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Section - 11. International transactions.

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  Despite the large number of advertisements from the U.S., the
    Usenet Marketplace is a global institution.  All advertisers,
    even individuals, need to be aware of the international
    culture and reflect it in their ads.  Also, they need to
    be prepared to deal with international issues if a potential
    buyer sends an offer from a foreign nation.  Many successful
    transactions occur across country boundaries, but a few more
    topics need to be covered before shipping to other countries.

***Use the Escrow method***

  Unless a transaction involves items of very low value, use the
    escrow method for completing the sale.  The advantages, in
    this case, are manyfold.

  For one, paying an escrow service by credit card solves the
    problem of trying to deposit a check drawn on a foreign bank.
    The major credit card companies usually give better exchange
    rates than most banks because they can trade currency amongst
    their international operations.  Meanwhile, most banks will
    charge a hefty fee, often US$20 to process a check drawn on a
    foreign bank.  Meanwhile it can cost just as much for the
    buyer to acquire a cashier's check drawn on a bank in the
    seller's country.  These charges, and the impossibility of
    recovering your money or items in case of fraud, makes the
    effective cost of escrow minimal to negative.  Some people
    successfully send cash through the mail for small items, but
    as this is not recommended in the U.S., it is even less
    recommended internationally.  Finally, COD is not available
    across international boundaries.

***Choose a courier carefully***

  Before shipping a package internationally, ask the shipping
    company how it handles international packages.  Sending
    packages through many major couriers may result in additional
    fees on the receiving end for delivery to certain countries.
    These charges may cover expenses in clearing customs, or they
    may represent a brokering fee to transfer the package to a
    courier that delivers in the buyer's country.  France and
    Canada are two prime examples with certain couriers.  Some
    major couriers operate in different countries, so packages
    sent by one courier may not incur a fee for a package shipped
    from the U.S. to Japan, while another will.  You must ask,
    and it may take a few tries because many representatives may
    not be fully aware of the international situation.

***Taxes and legal restrictions***

  Most international sales are subject to import duties, if
    properly declared.  Gifts and small transactions often pass
    by unnoticed by customs in many countries, but the buyer can
    expect to pay sales, value-added, or import taxes in large
    international transactions.  Make sure you know what those
    fees will be in your country before you finalize an offer to
    buy, because these taxes sometimes exceed 100%.  Duties can
    often negate the benefits of buying from a foreign country.
    Contact your nearest customs agent or international shipping
    company for more information.

  While the buyer worries about duties, the seller needs to know
    of any restrictions on business to the buyer's country.  For
    example, it is illegal to send many kinds of advanced
    technology from the United States to certain countries, and
    likewise across other international borders.  Advanced
    technology is more encompassing than just weaponry and
    militaria.  Many common software packages and computers may
    face export restrictions punishable by jail time in the U.S.

***Make it easy, let someone else do the work***

  Because of the complexity, and sometimes absurdity, of
    international laws, and because of the documentation required
    on all international packages, all readers who wish to deal
    internationally should speak with a company experienced in
    such matters.  Any local packaging and mailing service should
    be able to refer you to an appropriate company, or you can
    contact one of the following international freight

	Mailboxes Etc.
	    Chain of local mailing services which caters to
	    On the Internet, but address is unknown.
	Overseas Alliance Group, USA
	    International equipment freight forwarding
	    (914) 472-3204  USA

  Questions you need to ask an international shipper:

	Is it legal to ship this item to country X?
	What import/export/value-added taxes must be paid?
	What is the best way to ship, and how much will it cost?
	What documentation is required?
	How can international shipments be insured?

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM