Another ezbuy fail – eBay forwarding

Update: Not sure what happened, but i don’t get that error message anymore. So my post below does not apply anymore, and yes, i’m back to using ezbuy for USA forwarding.

I have used ezbuy to forward eBay purchases from the US countless times, but when i tried to checkout my cart today, i encountered this error message: “This item cannot be purchased because this item cannot be sent to your shipping address.”.

Scratch my head.. the address has never been changed and it is correct. I tried to register a new eBay account, and then i discovered the reason – a mobile number must be paired with the shipping address. A landline won’t do. I guess this almost means goodbye to ezbuy, because i can practically ship nothing through them anymore (i haven’t tried their latest China forwarding address though).

Instead, i might turn to SGshop or vPost or comgateway. I have done a Taobao sea freight forwarding through SGshop and will post my review very soon. Now, i might try to forward my eBay purchases through them also. Their USA shipping rates are almost the same as ezbuy – S$3.99 per 500g, plus a clearance fee of $0.98 for each parcel (which also applies to China parcels, lame). ezbuy is still the cheapest, with no per parcel fee, and there is an option of charging by actual weight, at S$3.99 per 500g. Unbeatable. Hopefully they can supply a mobile phone number in the future.

By the way, i am not endorsing SGshop, not yet at least. They seem to be just a “reseller” for uclick2buy, because the warehouse address is exactly identical, and “UCB” is part of your forwarding address, and it obviously refers to uclick2buy. Interestingly, uclick2buy charges S$13.50 for the first 500g and every additional 500g costs $4.25, which is a lot more expensive.

The Google results also show that sellers have been scammed when sending to freight forwarded buyers – the recipient receives the products but they claim they got an empty box and refuse to release payment. Sellers are probably quite wary when they see freight forwarding addresses, so you probably need to have a credible purchase history for them to trust you.

Ezbuy ship-for-me is down again

Ezbuy has been trying to get back onto shipping Taobao goods again, and the strategy they employed of late is to change the forwarding address frequently, plus, using funny looking addresses. The most recent forwarding address is 阳光海鲜大排档转凤岗韵达网点转xxx (where xxx is your user id). That’s the name of a restaurant if you’re not well versed in Chinese.

Anyway, Taobao caught up with the game (or maybe they were just lenient for a while) and managed to block Ezbuy from stealing business again. When i tried to check-out, i was led to the following screen, which is pretty much the same as what was prompted to Ezbuy users a year ago when Taobao first launched the move to block users from using Ezbuy forwarding.

I did manage to use Ezbuy ship-for-me twice in recent times though. Oh well.

Update: status still the same as at 4 Jan 2019.

Ezbuy hits another wall

Apparently, Ezbuy is now blocked from forwarding Amazon purchases (for selected items). I turn to vPost for now, but i hope Ezbuy will be back in action (Update: i shipped another Amazon order to ezbuy warehouse and it worked). I believe they’re still the cheapest around.

Shopback ❤ ezbuy

Saw something familiar in the Shopback mailer today – ezbuy! 6% cashback for Prime, buy-for-me and ship-for-me (8% during the current 2 days promotion which you’ll likely miss out on unless you happen to have something in their China warehouses right now, or you’re planning to buy something from Taobao right now).

I don’t know when they will clamp down on the coupon code “65APP15” (case-sensitive), but until then i’ve been enjoying 15% discount off the shipping when i do ship-for-me (which is all i do). If i were to get another 6% cashback, it means overall, i will be getting a 20% discount off the shipping fee.

I suspect this is just for a limited period only, just like for Qoo10. In any case, you’re missing out on a lot of rebates if you haven’t signed up for Shopback, so do it now!

Update 13 July 2016

Promo already over. As suspected, this was just a sprint campaign to reach out to the Shopback customer base.

Taobao product recommendation – Airfryer

I’ve debated with myself over the need to get an Airfryer for a long time, since i generally don’t eat deep fried stuff much, and knowing that an Airfryer is nothing but a mini oven with a turbo fan, but all along, I’ve pictured a scene in mind – eating home-made cheese fries with fried chicken wings while sipping home-made beer. Yes, I dream of recreating a cafe/bar at home. I finally succumbed and bought an Airfryer to see if this would bring me one step closer to my dream.

Deep frying is quite a hassle, everyone knows that. I should say that is the main reason i avoid doing it. You need to use a lot of oil, and often bits of the food stays in the oil until they’re burnt, rendering the oil useless for further use. Not to mention, your kitchen gets greasy after doing just very little deep frying. Using an automatic fryer would help, but that usually means using even more oil, and it takes a lot of justification to get such a machine (eating deep fried stuff every day isn’t a good excuse). That’s where an Airfryer fits in i guess. I’ve gone through enough reviews of the Airfryer to be convinced that the result it produces is close enough to real deep fried food. Continue reading Taobao product recommendation – Airfryer

Qoo10 product recommendation – mobile phone

My Nokia 500 that i am retiring soon. Taken with Xiaomi Redmi Note 3.
My Nokia 500 that i am retiring soon. Photo taken using Xiaomi Redmi Note 3.

