(Please note that all prices and service fees are accurate as of February 2012 and may change over time)
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:
PRODUCT COST IN US COST IN AUSTRALIA
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:
PARCEL IT ON
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.