It’s been some time since I found time to blog. Meanwhile, I’ve been busy shipping Taobao stuff. Lots of stuff. For home renovation. All in all I shipped more than 2 CBM of goods, with more to come.
This would be my third time shipping via 86OF, but only the first time I shipped more than 0.5 CBM to qualify for free home delivery. With free home delivery, it is a good deal. There’s no way I can self-collect a full CBM worth of goods (see above), and some items won’t even fit into my car.
I received a call to confirm the delivery timing (apparently it was a logistics company that is a separate entity from 86OF). The delivery went well, and all goods were accounted for. There was just one item that was slightly damaged, but it has more to do with the seller not packing the item more securely.
During the process of managing parcel arrivals at the warehouse and eventually shipping all the parcels, there was a minor hiccup. 86OF did a migration to a new website from amk.86of.com to amkb.86of.com (similarly for all the other branches). There was no notification given whatsoever regarding the website migration, AS EXPECTED. Sending an email would have been a cheap way to propagate this important news, even if it were only in Chinese, but i received no email nor SMS, nada. I was only told about the website migration when I checked with customer service as to why I wasn’t seeing parcel arrivals in my account.
The customer service personnel gave me a link with instructions (entirely in Chinese of course) on how they were going to handle the issue of customers having parcels in both the old and new website. I had to do cash top up in both the old and new website and ship the parcels respectively, after which, they will merge the shipment and refund me the extra shipping fee paid.
I did so, and they were really quick to do the refund. So, while 86OF remains lousy at communicating with customers, the prompt response from their customer service is reassuring. I feel completely comfortable with this level of service, but I can imagine there would be many other customers screaming at them. Well, they (86of) just have to learn it the hard way. Or more likely they will feel justified with their way of managing customer relations.
It is important to note that 0.5 CBM is an important cut-off threshold, because once you exceed 0.5 CBM, you will have to pay for the full CBM, currently at S$90, (vs $59 for 0.5 CBM). So, if you did exceed 0.5 CBM, it makes sense to add on more purchases to fully utilize the 1 CBM you’re entitled to. The 20 days of free warehouse storage should give you sufficient time to make further purchases on Taobao. I did so.
I learnt from my recent purchases that Taobao sellers sometimes send more than one parcel per order, or worse, they sometimes provide the wrong tracking number, and you’re left wondering why your parcel was sent to a different address. Taobao only allows tracking one parcel per order, which is a major drawback. Taobao sellers will sometimes inform you about the additional parcels through the Aliwangwang instant messenger. The web version of Aliwangwang is extremely unreliable, so, despite how I dislike the desktop version, I have it installed. It is a good idea to login to Aliwangwang the few days after you have placed your order on Taobao, just in case the seller needs confirmation from you about your purchase or have something to inform you about the order fulfilment. Alternatively, you can also install the Cainiao Guoguo app and you will receive notification on your phone when the seller sends you a message (the notification may be slightly delayed though, i noticed). I wouldn’t suggest installing the official Taobao app as it renders your phone useless. It uses up every bit of memory available and drains the battery like nobody’s business.
I collect cashback for my Taobao purchases through Shopback, even though it is not much. Interestingly, when I perform a search via the Taobao search bar on Shopback website, as is required for earning cash back, I sometimes find cheaper sources for the same item, so I end up saving even more, while also earning cashback.
I will be posting product recommendations for my recent hoard of Taobao purchases, do stay tuned!
Update 25 Apr 2019
It’s been slightly more than a year since i last shipped parcels through 86of sea freight, and i discovered that some things have changed. First off, the SG side customer service is non-existent now. They have “outsourced” all customer service to their Guangzhou office, which does answer queries in a somewhat timely manner, but they can tell you nothing about the parcel whereabouts once it has left China. The SG customer service will not bother to answer your WhatsApp messages like they used to, so all you can do is wait. My parcels were estimated to arrive on 17 Apr but the “ready for collection” update came only on 25 Apr. Still not too bad i guess.
I’ve probably mentioned somewhere before that all payments are in CNY now, and this probably puts some people off. Well, it’s good and bad. I happen to have a WeChat account with CNY credit, so i can pay for the shipping rather easily, and the shipping fee is actually cheaper – 59 Yuan for the first 0.1 CMB which is S$12 at the current exchange rate, instead of S$13 previously.
Overall, i think the service is still satisfactory, and for shipping less than 1 CBM of goods, 86of is probably still very competitive.