Before coming to the UK, I was a frequent Internet shopper and an regular L.L. Bean customer. This last is partially due to the fact that I have an 18-inch neck and LLB is one of the few places where I can buy dress and sports shirts in that size without paying a horrendous premium. The unforseen side-effect of going to the gym too much.
So it was that, before leaving the US, I was careful to take note that LLB does ship to foreign customers. Three weeks ago, I decided to buy a few shirts, etc. from them and see how it worked. The upshot is I will not be buying anything that way again. Here’s why:
My goods cost $144, plus $35 for “International Airmail Shipping and Handling”, for a $179 total. Yesterday I received a letter from Parcel Force (the UPS-like branch of the Royal Mail Service here) notifying me of their intent to deliver a parcel shipped to me, from Sweden.
Sweden? A phone call or two revealed that this was, in fact, my L.L. Bean package coming to me from Maine, USA, via Sweden. Well, that’s certainly odd but, OK. And, by the way, there is a £32 Customs Duty fee due. That’s $64!
So my order actually cost me $144 + $35 shipping + $64 import duty, for a whopping $243! So, basically it cost me $100 to get $144 of merchandise here. So that will be my last L.L. Bean order from here.
In fairness to the folks from Maine, their website did clearly say on the last screen where you submit your order, that “Recipient is responsible for all local taxes and fees” or something like that. So, they did warn me.
What I’d like to know is, does anyone ever place a second international order?