Saturday, November 8, 2008

Shipping items to Mexico

What a freaking pain. Even after giving away more than half my household items and selling a lot more I still had a few shelves full of stuff at Shawndras house. Mostly sentimental items I just cant part with. We planned on using the money from what we sold to ship it here and my church in St. Louis said they would pay the rest. Well obviously we cant ship it all because alot of whats there is picture albums but some of the other stuff and special christmas decorations Shawndra boxed up to send. She went from DHL to UPS because we found that they would be "easier" to use. Or so we thought. When she brought the box to them the first time they told her they needed a list of every item in the box. This was my fault I knew this and forgot about it. When she brought it back list and all they asked her the dollar amount value for the contents. Well she said everything is used and at least a year or two old it's all just sentimental. They said ok took her money (over $300) and told her they would deliver it to my door step. I get a call on Wed from UPS in Guadalajara telling me they have my package but cannot send it to me because of a few of the items that are in it. Aparently the Christmas dishes that were in the box have lead paint on them. Ok seriously I could almost promise you the rusted metal play equipment that Alana plays on in the parks here are painted with lead based paint. Sience when does Mexico care about that kind of stuff. So I decided to look it up. Not sure you care but here are two sites I found and none of them say anything about lead based paint. (, Issacs convinced someone in the UPS office liked the dish set and found a reason for us to be forced to abandon them. OH there was also a small bottle of liquid that came with the VHS cleaning kit that we forgot about. I don't care about that. So our choice is to abandon the items and receive the rest of the package or pay a fee to have the whole box shipped back to Shawndra. Ok, we abandon them, you can have my freaking dishes dang it. So she sends us a form to fill out and fax back, we fill it out and fax it the next day for about $15pesos. Oh then she informs Issac that they need to know the approximate value so they can charge us a 60% importation fee. What the crap Im paying an importation fee on stuff that's old. Ok so we say the box isn't worth more than $25US. "NO" she says. We have to price each item of clothing at no less than $3US. And they are estimating the box at $50. "Ok Fine $50 it is just send us the box." Then on Friday evening around 6pm the lady calls back and says she is sending us a list of items in the box so we can price each item. Why you may be thinking, well we agree. Apparently if the list from the states isn't priced individually on a box that is worth more than $50 then you have to price it all so their is a "receipt." So she sends it. I almost want to attach it to show you how crappy it looked. The top of the paper was a computer print out of some screen showing geographical data on Shawndra and us. Then under that they hand wrote extremely sloppy (Issac could hardly even understand it) the list of items. And they were very non descriptive. It would say things like 1 towel. Is it a hand towel, is it pretty, does it have holes. Who knows. So I price everything at $1US or 50cents and the clothing at $3US each. The total is $68US. We faxed it back to them today and tried to call to see if they got it. Well no one answered guess they close early on Sat. We will check back first thing Monday.
So on top of the over $300 we spent on getting it shipped we get to spend prob another $40 on importation taxes. We are wondering if sentiment is worth all this.
Now to end saying long story short, here is the lessons learned. If you send anything to Mexico be sure you write a price down that's less than $50. And there is no good way to ship anything to Mexico considering the Mexican postal service sucks.


  1. seriously for that price you could have flown back, got the box and brought it with you. really... last year I got round trip tickets from puerto vallarta to portland for 299 dollars per person. damn, that sucks so bad. I'm sorry you have to go through that, that is the last thing you need right now.

  2. Here is how you ship the photo albums and books. Have your friend box them up, no more than 30 pounds of stuff per box and send them via the US postal service using M bag. The M stands for media, it can only be paper stuff, no dvds or other things. You write on the book used books,or family photos or what ever it is, declare the value at something like $5 usd, it's all used stuff. You can send 60 pounds at a time but you don't want the boxes too heavy, because the Mexican Postal service doesn't deliver them. You get a notice and pick them up at the post office. There is NOT supposed to be any duty on used books (or any books actually), but we once paid 170 pesos because they were technical books (which is bs). It cost about $40 usd to ship 35 pounds of books from California. We actually shipped 12 boxes of books got them all and spent way less than if we had sent them some other method. It takes at least 12 weeks but who cares?

  3. Does the P.O. or any other shipping provider give you this info in a brochure or online?

  4. Carla J- So I have learned a lot since this post. As long as the boxes are not huge like the one in this post I have not had any of these problems. If people use the standard international size boxes they usually go right through. Also if you just use the USPS postal number from the package you can track the box through the Mexican postal website all the way to your local post office. Hope this helps

  5. The best solution for shipping to Mexico is here:
    You ship to the border town Brownsville, TX Shipping to Mexico. America ship will cross the bridge and ship to your address in Mexcio. Domestic rates!