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HLJ US customers; what's your worst experience with EMS shipping?


ZoomZoomMX-5
11-27-2013, 07:02 AM
When you pay for express priority shipping (EMS) from Hobbylink Japan, do you expect your package to sit for a week, or perhaps longer, in a container in Tokyo? Well, it can and does happen, and HLJ won't do anything until 28 days. For something that you paid big $$ for express shipping. They say the average shipping is 2-4 business days for EMS and FedEx. I've only used FedEx up until this order, and usually it's only 2 days, longest it took was 3.

Lesson learned. Don't bother with EMS aka the post office, use FedEx. If I had used FedEx instead, I'd have my package now. And since HLJ makes a big handling fee on mandatory express shipping on items they ship from your "Private Warehouse", they don't care. I've had packages arrive in 10 days after shipping, and never longer than 14 using the slow/cheap SAL method, but HLJ doesn't give you that choice when you ship via your private warehouse. Gee, I wonder why? Nice racket they have going to recoup their 20% discount. It's bad enough that it can take them nearly a week internally to get a package out the door.

mike@af
11-27-2013, 07:42 AM
Hey, did you get your LaFerrari yet? :icon16:

hirofkd
11-27-2013, 08:38 AM
This must be an isolated incident for some reason, like a random security check, suspicious content, nuclear radiation risk, terrorist threat etc. My last EMS was held at Chicago custom service for three business days, which was unusual because it normally takes only half a day.

Trouble with EMS is very rare, and shipment problem can happen with any carrier, including FedEX.

HLJ's response sounds excessively slow, but maybe they didn't know how to deal with such an unusual circumstance (although it shouldn't be too difficult for them to call Japan Post customer service.)

ZoomZoomMX-5
11-27-2013, 09:28 AM
Hey, did you get your LaFerrari yet? :icon16:

I knew I should have spiked your portion of the corn casserole last evening with Ex Lax :flipa: :lol:

ZoomZoomMX-5
11-27-2013, 09:43 AM
HLJ's response sounds excessively slow, but maybe they didn't know how to deal with such an unusual circumstance (although it shouldn't be too difficult for them to call Japan Post customer service.)

HLJ asks in their boilerplate not to contact them about shipping issues until twice the maximum amount of time, which is 28 days for EMS.

But I emailed them anyway to complain, partly because I was not given an option for SAL shipment (which I would have used, due to personal travel timeframe), and my order was well under their 15,000 yen policy of mandatory tracking via EMS or FedEx. I asked why I have not been given the option for SAL even when my totals have never been close to 15,000 yen. Others have the SAL option, but when I go to request shipment from my PW, I've so far only had the expensive shipping options. A few times it has taken them 4-5 days to process my order internally before shipping, which itself is a slap in the face when you are choosing express shipping or forced to use it. Yet a couple times I've had shipments processed internally and delivered in 2 days.

Right after I complained this AM, I finally did see a change on the USPS tracking site that the parcel is (finally) being processed for shipping from the origin site (Tokyo). 7 days after they received it, meaning it will arrive on Friday, 9 days after I ordered. I will never use EMS again because of this, FedEx only for express shipping, and I'll be trying orders from HLJ competitors to compare for myself the difference in shipping costs/time.

freakray
11-27-2013, 09:50 AM
I've had in stock items shipping via SAL sit at HLJ itself in 'Processing to Ship' for a week before now which is agonizingly frustrating when you deliberately ordered something that is in stock.
Almost like you take the cheaper option for shipping so you get a lower priority. I've had the best luck with shipping by FedEx from them.

Mr Plumb
11-27-2013, 10:30 AM
I have yet to order from HLJ. However i received a hobbysearch parcel via SAL 2 days ago which only took around 12 days to post not including the 2 or 3 days handling time. Was extremely impressed I must say. For smaller orders its silly that you can't select SAL really.

Have you had any other issues from HLJ before?

stevenoble
11-27-2013, 10:57 AM
I don't understand why you can't select SAL method of shipping from your private warehouse. I always use SAL for any parcel I get from HLJ, private warehouse or not, the option is always there. I've also had a long wait of a week or more where the items are in the 'preparing for shipping' stage. Don't really see why it takes so long, but I imagine they have a lot of parcels to pack and send and it's just in the queue waiting it's turn..

ZoomZoomMX-5
11-27-2013, 12:05 PM
Some people have noted that when the LaFerrari came out last week, that at first HLJ didn't offer SAL shipping, and that FedEx charges for shipping one kit were showing $60. The next day or so, when they showed the kit in-stock, you could ship it SAL, and FedEx shipping was back to normal.

I still think they have a sneaky way of using their shipping system to negate the 20% discount, since there is no real rhyme or reason. There literally were only two options for a box w/the LaFerrari, an RX3 kit, LaFerrari etch and decals. Far less than the amount they require for tracking.

