In Part 1 of this article, we discussed online and local stores that have a good reputation with local collectors. Let’s now finish up with the perils of online shopping.
The two main worries of collectors who do a lot of online transactions can be summed up in two words: Shipping and Taxes.
International Shipping Concerns
The three shipping options available at most online stores each have their pros and cons. EMS (Expedited Mail Service) and couriers such as FedEX, DHL, and UPS offer safe, secure, and trackable shipping services, but their costs can get prohibitively expensive when shipping in bulk. On the other extreme, SAL (Sea and Land) Shipping can take weeks — even months, and is neither insured nor trackable, but is a very cheap method of shipping items.
In between both options would be Registered Air Mail, which has some pros and cons of the latter two services: 1) it is significantly faster than SAL, but still much slower than EMS; and 2) it can be registered with the Post Office to prevent loss but cannot be tracked over the Internet, and your parcel is not insured if it ultimately did not make it to its final destination.
My suggestion is to ship light, cheap, and easily replaceable items like GUNPLA and PINKY:ST dolls via SAL to save money, and ship heavier, more valuable items like resin figs and game consoles via EMS or courier for peace of mind. It’s always better to be safe than be sorry.
Duties and Taxes
Moving one, customs fees are another headache collectors have to deal with. From personal experience, EMC parcels — due to their valuable contents, have a higher tendency to be flagged by the Bureau of Customs. If you don’t want to pay the equivalent of 22% of your parcel’s total value as tax, plus PhP 785 in fees, then it’s best to keep your parcels small — less than USD 50 in value, to slip under the radar.
It will also help if you communicate with your seller and have the items under-declared in your shipping manifesto. There is a danger that your parcel will get lost and your insurance claims are reduced, but the chances of that actually happening are far smaller than probability of your parcel getting taxed before it reaches you.
One Last Thing
Large-scale collecting is SRZ BZNZ, so make sure you know what you are getting into before you decide to purchase that first piece. Make sure that your heart (and your wallet) is in the right place — because honestly, nothing kills the joy and pleasure you can get out of toy collecting, if all you do is keep adding up the sums in your head.