How To: Online shopping in the US from the Philippines

How To: Online shopping in the US from the Philippines

Photo from Star Central Magazine
Photo from Star Central Magazine

Online shopping is not that big of a thing yet in the Philippines. I only know two online sites that I can go to shop online that are reputable and trustworthy and these are Zalora and Lazada. But the varieties and the items they offer isn’t that much and they still lack items on some departments. Big clothing and shoes brands such as Nike, Forever21, H&M, etc. still doesn’t have an online store and perhaps it’ll take years for them to even consider to invest on this market. Ebay is there but I don’t really trust it because of the huge count of scammers on the site. And don’t even get me started with AyosDito and Sulit!

So to aid my needs, I tried online shopping in the US. At first I was hesitant because I feel like the cost of the shipping from US to the Philippines will cost more than the actual money that I will save if I buy goods in the US. But the curiosity in me give in. I researched about this well – forums, blogs, etc – and gathered all the information that I needed. So how did I do it? Just keep on reading. 🙂

1. First, find a reputable and trustworthy cargo forwarders. A cargo forwarder company will be the one who will ship your goods to the Philippines. So why would you use a cargo forwarder instead when some of the US online stores offers shipping from US to the Philippines? The answer is because of BOC (Bureau of Customs). You don’t wanna deal with these guys. Cargo forwarders will be the one who will deal with the Customs agents once your goods arrive in the Philippines thus avoiding corruption because they know what the real cost/fees are to be paid to BOC. If you don’t use a cargo forwarder, you will be the one who will go to BOC office and pay for the fees, process import documentation, etc. and you don’t want that I guarantee you, unless of course you actually want to do that which is weird lol. There are a lot of cargo forwarder companies out there but you have to choose which one is reputable, trustworthy and of course, suits your budget. The following cargo forwarders were the ones that I already tried and tested:

POBox – This is by far, the best cargo forwarder that I have tried and that is why I keep on patronizing them. Actually, my 3rd box is already on its way. 🙂

Rates:

They only offer Sea Freight:

Black Box (Any Box with Total Dimensions Less Than 43”) – $30.00

Yellow Box (Any Box with Total Dimensions of 43”-50”) – $40.00

Red Box (23” x 16” x 17”) – $52.50

Blue Box (23” x 20” x 17”) – $62.50

Green Box (24” x 18” x 24”) – $75.00

Pros: package tracking is detailed, fast, cheap

Cons: slow customer service

My Shopping Box – I never had the chance to use their Air freight so I can’t really comment on that. What I used before is their Ocean freight and it was a bit slow. I have two packages before, one using POBox and the other one I used My Shopping Box, both have the same departure date from the US. Guess which one arrived first? Yes, POBox.

Rates:

Subscription Fee: $25 / year but if you will get a Gcash Amex Card, the subscription fee is free. (They partnered with Globe)

Air Freight Class 1: $5.99 / pound

Air Freight Class 2: $8.50 / pound

Sea Freight: $2.99 / pound

Pros: Rates, customer service is good

Cons: A bit slow, Package tracking is not detailed.

Johnny Air  – I had the worst experience with them and vowed to never use their service again! They claimed that my package will arrive in 5 – 10 business days but my packages arrived after 10 or more days. The last one was the worst because it arrived after a month!!!

Rates: I am not really sure how much but I think its around $ 6.99 / lbs.

Pros: Fast(most people said), they have a New Jersey address which basically means no sales tax on most online stores!!!!

Cons: Expensive, Bad customer service

Filoutet:  – This is the first cargo forwarder that I used. My experience with them is good actually. But I never tried to use their service again because I find it a bit expensive.

Box Rates: 

Ocean Freight (No weight limit):

Medium (24 x 12 x 12 inches): $65 -Luzon        $75 – Vis/Min

Large ( 24 x 18 x 18 inches):   $85 – Luzon        $95 – Vis/Min

Air Freight: 

Small ( 7x7x7 inches):   $45 – Luzon     $50 – Vis/Min   Limit: 6 lbs / 2.7 kg

Medium ( 12x12x12 inches):   $70 – Luzon     $75 – Vis/Min   Limit: 11 lbs / 5 kg

Large ( 24x12x12 inches):   $130 – Luzon     $135 – Vis/Min   Limit: 21 lbs / 9.5 kg

Pros: Consolidate your items, fast, good customer service

Cons: Expensive

 

2. Get a credit card, prepaid card or virtual card! Or even Paypal! This is really necessary. How else would you be able to purchase if you don’t have these? If you are not eligible to get a credit card, try a prepaid car or a virtual card. Personally, I use BPI’s My E-Prepaid card. Just go to BPI’s website to learn more about this. Another precard that you can use is Union Bank’s Eon Card. BUT some online stores doesn’t accept international cards (Footlocker, Nike, Adidas, Sephora, Forever21, H&M, MAC, MACY’s, etc.) Put that sad face away! We have a solution to this! Hurray to Globe’s Gcash AMEX Card! Globe partnered with American Express so that we can have a virtual AMEX prepaid card which we can use. (Stay tuned for my other post about this and the process to get a Gcash Amex Card and other prepaid cards). Now that you have a credit/prepaid card, lets proceed to the most exciting part: online shopping!!!!

3. Go to your favorite US online shopping store and start shopping! I listed below some known online stores where you can buy goods. Still not sure how to buy online? Here is a flowchart that shows you the usual process:

When you checkout your items, you will be asked to enter your shipping address(meaning the address where the items will be sent in the US). Just enter the US address that the cargo forwarder has given you which is usually their warehouse address in the US. The store will send the items to that address and the cargo forwarder will be the one who will send the items to your address in the Philippines.

