There are 4 parcel forwarders on Taobao. I have used 2 of them – 4PX and DPEX. DPEX is a new entrant to this business. I thought i could give them a try since they offer a slightly lower rate than 4PX. So how did they fare?
Well, i’m not going to use DPEX again in the future. Here’s why:
1. They quoted the weight of the items to a single decimal place, instead of 2 decimal places like 4PX does. For example, 0.5kg. Very obviously, they rounded the weight upwards. It is possible that for an item that is 0.41kg, they rounded it up to 0.5kg. You’re not at the scene when they take the weight measurement, so they can really just quote a random weight if they wanted to. I’m inclined to think that a weight measurement having 2 decimal places is more likely to be real. At least, it takes more imagination or creativity to fake a weight measurement of up to 2 decimal places every time. I’m more willing to pay for the extra “work” done of plucking 2 decimal places out of thin air than 1. But anyway, a 1 decimal place weight measurement doesn’t sit well with me, not when you’re billed in 0.5kg quantum. If you’re buying 5 items or more, and every item is rounded up to the nearest 0.1kg, you’re definitely going to be billed for an extra 0.5kg of shipping cost!
2. In the consolidated shipment package, some items came sans their original packaging material. That is a big NO! The stuff you bought from the respective Taobao sellers were sent in a packaging that the seller deemed necessary to protect the item throughout the course of their delivery. Some items can be damaged if shipped without their original protective packaging. Guess what happened to some of the packages when they reached DPEX warehouse? They opened up some of the packages in order to make everything fit into the box they chose for shipping my stuff! What if they have dishonest staff who decided to keep some of the items you bought, or if they were simply careless and left out some items? Nobody will claim responsibility! They should not allow such a possibility in the first place! Here’s the thing that is most repulsive about DPEX – when they ship stuff with the packaging material removed, they still charge you the shipping cost according to the weight which is inclusive of the packaging material! I purchased a camera bag that is listed as weighing 300gm on the product page but was quoted 0.5kg by DPEX. Guess how the camera bag was shipped? Yes, simply wrapped in a plastic bag! If i was billed the correct weight then maybe i wouldn’t mind the repackaging done.
My experience with 4PX was far better. The items are all delivered in their original packaging, the weight is calculated up to 2 decimal places, and i also get an SMS on the day of the delivery (obviously DPEX didn’t do this)! Forget DPEX and go with 4PX!
Update 3 Feb 2017
A lot has changed since i wrote this blog entry. The couriers have changed, and the shipping rates too (more favourable now). I have not shipped via Taobao Consolidated Shipping for a long time, but have used ezbuy and 86OF. Ezbuy for shipping small items, because they have the option of self-collection from warehouse, which totally avoids the hassle of failed deliveries. And they’re likely cheaper too for non-bulky items. 86OF because you can ship large items, which you cannot ship through Taobao nor ezbuy, and for a low price too. If you’re new to Taobao shipping, i would encourage you to try out all the options to see which one works best for you, though for large items, you don’t really have a choice.