Ordering and shipping and payment from outside the United States

My Web site refers all inquiries, orders, and requests for information to my ordering Web page. That page has ordering information, terms of sale, and how to reach me. This page has specific information for my customers outside the United States. The most recent revision of this page is June 17 2020.

May 28 2020: Due to the Coronavirus pandemic: Packages shipped to outside the United States may be delayed and or restricted depending on country. Many countries have declared "force majeure" (act of nature) and have changed their policies, methods, and terms of service. For more information in general, and for specific countries, check usps.com, the US Postal Service Web site for specific countries; and the postal Web site of your country. Any updates I have will be on my ordering Web page.

  • Methods of shipping outside the USA
  • Customs, duties, VAT; mostly in the EU and the UK
  • Methods of payment, non-US customers
  • details on Western Union & MoneyGram local payments

    Methods of shipping outside the USA

    For shipping outside the US our strong preference is US Postal Service by First Class Package or Priority mail. It's cheaper than commercial shipping and generally reliable. Read the information on current USPS services below carefully but I make no guarantees my description of these new services is complete, accurate or correct. There are also commercial services available and they are mentioned below. Further information is on Web sites for all these services.

    SUMMARY: There is no longer "Air Mail" or "surface mail" from the US Postal Service (USPS). Ordinary US Postal Service shipping outside the US is by "first class" or "Priority Mail International" services. The USPS provides limited tracking outside the USA. If you want more expensive services, or another shipping company's services: 1) name the specific service company AND the kind of service you want; 2) I will charge fees to deal with them and to deliver to them. 3) I may say "no, that's too much effort, sorry". But our experiences with the USPS is that international packages shipped by mail, and properly packed, seem to arrive reasonably intact and in reasonable time, often a few weeks.

    United States Postal Service

    The US Postal Service Web site is at www.usps.com. Confirm any information about the USPS, there. When I ship by USPS, I fill out a custom form with a tracking number; I provide that number to my customer. usps.com provides tracking of that package only within the USA, and sometimes tracks entry into the customer's country. Ask your country's postal service if they provide additional services.

    We provide a quote for shipping, packing and handling for the appropriate service. We charge an additional fee over shipping costs, due to costs of packing, time to pack and deliver to the post office, to the extra paperwork of customs, and to cover the occasional underestimate of actual shipping costs for other orders.

    For customs purposes, your order is for "merchandise" and valued at the cost quoted: any other statement is a violation of US federal law. Priority Mail includes some insurance at no cost, more at additional cost. Insurance, in theory, provides a means to recover value if the package is lost. However, since all the items I sell are used and very old, it's very possible the insurance service will not cover damage. I have obtained payment for lost packages, at the insured value and postage cost.

    If a package is not recieved, let me know. But I can't file a request with the USPS to track a package, before 30 days after domestic mailing, possibly longer for international. The USPS will have up to 60 days to respond, if they can accept an inquiry.

    The US Postal Service Web site is http://usps.com.

    Other shipping services

    We can if necessary ship internationally by United Parcel Service (UPS) or Federal Express (FedEx). We will not use DHL as a matter of inconvenience and higher cost. If you have an account with FedEx or UPS, we will need your account number. In any event, PLEASE SPECIFY THE EXACT SHIPPING SERVICE you wish from them, as they offer many kinds of shipping services. Please note that they may limit the kinds of services they allow us to use with your account. We will charge you a fee for packing and handling, and for the additional paperwork and effort required for use of these services.

    In any and all events, we are not your agent. We will not contact your agents or third parties, make arrangments for you, represent you or your order, arrange for pickups by couriers or services. We will only ship, at your expense and prepayment, to either you or your designated agent. Period.

    Customs, duties, VAT in the European Union

    Summary: I fill out a US Customs form PS FORM 2976 which describes items as merchandise, valued at the cost sold, and under a US export license exemption called "AES 30.37a" which applies to exports under $2500. I do not pay my customer's VAT or customs or duties; those are assessed by your country's services through your country's postal services. Please check with your country's or EU's custom services, to determine how custom fees or VAT (value-added tax) may be charged to you. My understanding is that the EU plans major changes to their VAT and customs fees for imports, which will begin 1 Jan 2021.

    The following information is current as of the date of this document, and is subject to change at any time. The information may be in error, is not advice, and is for the convenience of my customers only.

    Since I'm not providing items as "gifts" I am obliged to report items as "merchandise" at the value sold. I'm also obliged to fill out a customs form, PS FORM 2976, provided by the US Postal Service. Since March 13 2020, I'm encouraged to complete this online at the USPS WEb site, and provide a paper copy with my package. Otherwise the postal clerk will have to perform data entry at the counter. A paper copy is added to the package, with a customs number on that copy. I will provide that customs number to my customer when the package is mailed.

    In the United States, and as a non-licensed exporter, mailing items outside the USA, I am obliged to fill out a USPS customs "PS FORM 2976 or 2976-A" for items mailed outside the USA. On that form, I list the items sold, their value at price sold, and weight. For export information for the electronic items I ship, I note on that form the shipment is an AES NOEEI section 30.37(a) export. Items of value below $2500 US dollars fit that description. Items shipped to Canada from the US at any value, also fit that description.

