: I got a request from a possible bidder in Bolivia for permission to bid
: on some of my latest auctions. Does anyone have experience buying or
: selling to Bolivia?
Since you are the seller, and have no reason to ship the
item until payment has been rendered, why not?
Well, so long as it is legal to ship to Bolivia...
Are you selling a Butch Cassidy or Sundance Kid action figure?
No, no experience selling to Bolivia but as another poster said, as long
as you have money in hand, why worry? And if PayPal works in Bolivia,
even better (faster)
You have a point there. He did offer cash. I'm just not too crazy
about cash. If it goes missing there's no trail and I could look like a
I haven't checked yet. I wanted to ask for experiences here first.
Bill Banaszak, MFE Sr.
WmB's Guide for Selling/Shipping Internationally:
1) Insist on payment via Paypal within a couple of days of the close of the
listing, from a confirmed and verified account. That means the address on
file for their credit card matches their shipping address. I'm batting
about 50/50 on that one, but I figure by insisting upon it in my listings
I've scared away a couple of bad actors. The honest folks that do not meet
the buyer's restriction either ignore it or email me to see if I'm serious.
That gives me a chance to look 'em over and take an out if they make me
nervous. Either way, Paypal gives me a chance to deny their payment if they
are not confirmed and verified. So far I've approved all and haven't been
burned. I'm not bragging, I know it is likely to happen one day.
2) Airmail Parcel Post at a mnimum - no surface shipments. If you ship
Airmail and it is undeliverable, the PO will return it to you for free. If
you ship it surface rate, you'll have to pay to get it back - if they even
bother to contact you. I had a very expensive kit returned to me because
someone between here and the Port in NJ removed the customs papers from the
outside envelope - but because I wrote both addresses in ink directly on the
box (as advised by the local clerk) I got it back and shipped it again.
3) The USPS website is your friend, either linked thru Paypal or directly.
By bringing up the rate calculator you can select international shipments
and figure a price out. When you're thru doing that look around and you will
see a link for a table of restrictions and information regarding whichever
country you are shipping to. Check the girth and weight restrictions. Most
are about the same, but take nothing for granted. There will also be notices
on any service interruptions or restrictions. Check out Iraq's some time.
3a) Look around Ebay, for less than what the USPS charges for a 5 pound
scale, you can pick up a 25-30lb digital scale that should pay for itself if
you do even light amount of selling. Interestingly enough I checked mine
out against my digital bathroom scale and found that it was accurate within
the postal scale's 2oz tolerance. Even so, the postal scale is more
4) Fleet and APO addresses get different treatment. Be careful here and make
sure you do your homework. I once shipped a kit to another country's
military post system - I can't recall the one but the restrictions were more
numerous than had it been to a civilian address. I believe USPS APO/Fleet
shipments have to be processed manually - I was never able to get it done
thru Paypal, it would always get hung up trying to reconcile the address.
Minor complaint, but I'm spoiled now that they let me walk into the PO and
go to the front of the line and drop off my prepaids and leave.
5) By using Paypal on international shipments, you get to fill out the
cuistoms forms online and print them out. It does a heckuva a lot better job
than I do filling them out manually in quintuplicate. Lesslikely to make
amistake that will cause rpoblems down the line. You also get a peak at the
restrictions while you're processing the customs forms online - if by chance
you didn't bother with them on the USPS site. I believe you can also fill
them out online directly from the USPS site but you have to manually enter
in a lot of the information ebay and Paypal auto fill into the process. I
haven't used the USPS site to do customs forms so I really don't know much
about it. I would guess that you would have to have acredit card on acct so
they could charge the postage against it instead of Paypal.
6) Listen to your instincts. If it doesn't sound right, it likely isn't, or
you do not have all the information you need. To me the single worst thing
are the appeals to your vanity and your greed. One guy put a bid in on
several listings, when it came to pay he picked up on my mention of having
more kits than I had listed. He kept trtying to make a sweetheart deal for
a large shipment. In the end he wasn't a crook so much as a bullshit artist.
Not only did he not honor his bids for the three things on ebay he bid and
won, he hemmed and hawed for a month on the other items he was dying to
have. Check's in the mail excuses, while all the while I'm checking his
feedback and making note of who he is paying while he's stiffing me. I
pulled the plug on the deal, there was no doubt in my mind had he paid up
and I shipped that he would have turned the thing back on me somehow and
file a coimplaint with Paypal - getting his money back and keeping my kits
in the process.
Maybe, maybe not - but you get a feel for which deals are going to go
smoothly and which ones can't turn out any other way than bad.
That's more info than you wanted, but for anyone else interested there might
be something useful in there. Let me end by saying international buyers are
now my best customers accounting for more sales than domestic. If you use
the online tools at your disposal to take up the load, preparing the labels
and forms is easier than it ever was - especisally if if you have several
shipments to manage.
The rest is common sense. Personally I'd pass on the offer to pay with cash.
For every kit I have sold I didn't sell five others that I answered as many
questions about without making the sale. But eventually they sold. I would
look at it that way, another buyer will come along if you have reservations.