For any express shipment to sit a week at the originating post office is a joke. Why would people pay for express shipping when HLJ is backed up with orders to the point that people are waiting a bloody week for their shipment to go out the door? All my orders this year have been express shipped, and a couple of them sat for nearly a week before they were shipped. There's something inherently wrong with the system if they can't get packages out in 24 hours...ever. Worse when the postal service screws up as well. This time my shipment was processed and out the door in under 24 hours...but then to sit in Tokyo for 7 days so far going nowhere.

jano11
11-27-2013, 01:47 PM
I got to the point when I only buy HLJ when I can't get it anywhere else.
And never again pay for EMS, it is not worth it. It takes 3-4 days by EMS to Europe or 5 days by SAL, certainly not worth the money. Also EMS always goes directly to customs check and comes with a hefty tag from there while SAL most of the time is not checked that seriously.

RonCla
11-27-2013, 04:55 PM
I've had issues with the length of time my orders have sat at the preparing for shipping stage too.

HLJ must be very busy and understaffed as others can ship out the next day

Packages sent SAL take at least a couple of weeks to arrive here where EMS always takes 3 or 4 days. Never had any issues with either.

gngan
11-27-2013, 09:30 PM
I can't speak for US, but I'm in HK buying from HLJ all the time using EMS and it always delivered within 3 business days (except for weekend orders). So I suspect that it's just an isolated instant - perhaps there are knifes/drills/Files or anything that look suspicious/strange so the package stayed in customs longer than usual.

Just MHO

Best

willimo
11-27-2013, 11:08 PM
I've gotten to just ordering stuff off of eBay anymore. The prices are a little higher with the seller, but the shipping is cheaper, and everything I order from Japan or Hong Kong comes in just a few days, often beating orders made within the US at the same time. I like HLJ as an institution but have found eBay to be the best bet for Japanese kits.

That said, I am waiting for my LHS to get the Fujimi McLaren for me... so what do I know?

SilverMk2
11-29-2013, 11:20 PM
I've always had the option of SAL shipping from private warehouse? The thing I've noticed is if you have more than 3 kits it doesn't give you the option anymore. I think they only have so many box options and the one that fits 4 kits can't be shipped SAL. At least that's been my theory... I noticed with the LA Ferrari it would only let me shipped 2 kits this time. Maybe the box is bigger than the usual tamiya box?

nascar49
11-30-2013, 02:45 AM
I've always had the option of SAL shipping from private warehouse? The thing I've noticed is if you have more than 3 kits it doesn't give you the option anymore. I think they only have so many box options and the one that fits 4 kits can't be shipped SAL. At least that's been my theory... I noticed with the LA Ferrari it would only let me shipped 2 kits this time. Maybe the box is bigger than the usual tamiya box?
SAL is by weight, I believe the limit is 4lbs, which is about three model kits

petesy
12-01-2013, 10:46 PM
USPS will only give you limited information on your parcel in Japan, have you tried tracking it through Japan Post? If not, run your tracking number through their web site and see if your parcel got kicked around in Japan.

http://www.post.japanpost.jp/int/index_en.html

I guess it is fairly well known by now that when HLJ were forced to offer discounts by the competition, they recoup it from the shipping cost. Shipping the same weight by other shops like Hobby Search is almost always cheaper than HLJ. It also seems like HLJ really takes their time in processing their shipment. It would take a week for them to post the kits when Hobby Search would do it the same night after they received the payment.

ZoomZoomMX-5
12-02-2013, 12:07 AM
I hopefully will get my shipment tomorrow. I wanted SAL, HLJ says I should have been able to ship via SAL (and they admitted that they have a problem w/incorrect box size for LaFerrari on the first day), but w/o a screen shot it's my word against theirs, and they're being a bit assholey about it. My shipping is 3300 yen, but HLJ says it really cost them 3600, so they supposedly ate 300 yen shipping, and I'm supposed to be happy about that? When I could have been charged about 1600 yen for SAL and get it shortly after the EMS fiasco?

So because I was not home when it was "delivered" (I wanted SAL when I shipped since I knew I'd be home when it was delivered), I now have to drive myself to the post office to get it. 11 days after paying for express shipping.

I have no love for EMS shipping, I have no love for HLJ. Had I been able to ship via SAL, I'd have been happy. Had I shipped FedEx, I'd have had the box a week ago, and have been happy. I'm not at all happy...:shakehead

hirofkd
12-02-2013, 05:37 AM
I'm still tying to gather information because I don't understand your problem.
Your original post said that your package was sitting in a container in Tokyo, but other posts sound like it never left HLJ, which is located in Gunma.

Unavailability of SAL seems to be just a human error, so it's negligible since everyone makes mistake, and the problem is not recursive.

I do remember HLJ's slow processing time (like 7-10 days) several years ago, but all of my orders this year were shipped promptly (Feb 28 order was out on Mar 3, Sep 16 and 17, Nov 29 and 30).

