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A request to portable amp builders re shipping charges - Page 2

post #16 of 44
Quote:

Originally Posted by warp08 View Post


Mega-merchants like Amazon have done a huge disservice to small businesses, IMHO.  They have ingrained into people that shipping should be "FREE."  Nothing is free.  I sent a document to Hong Kong recently in a FedEx envelope using "Economy" International service for $35.  That's right, a document.  Even if it's a small box, there is handling, tracking and shipping involved and in the end someone needs to physically deliver it burning expensive fossil fuels in most cases.

 


I've had my share of issues with Amazon.com and certainly don't agree with all of their policies and haven't always received good customer service, but that aside what gives you the impression that they give you free shipping?  If you want the 2-day Amazon Prime shipping option, it costs you $80.00 a year (unless you were fortunate enough like I was to get a hold of a student ID and get one year of it for free when they were offering that promotion).  They charge for everything they ship, even if the rates are fair.  If you purchase a lot from them than it certainly pays to get Amazon Prime, although that does not cover items not fulfilled by Amazon directly.

 

post #17 of 44
Thread Starter 
Quote:

Originally Posted by warp08 View Post
 

I would personally not let $20-$30 extra to drive me to a less desirable and perhaps lesser quality product just because they shipping charges are more reasonable, but that's just me.  I would drive myself nuts thinking about how much better the other amp would have performed.  But the choice is up to you, of course.

 

 

 

I drive myself nuts all the time  :)

 

warp08, what it comes down to is this : HiFiHeadphones UK charged me less than $20 to ship the Just Audio uHA-120 amp all the way from Merry Olde England. I dont know where they actually manufacture the amp, and I'm sure they have to import parts of it from Asia, so there is a lot of shipping involved to get a finished amp to me down here in Australia. I appreciate the Justin and his business partners could well be operating on very slim margins simply to gain a foothold in a crowded market, but this amp has cost me 305 AUD landed. The TTVJ Slim would have been a lot closer to 400 AUD landed, and the original Pico a bit less based on Justin's $35 shipping fee on top of the purchase price of the amp. I have absolutely no idea how they compare sonically, and I was offered a pre-loved Pico Slim DAC/amp at a very good price, but when it was all done and dusted I made different choices. For new product, the difference between an amp from the UK and one from the US appears to be considerably more than '$20-30'. I may yet buy a Pico or a TTVJ Slim, but it wont be new.

 


 

 

post #18 of 44

Ah Estreeter, don't you know how to pick up controversial subjects ! But IMO this one is interesting because it touches consumer protection, and sometimes it's not easy to marry this with the small shops/1 man businesses that drive our upgraditis.

 

As far as I am concerned, I consider that the fees from Justin are reasonable. Not cheap for sure, but at least you can have some good faith that your item is gonna arrive safe at home. The paypal issue is a complete different one though and the problem here is that all businesses are supposed to pay for it. If one out of the lot is making its customers pay for it, then it gets an unfair advantage over the competition.

 

Also I don't agree with the statement from Warp08 regarding the effects of Amazon's policy on the small businesses. For what it's worth, when you work internationally you have a lot of ways to sell your goods, but almost everything is sold either CFR (CIF if you include insurance) or FOB. Without entering into unnecessary technicalities, CFR is like Amazon selling item + delivery cost all included, and FOB is like going to the supermarket to buy groceries. The former meaning the seller is including all cost in the final price (no surprise), while the latter means the price is not including the transportation and the buyer is taking care of it. I'm not likely to come pick-up my amp, so delivery cost has no reason not to be included in the final price unless there is a special request (distance/specific insurance/urgent delivery/etc ...). Especially in this time of online price comparison, and anyway in the case of Amazon the delivery cost is included, it's just not visible. Now bigger companies making price pressure on smaller ones, I fail to see how that is new.

 

That said it's entirely possible that CONUS fellow headfiers have difficulties to grasp how this can be annoying for us international members, to have to take in account this kind of "non-us buyer tax". And more precisely in this case, Estreeter, I think the reason why your uHA-120 came so cheap is the origin of the goods. Justaudio cannot afford to have high delivery fees, because most likely his clientele will be 90% international, and high delivery fees would deter people from buying. In the case of HeadAmp or RSA, probably 50% at least of their customers are from USA, so they'd rather eat the charges domestically and charge more international. Simple matter of customer population, unfortunately for us.

 

(EDIT for misspelling)


Edited by frenchbat - 5/24/11 at 2:14am
post #19 of 44

I would be perfectly happy to ship by untrackable Air Mail at $10 per amp -- or even free -- anywhere in the world if the buyer was willing to give up the guarantee that the product will arrive.  But I doubt that would be agreeable.  So, USPS Global Express @ $35 is trackable and supposed to arrive in 3-5 days.  I think this is the way to go, sorry.

