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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Parcel It On - Mail Forwarding Service Review

(Please note that all prices and service fees are accurate as of February 2012 and may change over time)

I don't need to go into detail of how annoyed we are that cosmetic and beauty prices in Australia are so much higher than prices in the US. We're all trying to find other ways to source the products we crave while not feeling like we're being conned into buying at the Australian retail price.
Especially when the Australian Dollar is worth more than the United States Dollar.

To give you an idea of the Australian mark up, here are a few examples:

MAC Lipstick - $14.50 $36
NARS Blush - $26 $49
Chanel Eye Quad - $55 $99
Revlon ColorStay- $10 $42
MAC Foundation - $26 $56
L'Oreal Eyeliner - $8 $29

Yep, you can expect to pay anywhere from 40% to 400% more in Australia for the same product you can buy in the United States. It's not just cosmetics that are priced higher in Australia, it's everything.

But never fear, I have a solution for you:


The perfect, all loving, saviour for Australian retail junkies.
Parcel It On is a mail forwarding service based in New Jersey in the United States. The simple way of describing it is that if you order something online and send it to Parcel It On, they will send it straight too you.

Now there is a loophole for shopping at all those online stores (cough, Sephora, cough) that refuse to post to Australia - HA!

My Experience with Parcel It On

I don't have a single bad thing to say about Parcel It On and their quality of service. Every email I send will be responded too promptly, everything is always packaged perfectly and I am kept in-the-loop with the status of all of my deliveries. The service is personalised and I am always remembered each time I go back. I have used Parcel It On at least 10-12 times now and have never had any reason to look for another mail forwarding service. The fees are incredibly low and I know that my orders are safe with Parcel It On. I can order hundreds of dollars of goods at a time and know that everything is safe.

I give Parcel It On the highest compliments and gratitude.

So here's how it works:

There are two services, a Mail Forwarding Service and an Assisted Buying Service.

Mail Forwarding Service:
All you need to do it go online, fill your shopping cart with all the goodies you want and send them to Parcel It On (you can find the address HERE on the website).

Email them to let them know what items you're buying and the individual values of the goods ordered (I just send through my email receipt from the store I'm buying from). This is so that they can check to make sure everything is there and they need to know the cost for their import declaration (sounds scary but it's not).

Once your package arrives, Parcel It On will email you to let you know that they have your delivery and give you your shipping options.

You will be able to choose from First Class (approximately 2-3 weeks, only available for packages 1.8kgs or less), Priority (10-14 days) or Express (5 days) postage, Priority and Express come with a tracking number and Express requires a signature on delivery. You will also have the option of adding insurance for a few extra dollars.

Parcel It On will then send you an invoice with your postage fees and your service fees (more on that later), you pay the invoice in USD through PayPal (very simple) and then patiently await your new purchases to arrive on your doorstep. Simple!

Assisted Purchasing Service
Some of those sneaky online stores that won't post to Australia also refuse to accept international credit cards (cough, Sephora, cough). But never fear, Parcel It On comes to the rescue with their Assisted Buying Service. Simply email them with the items you would like from a particular store and they will send you an invoice for the total amount (plus a small service fee - more on that later). You send the money in USD by PayPal and Parcel It On will purchase the items for you. Talk about quality service, right?!
You can find more details HERE on the website.

The process from here is the same as the Mail Forwarding service.

But what if I want to buy from more than one store?
That's okay too, you can send as many Packages as you like to Parcel It On within an 8 week period. Each additional package has a $2.50 handling fee.

Can I only buy from select stores?
You can buy from any online shopping store within the United States, be aware though that you cannot send any dangerous goods through international mail. You won't be able to buy items such as perfume, nail polish or some make up removers that contain alcohol.

What are the fees?
Good question, there are a few small fees, I'll list them in simple forms below. Fees for different mail carriers aren't included, you can read it all on their website HERE.

Service Fee - $15.00
This is the fee for giving you the mail forwarding service.

Additional Packages Fee - $2.50
This is the fee for each additional package you have sent to Parcel It On

Assisted Purchasing Fee - 4% of the goods total. 
For example: if you buy $100 of goods from Sephora and need to have it purchased for you, it will cost an extra $4.