Am I being lucky every time, or you just happened to be unlucky on this particular order?

ZoomZoomMX-5
12-02-2013, 11:12 AM
Both Hobbylink and the postal service dropped the ball.

Hobbylink claims my shipment should have been available to ship via SAL, but that was not the case when I set up shipping. I was trying to avoid exactly what happened, a package arriving when I was out of town. Hobbylink admitted that they had a glitch w/box size when LaFerrari was available, making for inflated shipping costs and apparently keeping SAL out of the equation. I wish I had a screenshot of my shipping page that day.

The tracking of the shipment was also inferior to FedEx. I cannot decipher whether it sat in Tokyo for a week, or New York for a week. All I know is it finally left New York last Wednesday, a week after it was shipped. It was delivered on Friday, but I wasn't home, so I had to drive to the post office today to pick it up...12 days after shipping, full-price for "express" shipping. This was very much an inconvenience.

Hobbylink tried to make it sound like I got a "good deal" because my 3300 yen shipping price was 300 yen less than "actual shipping price". No, not really, because the package would have been about 1600 yen shipped via SAL which I preferred. Had I known EMS would have been so bad, I would have paid 200 yen more for FedEx, and had the box either on the 22nd or 25th. Lesson learned there, but the overall lesson for me is to quit relying on HLJ, because I'm not happy with how this has been handled. I don't like to feel that selecting a shipping option is akin to Russian Roulette. What should have been available to me in the first place was not, and I only seem to get a CYA kind of response from HLJ.

This was a test for a problem, and ultimately I'm in the position to try other vendors for hobby items and shippers after this fiasco.

petesy
12-02-2013, 12:28 PM
The tracking of the shipment was also inferior to FedEx. I cannot decipher whether it sat in Tokyo for a week, or New York for a week. All I know is it finally left New York last Wednesday, a week after it was shipped. It was delivered on Friday, but I wasn't home, so I had to drive to the post office today to pick it up...12 days after shipping, full-price for "express" shipping. This was very much an inconvenience.
Run your tracking number through Japan Post if you haven't done so, it will tell you what happened with your package in Japan.

http://www.post.japanpost.jp/int/ems/index_en.html

JeremyJon
02-18-2014, 06:09 PM
Anyone recently shipped from HLJ to Canada?
I'd like to know what the actual shipping of a kit from HLJ cost you?

I can't seem to get a clear answer from them
I'm investigating actual cost of shipping a LaFerrari kit from them, vs. buying one off an ebay seller
Thanks

hirofkd
02-19-2014, 03:47 AM
You don't get the exact shipping cost from HLJ, but only the estimates.
It's Y1380 for SAL, Y2180 for FedEX, and Y2340 for EMS to Canada.
The kit is back ordered at HLJ, though.

Incidentally, my pre-ordered La Ferrari (among other items) was finally sent from AmiAmi last week, but it's sitting at Chicago custom service for two days...

WRCfan
02-19-2014, 04:01 AM
I have only ever had good experiences, quick delivery and amazing service from HLJ. :)

JeremyJon
02-19-2014, 07:12 PM
Thanks Hiro

I did see HLJ are back ordered, but even at 4000yen+2180yen shipping (about $65 CDN) is still cheaper than best eBay priced kit I can find currently (about $75 CDN)

What was your AmiAmi shipping cost?
if they have a FedEx option, seems better option if available

hirofkd
02-20-2014, 03:21 AM
I never order one kit from overseas, so it's hard to compare, but a combination of La Ferrari, Z4 GT3, Veneno, LP-670SV, plus two PE sets and one decal set was quoted as Y5115 for SAL and Y5540 for EMS. Difference was small, so I chose EMS. The box exceeded the max weight of 2 kg, so small packet was not an option.

From my past experience with AmiAmi...
Three Fujimi curbside and one Aoshima curbside kits (and some small tools) cost Y4840 by EMS.
Two Fujimi curbside and one Aoshima detailed kits cost Y1880 by unregistered Small Packet.
One Fujimi curbside and one Aoshima detailed kits cost Y1480 by unregistered Small Packet.

You can see two and three kits per box are a great deal, because you can use small packet (limited to 2 kg), but it takes 2-3 week from Tokyo to Austin, TX, and the package can't be insured or tracked.

AFAIK, HLJ is the only Japanese online hobby store that offers FedEX option, and it's usually a little cheaper than EMS.

petesy
02-21-2014, 01:19 AM
I did see HLJ are back ordered, but even at 4000yen+2180yen shipping (about $65 CDN) is still cheaper than best eBay priced kit I can find currently (about $75 CDN)

If you want one now Hobby Easy has it in stock for CAD $47. With postage it should cost around $70.

http://www.hobbyeasy.com/cgi-bin/i8_user_page.cgi?a=advance_search_result&page_size=10&page_number=1&keyword=la+ferrari&category_code=all

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