1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
Dismiss Notice
Have you checked if your business appears in our directory? Add your basic information for FREE!

Click Here to know more!!

If you would like links to source leads, upgrade from £12.50 a month!

Click Here to subscribe!
Dismiss Notice

Hi Guest!

Our website stays online because of the support of our advertisers. A huge part of them are from banner ads that appear on our site. While some of them seems to be intrusive for some, these ads are needed to keep our community running and continue providing free membership service for buyers.

In light to this, we request that you disable ad blocking programs or add our website to your ad blocker's whitelist. This keeps us from offering our basic membership to everyone for free and help with maintenance costs of our website.

If you have already disabled ad blocking programs or added us into the whitelist, please ignore this message, this message will disappear in a few seconds!

Warning for using Airsure/International Signed For to post your high value goods abroad

Discussion in 'Logistics - Payment & Shipping' started by rayloveday, Apr 29, 2012.

  1. rayloveday

    rayloveday

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    Messages:
    1,045
    There are a lot of new forum users asking for advice on sending high value items abroad. As you may know, Royal Mail offer two “premium” international services.

    Airsure – available to a select number of countries that have agreed a standardised delivery process with Royal Mail.

    International Signed For – available worldwide.

    Airsure is the flagship Royal Mail service to countries that accept it. Therefore most people expect this to be the safest, quickest form of delivery abroad and send their high values phones and other goods off in comfort and peace of mind. After all Royal Mail advertise Airsure as:

    - Fast, secure and reliable
    -Priority handling in the UK and abroad
    -Online tracking and delivery confirmation
    -Up to £500 compensation

    They couldn’t be more wrong.

    Here’s why in our opinion, you should NOT use Airsure/International Signed For (ISF) and you SHOULD use a proper courier service with proof of delivery.

    - - Airsure and ISF are NOT guaranteed (i.e. timed) services.

    - - Maximum coverage for mobile phones is £60.

    - - Airsure – is a “no signature required service”. This means YOU ARE NOT COVERED for Paypal claims for high value items because you will NOT be able show signature of delivery (no. 4 in Paypal’s seller protection policy). ISF - most countries do not upload the signature online and you will have to wait up to 3 months for proof (if you’re lucky to get it at all). Paypal/Amazon etc. will have refunded the buyer long before you get your proof. On Amazon if you or they have refunded the buyer in the case of an A-Z – you have to have ask the buyer nicely to email Amazon to authorise Amazon to re-take payment should the item eventually turn up late. Yes this is in Amazon’s T&Cs and yes the chances of the customer doing this are slim.

    - - Royal Mail will NOT be interested in finding out where your package is if it hasn’t been delivered before 20 working days (4 weeks) to Europe and 25 working days (5 weeks) rest of world.

    - - Your item still hasn’t arrived after 4/5 weeks. At this point you have to submit a claim and Royal Mail will open an investigation. This investigation can take up to 90 days (3 months). If AT ANY POINT during their 90 day investigation, your item is delivered, your claim is void – regardless of whether you’ve sent a replacement or you’ve been forced to refund the buyer due to Paypal dispute etc. That’s your problem not Royal Mail’s.

    - - Effectively Royal Mail give themselves 110 days for your item to be delivered within Europe and 115 days rest of world. This is on the basis that you filed your claim on the 20th/25th day. The 90 day clock STARTS TICKING from the date you send in your claim NOT from when the item was sent. So if you have claims knocking around for 2 months you’re gifting Royal Mail 5 months to deliver your item.

    Over a 4 month period we sent around 1,300 shipments via Airsure. We went through them all and the results were staggering - almost a quarter (almost 300) had tracking information that did NOT confirm delivery. They would just say arrived in a depot in the destination country and that’s it.

    They state they AIM to deliver to Europe within 3 – 5 working days and rest of world 5 – 7 days and Airsure may knock a day off this. Absolute Rubbish. In our experience packets to France take a minimum of 7 days and average 10 working days. Deliveries taking 3 – 4 weeks are common. On 3 occasions we’ve had whole day’s worth of deliveries to western European countries take one month – 5 weeks. The most extreme (to Germany) took 3 months. In all cases replacements were issued which we’ve had to take on the chin along with two lots of Airsure. Of course because all shipments were eventually delivered, Royal Mail will not honour the claims and now that claims have been raised and Royal Mail have post dated the online tracking to indicate delivery has taken place. We have recorded the status of every package at the time of claiming so they won’t be getting away with that little trick ;)

    Here’s a typical example:

    “Your item, posted on 29/12/11 with reference LY********GB was delivered in GERMANY on 12/03/12.
    Thank you for using this service.”

