Friday, April 11, 2014

hopshopgo review


So recently, I've been on an online shopping spree with my newfound card freedom. I was debating between vpost and hopshopgo to use as a forwarder to ship back to Singapore and actually settled on hopshopgo by just looking at the shipping rates. I actually only found out more hidden costs in hsg after using their services. I will be doing a detailed review on the process and services of hsg as best as I can in this post to help anyone facing a shipping freight dilemma. 

Hopshopgo is a freight service by comsgateway, but a newer and improved version of it. Moreover, it uses paypal which ensures buyer's security and gives you a 10% shipping discount. I've read of credit card fraud cases with comsgateway so this will not happen with paypal in the picture. You'd need a paypal account to register an account with hopshopgo. You'd then get a US shipping address located at Portland, Oregon completed with a Zip code and telephone number. It looks something like this:

Name
c/o SGP-XXXX
Portland
Oregon 97230
Tel: xxxxxxxxx

The important and crucial line that you have to include when you place an order with your merchant site is the second line of the address which says "c/o country-unique suite ID". SGP is the country code for Singapore, so it would be different if you are located elsewhere. The four characters that follow are your unique Suite ID for HSG to assign and store your items together in their warehouse. So, do ensure that this line is correctly typed when making your order. 

Buying Items and Shipping to HSG
I bought items from Forever 21, Wet Seal and Urban Outfitters. When checking out, simply type the shipping address as that given by HSG and your order will be on its way! Once they arrive at HSG's warehouse, they will send you an email once the package has been sorted and assigned to your Suite ID. They were quite prompt in updating this although they state that this process usually takes 1-2 business days. So, don't worry if you haven't seen anything on HSG's website even though your package has been tracked as delivered on your merchant's delivery tracking status. 

HSG also offers a 'buy for me' service. This is especially useful for sites that only accept US credit cards. They do charge a percentage of your total item cost as a service charge. 

What happens at HSG
Once your package has been registered at HSG, you would be able to see a copy of the invoice of your items, as well as the chargeable weight of your package. If repack options are available for you to save on shipping charges, do opt for it. It should be about USD 3 per package for repack services. Since freight services charge on actual weight or volumetric weight, whichever is higher, you might want to leave a remark when making your order with your merchant site to use a smaller box. My Wet Seal and UO package were charged via their actual weight which is 1kg each while my F21 package was charged via its volumetric weight of 3kg though the items only weighed 1.1 kg. Also, because HSG scans your invoice for you and offers repack services, this means that they open your package and potentially looks through your items. If you do not want that, then perhaps opt for vpost instead. I heard they have are quite lax with it. 

You are given 30 free storage days at HSG per package, after which you are charged 1USD per package per day. So, shop all you can and consolidate all your packages within the 30 days and ship them back! 

Shipping Rates and Fees
HSG's shipping rates are easily found on their homepage if you are not logged in and under the 'services' link if you are logged in. HSG offers a standard shipping service that ships within 6-8 business days and an express shipping service that ships within 3-5 business days for a slightly higher charge. Charges may differ for different countries but for Singapore, it kinda looks like this:

DescriptionExpressStandard
First 0.5kgUS$ 13.20US$ 11.00
Every additional 0.5kgUS$ 3.40US$ 2.85
Speed of Delivery (business days)3 - 56 - 8








Shipping to Singapore is generally quite cheap, surprisingly. Also, HSG charges for every 500g so your package will be rounded up to the nearest 500g. You are able to consolidate your packages so that you are only charged the first 0.5kg once. The first 3 packages are free to consolidate, thereafter it is 1 USD per package to consolidate (free for Prime members) up to a max of 15 packages.

Apart from shipping charges, HSG also charges a 10% fuel surcharge (which is actually offset by Paypal's 10% discount, so it is not much of a difference). Also, there is a small insurance fee of 0.65%. 

My shipment of 5kg with a declared value of about 150USD costed me 37.89 USD altogether. Here is the breakdown of it in case you need a rough gauge. 


Discounted international Charges32.98
Fuel surcharge3.67
Insurance1.24
Sub total37.89
Total Amount Charged$37.89
HSG uses DHL to deliver. I will be updating this post once my package reaches me. 

Customer Service
You should be able to find most information you require on their website. You probably just need the time and patience to look through their 'services and support' section of their site. If you have any queries, you could drop them an email or do a live chat with one of their operators. I've had a rather pleasant customer service experience with HSG thus far. 

I emailed them to ask if they offered a multiple-to-one packing service because I didn't believe that my F21 package needed all the space in the box. They replied my query within 24 hours and told me that they charged 10 USD for such a service for the first 5 packages. I didn't need to use this service eventually. 

Then, I also did a live chat with them because the shipping name I used on one of my orders differed from the shipping name at HSG. I wanted to ask if this would be a problem. Their staff were super friendly and helpful to reassure me that my package would still be assigned to my Suite ID. All I had to do was to give them the tracking number of the package so that they would be able to anticipate the arrival of my package. I'm happy to say that my package made its way successfully to my HSG address. 

Overall Experience
I opted for the standard shipping service and submitted it on 10 April. My packages were shipped out on the 11 April and I received all of them on the 14 & 15 April. Super fast service, if you ask me. Moreover, they actually estimate the shipping arrival in terms of business days, but DHL does operate over the weekends, so your package will still move over the weekends, which speeds things up!  

They do open your packages to scan the invoice, but they will repackage it by sealing the box or putting your stuff into a DHL polymailer bag. My Wet Seal and UO package arrived in polymailers so they were transferred to a DHL bag. My F21 package remained in it's huge box. Also, they didn't seem to notice the bottle of nail polish in my f21 package so it arrived safely. I'm guessing it's because f21 wrapped it in their yellow plastic bag so it wasn't so obvious. 

Definitely will return to HSG when I ship my next package from the States! 

Comparison to vPost
  • Shipping Rates
    • I'm not sure why other reviewers say that vpost offers cheaper shipping rates than HSG because if you plot a graph for the rates of both forwarders, HSG is far cheaper than vPost. 
    • vPost charges a base charge of 13.40 SGD and 0.72 + 0.19 per 100g thereafter. 
    • HSG charges 14.30 SGD for the first 500g, and 3.705 SGD per 500g thereafter.
    • I guess it seems cheaper because vpost charges per 100g but that base charge makes a huge difference. You'd essentially be paying the same amount for 500g of weight in HSG. 
    • You can view a comparison of graph plots between both shipping rates on wolframalpha
  • Service
    • I've heard that vPost isn't very good when it comes to customer service. But, I can say that HSG has superb customer service. 
    • Also, HSG offers a repack service so that you can save on shipping cost. 
    • vPost only offers 21 days of free storage vs 30 free days at HSG

I'll be doing a shopping haul post soon! I hope you find this post useful. Leave a comment if you have any questions to ask! 

xoxo