Have you been unable to take advantage of some great Amazon deals because the items were not being shipped worldwide? Maybe you have tried buying the latest gadget only to realize that shipping is restricted to the US.
What do you do when you find yourself in this situation? The answer lies in package forwarding services. If you don’t mind paying for shipping and other charges, you can still buy on Amazon and have packages delivered to you worldwide.
The following are some reliable package forwarding services.
Shipito is based in Torrance, California in the US but also has warehouses in Nevada and Oregon. The company provides a personal U.S. address that you can use as your delivery address when shopping on Amazon. After placing an order on Amazon, change the shipping address before actual shipment.
Go to “View Open Orders” in your Amazon “Order History”. Select the order and click “Edit” under the “Shipping Address” subsection. Enter the shipping address provided by Shipito and click the “save” button. Amazon will ship your package to Shipito’s address in the US. Shipito will then send the package to you (in your country) via USPS, FedEx, DHL, TNT or Airmail.
The company offers two types of service: an individual package option and a virtual package option. With the individual package, you pay a fixed fee of $8.50 per package. But, with the virtual package option, you pay $10 monthly or $50 annually as a subscription, and only pay $2.50 per package. The virtual package option is ideal if you buy lots of items from Amazon in a year.
The virtual package option also offers a consolidation service which repacks many packages into one parcel. This results in tremendous cost savings. They also provide free storage for 90 days, which means you don’t have to ship all items at once. You can wait until you have bought a couple of items and then take advantage of the consolidation service.
Storage limits for the individual parcel is one package at a time and 18 cubic feet for the virtual mailbox. That is enough for three huge 36″x17″x17″ boxes (or many more smaller boxes). You can pay extra for more storage. Oregon warehouses do not attract any sales tax, so you can save money if you ship from there. However, items shipping from California ship faster due to the proximity to LAX Airport.
MyUS is based in Sarasota, Florida in the US. After signing up to any one of three membership levels, you can use their street address in Sarasota, Florida when placing an order on Amazon. The three different types of membership are as follows:
- Standard – this is ideal for the occasional shopper. The set-up fee is $10 and there is no recurring fee. However, a daily storage fee of $1 per box is charged after five days.
- Premium – the premium service will set you back $20 in setup fees with a recurring fee of $7 per month or $60 per year. The daily storage fee is $1 per box after 30 days. This service also permits you to receive letters, magazines and catalogs to the MyUS address for onward forwarding.
- Premium +Mail – this will cost you $35 in setup fees and a recurring fee of $25 per month or $195 per year. The daily storage fee under this plan is also $1 per box after 30 days. With this service, you can also receive letters, magazines and catalogs. You can also add extra names to receive mail at just $20 extra per year.
All three plans offer a free consolidation service. The premium and Premium+Mail service also allow an additional service discount of up to 20%.
The main couriers used by MyUS are DHL and FedEx though they also offer USPS Express Mail International (EMI) and USPS Priority.
Once known as Viaddress, Viabox is the cheapest package forwarding service. You only pay for shipping charges to forward the package to your country. They offer the same level of service offered by other package forwarders free-of-charge and even throw in 90 days of free storage as well as a free concierge service. Their shipping rates are also among the lowest in the industry, sometimes as much as half what other package forwarders would quote. Viabox also has a much easier sign up process. You can sign up for an account and enter your payment information later whereas both Shipito and MyUS require payment details before setting up an account.
Their warehouse (and shipping address) is in Indiana. This offers considerable savings on sales tax. Merchants such as Amazon charge sales tax to New York, Florida, Texas and California but not to Indiana. One of the main international hubs for FedEx is also located in Indiana. This allows for faster shipping of your packages.
The main couriers used by Viabox are FedEx, TNT, DHL and USPS.
The Alternative — Ask a Friend
If you don’t want to incur the charges levied by mail forwarding companies, you can always ask a friend or relative in the US to buy the item on your behalf and then ship it to you. But, don’t enter into mail forwarding deals with somebody you don’t trust completely.
Some Challenges You May Encounter
These three services all work well with Amazon, but, you may encounter problems shopping at other sites. Some of the best shopping websites do not accept a US shipping address if the credit card used to make payment is non-US. In such a situation you would need to use Shipito’s Assisted Purchase service, MyUS personal shopper service or the free concierge service from Viabox.
There are also other services such as US Unlocked which provide clients with a re-loadable virtual debit card that comes with a US billing address. You can use the card to shop at any US online site. The Card is free though you incur loading and usage charges of 4% plus $4. The card is only re-loadable using PayPal.
US Unlocked also partners with MyUS and others to provide a US billing address and package forwarding services.
Take note that using a package forwarding service does not free you from tax liability in your country. Import duties and other taxes levied by your nation’s government are hidden costs that you need to settle as you collect the package from the courier.
You can also try the Does Amazon Ship to …? Firefox add-on as a quick way to know if a product on Amazon can be shipped to your country. The add-on only appears on Amazon pages. I also recommend you check out our Amazon Shopping Guide to learn how to secure the best deals.
Have you ever used any of these services? What was your experience? Please let us know in the comments below.