    In our opinion Airsure is not to be used for high value items. They are charging a premium for a poor service – it is, in our view, simply a revenue generator with a 1 in 4 chance of the tracking being updated. You might as well send by Airmail than pay the extra £5.50 or whatever it now is. If it gets lost – either way you are paying up if a Paypal case is raised…

    Use a broker or get an account with a courier service the likes of TNT, DHL, FedEX, UPS offer guaranteed delivery services, proper tracking and sufficient evidence to satisfy Paypal claims.

    With the amount of money it now costs to use Airsure and ISF, the courier networks are no longer a world of difference in cost.

    Take our experiences as a warning if you are considering using Airsure/ISF.
    laszlob and Dean like this.
  2. TekPoint

    TekPoint

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Messages:
    431
    Interesting post Ray.
    I received on Friday an ISF package from the UK, and this is now the only service I try and use for having stock sent to me from the UK.
    I've found Airsure very difficult, as the tracking is vague - as you've mentioned above, the RM tracking page simply says it's arrived in the country, thank you, goodnight.
    With ISF, the RM tracking page tells you which company it's been past to. My parcel last week was passed to GLS, which was noted on the RM tracking page. The RM tracking code worked on the GLS website and I was able track this packet to my door :).

    I've been on the other side of this process a year ago, working similarly to you Ray. We suffered a nightmare with Airsure, especially to France and Spain (and just forget Italy!!). Switching to ISF eased this considerably - and then we switched to DPD, and they made it considerably worse!!

    For the price, ISF for me is probably the best service - the problem in Germany is (and as far as i know, other countries too) you can't control who Deutsche Post pass the parcel too for delivery - if its DHL (who are owned by the German postal service) or GLS then happy days. If it's DPD, you may as well get refreshing your inbox waiting for the Paypal case notification to arrive!
  3. rayloveday

    rayloveday

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    Messages:
    1,045
    Hi TekPoint,

    Yes the GLS tracking info is something relatively new. I believe that GLS is a European only operation and handles deliveries to certain countries within Europe and even then they only have presence in select countries. If you drill below the surface their "UK" operation is ParcelForce i.e. Royal Mail. So if you are lucky enough to have a GLS presence in your country then you can enjoy reliable delivery - though when things go wrong you are still in trouble due tot he 110 day grace period for delivery.

    From a seller point of view RM hands over mail destined for delivery all across Europe to GLS and they in turn hand it over to a local operator for delivery in countries where they don't have a presence. That's a lot of opportunity for parcels to go astray etc. Ultimately, it is still a non-guaranteed service and if say I've got a parcel that's tracked on GLS having arrived in Germany but no further update for 3 weeks and a customer kicking up blue murder, I've still got to wait 20 working days before RM will lift a finger followed by up to 90 days to liaise with GLS and find out where my parcel is. Explaining to a customer that if they could patiently wait for up to 110 days for their parcel to arrive isn't going to be agreeable. I haven't tested it first hand but I doubt Paypal will accept that either. So I'm still in a conundrum - do I refund the customer or send a replacement on the basis that any time over this 4 month period my parcel might turn up? This is what we were faced with and had no choice but to refund/replace because selling through 3rd party marketplaces, you of course have the feedback system. We were brought to the brink of losing two of our accounts due to claims and negs on slow delivery even though the parcels tracked as having arrived in the destination countries within a couple of days of sending. It is not possible to operate (or sleep at night) a business in this fashion and people should be aware that no matter how dressed up Royal Mail make Airsure and ISF, the service is not as advertised and they cannot deliver on their promises. If you operate on 3rd party marketplaces, you will lose your account if you experience the sorts of problems we did where an entire days mailing goes AWOL for 1 - 3 months (we're talking almost 100 orders). The volume is too high to absorb the fall out.

    We now charge for a proper tracked courier service. With the major networks, there's no messing about. They have a guaranteed delivery period that is generally 1 - 4 business (express) and 2 - 7 business days (economy). If the item isn't delivered within this time, I have an account manager on it same day. I'm waiting no more than 2 - 3 days for a resolution, my claim goes in and we're cleared for re-shipment of a replacement. More often than not, where a shipment goes AWOL, they a capable of finding it at their depot (we've had items where labels have come off and they've still found the package). With Airsure/ISF it's a slow pass the buck process which invariably results in a lost parcel means a lost parcel - or it turns up over a month later and claim denied.

