brush off.
I"m not sure first class offers tracking in the US though. Can Canada Post start tracking something once they receive it if it isn’t already tracked? Or am I misunderstanding something about the tracking? edited to add – I think I did misunderstand the tracking thing – it looks like USPS first class does offer tracking now, in some circumstances.
I was talking about USPS First Class: https://www.usps.com/ship/first-class-package-international-service.htm? And then the tracking is there for the whole shipment (afaik. I know I can track my Butiki orders for the entire journey)
Yeah – I misunderstood how it worked – I haven’t used first class for parcels in ages.
Oh, I was browsing the USPS website, reading on First Class parcel post, and caught this “Insurance and indemnity are not available.” This makes shipping first class much higher risk for a company, since if your package gets lost, they either have to eat the total cost of the shipment, or piss off the customer by refusing to replace it.
Well, this is what I heard back from them after asking about using First-Class shipping instead (or as an alternative):
Thanks for the feedback. That sounds like a great idea! We’ll pass it along to our shipping and handling department.
Please visit us again soon, and let us know if we can be of any further assistance."
To be honest, that’s pretty much all I can expect. If they are going to look into it seriously, it’ll take time, and if they aren’t going to look into it, they’ll send me pretty much the same reply. So, who knows if I made a difference, but at least I can feel I tried. I TRIED> :D
Thanks for all the input you guys, and IF I ever hear more, I’ll update.
Yeah, this was always a bit of an annoyance for me back in Canada, and definitely still is here in the UK. I’m still ordering from them because I love them very much, but man, it’s a pain in the butt how much I have to order at a time to justify the shipping costs.
So much so that I’m thinking of organising a group run on my fandom blends for my UK friends, to save us all on shipping.