Sometimes the postman teases me for how many parcels he delivers to me, and the man at the Royal Mail office I have to go to pay my customs fees likes to comment that I sure do like my customs payments–yeah, because everyone just loves paying extra money for their goods. But in all honesty I don’t shop as much as I used to, and I certainly don’t shop abroad that often anymore. A lot of that is down to trying to be better at saving in general and not buying things just for the sake of it, but in terms of not buying from America as much as I used to it’s simply a case that it just stopped being so practical.
The British Pound took a nosedive (thanks Brexit!) after a long period of slowly weakening against the dollar, and trans-Atlantic shipping has never been cheap anyway. Combining all those things with the saving mentioned above meant quite often I’d put items I wanted into my cart on various US websites, see the shipping rate rocket up the cost of my order, then forlornly close out the window, order abandoned. If the item I was looking at was only small or light, and/or cheap, and something I knew therefore wouldn’t actually cost too much to ship internationally, that was an increasingly frustrating experience.
Enter MyMallBox. I’ve been curious about shipping forwarding services for a couple of years at least but have never done the proper research to find out how many there were out there or even entirely how they worked. MyMallBox contacted me a while back to ask if I would be interested in testing out their services and the answer was a no-brainer. What took longer was deciding what to buy to best utilise the service.
There’s multiple options there. Some American companies simply won’t ship to the UK or other countries abroad, so a service like this allows you to shop with a storefront that normally rejects your custom–MyMallBox even have a feature where they can buy the product on your behalf for a small additional fee, as some US websites will actually reject any debit or credit card not registered to a billing address in the States (I’m looking at you Payless, Walmart, and Target.) In those kind of instances, a service like this is a total game changer.
I found it’s also really useful in combining several small orders into one shipment so you aren’t paying for international shipping from multiple companies. To test the service out, I eventually decided I would place a few small orders to do just that.
I ordered a dress on sale from Unique Vintage, another on sale from Bernie Dexter, a cardigan from Amazon, and an audiobook CD set second hand through Amazon, one I haven’t been able to find the audiobook of here in the UK, written by one of my favourite authors. The international shipping for each item was quoted to me as being $15-30 each, but combining them in a single parcel from MyMallBox meant I only had to pay $36-ish total to get them delivered tracked to the UK.
So how does it work? When you sign up to MyMallBox they give you a private Suite address at their Delaware location, a state that is tax free so you won’t get charged additional state tax fees when you order an item to be delivered to that location. When your parcel arrives to your Suite they email you to let you know your parcel has arrived and where it’s come from, which is handy if you have multiple shipments heading to your Suite around the same time. Any items can be stored free of charge for up to 90 days, so you can wait until you’ve had all your deliveries arrive before you then begin repacking or consolidating for shipment.
When choosing your items for repacking or consolidation, you can change the customs amounts listed against each item. This is especially handy when ordering from certain companies that don’t mark down sale items to their sale value on their customs forms, which I’ve experienced before, forcing me to pay customs fees on the full retail value of an item I bought at half price, or even less. Since you can control what the customs fees will be documented as on your parcel, you won’t be getting a nasty unexpected customs bill when you go to pick your item up at the post office.
When you choose to repack a parcel they simply repack it into the smallest but safest packing option they can. When you choose to consolidate, that’s when they will repack the parcels you’ve selected into one single parcel ready for shipping.
I was actually expecting to get an email letting me know my parcel had been consolidated but I didn’t, although checking my account the next day showed my parcel had been repacked. Then it’s a simple case of adding that parcel to your cart and selecting what address you want it to be forwarded to. All my shipping options were listed according to its newly consolidated weight and size, and where I wanted it to be delivered. I chose the cheapest tracked option, as I had no desperate need for my items to arrive quickly, paid for it at checkout, and waited for an email with my tracking number. Then all I had to do was wait, occasionally checking the tracking excitedly to see how far off my parcel was.
My parcel was shipped by Globegistics, and it’s worth noting that if you choose similar shipping that the Globegistics tracking will stop updating once it leaves the USA. Upon arriving in the UK I found the Royal Mail website was then able to tell me where my parcel was. It took 14 days from shipment to delivery to my local post office where I had to pay for the customs. There were delivery options that would have gotten the parcel to me faster, but I wasn’t too concerned with speed so the cheaper option worked fine for me. Even though I knew exactly what was in my package, there was still something especially exciting about opening it up to see all the items that I probably wouldn’t have been able to buy without utilising this service.
I was so happy with my experience I’ve told myself since then that it would be a reassuring piece of mind in the distant future to order certain items if I absolutely needed to–and then quickly broke and ordered myself another dress, a hair accessory and some Colourpop lipsticks. What can I say? It’s a useful service but it certainly doesn’t offer you extra will power, that part you have to handle on your own.
Just make sure you don’t order items that MyMallBox can’t ship overseas (aerosols, perfumes, etc, tend to be prohibited for international shipping across all mail carriers and couriers.) You can find a list of prohibited items in their Terms & Conditions.
I had a really good experience using MyMallBox and it’s definitely a service I’ll be continuing to utilise in future when it can save me money or help me purchase goods that are otherwise not available to me because of my location. If you sign up through a referral from a friend you immediately get $5 credited to your account, so I’ve got a referral link set up for you here should you want it. Happy international shopping, bbs!