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at7mbe


May 22, 2016, 5:01 PM

Post #1 of 4 (6317 views)

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New option to receive US mail and online goods in Mexico?

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Since Sept. 2014 I've successfully used Estafeta Members to receive packages purchased on eBay. I described it briefly over a year ago, here. But I was unaware of any general mechanism to use Estafeta's bonded warehouse in Laredo for purchases from a source other than eBay. Today I discovered another Estafeta enterprise, Merkalink, that makes this possible, though at substantially higher cost. They also offer a mail consolidation and forwarding service that looks appealing to those of us still dependent upon a US remailer and the "ship-and-prey" forwarding of consolidated mail to Mexico via the post office.

Like the eBay/Estafeta arrangement, registration is free, and gets you a unique number that you include in your new US shipping address at their warehouse. And also like eBay, there is no duty on shipments valued under US$50 (though Merkalink seems to include shipping in that number, whereas the eBay arrangement does not). Cost comparison for shipping to your door from Laredo, after they process it through Mexican customs (if I read the Merkalink site correctly):

eBay/Estafeta: Up to 2 kg: $10 if value less than $50, $15 for value $51-$1,000. $1 per kg over 2 kg. Plus 16% IVA on these fees.

Merkalink: Up to 2 kg: $24 if value including shipping to Laredo is less than $50, $35 for value $51-$250, $41.50 for value $251-$1,000. $1.65 per 0.5 kg over 2 kg. Plus 16% IVA on these fees.

Since these are wildly different costs for the same type of service offered by Estafeta subsidiaries operating out of the same building, I can only assume that eBay has been/is subsidizing their arrangement to expand their market to Mexico.

But what really caught my eye was Merkalink's service for correspondencia. You fill out US Postal Form 1583, Application for Delivery of Mail Through an Agent, file it with Estafeta, and start using your new Laredo address for mail. Once a week, once a month, or on demand, Merkalink will send you your accumulated mail via Estafeta. Cost is $13.50 per shipment for the first 1 kg, $1.65 for each additional 0.5 kg (plus IVA). There are no importation duties on mail.

One hitch may be that only the person named on the account and form 1583 may receive mail. A husband and wife might need two separate accounts. I'm going to contact Merkalink this week to clarify. And with both eBay and Merkalink, you have to pay attention to the long list of things that may not be imported, since Aduana is going to look at everything. Every one of the packages I've received since being an eBay/Estafeta member has been opened and resealed with white and red Aduana tape. Nothing has gone missing, but then I've never tried to buy anything on the prohibited list.

There's a clause saying items manufactured in China may be subject to significant additional import duties.

Also, be aware that they calculate both the actual weight and the "volumetric weight" and use the larger of the two. I've been surprised a few times by higher than expected shipping charges because the vendor put a light object in a large box, along with a bunch of air pillows.

I don't know if any of this will be useful to MexConnect readers, so I'm just putting the Merkalink info out there without a recommendation. I'm intrigued by the mail forwarding aspect and will investigate further. If anyone else digs deeper into the website, I hope they'll report their findings here.

-- Mark



Gringal

May 23, 2016, 7:07 AM

Post #2 of 4 (6259 views)

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Re: [at7mbe] New option to receive US mail and online goods in Mexico?

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Thank you for sharing the information.

My esposo used Estafeta for several years, but somewhere along the line, an employee suffered from a case of greed and charged our credit card for the purchase of 400 pairs of Croc shoes from a brick and mortar store in Colorado. The next doozy was $1100 U.S. dollars at a electronics company. These charges were reversed, but we switched to Mercalink after that and there were no further mystery purchases in the years since then. Maybe there are stronger controls in the Mercalink accounting dept.
For the Spanish language challenged, there is an English speaking rep working in the Mercalink online system, if needed.


at7mbe


May 23, 2016, 9:47 AM

Post #3 of 4 (6235 views)

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Re: [at7mbe] New option to receive US mail and online goods in Mexico?

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Thanks for noting that Merkalink has been secure w.r.t. credit cards.

In my long post, I wrote:

"One hitch may be that only the person named on the account and form 1583 may receive mail. A husband and wife might need two separate accounts."

I called Merkalink this morning on their Mexico 800 number, and learned that the above is NOT the case. Any number of names may receive mail at the address of a single account. I misread the Spanish on that one.

Now this starts to look very, very attractive. My present US mailing service charges a $6 fee for each shipment, plus International First Class or Priority Mail postage, which typically is a lot more than Merkalink's $13.50 fee for the first kilo of mail. Plus shipping via Estafeta is a lot faster and more secure than relying on the slow post offices of two countries.

Signing up with Merkalink is simple, but setting up the mail forwarding appears to be a bit more work. You have to download USPS Form 1583, and send it, a copy of your identification and the inevitable comprobante de domicilio to an address in Jiutepec, Morelos. By law, USPS requires them to keep the original form 1583 on file authorizing them to receive and forward your mail.

For more information on how to do this, see the Servicio de correspondencia section of their FAQ here.

-- Mark


MildredEdwards

Jun 6, 2016, 9:40 PM

Post #4 of 4 (5786 views)

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Re: [at7mbe] New option to receive US mail and online goods in Mexico?

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Thank you for the information.
 
 
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