Gone are the days when you had to rely on the Telco to offer you handsets at a discounted prices when you sign on a contract with them. Now that Telcos are forced to slash prices due to competition, it is even more so, because their margin doesn’t allow them to dangle handsets to lure business anymore. In fact, i think the business has turned the other way round – they’re hoping to make money from selling the handsets along with the plan.

This bodes well for consumers, who are finally free to buy any phone they wish at any time without being psychologically influenced to think that a phone upgrade is a necessity upon every contract renewal. In any case, i have been free from that kind of mentality since more than 5 years ago. Continue reading Qoo10 product recommendation – mobile phone

Making sense of Taobao shipping options

To a newbie, i think Taobao shipping options is too hard to comprehend. To simplify things, Taobao has come up with Taobao Global Direct Shipping, which probably works well for newbies. In this posting, i discuss the pros and cons of each method of shipping based on what i’ve learned through experience.

Taobao Global Direct Shipping

This is the default choice and the one Taobao tries to recommend you take up. No further action is required to arrange for the delivery of goods beyond the point of sale.

Pros – payment for shipping is made at the same time when doing check out, which relieves customers from having to monitor and consolidate the shipment.

Cons – the local courier company handling the delivery in Singapore is DPEX, with which i have had a bad experience. Sensitive items such as battery, cosmetics and food are not allowed. This option is most probably more expensive than the rest.

When to choose Taobao Global Direct Shipping – for newbies. Continue reading Making sense of Taobao shipping options

Sourcing for coffee beans

Some time back i wrote about buying coffee beans on Amazon. Well, if you did a little more homework, you would have realized that, unless you’re buying coffee beans sold by Amazon themselves, buying on Amazon might mean paying a premium over the seller’s actual pricing to cover the transaction fee Amazon charges the seller. Some of the sellers actually host their own website to sell their products, but also sell on the Amazon platform as an additional sales channel. The customers are the ones paying the additional cost anyway.

For example, this Kona Coffee cost a total of US$38.50 on Amazon, inclusive of shipping, but only US$35 with free shipping on the seller’s own website. By the way, this was a very fragrant coffee, though not that spectacular in terms of taste. On the other hand, the Dark Guatemalan i recommended in my earlier posting is the same price on the seller – Fresh Roasted Coffee’s website. In this case, buying from Amazon presents the advantage of choice to purchase items other than coffee to make up the total of $49 required to get free domestic shipping (whereas you need to buy $35 worth of coffee i.e. at least 4 X 12 oz to get free shipping from Fresh Roasted Coffee). Continue reading Sourcing for coffee beans

READ THIS! Important tip on ezbuy (65daigou) sea freight shipment

All along, i assumed that sea freight shipment is the cheapest way to ship your Taobao stuff from China. If you’re shipping one cubic metre (usually with allowance of up to 500kg) of stuff, that is confirmed the case. If you are using 65daigou however, it may not be the case. The shipping rate for under 30kg (volumetric weight) of goods is $1.30 per 500g, whereas the shipping rate for economy air is only S1.69 per 500g. The difference is only $0.39! That’s not all, i just found out that for sea freight, 7% GST will be applied for ALL parcels ON TOP OF THE SHIPPING FEE (i.e. 65daigou’s shipping fee is included in the calculation of GST), which means that most likely you will end up paying more, for slower shipping!

Without checking the bill carefully, i went ahead and shipped sea freight, and only realized something didn’t seem right after making the payment. I paid $33 to ship $56 worth of goods.. gotta consider more carefully next time. Anyway, i made an enquiry and got the following response. Continue reading READ THIS! Important tip on ezbuy (65daigou) sea freight shipment

How to ship the Anova Precision Cooker to Singapore

When it comes to cooking meat, conventional methods are difficult to master, since, with conventional sources of heat, you can easily overcook areas near the surface while the inside remains undercooked. Sous vide (pronounced soo-veed) attempts to solve this problem. Until recently, Sous Vide equipment was mostly priced out of reach of the general public. I still remember reading an article about an immersion circulator on engadget, but didn’t find out exactly what it was about back then, though it actually felt significant to me (so much so that i remember it). Anyway, this was the article, way back in 2012. Now that i got more serious about cooking, i thought i should give Sous Vide a try, since it supposedly makes restaurant quality food attainable easily.

So how much does the Sous Vide equipment cost? The cheapest Sous Vide equipment comes in the form of a temperature controller that you have to use in tandem with a crock pot. I got a temperature controller on Taobao for 40 Yuan (S$8.70) and it is currently on shipment from China. OR, you can get an immersion circulator, which are US$179 – 199. Unfortunately, for those of us on a 230V grid, the options are quite limited. Nomiku has an unknown shipping date. There is only one other viable option (that doesn’t break the bank) – the Anova Precision Cooker. The 220V version is almost always in stock. They do ship worldwide as well, though someone mentions that the shipping cost to Singapore was something like $69 (either S$ or US$). Continue reading How to ship the Anova Precision Cooker to Singapore