 

If it bothers you this much, if there are no dealers in your country you could always attempt to organize a group buy to save on shipping costs and then distribute the product around the country yourself.  You might even be able to negotiate substantial discounts.

HeadAmp Audio Electronics - home of the Pico and Gilmore amps.  Now with Audeze, Fostex, HiFiMAN, Sennheiser, and STAX.
Find us at www.HeadAmp.com

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post #20 of 44

Don't get me wrong Justin, I consider your fees to be reasonable as stated above. As a rule of thumb, for products under 500$, less than 10% of the item's cost for transportation is fine by me. I do use trackable and insured transportation for all my personal shipping, just the same as you (EMS here, which is the equivalent of USPS Global Express), just not DHL or UPS. My pico slim ended up at slightly less than 10%, but in the case of the Protector you get to 14,5% from the retail price (I wish we had another case to compare to as it's not good to make direct comparisons, and there are way worse cases than RSA).

 

However there is a fine line here, as the customer (usually) doesn't care much about the peace of mind of the shipper. Where things are hurting is when said shipper is using high cost transportation at the expense of the buyer for his own peace of mind, without giving any choice. Ultimately everyone is voting with its wallet of course, as I did, but I cannot help but understanding the frustration of Estreeter here.


Edited by frenchbat - 5/24/11 at 2:18am
post #21 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by IPodPJ View Post




I've had my share of issues with Amazon.com and certainly don't agree with all of their policies and haven't always received good customer service, but that aside what gives you the impression that they give you free shipping?  If you want the 2-day Amazon Prime shipping option, it costs you $80.00 a year (unless you were fortunate enough like I was to get a hold of a student ID and get one year of it for free when they were offering that promotion).  They charge for everything they ship, even if the rates are fair.  If you purchase a lot from them than it certainly pays to get Amazon Prime, although that does not cover items not fulfilled by Amazon directly.

 


For goods sold by Amazon above $25 you get free economy shipping and they still guarantee that you get the item.  But I suspect that's a writeoff, not a claim, which a vendor like Justin simply cannot afford, IMHO. The shipping is not typically fast, but not slow, depending on which warehouse your item gets dispatched from.  That doesn't require Amazon Prime membership at all  Obviously, they negotiated some kind of tracking system into their contract with UPS, because so far I got every single order via their "Free" shipping.  Again, they can do this because of the humongous volume they are moving things.  No way a one-man shop can secure that kind of arrangement, at best maybe a 15-20% discount from retail rates with a minimum guaranteed shipping of $150-200K a year.  

 

post #22 of 44

Well, all UPS shipments are tracked.

post #23 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by warp08 View Post

For goods sold by Amazon above $25 you get free economy shipping and they still guarantee that you get the item.  But I suspect that's a writeoff, not a claim, which a vendor like Justin simply cannot afford, IMHO. The shipping is not typically fast, but not slow, depending on which warehouse your item gets dispatched from.  That doesn't require Amazon Prime membership at all  Obviously, they negotiated some kind of tracking system into their contract with UPS, because so far I got every single order via their "Free" shipping.  Again, they can do this because of the humongous volume they are moving things.  No way a one-man shop can secure that kind of arrangement, at best maybe a 15-20% discount from retail rates with a minimum guaranteed shipping of $150-200K a year.  


You are correct.  I forgot about that $25+ and free economy shipping with order (which I believe is delivered by OnTrac or UPS), however that does not apply to all items.  I have ordered plenty of products over $25 before I had Amazon Prime that were not shipped for free.  They do have a clause, and it doesn't apply to everything unless something has recently changed.

 

post #24 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by estreeter View Post

Thanks for that detailed breakdown, Justin - its a valuable insight, and I didnt realise the Paypal situation. Much appreciated.



That wasn't exactly right and puts a competitor in a bad light. Ray will not sell at nearly the same volume as headamp and the fee quote did not include an exchange rate fee. I'm sure Ray is not charging more than his costs for Paypal. He doesn't take credit cards either so whether against Paypal bi-laws or not, he's set his prices to cashier check rates. I suspect the Paypal account is a personal one and not setup as a bussines one. There is not a direct purchase link on his site. Amortizing would mean that somebody else would be paying for your convenience to use Paypal. It's great if you're the one using Paypal but not so much if your the guy willing to send the check. Shipping fees will depend on method used and If Ray likes to use a more expensive service with tracking, sig and insurance and proper customs documentation, (the right way), I wouldn't hold that against him. Choose not to buy as you've done because you feel the overall value is perhaps not as good as something else but don't deprive yourself of something you like because he chooses to be a straight shooter about his transactions. You may not agree with all of his choices but he's not ripping anybody off or surcharging.

