We are excited to continue our conversation with our Warehouse Manager, Steve. Today he talks to us about questions our OPAS members have about shipping.
I want to receive some shoes. Will you send them in the shoe box because I need the box too? I also want them to be as compact as possible.
Steve: Unless the customer specifies otherwise, as a rule we don’t send the manufacturer’s boxes included with hats or shoes. We do this to get the shipping charges as low as possible. If the customer wants their shoes or hat to be sent in the manufacturer’s box, or if they have other specific requests, they just need to let us know in the notes section of their shipping request.
I received an email telling me I ordered something that is considered “Dangerous Goods”. Why was I able to order it from an online store if it’s considered “dangerous”?
S: Within the U.S. items considered to be “Dangerous Goods” are sent only on the ground, by train or truck, so there is no problem. But when we want to send internationally it has to go by air, so things like air pressure inside the plane have to be considered. There are all kinds of hazardous materials, but in general we are able to ship things like hairspray, fingernail polish, or perfume and cologne in a special box box with proper labels. Because Dangerous Goods need to be sent separately in a different box, the customer will need to pay for two separate shipments. The services you can use and the Dangerous Goods charges vary between different carriers. Whether or not we can send certain goods depends on the country, so please check your country’s restrictions before you order.
Can I send lithium batteries by themselves without any restrictions?
S: The rules for shipping loose lithium batteries (including portable power banks) are always changing. As of right now, IATA/ISAO has designated loose lithium batteries as Dangerous Goods, and so when we attempt to ship them we have to write them up as such. Because of this change, there are additional handling charges. There are also some locations we can’t ship lithium batteries to. If you aren’t sure, contact OPAS before you make an order for lithium batteries.
Can you send me a shipping estimate before I purchase an item?
S: The shipping charge can vary dramatically depending on the dimensions and weight of the items you are sending. For home delivery the charge is determined by which is greater, the actual weight or the dimensional weight. We can only make an accurate estimate after your order has been packed and measured. When choosing your shipping method you can choose “Please send me an estimate.” Also since more of our users send internationally than domestically, the way we package the orders is different. Often it is too risky to send glass and other fragile items simply in the packaging they came in. Also, it’s not unusual for items received from online auctions and private sellers to arrive with no cushioning. At OPAS we take care to keep the packages we send as small and lightweight as possible, but there are times when we have to to use extra packaging in order to keep an item from getting damaged in transit, which can cause shipping costs to go up. Please understand that when you ship something fragile, it may affect the final shipping cost.
I told you I wanted several orders shipped in one package, but you split them into two boxes. Why?
S: It’s a mistake to think that sending a single box is always cheaper. For example, if you wanted to send a baseball bat and a basketball together, it would require a box that is as long as the bat, and as wide as the ball. This box would be full of a lot of wasted space that you would be forced to pay for because you will most likely be charged for the dimensional weight. This is why we sometimes split an order into two or more boxes, in order to reduce the shipping cost.
I ordered something to OPAS and, but then I was told it is a restricted item in my country and I can’t ship it there. What items are restricted from import?
S: No one is allowed to import goods (plant and animal) that violate the Washington Convention (CITES). Outside of that, the restrictions on what you can import vary country to country. There are also restrictions on some items depending on the carrier. Click here for the OPAS Restricted Commodities from US page, but keep in mind this list isn’t comprehensive, so if you aren’t sure and have a question, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with links to the items you are wondering about.