Administration Fee - 3.9%.
At the end of your purchasing you will be sent an invoice for your shipping fee, your service fee and any fee's for additional packages. 3.9% of this total will be added as an Administration fee to cover the PayPal fee's.

And that's it, now you've paid, your package is being sent and you just have to wait patiently to receive it.
If you've chosen to have Priority or Express postage, you will receive your tracking number by email so you can follow it as it makes its way to your house. If you chose First Class, you'll need to wait for the surprise arrival.

Please remember that the shipping is international, it will be more expensive than regular domestic shipping. When I make an order I choose Express Shipping and I buy a lot of things at a time. Shipping usually costs me around $40.

Parcel It On explains their service very clearly on their website, feel free to have a browse around.

Out of all the mail forwarding services I have researched, Parcel It On is by far the most affordable and nothing beats the quality of their service. 


Ms Jelena said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!
I am so going to use them!!!

So annoyed at the mark ups here! It's unfairrrrrr!!!


Rachel said...

Thanks for the price breakdown, that's the bot that's always confused me and stopped me from using them before

Anonymous said...

So if I buy some make up or whatever and get them to forward it to me, I'll have to pay $15? Kind of a rip-off... :/

Rebecca said...

When you think about how much money you're saving by shopping internationally, you're saving a lot more than $15.
For providing you a full, personalised service and helping you to save a lot of money, the company only makes $15.
I think it's a good, fair price :)

Nicki86 said...

Hi! Thanks for the breakdown of costs! I'm torn between myus, parcel it on and shopaholiques...with parcel it on did you pay in Aussie or US dollars? I get the impression from their fees page that they bill you in us but this amount is converted once you proceed to pay (see the paragraph on the exchange rate they use).

Do they provide a receipt or invoice from the stores they buy from for you? In other words how do I know they're buying from that store and not an alternative or even worse, an unofficial retailer, etc?

How long does it usually take for your package(s) to arrive when sent via usps express and priority? And when did last use the express post option?- I read online that it's gone up to 79.95 after Jan 2012 to use express....is this right?

Hope you can help clear up the above for me. Thanks in advance for your help!! :-)

Rebecca said...

Hi Nicki,

I paid for Parcel It On in US dollars, PayPal will take the Australian dollars from your bank and automatically converts it into US currency to send to Parcel It On. When you go to pay, you will select to pay in US dollars and on the next screen it will tell you the conversion and how many Australian dollars they're going to take from your bank. It's all very simple and easy to pay.

I have always received the receipts from my purchases without asking for them but you can always ask them to make sure they include the receipts in your package. Because I place my orders myself (I have an American credit card) I know that they items I am buying are authentic. You can definitely ask for your receipts, I've never received a counterfeit product when using Parcel It On.

I have used the Express Post option for my last few orders because I like to have the items as fast as possible. Express Post arrives within 5-6 days and Priority usually arrives in about 10-14 days, it's never taken more than two weeks for me to receive a Priority package.

I always buy a lot of items at a time, including clothes, shoes, skin care and cosmetics so my postage is quite high (for example, postage for my last order was about $100) but that's for a heavy package. If you were to order a reasonable amount (5-20 cosmetic items) it would be far, far less for postage. For me, the amount I save from buying overseas far outweighs the amount I pay for postage (for example, on my last order I paid about $100 for postage but if I work out the Australian value of the items I'm buying I'm saving well over $500).

I'm not sure that Express Postage has gone up to a base rate of $79.95 but USPS.com has a postage calculator that you can use to work out the estimated cost of your postage based on weight.

I haven't used MYUS or Shopaholiques but I believe that MYUS is a subscription and you have to pay every month to use it. I haven't heard of Shopaholiques before but I am very happy with the cost and service from Parcel It On. I trust the company with the items I'm buying (which value hundreds of dollars at a time) and have never felt the need to try out a different company. Even if Parcel It On raised their fees, or even if I could find a cheaper service (which I don't think you can) I still wouldn't change.

I hope this helps, if you have any other questions please ask :)


Leesh Celeste said...

Sounds great! I am looking to buy off the Mac US site and was wondering how i estimate the weight of my order? thanks!

Leesh Celeste said...

Sounds great! I am looking to buy off the Mac US site and was wondering how i estimate the weight of my order? thanks!