 

post #25 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by goodvibes View Post





That wasn't exactly right and puts a competitor in a bad light. Ray will not sell at nearly the same volume as headamp and the fee quote did not include an exchange rate fee. I'm sure Ray is not charging more than his costs for Paypal. He doesn't take credit cards either so whether against Paypal bi-laws or not, he's set his prices to cashier check rates. I suspect the Paypal account is a personal one and not setup as a bussines one. There is not a direct purchase link on his site. Amortizing would mean that somebody else would be paying for your convenience to use Paypal. It's great if you're the one using Paypal but not so much if your the guy willing to send the check. Shipping fees will depend on method used and If Ray likes to use a more expensive service with tracking, sig and insurance and proper customs documentation, (the right way), I wouldn't hold that against him. Choose not to buy as you've done because you feel the overall value is perhaps not as good as something else but don't deprive yourself of something you like because he chooses to be a straight shooter about his transactions. You may not agree with all of his choices but he's not ripping anybody off or surcharging.

 


You must have my business confused with someone elses, because RSA is likely a few times larger than HeadAmp


Edited by justin w. - 5/24/11 at 9:46am

HeadAmp Audio Electronics - home of the Pico and Gilmore amps.  Now with Audeze, Fostex, HiFiMAN, Sennheiser, and STAX.
Find us at www.HeadAmp.com

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post #26 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by justin w. View Post




You must have my business confused with someone elses, because RSA is likely a few times larger than HeadAmp



Yes I did, sorry but his Paypal account appears to be personal and not preferred so the rest should be about right. 4.2% for standard and exchange rate fees seems appropriate.


Edited by goodvibes - 5/24/11 at 10:27am
post #27 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by goodvibes View Post





Yes I did, sorry but his Paypal account appears to be personal and not preferred so the rest should be about right. 4.2% for standard and exchange rate fees seems appropriate.



Except he is not supposed to be charging his client/buyer for the PayPal fees.  It is strictly against PayPal's TOS, unless they've changed that recently, but I doubt it.

post #28 of 44
Thread Starter 

goodvibes, I think you are completely off track. Justin has previously attributed a large percentage of his sales to international orders and I have little doubt that Ray would also have a large number of orders from outside the US. Running a business with pre-amps costing thousand of dollars without a link to a secure payment service is just nuts, IMO - Ray needs to check the calendar and realise that things have moved on from 1995. I am in no way attacking him personally or the quality of his products, but you might like to check a few things before wading in to defend your favorite amp builder.

 

AFAIK,. there is absolutely nothing stopping Ray from selling 'CONUS only' or appointing distributors in other countries. Always willing to hear otherwise.

post #29 of 44

Problem with distributors, is that it's unlikely to reduce the price of the item. Here in Tokyo, every item imported from the states is likely to be sold at + 20% and up. As Justin pointed out a few posts back, the best way to reduce prices is grouped order, but this is not always the easiest way to do things, and with audio enthusiasts the waiting time required for a group order is a recipe for disasters (order cancellations etc ...)

 

Going back to the thread's original topic, and to illustrate better the point of Estreeter, anyone can have a look at the international shipping conditions from Headroom (

http://www.headphone.com/support/international-customers.php). In a nutshell :

 

1 - We "can't" calculate "International shipping" cost, you have to call us.

 

2 - We ship UPS or USPS but ...

 

3 - if you take USPS, there is no insurance nor tracking, we don't take responsibility for loss or theft, and every package will be send "without signature required".

 

4- The shipping cost is "anywhere" from 30$ to 140$ (!!).

 

So any order, a thing that should be done in a matter of a few clicks, is now looking like the shipping of one of my containers at work. Fortunately not all shops are working the same way, and we have the choice. But assuming one has decided to buy a certain amp in a specific shop, this kind of sales conditions are likely to change the original deal to the expense of the shop/builder. At the very least the shopping experience can go from "great" to "being a hassle". 

 

And to think that ACS has shipped me my T1s via UPS without additional fee all the way to Japan ...

 

post #30 of 44
Thread Starter 

If MunkongGadget can sell iBasso and other amps to within (the THB equivalent of) a few dollars of the original price from the manufacturer, I think other distributors can work a similar miracle. I was happy to buy my D4 there, even if I was paying a little more than I would have from the iBasso site - I had the opportunity to audition it and that made all the difference.
 

http://www.munkonggadget.com/product_150311_th

 

(atm, 1000 THB < 33 USD)

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