Stick in the MUD: 9000

Buying CafePress Stuff From Outside the United States

Now, for folks who live outside the United States (and we know who we are, don't we), here's a little extra info, just to make sure that the buying process doesn't do UNSPEAKABLE THINGS to your expectations.

CafePress is located in Hayward, California. CafePress isn't a massive multinational corporation, so as they grow, they're primarily focused on their domestic market. What that means for you and me is that (as usual) we pay a lot more for shipping... to the extent that a huuuuuge percentage of what you're paying is shipping. And the shipping methods they use internationally aren't necessarily the fastest way to get stuff to you. They tend to use local postal delivery rather than international couriers, so the service may be slow, customs clearance may be ssssloowwwwww, and tracking is not available, which if you're used to it is pretty hard to live without. Paruda's order appears to have sat at customs for 8 or 9 days, and the package wasn't even opened for inspection. And Paruda went crazy waiting. So try to be more patient than Paruda was.

Obviously things are priced in US dollars, so if your currency is weaker than the US dollar, you'll get the usual sticker shock that comes with buying from the United States. If you get shocked by this enough times the shock will lose some of its shock value, but not all.

CafePress also doesn't collect taxes and customs fees on international orders. But that doesn't mean you're not going to be hit with them when your wares are imported. So be aware that you'll likely be hit by whatever taxes your jurisdiction applies, and possibly a processing fee for the convenience of having someone tax your goods. This, like exchange rates, is not CafePress's fault. It's just one of the many pleasures of buying stuff from other countries.

An Example

For a single bear in Ontario, Canada, from a base price of $12.99 one can expect to eventually pay about CDN$30.00 after currency exchange, shipping, taxes, and customs fees. Hard to imagine? The current US-Canadian exchange rate is around CDN$1.00 = US$0.83. Watch the math do its thing.

Base Price $12.99 US $15.65 Cdn
Shipping ($6 first item, $3 after) $6.00 US $7.23 Cdn
15% GST/PST on Value of Goods $2.35 Cdn
Customs Fee (per shipment) $5.00 Cdn

Total Cost $30.23 Cdn

If the person ordering the above item has a fellow mudder to split the order with, two bears can get the per-bear cost down around $26, four can get it down around $24, and a hundred bears.... Well, if anyone wants 100 bears they may have bigger issues to deal with, beyond shipping charges and taxes. This example doesn't include any of the discounts you may be entitled to (general promotions, referral discounts), so that's another way to drop the cost, of course.

The purpose of this page isn't to dissuade you from ordering things, but we thought it best to not only provide truth in advertising (as the CafePress site certainly does provide), but to really really make it clear so you don't end up with a bad taste in your mouth when the less obvious charges creep in.

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Last updated November 12, 2004. HTML 4.01 Standard