And if it's for a lot more money than the kit is worth, watch out.
I have had some international people pay with cash before and didn't have
any problems. I didn't like it and let them know up front that if something
went wrong, (i.e. I never saw the money) that was too bad for them. They
were all cool with that. For a variety of legitimate reasons, it may be
difficult or impossible for them to get a paypal account, but its not like
they can get their cash back once they have the goods. Just make sure they
fully understand they are assuming -all- the risk for sending cash in the
I think I would worry a little. You want to maintain "all positive
feedback" on ebay if possible. Make sure you ask the post office if
you can get a "proof of delivery". I would build whatever that costs
into the shipping charges for sure. That is you only protection for
the "I never received it" problem.
Thanks for all the good tips. The bidder stated that Paypal isn't
available in Bolivia which was the reason for the cash. I checked the
shipping price to Bolivia and it is quite steep - on the order of three
times the purchase price of the kits. I advised him of that and my deep
reservations about cash. I told him that it was his choice.
We'll see. I've discovered that people just don't read things. After
my last go-round with euros I added that cash must be in US currency.
Last week I got another 5 ? note. Oy!
Bill Banaszak, MFE Sr.
I agree people don't read. I recently sold one of my customers'
real airplanes on eBay, (yeah, a real Cessna 182). My description left
hardly any room for a question. 90% of the questions asked were already
clearly answered in the description. For these dumbasses, I usually
respond by asking what they don't understand about what's in the
description. It seems to happen in most auctions.
If I got my eBay fees back for every stupid question I answer per listing,
eBay would go broke.
Listed: I ship worldwide
Q: "Do you ship outside the US"
Listed: I will combine shipping costs
Q: "I am interested in several of your items, but the accrued shipping is
outrageous! Will you combine shipping?"
Listed: Scale is not indicated on this sci-fi model
Q: yep - "What scale is this kit?"
Listed: Item listed with the shipping calculator - just plug in your zip,
Q: "How much is shipping to 90210?"
Listed: Action figure set, never removed from box [picture shows fig in box]
Q: "Is the figure included?"
[I figured this one for a prank, and didn't reply - but the woman bought it
a few days later]
She pricked me a little in feedback saying I was slow to respond. Well I
guess no reply is in the neighborhood of a slow reply.
Listed: Reproduction kit - this is not the original 60s Monogram kit
Q: "Is this the real Monogram Classic I built as a kid or the one I saw in
the hobby shop with the same looking box a few years ago?"
[I was tempted to ask him - "I don't know, where do you live and when were
you in there?"]
Listed: International bidders - please do not ask me to fudge the sales
price or provide false information on the customs papers.
Q: "I'm really interested in this item and willing to pay your price, which
I consider high - would you mind reporting this as a gift on the [gives form
number I can't recall] customs papers and recording a value of _____.
[If you were wondering - this one was yours Canada.]
Listed: Accepted payments are Paypal and USPS Money Orders ONLY. Anything
else will delay shipping or be returned.
Q: Never really a question about it, they just Paypal or mail in payment.
Now of those mailed in payments how many would you care to guess are USPS
Money Orders? Well if you said 1 in 10 you'd be pretty close.
Listed: Opened kits will have the lid removed in the picture displaying the
contents, sealed kits will of course be sealed [lid attached]
Q: This is a popular one, pic shows sealed kit - "Is this kit sealed"
Q: This only happened once, pic shows opened kit, sprue trees laid out on
table - "Is this kit sealed"
Listed: Last one, MIB and worth what I've listed [which was about $150 on
this big heavy oversized item, not a model kit]
Q: [Dec 23, 2006] "My mom just died of cancer, so I don't have a lot of
money - $100 is the best I can do, including shipping. What is the quickest
way to get this before Christmas?
My Spidey senses began tingling.... I looked up the bidder - they're a flea
market out West - Zone 9 to me. I didn't bother to reply. Two days later a
new account created that day with 0 feedback hit the Buy It now button. The
buyer is from the west and as you might expect - the item is still sitting
here awaiting payment or any contact from the buyer.
Listed: Model kit, requires assy
Q: "Do you think my husband/boyfriend could build this?"
OK, I made that last one up - but someday!!!!
I have a few things on eBay for sale now (TACAMOPAC) and it has been a
while since I did any selling, but I seem to recall that PayPal does
not verify foreign addresses.
That being said, I have sold to other countries (including South
America, but not yet to Bolivia) on numerous occasions and have never
had a problem. The biggest deal was a sale to Spain which seemed to
take FOREVER to get there - finally arrived over 2 months from
shipping date. Whew!
Charlotte Scale Modelers
I wish! The last time I tried the Euro was valued around $5.71. The
only bank in the area that changes currency wanted $5. I kept it and
eventually sent it (along with a $5) over to Jules for his tsunami
Bill Banaszak, MFE Sr.
Yeah, including me. I "won" 3 accurate miniature corvette kits at a
terrific price, didn't notice that the seller was in singapore. he
followed through on his end fine, shipped promptly, except when the
kits were delivered they sort of looked like an elephant had sat on
them en route. Any flatter and the mailman would have slid them under