Is Package Forwarding Safe?

A common question that is asked when considering using a re-shipper to ship US products overseas is whether package forwarding is considered safe. Consumers and business owners that need a way to internationally ship their packages from the US want to know:

  • Will my package arrive safely and in prime condition?
  • Can I trust a 3rd party shipper?
  • Is there a higher risk for my package to get lost?
  • How do I know if a package forwarder is legitimate?
  • How can utilizing a 3rd party shipper benefit me in the long run?

These are very valid concerns to have, especially if you aren’t familiar with parcel forwarders and their shipping process. In this post, we will be exploring these questions along with some ways that allow you to determine whether it is safe to use a particular package forwarder.

Package Forwarding Explained

We’ll start with a quick explanation of what package forwarding is for those that are new to the shipping service. Package forwarding, also known as parcel forwarding, re-shipping or freight forwarding, is a service that allows a consumer to receive packages to a shipment facility and then forward it to a separate destination address either internationally or domestically. 

This service comes in especially helpful when someone is looking to make an online purchase overseas and wants to avoid costly international shipping fees from retailers or would like to save by consolidating packages together

 Some additional helpful services that most package forwarders offer include package consolidation, assisted purchase aka personal shopper, mail forwarding, inspections and more.

Package Forwarding Concerns

We’re going to address some of the above concerns around whether package forwarding is safe with some insights that will hopefully provide a better understanding of how it all works and offer some comfort.  

Will my purchases arrive safely and in good condition?

For the most part, if you are using a company that specializes in package forwarding specifically, then it is more likely that your package is going to be in safe hands. Package forwarders have processes and systems in place to handle your boxes with the best care. 

A perk of using a re-shipper is that they will often notify you of any visible damage that may have happened to your package during transit from the retailer to their facility so that you are aware before the shipment is sent to you. At OPAS, we check all our member’s shipments for any obvious damage so that they can notify the store as soon as possible and before the product leaves the country.

If you find yourself still worried about your package arriving in good condition, you can always add shipping insurance to ensure that if anything were to happen during transit, you’d be covered. We highly recommend this option when our members ship high-value items. 

Can I trust a 3rd party shipper?

If you use a package forwarder that is reliable and has a good reputation, then you should be able to trust them. It’s always important to do your background research on a re-shipper as you should with any service provider so that you’re aware of what to expect and so you can see real-life experiences from previous customers.

Below, we are going to mention some different ways that you can verify if a particular package forwarder is safe.

Is there a higher risk for my package to get lost?

We wouldn’t say that using a package forwarder directly increases your risk of losing your package in transit. If anything, it is nice to be able to be notified of the condition of your shipment when it arrives at the package forwarding facility and before it leaves for transit again. You can think of it as a quick pit stop.

It’s also important to mention that package tracking is a handy tool when it comes to knowing where exactly your package is. If losing your shipment is a great concern for you, we’d suggest closely monitoring the shipment using the tracking link provided. At OPAS, we provide our members with a tracking link once their shipment has been processed, making it easy to locate where their packages are during transit. 

How do I know if a package forwarder is legitimate? Can I get scammed?

Fraud is always a valid concern, even when shipping overseas. Unfortunately, scams are a possibility, especially during this digital age. The best thing you can do to protect yourself against any type of scam is to do thorough research into the industry and the companies within that field to verify that real customers have safely used them in the past. We’ll talk a little bit more in detail regarding this topic below.

How can utilizing a 3rd party package forwarding benefit me in the long run?

There are a ton of benefits to using package forwarders, which is why the freight forwarding industry is expected to continue growing. Here are just a couple of the ways that package forwarding can be useful in the long term:

It can save you money

The ability to shop sales-tax-free can add up when it comes to your total savings. Not to mention that many products, for example, designer apparel and electronics, can be found at lower prices at online stores within the US as opposed to their overseas counterparts. The intrigue to shop within the US from international customers is definitely there due to the discounted costs. 

When you include that with the use of consolidating your packages and the exclusive shipping discounts provided by package forwarders, your savings are bound to accumulate over time. Many of our own members save up to an average of 80% when they ship with us.

It can reduce the number of packages you have to ship

Through package consolidation, you can collect your various purchases in your package forwarders facility and then combine them in one box. This ultimately reduces the total amount of shipments that need to be made. For example, shipping one medium-sized package overseas would cost way less than shipping ten small packages. 

You’ll also have the ability to order at different times and from different stores. If you were to do this without the help of a package forwarder, it could cost you upwards of $35+ for each individual shipment.

They are experts in international shipping

There are many hurdles that you can face when shopping and shipping internationally, including processing dangerous goods, declaring your purchases with customs and working with carriers. When choosing to work with a re-shipper you are also choosing to work with an expert in the area of cross-border shipping. Having a trusted team that will support you and guide you through the process can alleviate a lot of unnecessary stress that comes with shipping. This frees up your mind to focus on your main task at hand, shopping your favorite US brands. 

Things you Should Consider to Determine Whether a Company’s Package Forwarding Service is Safe

As mentioned above, if you are concerned about the legitimacy of your package forwarder and whether your shipments would be safe, you should do the proper research to verify the credibility of the company. 

Here’s a list of things that you can check to reassure you of the legitimacy of their operations:

  • Check their reviews: Visit their Facebook and Google pages to sift through their review to ensure that real people have used their service and received their packages correctly.
  • Check their history: Look into how long the company has been around what milestones they have hit so that you have an understanding of their longevity and the growth they’ve seen as a company.
  • Can you reach a real person? When verifying a company, it’s important that you’re able to contact them directly in case you run into any shipping issues or have questions. Check their website to see whether they offer customer services through email, online chat, Facebook messenger or phone. OPAS is one of the few package forwarders in the industry that can be contacted via phone. 
  • Are their website and payment methods secure? Another way to quickly find out the possibility of a fraudulent company is by checking the security of their website and their payment methods. Whenever you conduct online purchases, it’s important always to check that your personal information is secure before you submit. Make sure that they have a proper SSL certificate applied to their website and use a reliable payment option such as PayPal. 
  • Have you checked their BBB rating? To rule out US companies that are scams or are involved with any unethical practices, you can look them up on the Better Business Bureau. It’s an online directory that provides a rating along with customer reviews and complaints.  Learn more at www.bbb.org
  • Do they use trusted shipping carriers? Before shipping, verify that they are using well-known carriers such as FedEx and UPS. It’s even better if the package forwarder provides a carrier chart listing the carriers they work with and how they differ.
  • Are they claiming to be the cheapest way to ship internationally? While this might not pose a direct red flag as there are plenty of package forwarding companies out there that emphasize the affordability of their shipping services, you should be cautious of online scammers who want to appeal to customers looking for super low costs. Look into the details of the company’s services, how they structure their memberships and fees and how the reason why they can provide an affordable service to their users (for example, they might ship in bulk or have close business relationships with carriers).

 

In conclusion, package forwarding is relatively safe and reliable. The industry has been around for decades and has supported millions of overseas consumers and businesses in receiving their online purchases from the US. 

The main steps to take when choosing your package forwarder is to verify their status as a trusted company within the industry and to have an open communication line with them available in the case that any questions or issues arise.

After reading through our suggestions around whether package forwarding is safe, do you have any additional questions or thoughts to add to the conversation? If so, join us in the comments below!

 

A bit about OPAS Package Forwarding: 

OPAS has been helping members forward and consolidate their online US purchases since 1990. We currently ship to over 220 countries worldwide and provide online and phone support in both English and Japanese. We strive to connect overseas shoppers to US stores and to offer simple, affordable and fast shipping solutions. Learn more about our memberships here.

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