CONUS only …

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It seem that a pretty standard feature of BST posts are the words CONUS only. Sometimes the expression is bold faced to drive the point home. It also seems there is a growing trend to including EU preferred on BST posts originating from the European Union. Perhaps somebody can help me understand the purpose of these sales limitations.

I’ve bought a lot of knives from all over the world. I pay the shipping on the purchases so shipping isn’t the consideration. I have trouble accepting that the seller is thinking … “I don’t want any foreign dog buying and owning this knife”. Why would a seller care about where the buyer lives so long as they (the seller) gets paid? Shipping out of country costs a little (sometimes a lot) more and takes a little (sometimes a lot) longer. Why would the seller care about that? … It’s the buyers problem and if they (the buyer) can’t accept that, they shouldn’t make the purchase. To get petty about it why would someone living in the Continental USA object to selling their knife to a fellow American living in Hawaii, or Puerto Rico, or Guam? None of these areas are part of the CONUS.

Anyway I would appreciate it if someone could explain it to me. I’ve seen many knives that I would have purchased but have stopped short from buying them because of the CONUS limitation. I live in Canada and though I live on the North American continent and can see San Juan Island out my kitchen window, I don’t live in “CONUS” and am therefore ineligible to purchase knives with the “CONUS”. The same applies to “EU only” posts.
 
PP fee is ~3% for domestic transactions and ~5% for international ones I think. Other than than, it’s the higher risk in shipping internationally. I personally have no problem shipping to Hawaii, Alaska, Canada or Australia. Shipping to Hawaii is not much expensive than shipping to CA to me so I won’t even charge extra. Alaska I don’t know yet but I assume the same. Canada and Australia mean extra charge but I can deal with it.

EU I have to think about it due to past failure experience as there’s a chance the knife might be returned by the customs.
 
I ship primarily with USPS. I guess Alaska and Hawaii should be similar, if not the same rates, as other distant areas of the US for me. However, when we start talking about international, the prices jump significantly. Even shipping across the border to BC, the difference is like +$35 or something ridiculous last time I checked. Also there are extra forms and fees to navigate that add extra work on my part. It's not that I don't want to share with others, it's just that there are added risks and effort required.
 
I lose enamel off my teeth when I go to the post office. It ranges from moderately unpleasant to frustrating and, on those special days, infuriating. Sending international shifts the needle--and inevitably takes much, much more time than sending a domestic package. So, I prefer UPS. Costs a couple bucks more but saves a bunch of time. No half-hour waits. In and out in minutes. Sending international with UPS also takes more time and is pricey.
When shipping domestic, I know it'll cost ~$15. International prices vary and weight and dimensions factor in much more in terms of price. So, I'll have to go to the UPS store, get a quote, and then share that with the buyer. Best case scenario is two trips to the UPS store--one for quote, one to ship. Worst case scenario is the buyer says "that's too much" and backs out.
All told, it's a hassle and takes too much time. People that are set up to ship stuff will likely have an easier time--package scale, online accounts, etc. etc.--but that's not me.
 
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Good point. I prefer using UPS from the USA. They are faster and more reliable… the downside is that they charge the recipient a fee to cross the border … about $35 before delivery I think. It doesn’t affect the seller … they never see it. I rationalize it as being part of costs (of which there are many) of choosing to live in Canada. Either way I don’t see the slight extra cost as a big deal. It’s just part of my cost of buying knives.
 
I often post Conus only because I forget USPS ships to Hawaii and Alaska for the same price and because I just want it shipped/arrived faster so I don't think about it and bite my nails.
However, Canada is a bit of an issue .. it's often outrageously expensive to ship so close by.
That said, I've never said no to someone buying outside of conus if they pay shipping (or part of).
While I do sometimes see "EU Only" things I'd like, I do think shipping cross-ocean is sometimes riskier and respect their wish for sanity. Especially these days when knives get stuck in customs, it seems, for months (personal experience).
 
I think a lot of people include shipping in the listed price and shipping outside your region can be expensive and vary widely so it makes that hard to do.

I do agree that Hawaii, Alaska, PR, etc. shouldn't be excluded from US sales though.
 
Ahhhhhh … our friends at Customs!!! They can impart unreasonable delays and induce stress over whether you’re actually going to see your new purchase. I get it and agree that to some it’s a hassle that’s just not worth it. I’ve never had a loss due to Canadian Customs but I do get the stress part.
 
Two reasons why I would shy away from international shipping.

1. I hate filling out forms. The last time I took a look at the applicable form, I didn't even understand what a lot of the sections wanted. So I'd have to do research.

