The time for getting great discounts on gadgets from the US is here. Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2017 sales ensure that you get some killer deals on many products — both tech and non-tech. You can get these things shipped to India easily and even buy them if you don’t have a credit card. Some of these websites ship directly to India while others do not. In either case, there is a way to get the stuff you need.
Package forwarding services let you get the product shipped to a warehouse in the US and then forward your Black Friday shopping or any other package to your address practically anywhere in the world. The way they work is pretty simple - you sign up (for free or a one-time fee), and you are given a virtual address in the countries where you want to shop. While shopping on a website (say Walmart) this Black Friday or Cyber Monday, you provide this virtual address as your shipping address, and make payment as usual.
The product gets shipped to this virtual address, which is a warehouse run by the package forwarding service. The addresses in unique, which is how the company knows it belongs to you, and forwards it to your address in India (or wherever you signed up from) for a fee. Other charges like custom duties might be involved when the product lands in your country.
But first, know the charges associated with getting your favourite Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2017 deals. If you use a package forwarding service, you might have to pay them a signup fee apart from shipping and Customs charges. Note that some of these services charge you by package weight and dimensions. Large packages may cost you more, a lot more. Apart from this you need to check for things such as receiving fees, where you are charged per item received by the package forwarding service.
Before you sign up for a package forwarding service, remember to check reviews online and verify whether these services have a good track record - we have listed some of the more popular and reliable ones below. Make sure you do everything you can to check if these companies are responsive to customer queries and resolve issues immediately.
It's important to note that the price of the product may be higher or the same as its India price after you factor in all the fees involved in getting it to India or your region. These services work best when what you need is not available in your region. With all these disclaimers out of the way, let's check out websites that let you ship on US and other international sites while sitting in India, even when the websites themselves don't ship products outside US.
Credit card tie-ups
If you have a credit card you should definitely contact the company and find out if they have a tie-up with a package forwarding service. Citibank has a tie-up with Borderlinx, while ICICI has one with ShipOutFromUSA, American Express has one with MyUS, and even Standard Chartered has one such offer. These tie-ups will help you get a better deal on these services, but don't expect your bank to help out much if something goes wrong. The third-party services are the ones you'll have to contact for most order-related queries. If your credit card company has no such offers, you can always use package forwarding services directly.
Shop and Ship
Aramex's Shop and Ship, is relatively popular in India. It has a high one-time sign-up fee of $45 (roughly Rs. 3000), but this is discounted at times so keep an eye out for deals, or just write in to customer support and ask for a promo code (yes, we know people for whom this worked). They also have a more expensive Shop and Ship has a wider range of origin zones, or countries you can order from, so if you need a product from regions other than the US, it could be your best bet. There are no annual charges for Shop and Ship, but you pay for every shipment.
Viabox is great for its pricing. It lets you sign up for free and claims that you get your goods at lower rates because its warehouse is in Oregon, Florida, where there's no sales tax. It also keeps your package for up to 180 days for free and when we looked at the tariff card for shipping, the rates seemed much lower than most competitors.
In addition to a package forwarding service, Shipito lets you get a virtual debit card for purchases from the US. This works like prepaid forex cards or metro cards. You add money to the card and then you make purchases. This service charges $2 per package other than shipping fees. Customs fees aren't included in the transaction but you can group multiple packages to save on costs.
There are several other package forwarding services and you can check them individually to see if they better serve your needs. US Global Mail, USA2Me, MyUS, and ShopYourWorld are some of the options available.
Which are your favourite package forwarding services? How has your experience with any of the services listed above been? Let us know via the comments.