Making shopping arbitrage possible or is it a con?

If you're a Brit that has done any shopping around on the internet, you'll have come across the following infuriating situation - the goods you want can be found on a US website at pound/dollar parity, but the website refuses to ship goods internationally or is apparently restricted by a manufacturer from doing so. It applies to DVDs, clothing, electrical gear amongst others.

Knowing my affection for arbitrage schemes, I was tipped off about BorderHQ, who provide you with a mailbox in the US and China with related mail forwarding services, thereby allowing you to shop across borders. Hence, you can sign-up and have domestic US and Chinese website deliver to BorderHQ for on-delivery to you. The service operates a membership scheme with varying price levels including a free service.

This scheme won't always work, as some websites also require the credit card address to be a domestic one. This both avoids them incurring international merchant fees charges, which are normally higher, and restricts trade to domestic buyers.

My nagging doubt about the service was that suppose I start sending goods to the service. Who's to say they will actually ship them on and won't instead keep the items? Doubt I'd have any recourse to anyone once I'd explained that I voluntarily sent my goods to an address I stumbled on the internet. I've no reason or evidence to believe that it is a scam, but it's plausible a scheme structured like this could be - similar to the "meet and greet" airport car service concerns I've expressed before here and here.

posted by John Wilson @ 4:18 PM Permanent Link newsvine reddit



10 Comments:

At 9:08 AM, Blogger Hawkeye said...

It was very remiss of me not to provide my track of how I found this one. I have used Parcel2Go.com previously and it was an offer on their site that led me to borderHQ. See http://www.parcel2go.com/ I don't know if this makes it any safer, in terms of them shipping the goods to you, but maybe it does.

 
At 4:34 PM, Blogger Kev King said...

persoally i wouldn't use either Parcel2go or Borderhq...they are the same company see my blog posts
http://blog.kking.co.uk/blog/_archives/2008/1/17/3470959.html
and
http://blog.kking.co.uk/blog/_archives/2006/12/18/2582255.html

 
At 10:57 AM, Anonymous BorderHQ said...

I appreciate that this site is for people to leave their opinions, however I would like to clear up that Parcel2go and BorderHQ are not the same company. Parcel2Go used to offer this service before an outside investor recognised the appeal of this service and dedicated huge development in web facilities and additional transport networks. The difference has been phenomenal. Mr King had a negative experience when this service was still in its development stages and it was under staffed and poorly supported, I am sure many companies go through the same problems. Everyone is entitled to their opinion; I just hope that people will still give BorderHQ a chance because it is no longer the same company. The above person used it two years ago when it was still in its initial launch and under different management, they now have over 10,000 users successfully importing from the USA and China.

 
At 9:54 PM, Blogger Champ2244 said...

Have you considered using a Parcel Forwarding company like Bongo International at http://www.BongoUS.com? Bongo will set you up with a US address so that you can make purchases from US based online retailers…even if they don’t ship internationally. The biggest benefit is that you can make multiple purchases from different vendors and Bongo will consolidate them into one shipment for you. Trust me, it has saved me hundreds of dollars! They also have a Personal Shopper service where they will make a purchase with their US credit card so that you can buy from the vendors who won't accept int'l cards.

 
At 5:30 PM, Blogger Kev King said...

it seems peope are stil having problem with BorderHQ

see the comment left http://blog.kking.co.uk/blog/_archives/2008/1/17/3470959.html#1117716

 
At 4:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

bongous.com is just a copycat of www.myus.com I have used myus.com for 7 years and have been very satisfied.

Just like the knock off iphones, none are as good as the original.

 
At 4:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

here is how BorderHQ came to be...

**********
Sent: Monday, February 05, 2007 3:03 PM
To:
Subject: - CF, President

Dear Gentlewomen and Gentlemen,

YankIt Logistics Solutions - an entity that has specialized in harmonizing transborder b2c trade between the United States and Europe, has decided to discontinue its flight and service operations in December 2006. We close with approximately 800 highly motivated customers left behind, waiting for another provider to serve their global shipping demand. As demand continues to soar, and previously active customers ask for a contingency plan of our operations, the management of YankIt determined on January 21, 2007, that it will sell the customer base to the party placing the highest offer for it by February 14, 2007, 12 pm.

As of today, YankIt has customers in...
Germany (707 customers)
Austria (37 customers)
Switzerland (35 customers)
United Kingdom (3 customers)
The Netherlands (3 customers)
Luxembourg (2 customers)
United States (1 customer)
Italy (1 customer)
Ireland (1 customer)
Dsc hibuti (1 customer)
...which have been served through a consolidation-driven infrastructure by strategic facilities in Frankfurt, Cologne, and Miami.

The YankIt management deems these customers highly valuable for parties interested in facilitating international trade between the Americas and Europe, especially those that are investing into revolutionizing the quality of the process structure, dedicating input resources to bypass the straits of handling massive amounts of customers. Because of the lack of sufficient input factors such as human and monetary capital to face the arising challenges of a then needed sophisticated organizational plan and on behalf of increased operational expenditure, including fixed and variable costs (fuel, handling, increased tax burden, e.g.), YankIt did not have the required overhead to open up the bottleneck for our continued success in this business field.

As you have expressed your interest in collaborting with us before, we invite you to consider the situation of our business for your benefit and welcome your offer for buying our customers between now and February 14, 2007, 12 pm.

We are sending our best regards,

Mr Patrick Rizzo
Chief Executive Officer

Mr Thilo Ackermann
Operations Manager

YankIt Logistics Solutions
Telefon: 06192-9612814
Fax: 06192-9612790
http://www.yankit.de

 
At 7:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I shop regularly in the US and use the service from www.bonvu.com to have my shipments forwarded to me. Their service is inexpensive and prompt. I can highly recommend them.

 
At 7:43 PM, Blogger aysenprimero said...

Be careful with Bongous !!!

Here is my bad exprience with this service:

They provide USA Mail Forward service and because i'm not an American so this service is useful for me to buy stuffs that just sell in USA, I signed up and provide the USPS 1583 form and everthing is just fine at the beginning.

Once I got the first package from one of my friend in USA (the sender) who use his Credit Card to buy stuff from an online shop, this service try to obtain the Credit Card information and ID of my friend by request him need to send those informations to their Email support if not they will return the stuff to the online shopping and you can image : I lost the fee for return shipping, the online shopping site can't sell the stuff that they sold, my friend lost fee on chargeback. So before sign up with this service if you're outside USA you need to obtain the USA Credit Card (it's impossible) or you will have the problem like me, but if you accept their policy who know what they do with Scans of Credit Card and ID of your friend, your cousin, your partner,... So try to stay away them if you don't want lost money for nothing.
__________________
Identity Theft Protection Knowledge - Before It May Happen To You

 
At 8:37 PM, Anonymous Anil said...

OMG..that is just twisted. I haven't had a great experience with Bongo either..very expensive..not worth it for little stuff. In this day and age when everyone ships everywhere its still difficult to find that one great company that you can trust. Well said that, after a lot of heartache I found one such co called Shipito. They were not only fast but so so cheap compared to some of those others. Plus, since I didn't have an international credit card they paid on my behalf. So that toally worked for me!

 

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