It’s always fun to do a review on the blog, but this one was the most excited because it involved getting a package from the US sent to India. If you’re an expat you know how exciting that prospect is! In this US Delivered review, I’m going to introduce to you this courier service and how it works. If you live abroad, you’ll want to bookmark this!
US Delivered Review & How it works
This is a unique courier service. Let me explain a scenario, which I think will help you understand what they do:
You’re living abroad and you have no access to many of your favorite clothes, toiletries, and electronics. You want a dress that’s only $20 at Macy’s, a bikini from L*Space, new lipstick from Sephora, and a new charger for your laptop from Mac. But, if you order online from each of these places, you have to pay shipping 4 times, track 4 packages, and go through the mess of clearing 4 packages through customs in your new country. So… you don’t buy the things you want.
What US Delivered does is give you a solution to that.
They give you a personal “Mailbox” at their office in Texas. You order online from any and all the places you feel like and ship everything to your new Texas mailbox. You can even order from your local grocery store and get some snacks or toiletries you need to add to the package. They then combine this all into ONE package for you. They create an invoice and get it all ready for international shipping!
You create and account and once you are ready login and let them know what packages they are expecting for you. You go to your “inbox” and add in the tracking numbers of the packages which are on their way to Texas.
I was reviewing this service and in India you pay 40% on customs so that $20 dress from Macy’s isn’t really on clearance anymore. Therefore, I decided to go with food as the customs fee would be pretty low on $60 worth of food.
Okay, okay… I would have gone for the food regardless. I’m just obsessed. I actually sometimes dream about being in the grocery store in the US and wake up utterly disappointed. I can’t believe I am telling the internet this…
Alright, so my mom went to Kroger for me and picked up my extensive list of goodies that I was dying for. When I partnered with US Delivered and they offered to send me a box free of charge so that I could do a review, I asked them how much the box could weigh. They were like, “oh any weight is okay…” well they might have been surprised when 23 pounds of junk food showed up in Texas! *I know!*
Once my package arrived, I needed to let them know it was the only package coming and they could go ahead and sent it onward to India. You can see the option which says “remove merchandise invoice”. This is important! This would be if you ordered $100 Ray Ban’s but would rather customs think that they were knock-offs of ones that you already had at home and just want them in your new country. If it’s NEW, you’ll pay the duties fee, but if you are sending used goods, they don’t charge you (in most countries).
Mine was just food, so I had them keep a receipt in case the detail of the receipt helped it clear customs.
I asked them to “inspect contents”, which I am not actually sure what it means! Scan merchandise invoice I *think* means they take the invoice/receipt from inside and scan it so there is a copy online. When I needed this later (customs asked me for it), they did not have a copy so you will want to clarify this with them!
So, the next thing I needed to do was give them instruction on what to do with my package. I had them consolidate into a new box as the one my mom used was not sturdy enough. I thought $2.00 was pretty reasonable.
I had them add bubble wrap, because I had powdered donuts in there, and I’m sure you concur that there’s not much worse than smashed donuts. For the same reason, I had them add the free fragile sticker. Handle my donuts with care, please.
Choosing the shipping was next. FYI, yes this is really what it would cost to send this much food from the USA to India. You can see that USPS is not on the list. It would be much cheaper of course, but you can’t use that to ship abroad most times because it only tracks the parcel until the port of exit of the USA. It is not tracked after that (even if you choose “tracked service”. My rates had an issue populating, as you can see below where it says “there was an issue trying to get some rates”.
In terms of rates, I used their shipping calculator and they were less costly (by min. $30) against their top 2 competitors to ship my items to India.
They use their own tracking services so you track through them and not, FedEx, for example which the company I chose to have them send my package through. You choose how you want to be notified about the packages wherabouts. Email is always best for me.
My package got to customs quickly, and I was notified by US Delivered it was held for more paperwork.
Indian officials said that because it was food it should go for FSSAI for an NOC form (a document from the food safety folks). FedEx basically said they don’t help with that and I needed to hire a customs agent in Mumbai to get my paperwork done. FedEx were clueless though as legally, personally food packages sent to India do not need clearance if it’s for personal delivery. So, after much back and forth (and even US Delivered calling to try and help), Ben helped me write a letter to the deputy commissioner of Indians customs at the airport to please be lenient and allow my package to come through because I was in desperate need of Blueberry Poptarts and I will surely eat them all myself, not sell them. As if any money would be worth selling them!
The letter worked and my package came through.
THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT US DELIVERED
- There is a monthly fee to have a mailbox in Texas
- Their rates are insanely good
- It makes the most sense to use them if you are having multiple packages combined or no one back in the USA to send you a package personally
- Their customer service is fantastic
What was in my 23-pound box…
Just don’t judge me too hard, guys. Some of it is for Ben!
(Ben, if you’re reading this: none of this is for you, stay out!)
The bubble wrap did indeed protect my donuts! They also packed up the box really well. I bet a girl did it. I bet she wondered what weirdo was getting all the junk food sent abroad.
So, here it is, the gold mine that is sitting in my kitchen right now. Thank god Ben is in Mumbai or else it would all be opened and half empty.
I am pretty over the moon at the moment and just like staring at everything wondering what I should have first! You think I’m being sarcastic maybe, but I’m not. I really don’t know what to do. Tell me, if you were away from home and all your favorite foods for a year at a time, what would you crave and have sent in your box!?
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