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Shipping Customer's Order to Australia

 5:16 am on Dec 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

My site is a year-old retail business in a relatively small niche market. The majority of our customers are in the U.S., though we do occasionally get orders from Canada and the UK.

On Friday, I received an order for a bracelet from a guy in Australia. This being our first time to ship there, I headed over to the USPS site (we ship Priority Mail) to see how much the postage would be. And found this (emphasis mine):
Prohibitions (130)

Coins; bank notes; currency notes (paper money); securities of any kind payable to bearer; traveler's checks; platinum, gold, and silver (manufactured or not); precious stones; jewelry; and other valuable articles are prohibited.

I've never heard this before. Can't send jewelry to Australia? I see retail jewelry sites on the web all the time that say they ship to Australia. So what gives? Can anyone shed some light on this for me?


edited to clarify retail sites



 8:39 am on Dec 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

I know the OZZIEs can be funny I had a nightmare job once shipping out a 500 year oak coffer never again, but I suspect that the problem is that USPS doesnt want to take high value items rather that the OZZIES.

Call their embassy to find out.


 8:58 am on Dec 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

Call one of the air courier companies, UPS, Fedex or Bax and pick their brains also. We use a lot of BAX for overseas shipping. They are not as expensive as you might think.



 9:38 am on Dec 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

They may not actually be prohibited. The Royal Mail in the UK has a similar prohibited list but you can still send the items, but only if they are fully insured at extra cost. Check with them if they can be sent with an extra insurance charge.


 12:31 am on Dec 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

One of the tricks with customs, is that many items can be listed under several HTS tariff clasifications. Some of these clasifications may have a restriction, while another may not. If your item can be construed to be listed as another tariff item code, and you can argue that fact, then try this route. Just don't ourright lie, or else you may find your shipment seized.


 8:08 am on Dec 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

Good advice lgn1. It is equally applicable in relation to customs or import duties. Many products fall under multiple classifications so classify your product as the one with the lowest tax.

In respect of Cianna's question re prohibited imports, there is no problem re the bracelet. Offical word on prohibited imports, into Australia [customs.gov.au]


 12:28 pm on Dec 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

In respect of Cianna's question re prohibited imports, there is no problem re the bracelet.

This does appear to be the case. Seems it's a USPS restriction, not an Australian Customs one.

Thanks, everyone, for the input.



 4:30 pm on Dec 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

It is actually an Australian Post restriction, not a USPS one. There are a few contries that I send jewelry to whose postal system have similar restrictions. Look through the regs and see if there is a special method that will work. For example into Canada, I can send lower value items Registered Mail to meet the requirements. Other countries only allow jewelry via insured airmail, etc. In the end, there is probably no way that they would know what is in the package except the customs declatation. If it is an item that you can describe differently, then you shouldn't have any problem. For example, I sent a cross pendant to Australia, and just filled out the customs form as Merchandise, Religous Item, US$60.


 2:06 pm on Jan 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

Interesting list of prohibited items. Like no one has ever posted currency internationally in an envelope? I think it all relates to actual value of items, and insurance - as otherwise stated.

As long as its not the Crown Jewels, or jewelry of eqivelent value, I'd just use words like 'trinkets' or 'ornaments' on the customs declaration.

Happy New Year!

Sydney Australia

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