    Now when a customer claims non-reciept, I click a button within our courier account that generates a letter headed PDF document with proof of signature. I upload to Paypal and a week later, the temporary hold on funds is removed.

    Ultimately we have learned that if someone wants something from you they will pay for safe shipping the hike of a few quid on the shipping hasn't affected sales at all.
  4. Ash182

    Ash182

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    Messages:
    158
    Most of my custom comes from abroad, US, Canada, Australia. We sell small fairly high value items, £50-100 but not enough to warrant opening a proper courier account, 2-3 items a day. We always send by ISF even if just for the fact that the buyer might think twice about pulling a fast one though having to sign for the item, we charge £6.99 for this which doesnt quite cover the cost of the postage let alone the packaging etc. We also understand that it it were not to turn up we wouldnt have a leg to stand on but that's the risk you take and touch wood we've not had a problem.

    The trouble is there is no cost effective alternative, DHL want nearly £25 for their international service and no buy is going to pay that for one item.
  5. liamhawes

    liamhawes

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Messages:
    2,103
    strange how yesterday was the first time when at the post office they mentioned to me airsure. The guy nearly sold the idea to me, gets to the customer a few days earlier, tracks it better.... less than a pound difference. Then he said but it doesn't get signed for. I instantly declined after that.
  6. TekPoint

    TekPoint

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Messages:
    431
    I think basically RM are fairly useless - even in the UK - poor service, high prices etc. When my old business were sending out up to 1500 packets per day (about 200 with ISF), we found that the average ratio of items going missing in the UK were more than ISF. As i said, switching to DPD for our international post was a near disaster. Lost in posts went up, and DPD were fairly poor from a customer service point of view too.
    They have an equally poor reputation here in their home market, and owing to the fact they can't find my address (only courier that can't) I no longer shop with any company that sends DPD.
    I've had experience with all the major shippers, and I have to say UPS are king - without question.
  7. liamhawes

    liamhawes

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Messages:
    2,103
    Reminds me i was once sending out a parcel of only about £20 in value. Sending first class recorded. The lady serving me asked if i wanted insurance, i declined. Then she continued to say, 'just, if it goes missing you understand we wont look for it.'

    I was just like, 'well thats a new one for me to hear'
  8. rayloveday

    rayloveday

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    Messages:
    1,045
    Ash - what are the dimensions of your average size parcel?
  9. Ash182

    Ash182

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    Messages:
    158
    The size and thickness of a DVD box, sometimes half that.
  10. rayloveday

    rayloveday

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    Messages:
    1,045
    When it comes to international shipping, it's not so much volume but your annual spend that determines your discount bracket.

    We spend around £35 - 40k on courier shipments and to send the size of packet you do and assuming the weight band is up to 500g it would us £11.50 insured to US and Canada - next business day guaranteed by 10.30am, proof of delivery within 24 hours available online. Australia is a tough one - it would be £22 insured and delivered within 4 business days and proof of delivery available online within 24 hours of delivery. Up to 1kg weight add £1 to each all.

    If say your annual spend would be £10k then you would be in a lower discount bracket - my guess would be you could get a rate of £16 - 18 for US and £30 for Aus. If you are able to get your volume up and spend £15 - 20k you'd go up a bracket and then I think it would be worth considering - especially for US/Canada. For Australia is very hard to get good rates unless you have large volumes. In all cases you can negotiate contracts with the networks for single zone/routes that you do volume to.

    For us it's a no brainer - OBA code MP5 we pay £7.36 (£5k minimum spend) and OLA we would pay £8.94 for ISF. For the extra £2.50 - 4 our US/Canadian customers faint when they get their items from the UK next day :) When we were sending Airsure/ISF we found they'd get held up in New York for 1 - 2 weeks! Delivery to the states via RM have got a lot worse since the ink cartridge scare in 2010. Used be 7 - 10 days Airsure/ISF now 2 - 3 weeks.

    I dare say even if you were to take the plunge and move your US/Canadian shipments to courier, you would still find your customers would be happy to choose pay double the price to get their items next day or wait up to 15 - 20 days ISF.
  11. Leikaman

    Leikaman

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2008
    Messages:
    118
    Sad to say, I've learnt to my cost that ISF isn't worth the extra to pay as the idiots at PayPal found in favor of a buyer from Brazil who ripped me off not once, but twice even though I had tracking numbers for both items!

