Tips on Buying Toys Online: Part 2


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.

13 Comments Add yours

  1. nina says:

    …or collecting valuable figures as a status symbol.

    Sorry, I just had to say that XD


  2. HAHAHAHA status symbols lol~

    at the end of the day it’s still just a toy, and it will break if you’re not careful with it πŸ˜€


  3. batangbatugan says:

    My first online purchase was from Hobby Fan, and my only problem was the 2nd package was sent late. If you want to save and ensure safe delivery, and also have the following:

    a) friends/relatives abroad
    b) lots of patience

    You can try having the package sent to your folks abroad, and have them include it in the next balikbayan box, or bring it with them when they come for a visit. XD


  4. hmm — where is HOBBY FAN based? maybe that was a factor to the delay of your parcel. items shipped within asia (JP, HK, and SG) usually arrive within a couple of weeks, even with SAL shipping.


  5. Clair says:

    If it’s stuck in customs they will send you a notice for it, right? I am a bit worried as this is the first time I shipped something via EMS and it got held up somewhere.


  6. yes, you should get this postcard thing with instructions on how to claim your parcel. but if you can’t wait, just print out the tracking info from the foreign post office’s website and bring that with you to the claim center in pasay.


  7. GekiDan says:

    So minimum value is below $50. Right?
    How much time does an HLJ order arrive here in the Philippines via EMS?


    1. EMS should not take more than three to seven working days.


  8. Mickey says:

    “SRZ BZNZ”
    What’s that?


  9. Kris says:

    Is it advisable to buy many gundam figures and send it by SAL from japan?


    1. These days? Not really. If the Bureau of Customs decides to tax your parcel, you might end up paying as must as 200% of the original value of the item. Also, there are local shops like Hubbyte Toy Store and Great Toys Online that sell Gundam kits at close to Japan prices.


  10. Hi If choose SAL for shipping, how will I know that my package arrived at the post office?


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