One of the most common questions we're asked by newer customers about Fine Games'
international shipping charges is why the actual postage shown on the
package is different than what Fine Games has
Here is our answers in
detail. In short, there are two reasons: shipping cost elements you may not
be aware of,
and the fleeting differences between estimated v. actual shipping costs.
The first, and largest, reason for the difference between what you see on
your arriving package and what you've been charged for shipping your package is that,
altho postage costs are
by far the largest shipping charge component, they are not the only costs we
incur to ship your package. Those accustomed to transacting only with individuals, rather than
businesses, may incorrectly assume that there are no other cost elements aside
Which to us, if you'll pardon our sarcasm, is much like thinking that a
magic fairy appears in our shipping room each afternoon and -- working for
free -- waives a magic want that takes games from our shelves and makes them
disappear into the black hole of the post office without any of the hassles --
or costs -- of
paid employees working on the clock, packaging or waiting in line at the PO.
In fact, an employee collects all items from your order, puts them in a
shipping container or box, lovingly fills the box with packing material so as to avoid
damage in transit, seals the box, addresses the box, and then fills out both
insurance and customs declaration forms that require handwritten addressing &
detailed content information. Later, the ready-to-ship box is transported to
our post office where an employee waits in line, then waits longer as each package is
processed by our post office.
If you read between the lines, there are many cost components just
mentioned. And these are why Fine Games'
shipping charges are more than the cost of postage alone:
- Employee time (often 20minutes and more per package all totaled to
package an order, travel to the PO, wait in line...)
- Packaging & packaging materials (checked out the costs of boxes
lately? More than $1 a pop)
- Vehicle costs for local transportation to our PO (which
includes not only operating expenses but the vehicle's cost too)
- Self-insurance (that is, we assume the risk of loss rather than paying
the PO to do so; it remains a cost either way)
For the most part, these costs are not sensitive to the size of the order.
It takes the same amount of time & the same vehicle costs to transport a
$10 order as it does a $1,000 order to the post office.
We're sorry that international shipping is expensive, and that it is bound to get more
expensive as fossil fuel grows scarcer. But unless you know a good magic
fairy, please understand that these are essential costs are required to get your
package to you.
A frequent second but lesser reason for the difference between the postage cost
you see on the package and what you've been charged involves the difference
between our estimated shipping weight when you place your order, and the
actual shipping weight as judged by our post office. This difference is
temporary as your account is always adjusted to reflect actual shipping
weights a short time after shipment.
As discussed in our International Shipping
Rates page, when you place your order, we estimate the
shipping weight of your bundle of games as packaged for shipment. We base our
estimate on the weights of each item you order, plus an amount for packaging
that accounts for the number and size of games ordered. We're good at this,
but by no means perfect; about 33% of our estimates are either over or under
the actual shipping weight, which is judged by our post
office on shipment.
For example, we might estimate a shipping weight of six (6) pounds at the time you
place your order with us, for example. You'll be charged based on this
estimate. Then, after we have shipped your order, we
reconcile our estimate with the actual weight our post office determined on
its scales. If actual weight is only five (5) pounds, you are credited with
the difference in cost between 6 and 5 pounds. For an priority mail shipment to
Japan, that means a $4.55 credit.
In the same way, if we estimate a five (5) pound shipping weight, but
actual weight is six (6) pounds, we issue you a $4.55 debit for an
priority mail shipment to Japan as you originally were not charged enough to cover the
actual shipment weight.
It may take us 1-2 weeks to reconcile the differences and post appropriate
adjustments, but we do post those
regularly and routinely. Payments via credit card are refunded to your
card; all others are held on account for use in a future order, or for refund
And to the point here, shipping weight may be have over-estimated, sometimes by a lot on special order items, and so
your final shipping
bill will be less than expected when adjusted.