Things to Note When You Avail of Free International Shipping from Online Stores Abroad

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Remember my Colourpop Lippie Stix post two years ago? I got a lot of private messages asking me how I managed to have those lippie stix delivered to my home address as they didn't offer international shipping back then. My only trick then was having the items delivered to our home address in California then brought it back with us to Manila.

But last year, Colourpop began offering free international shipping! I was tempted to order and try their international shipping but the thought of dealing with Customs, their absurd additional taxes , and the emotional roller coaster of thinking whether the package got lost in transit made me dismiss the idea.

BUUUUUUT! I couldn't resist the Black Friday sale. So I gave in. I cancelled my trip to the US this year for medical reasons so there is really no other way for me but to try they international shipping. Bahala na in dealing with the local post office and Customs.

DISCLAIMER: everything is based from my experience with International Shipping so please spare me your hanash if your experience is different from mine.

I ordered during Black Friday (in the states) and received an email from Colourpop regarding the confirmation of my orders and the tracking number. They use USPS for international shipping and I saw from the site that my package left the US last December 8. It was already frustrating that Colourpop took almost two weeks to dispatch my package but then again, it was Black Friday and for sure they had hundreds of thousands of orders. Okay, that's forgivable. I only had to wait for the local post office to send me a note that my package is already in the post office.

Two weeks later though, I started seeing on Facebook various posts of Colourpop hauls from the Black Friday sale and even their latest sale after that. That got me curious cos how can their package arrive faster when they ordered on a later date? I found out that some used Shipping Cart and My Shopping Box while other just received their package earlier.

Since it was the holiday season, everyone seemed to be busy and I somehow forgot about my package already. Until last Dec 29, I remembered about my Colourpop package. I checked USPS and the sir doesn't seem to be updated. It only indicated that it was shipped out last December 8. No information on whether is has reached this country already. By this time, I still haven't received any note from the post office. I was panicking already. I mean, my purchase is still USD70!

So, I went to the post office and asked the lady if my package was already there. I gave the tracking number Colourpop provided because it's the only info I have. The post office lady was a bit hesitant to assist me because she was insisting that they only accommodate customers with notes from the post office that their package is there. She was even telling me how they have hundreds of packages there and it would take her a long time to look for my package without the note. You see, that's the problem with the Philippines local post offices. These employees are paid to do their jobs. They have mailmen to deliver letters door to door but they never do that for packages. They send a note instead so you would personally go to the post office, require you to pay PhP112 for the "space" that your package occupied, and the Customs officer will open your package in front of you so that he can tax you "accordingly." Right.

The highest amount I paid for tax was almost PhP1,000. And this was a package that was sent to me for review purposes. I didn't even purchase it! So para ko na rin binili yung padala nung Brand!

Luckily, the post office lady found my tracking number on her log book and I was able to get my package. I was only charged PhP112 this time and the Customs officer didn't even bother opening my package! Yey! They just looked at it and said, "ah less than 10 items naman. Okay na yan."

I left right away just in case the Customs officer changed his mind. LOL! When I got home, I searched why I wasn't taxed and this is what I saw from the Bureau of Customs' website:

I also saw a post that Customs will no longer tax packages from abroad that cost PhP10,000 and below. It's just about time!

This is such great news for makeup lovers like me that prefer to shop at online shops abroad! Just remember a few things:

1. Maximum of 10 lipsticks per package
2. Have your tracking number with you or your local post office package note
3. If your package is less than PhP10,000, there shouldn't be additional tax to be paid to Customs
4. Door-to-door delivery is suntok sa buwan if USPS was used by the online store
5. Inform the online store right away if your package got lost in transit. From my experience, Gerard Cosmetics was kind enough to send me another package instead of getting a refund. Now, that's customer service.
6. If you can order several items at once, go for it so you save PhP112 as post offices charge per package (at least in Mandaluyong)
7. You can use any VISA or Mastercard credit card and/or debit card to pay for your purchases
8. Be mindful in tracking your packages, call your post office if you haven't received a note for more than a month

Here are the shops that I've purchased from and/or sent me complimentary products* that went straight to the post office instead of being delivered to my home address:

Gerard Cosmetics
Luxola* (which is now

Hope that helps! I'm thinking of trying forwarding services, too, like Shipping Cart or My Shopping Box. But I don't know what to purchase yet!

Follow me! No? Yes? Yey!


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