    The USPS Web site at usps.com has a blank example of Form 2976 There's also an online guide about shipping outside the USA which refers to the AES Exemption 30.37a. There's more discussion about the exemption at this USPS Web page on 526 Exemption.

    Methods of payment, non-US customers

    By year 2020, everyone pays by PayPal. What can I say? Here's some other options.

    For customers outside the USA, here's the payments I accept. PayPal (I charge for their fees), cash in US currency; US checks or US money orders in US dollars; International Postal Money Orders in US dollars; payments through Western Union and payments through MoneyGram.

    I DON'T ACCEPT payment by: credit cards, or bank wire transfers to my bank account. Bank account transfers are not commonly done in the US except for very large amounts. These services or methods are either more expensive, put my funds at risk, or require me to pay for a complicated service.

    Payments we accept


    So many people use PayPal, I have to accept it. For non-US customers, it's easier and cheaper than "wired" payments. PayPal charges me about $4-$5 per $100 paid, I'll provide a dollar-rounded charge in my quote. Their currency conversions may add to your costs. I'll give you my PayPal email address when I provide my quote. You will make the payment to me to my PayPal account. Then please notify me, but PayPal will also notify me. If we agree on some other payment method, it's all at your costs, paid by you with those services.

    Currency in US dollars, NOT other currencies

    It's unlikely you'll offer me currency by mail. I certainly can accept "cash", paper currency, in US dollars; but this is rarely requested. I've not lost cash payments to me in the postal mail. But you are not protected if your mail is lost. Also, your country may limit the mailing of currency. Please don't send Euros or UK pounds, etc. - it costs me too much to convert them.

    Checks or money orders, in US dollars, from a US bank account or US Bank or US financial service.

    Many international banks can issue checks from their bank "in New York City" or some other US location, in US dollars. That's fine. US banks consider those to be ordinary checks and don't charge me for their deposit. Otherwise, please don't send me checks from outside the USA, unless they are US checks from a US bank in US dollars.

    International Postal Money Order - go to your Postal Service Web site

    My customers in Japan and Canada MAY BE able to pay by International Postal Money Orders in US dollars, from their Postal Service. Contact or check the Web site of YOUR Post Office or Postal Service in your country, for more information and fees. Some Postal Services use MoneyGram services, which are described on this section.

    Western Union payments - go to www.westernunion.com

    Western Union offers on-line payment methods using customer's credit card on line, or by telephone, or at a physical location near you; I can pick up at my local location. They will charge you a fee, examples are below. There is a simple procedure I use about using Western Union or MoneyGram, so please review these instructions.

    MoneyGram - go to www.moneygram.com

    MoneyGram offers on-line payment methods using a customer's credit card on line, or you can pay at a physical location near you. I can pick up at my local location. They will charge you a fee, examples are below. There is a simple procedure I use about using MoneyGram, so please review these payment instructions.

    details on Western Union or MoneyGram payments

    Brief description: I don't have a Western Union or MoneyGram account, and you don't need an account to send payment. You can go to a local Western Union or MoneyGram service and send payment immediately. (Or you can use their Web services, that may require an account.) Then I pick up your payment at my local service, after identifying myself and identifying the transaction number you are given, and I tell them the amount and the sender's name and address. You the customer gets that transaction number when making your payment. You pay a fee for sending payment. I can pick up payment shortly after you give me the information I describe below.


    This describes the information you need from me to SEND the payment; and information I need from you, to RECIEVE the payment.

    SEND: To make a payment at a Western Union or MoneyGram office or on-line service, their agent will need to know my name, postal address and US phone number. I will provide those with my quote. They may not need my street address or phone number, that's fine, provide what their forms request.

    In addition, they will request the name and address OF THE PERSON PAYING. I need that information too, especially if you the buyer are not making payment. So also provide that information to me. I also need to know the CITY and COUNTRY where payment was made, as it may not be the same location as your shipping address.

    When you make payment, they will provide you with a "transaction number" with your payment form. It's a nine or ten-digit number. I need the transaction number, and the exact amount in US dollars sent to pick up the payment. This is the most important information I need.

    Make sure the payment refers to my CORRECT ADDRESS AND NAME. Check your reciept and confirm my city is "EWING" and my "state" is NEW JERSEY or initials "NJ", and my country is the United States.

    RECEIVE: for me to get payment. After you pay by Western Union or MoneyGram, please send an email where you WRITE the following information I need to pick up payment. (Images of your receipt are too hard to read. Sorry.)

    The name of the person paying (probably you),
    where YOU PAID (city and country),
    the amount in US dollars,

    Comments: Sometimes the Western Union or MoneyGram agent will tell you "he only needs the transaction number". Also these services may caution you about "fraud", or "buying from strangers over the Internet". It's good that these services are cautious about fraud and deceptions. I don't engage in fraud. You can look all around my Web site and make that decision. I need the information I request, to fill out the forms I fill out, and I don't want to argue with the clerks who give me my payment. They are also worried about fraud, and if I give them different information than you provide, that may make it difficult for them to pay me.

    Thank you for your patience and consideration, and of course your order and payment. - Herb Johnson

    Herb Johnson
    New Jersey, USA

    Copyright © 2020 Herb Johnson
    my ordering Web page