By shipping your items internationally you’re agreeing to a set of rules and regulations that govern how, by which means, and by whom your shipment is delivered. While terms and conditions can seem intimidating to review, taking the time to read through the small print can help you determine which company is the best choice for your needs.
Luckily, most terms and conditions follow along very similar lines and can be boiled down to some common sense. For example, the company you choose will generally have a T&C that stipulates they will do their very best to deliver your item on time and in the same condition you gave it to them. That may seem obviously, but it’s a fairly important condition to you agreeing to use the company.
The very first thing you should do when sending something abroad, regardless of the way in which it’s being sent, is to check that the destination country will allow your shipping consignment over their borders. The second thing to do is confirm that the shipping carrier you wish to use will actually ship it for you. Lists are available online detailing the types of product, item or foodstuff that are prohibited from transit, failure to comply with those lists could result in return fees or even fines.
Liability is one of the main areas you need to pay particular attention to, particularly as the terms may allow the shipping service you’ve chosen to outsource your consignment to another company for all or part of the transit journey. Be clear on what the shipping carrier is liable for and what is your responsibility, particularly as damage due to insufficient packaging will often be considered your liability, as will any loss or damage that arises because you haven’t provided the correct information.
Insurance is the other main area to read through thoroughly, especially if the shipment you’re sending has a high value. Shipping services will cap the amount they’re willing to pay out under their standard insurance, details will be specified in their terms and conditions. If your consignment is worth more then you’ll need to organise additional insurance to cover the full value of your shipment.
While it’s very unlikely that the ship carrying your consignment will go down, but it does happen occasionally, so look in to the method of submitting a claim and the timescale involved. Should the worst happen you don’t want to be waiting a year to be reimbursed!