NOTE: Don’t buy anything beyond 12 items of each kind or else it’ll be considered as commercial quantity and the cargo forwarders might refuse to ship that. For example, you can only buy 12 or less quantity of shoes regardless of the size, color, style,etc. 

Easy, isn’t it? But please don’t blame me if you’ll get addicted to online shopping! :p

Online stores/sites where you can shop (*UPDATED*):

Online stores/sites that accepts International cards:

 

Part 2 of my Lazada nightmare!

Part 2 of my Lazada nightmare!

This post is an update for this post.

So after all the waiting and all the inconvenience Lazada gave me, in the end, I wasn’t able to receive the items that I ordered.  Yes, after 30+ days of waiting! And you know what really frustrates me? They told me that my items were OUT OF STOCK. Yes, freaking OUT OF STOCK! What?? Are they f*cking kidding me?

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How can it be out of stock if they just told me in their previous messages that my items are in Davao City already?? So what the heck did they sent to Davao City if they were out of stock?  So they lied to me about the items? WTF!!! (sorry for the profane words, I am just so f*cking pissed off at them) The items were returned to their warehouse, so meaning THERE ARE STOCKS in there. Now they told me they were out of stock? It just won’t make any sense. AT.ALL.

So guys, don’t ever order anything from them if you don’t want to experience their bad customer service and tons of headaches! They are just pain in the ass! This is gonna be the first and the last time I will transact with them! Itaga nyo yan sa bato!

Lazada.com.ph – The epitome of slow delivery and bad customer service!

Lazada.com.ph – The epitome of slow delivery and bad customer service!

UPDATE: You can read the part II of this nightmare here and if you want to know if my items are delivered.

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Ever heard about Lazada.com.ph? Probably yes. You must have seen their ads anywhere on the web gazillion times already. They are quite popular here in the Philippines because of their good deals and BAD CUSTOMER SERVICE. And yes, I have experienced it first hand. Here it is:

August 20, 2013: I ordered beauty products worth Php 1,092. I dont want the hassle of sending documents to them for using credit cards so I opted for Paypal instead. It was a smooth transaction.
August 21, 2013:  I checked the status of my order in their website, and it says the items were processed and shipped via 2GO and gave me my 2GO tracking number. But when I checked the 2GO tracking number, its invalid.

August 23, 2013:  Got an email from Lazada saying:

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Yes, it took them 2 days before emailing and acknowledging they have received and processed my order. 2 DAYS!!

August 28, 2013: Expected date of delivery(2-3 days outside MM after shipped date) but still no items. I just waited still because they might have encountered some problems.

August 31, 2013: I am a bit alarmed because I still haven’t received my items but when I checked the status of the items on the 2GO website, it says that my items are now in Davao City and was put on hold. I am from a town 2 hours away from Davao City. I emailed Lazada’s CS and asked why my items are taking too long to deliver.

Sept. 1, 2013: They replied to my email from Aug. 31.

Regarding your inquiry on the status of your order XXXXXX, it has been shipped out from our warehouse and is now with our third party courier, 2GO. You can trace it with the tracking number XXXXXX through their website.

So I just waited because maybe any days my items will arrive at my house since it is already in Davao City.  I cant even leave the house because I have to be the one who should receive the items or else I have to make an authorization letter and such if I will let other people receive it for me. Such a hassle so no.

September 5, 2013: I just got a text from 2GO saying that I should pickup my items at their Davao City office on or before Sept. 7 and bring Php 1,092. Are you f*cking kidding me?!! I thought that their delivery is door-to-door! My hometown is not even in a remote place so why cant they deliver it right to my doorstep?! They should have put that clear on their website!  That’s when I thought “No way I’m gonna spend fare twice the shipping fee of the items to my house just to pick up the items! “. Yes, my fare from my house to Davao City and vice versa is twice the cost of the shipping fee of the items from their Davao City office to my house. No way I’m gonna spend that when they blatantly said FREE DELIVERY on their website.  I emailed LAZADA and 2GO right away that there’s no way I’m gonna pick up my items when they offered Free Delivery of my items.

September 6, 2013: They replied to my email from Sep. 5 saying:

Regarding your inquiry, we apologize for any inconvenience this has caused you. Rest assured that we will have this issue corrected with 2Go. Please allow us 24 to 48 hours to provide you an update.

September 9, 2013: Still no update so I decided to email them and told them if they cant deliver my items within this week, I will ask a full refund!

September 11, 2013: Finally they replied after 2 days!

Regarding your inquiry, we spoke with the courier and was advised that they will have a delivery in your area next week. We also advised 2Go to have your order be prioritized and contact you for the schedule of delivery. We deeply apologize for the inconvenience we have caused you.

I do hope this will be the end of it. I dont know if I can still afford another week of delay after this one. I do hope so that won’t happen. I should have read reviews about Lazada first before buying from them. And I also thought I wont have any problems from them since they are sister company with Zalora which I have had a lot of transactions with in the past and never had a single problem and my items were delivered right to my doorstep.

Just a piece of advice, NEVER buy anything from Lazada if you are from the province or anywhere outside Metro Manila and if you are not patient. I swear, they will make your blood boil! But from what I have read online, even Metro Manila customers have had bad experiences with Lazada as well, so no one is really safe. Better not buy from them! Period.