    I could understand it if one of his items had gone missing (even though I had no problems with previous items being shipped to Brazil), but TWO items to the same customer, both sent by ISF should surely send warning signals to both PayPal and Ebay!

    Thanks to him, I've decided to block sales to South America as I can't afford to take the risk any more when it comes to shipping to that part of the world.

    To be honest, I pray for the day that there could be a courier service that rivals Royal Mail in all areas, especially price as I would send all my mail (including normal letters) with them in a heartbeat and as for eBay, I pray to God that Google decides to set up their own eBay-type auction website, but does what eBay doesn't and charges fair fees and also has a fair system when it comes to cases between buyers and sellers because at the end of the day, eBay/PayPal are sowing the seeds of their own destruction due to their arrogance and greed!
  12. liamhawes

    liamhawes

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Messages:
    2,103

    Did it really put you off that much to block ALL of south america just because of one person. Personally if this happened to me i would continue to sell as i would still make enough profit sending items to that part of the world, even after allowing for the odd case of something going missing/wrong. Don't let the act of one person put you off.

    Just my honest opinion.
  13. Leikaman

    Leikaman

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2008
    Messages:
    118
    You have a valid point there, especially as I never had any problems with other customers from Brazil (all of which had their items sent by ISF), but it's the fact that ISF isn't worth the extra amount that I pay that pisses me off royally and also the fact that he claimed that he couldn't check the Brazillian Postal Service website to track the packages even though I gave him the tracking numbers!

    Maybe I will look at unblocking the rest of South America, but I still won't unblock Brazil as it's not worth the hassle shipping there if ISF doesn't seem to work there.

    On another note, I still wonder how the feck can Royal Mail be allowed to get away with pulling this sort of **** when it comes to shipping items internationally.
  14. ResellerLad

    ResellerLad

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2010
    Messages:
    4,330
    I have a regular customer in Russia and we used ISF all the time. The delivery time from us to him is usually 3-4 weeks which i a bit of a joke really!
  15. stephen patrick

    stephen patrick

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Messages:
    1
    hi,
    Ten days ago i walked into my local post office. I asked which was the best way to send an urgent letter to australia.(This letter was signed by myself for my daughters passport forms.) Airsure i was told was my best option. Now this letter had to arrive within 4days, no problem i was told. Ten days later it arrived. I tracked it out of the uk then nothing. This must be the worst service ive ever used. The post office and royal mail have just started a new advert which states how good the services they offer are. With the price of a 1st class stamp and the price of my airsure letter they would have a better service. i shall never use royal mail again for any parcels or urgent letters. Has anybody else had this problem ???
  16. laszlob

    laszlob

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2011
    Messages:
    68
    Very good post! I did give it a like too. :)

    I am getting all my valued goods from the UK through RM Signed for and as soon as it reaches Hungary GLS tooks it over and deliver it promptly. It arrives in 5 working days.
    When i order and only ask from RM Airmail that usually arrives in 2-10 days.

    Thanks God, that i have a good relationship with the postman, so all my packages are delivered and they don't get lost or i do not have to go the post office to collect it. I give them a little bit a of TIP everytime they deliver, because i know that they make really crappy salary and they appreciate that little tip i can provide.

    So far RM was good to me.

    Wish you all a great day!
  17. bern73

    bern73 Banned Member

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2010
    Messages:
    175
    As for shipments within EUC it is far better to use courier than RM , their service can be slow and unreliable.

    For cheap EU to EU rates PM me and I will be able to help with courier solutions :) We are using the most economic way for 2+ years, very satisfied with the service and pricing so far :)
    Muskrut likes this.
  18. Muskrut

    Muskrut

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2012
    Messages:
    1
    Bern73
    How do I PM you. I want a provider cheaper/reliable than RM. I send about 400 small packets a week to Europe mostly Germany, Italy and Spain. ISF. Sending herbal remedies in small packets(Mail Lite A/000 padded envelopes)
    ISF over the counter is £7.85.
    I could open a RM OBA account for the discount but a courier might be more reliable
  19. Dean

    Dean

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    Messages:
    9,437
    Why not just post it here for the wider audience?
  20. Jenilee

    Jenilee

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2010
    Messages:
    4,872
    Hi bern73,

    I suggest that you post your recommendations on the thread otherwise others might view it as advertising.

    Thank you.
Back to top

Share This Page