I've shipped a number of pieces to the same location, and it's nerve wracking..... not to mention EXPENSIVE. I've lost one knife to customs (confiscated). The lessons I've learned is to be honest on the customs form(s). Also, I make it a point to ask the clients exactly how they want the knives shipped..... and make it clear that the client accepts ALL risks when it comes to shipping, customs fees, tariffs, etc.
One method of shipping that can be a bit scary, but it seems to be more and more requested...... USPS Priority Mail International. The biggest issue with this method is that once the package leaves USPS custody, the only method of tracking is the customs form. I think clients request this method because the cost of shipping is so much less than UPS or FedX.
My advice shipping international with USPS is to insure for the sale price of the items, or whatever value you feel you should refund to the customer. Asking them to take a risk is one thing, asking them to lose all of their money on items they paid for and never received is quite another.
USPS Priority International is by far the least expensive. Just be warned- once it goes onto an airplane the postal service washes their hands of it completely. They will put it on a commercial flight as cargo and once it's airborne they are done with it. Tracking is all you've got.
I sent some knives to South Korea which evaporated for several weeks. No updates to tracking. No help from USPS because all they do is follow the tracking. They have no control over it until it gets scanned somewhere. The knives turned up as held in customs in Brazil for almost a month. The knives eventually made it to Korea.
Everyone has at least one shipping horror story, but aside from their 1960s era tracking system and zero sense of ownership, USPS usually does the job well and at a great price. While UPS and FedEx can get something anywhere on the planet in three days rather than 3 weeks, you pay a handsome fee to get anything through customs whereas USPS gets through with no charge.
An update.... I just shipped off two forging hammers to Australia via USPS Priority International. In the past I have taken packages to the Post Office, but this time I tried paying for and printing via USPS online...... it works well, and I noticed in the upper right corner of the screen it had a check box for "would you like to receive tracking notifications?" I checked it, and every time the package enters or leaves any location I get a text! I shipped it on Thursday, and as of Saturday morning it had left San Francisco headed overseas.....we'll see what happens. I did take the package to the Post Office personally, just to make sure everything was correct, and the Clerk told me that I'd done the best thing for tracking..... she said that if you print the label/customs form online, you can track it all the way to it's destination....but if you take it to the Post Office for labeling you can't....kinda odd. I'll keep you posted on the notifications I receive.
I have sent a few knives to Australia and I always put hand made knife on the customs declaration and have had no issues. Had two packages not arrive to South Africa though so dont ship there any more.
Well, my sale to Australia fell thru. the customer wanted me to accept all responsibility for it landing at his door and after reading about what's acceptable and what's not on that countries customs 'website', I decided it wasn't worth the chance to me to ship a knife, then find out it got confiscated and say...oh well, too bad for me. - I followed my gut feeling.
Good decision! That sounds like a situation where no matter what happened, it likely would not have been good for you. If the situation "smells" bad, or that little red light goes off in your head....it's best to listen to it.
There are A LOT of scammers out here.....so you ALWAYS must be vigilant, and cover your six. Right now there are several "military" themed scams making the rounds.