2. Trying avoid awkward conversations about my complete unwillingness to write lies on official forms. Maybe that's paranoia, and people wouldn't actually ask for that, but I have the impression that this form of tax fraud is common on the continent.
 
I like the term “tax avoidance” better, but I get your point. You shouldn’t be asked to do anything outside your comfort zone and I totally understand why you would legitimately want to avoid the issue altogether through the CONUS + Hawaii + Guam + American Protectorates and Administrations like Guam and American Samoa etc etc.
 
2. Trying avoid awkward conversations about my complete unwillingness to write lies on official forms. Maybe that's paranoia, and people wouldn't actually ask for that, but I have the impression that this form of tax fraud is common on the continent.
That’s a good point. I personally won’t buy any > $800 knife from international sellers/vendors who can’t declare a <$800 value. That’s why I didn’t buy a hitohira togashi yohei honyaki from Ai&OM while they were the only vendor who had them in stock. I definitely respect their business principle though.
 
Im up in canada and having bought knives from both people in the usa and people in canada i can confirm that the customs can be a pain; that said i would never ask someone to lie value wise or contents wise but i do understand the hesitations esspecially given that people get antsy when things are stuck in customs for multiple weeks
All that being said i am happy to pay extra to cover the shipping and am aware of the risks of getting charged at the border
 
I agree, I am prepared to pay the additional costs of shipping and accept the Import costs as part of buying knives abroad. One item that I have worried about is that a high declared valuation makes the parcel a target to go “astray” in shipping. I can’t back that up with facts but I have worried about it and prefer to ship high value items by UPS or FEDEX in the hope their shipping method is more secure.
 
For a while during the pandemic international shipping was a nightmare but I think it’s not much of an issue now. I usually post my prices CONUS but if someone international wants to buy, I’ll cover the first $20 and the rest is on them.
 
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Actually, I find the whole thread very informative. Every explanation of the CONUS limitation was valid as far as I’m concerned. I didn’t understand everything and I now understand more. What it comes to is a legitimate preference of the seller and I’m good with that. A seller can sell to whomever they wish. What helps me is that I no longer see “CONUS” as a blanket prohibition. From here on in I will feel at liberty to respectfully inquire whether covering the additional costs (including PayPal surcharges) will relax the CONUS limitation. That leaves the “too much hassle” explanation which too is totally valid. I will also indicate that I’m good with whatever shipping method (USPS, UPS, FEDEX etc) is most convenient for the seller. Lastly I won’t initiate a “tax avoidance” discussion.

That way there is a better possibility that I will be able to purchase a coveted knife that I can’t do without as opposed to thinking that I say “aye” a lot has me on the outs!

Thanks all who responded … KKF is a great and friendly place.
 
Plus any extra services from USPS (signature required, etc. ) only stay in force until the package gets to the border.

I recently discouraged a sale to Australia because I didn't know the the ins and outs of the strict knife laws there.

And, if there is any problem with customer satisfaction, who is paying for all the expensive shipping back and forth?
 
Actually, I find the whole thread very informative. Every explanation of the CONUS limitation was valid as far as I’m concerned. I didn’t understand everything and I now understand more. What it comes to is a legitimate preference of the seller and I’m good with that. A seller can sell to whomever they wish. What helps me is that I no longer see “CONUS” as a blanket prohibition. From here on in I will feel at liberty to respectfully inquire whether covering the additional costs (including PayPal surcharges) will relax the CONUS limitation. That leaves the “too much hassle” explanation which too is totally valid. I will also indicate that I’m good with whatever shipping method (USPS, UPS, FEDEX etc) is most convenient for the seller. Lastly I won’t initiate a “tax avoidance” discussion.

That way there is a better possibility that I will be able to purchase a coveted knife that I can’t do without as opposed to thinking that I say “aye” a lot has me on the outs!

Thanks all who responded … KKF is a great and friendly place.
It doesn't hurt to ask. Worst someone can say is no. I've been asked by several prospective buyers about international shipping. But I do think the cost is a huge factor.

PS if anyone knows of an inexpensive, reliable shipping solution from US to other countries, I'd be interested to know.
 
Two reasons why I would shy away from international shipping.

1. I hate filling out forms. The last time I took a look at the applicable form, I didn't even understand what a lot of the sections wanted. So I'd have to do research.

