A few days ago I got an order to the following address:
CUSTOMER NAME (removed for privacy)
XXX1111 (removed for privacy)
18221 150TH AVE
SPRINGFIELD GARDENS, NY 11413 US
The number under the customer name through me off. It didn’t look like a typical apartment address number or even a PO Box. “Well, whatever.” I thought, “I’ll just ship the item anyway.”
When I tried to process this order through my vendor, it went through, but right on the heels of the order confirmation was an order cancellation. The message said nothing other than that the order had been cancelled. Upon calling the vendor (and waiting on hold for too long), I learned that it was automatically cancelled by the vendor’s system (not a manual process) and that it was most likely cancelled because it was likely a freight forwarding company.
I researched the address and (meaning I Googled it!) and found out that this particular address belongs to a freight forwarding company named Aramex and it is listed as their New York, USA address. Having no idea what a freight forwarding company was, I did a little research. Hopefully you’ll benefit from what I’ve found out in your drop-shipping / arbitrage business.
What is a Freight Forwarding Company?
A freight forwarding company is a helpful resource for overseas purchasers. It allows them to get items shipped to them from businesses that do not normally ship to their country. The freight forwarding company provides their customer with an address inside the country of the purchased items, and when the items arrive, the items are “forwarded” to the overseas purchaser. Essentially this allows an overseas purchaser much more access to buy items outside of their country.
How to Drop Ship to a Freight Forwarding Address
If you have received an order to a freight forwarding company, it’s quite possible that the vendor you are using will reject the order. Here are a few things you can try to get around their systems:
- Put the box number in a different field. In some cases, vendors simply do not ship to PO Boxes and if you list the box number in the address, they will interpret it as a box number and therefore cancel the order. To avoid this, try putting the box number in a different field such as the last name or a “Notes” section if there is one that will show on the outside of the box (obviously putting it in a gift receipt message won’t do any good). If that doesn’t work…
- See if you can ship it without the box number altogether. If it goes through, then you MUST call the freight forwarding company and tell them you’ve shipped something to them without a box number on it. Follow with them and give them the tracking number so they can make sure it gets to the right person. If they tell you they can’t help you without a box number, do a little begging and tell them you’ve already sent it and there is no un-sending it.
- Get in touch with the customer and ask them if they have a different address you can ship to. In some cases, overseas purchasers have more than one freight forwarding address. If you really can’t ship to the one they gave you, get in touch and ask if they have another one or if you can work something else out to get it to them. If you need to call them, use Google Hangouts or call Skype to Skype to avoid international phone charges.
- Buy the item at your local store and ship it to the freight forwarder yourself. Yes, I know this is a pain, which is why I have listed it as the last step here. Depending on the size of your sale and the health of your account (Amazon, eBay, etc.), it may be best to bite the bullet and swing by Wal-Mart or wherever you can get the product and ship it to the freight forwarder yourself. It’s not that FedEx, UPS, USPS, etc. can’t ship to the forwarder, it’s that the vendor won’t. If you try to ship it yourself, it should get to them just fine.
As a last resort, you can cancel the order and cite the address as not being deliverable.
How have you dealt with freight forwarding companies? Did your orders go through? What did you do about it? Leave it in the comments below!
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