2. Trying avoid awkward conversations about my complete unwillingness to write lies on official forms. Maybe that's paranoia, and people wouldn't actually ask for that, but I have the impression that this form of tax fraud is common on the continent.
Maybe there should be a KKF guide to shipping, say between EU and US? Just to make things easier :)
 
PS if anyone knows of an inexpensive, reliable shipping solution from US to other countries, I'd be interested to know.
Hahahahahahahaaaa! Ha.
Yeah there isn’t one. DHL and UPS are the most reliable, but without a commercial account can be very expensive. Hell it’s expensive with a commercial account. And the prices have been going up. I used to be able to rely on getting a knife to most places for under $50, but the last few to the UK and EU have been in the mid 60s. Dealing with the different customs agency can sometimes be quite a challenge too. One tip- never mention wood on a customs form.
 
Maybe there should be a KKF guide to shipping, say between EU and US? Just to make things easier :)


One thing is certain and that is the whole issue of shipping isn’t as straight forward as I thought it was. This thread has shed a lot of light on the subject and is going to make it easier for me to purchase in the future. One thing it has done is to have made me much more appreciative of those of you who have put up with the extra hassle and possibly cost to do business with me in the past. For that I’m grateful. Thank you!
 
Yep, and thank you to the friendly BSTers who have gone the extra mile in posting to the UK - all much appreciated. Sure it’s a hassle, but generally US to UK has been quick and hassle free in my experience (so far at least), FedEx seems to be quicker internationally than to some states in fact

I’m keenly aware that it can be offputting for some, so I often just ask politely and hope rather than expect. Extra fees for the p&p are fine and to be expected imo, but it is a bit of a hurdle. And sometimes, just sometimes, you feel like the unlucky urchin with their face pressed against the shop window, unable to get a bit of the action.
 
Maybe there should be a KKF guide to shipping, say between EU and US? Just to make things easier :)

That has merit, but I hate the idea that my laziness about understanding a form would drive such a thing.

Really, both of my objections can be overcome. For the form, I need to bite the bullet and understand it, and then I know it for all time. For the valuation/contents declaration, well, that condition could be stated in the For Sale posting, to avoid the "yes I want it/no I don't want it if you're not willing to falsify the form" discussion.

Hassle level aside, that leaves only the "what if it never gets there/arrives damaged/is delayed by months" question. My conjecture would be that that's all on the buyer, unless insurance was arranged, and the seller's responsibility would be limited to providing tracking establishing that it was shipped, but other opinions are possible. It would be interesting to know what a generally agreed as good arrangement would look like. Then there's the "not damaged, but not acceptable to the buyer in some way" question. I'd think that would be buyer pays return shipping, seller issues refund on receipt or maybe when tracking is provided.

It's all sort of complicated, and I actually kind of like the idea that a listing may say "US only" or even "CONUS only," but reasonable accommodations might be made on request. I know the first thing I'd do if I got such an inquiry is look at the posts of the person asking, to get a feel for whom I am dealing with.
 
in addition to what's already been said...

lack of familiarity with international shipping. many people have never sent an international package and don't know the ins and outs.

also, there's added risk (real or imagined) of packages getting lost. unless it's insured, which is something some sellers might not even know how to do.

Hahahahahahahaaaa! Ha.
Yeah there isn’t one. DHL and UPS are the most reliable, but without a commercial account can be very expensive. Hell it’s expensive with a commercial account. And the prices have been going up. I used to be able to rely on getting a knife to most places for under $50, but the last few to the UK and EU have been in the mid 60s. Dealing with the different customs agency can sometimes be quite a challenge too. One tip- never mention wood on a customs form.

i'm familiar with USPS resellers (companies that commercial base rates accessible to peons like me), but does anyone know of similar for UPS or DHL? mainly for international shipping because USPS Priority Mail International doesn't seem that fast, reliable, or reasonably priced.
 
I used to ship stuff wherever, negotiate on a case by case basis with the buyer if the cost was going to be significant, communicate about any special requirements for the customs declaration, tracking, etc. Never found it to be that much of a hassle past the very first time when I goofed up bad sending to Canada and learned to ask these questions. The other day though I shipped to Europe by USPS and it cost twice what it usually does for one knife or one stone, so I don’t think I’m going to be doing that anymore until I have a better handle on what’s going on. I’m sure it’s something to do with funding and labor and so on with usps, politics plus pandemic stuf.
 
regarding the customs declaration...

i have never put this to the test myself, but i have to assume that lying about the declared value would ruin an insurance claim.
declare $100 and insure for $1000? insurance might not pay out of it gets lost.

if insurance is out, do the buyer and seller agree beforehand who is responsible in the event of package loss?
 
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