This particular story is a series of ups and downs with mostly downs.
It is still unfinished as I have yet to receive my stuff. I’ll be updating up to the time I receive my shipment. (Updates at the last part of this post.) TBH, this is kind of difficult to write since I’m not very good with words so a word of warning, this post will be very confusing. and long. Very long. I’m sorry in advance.
I have always wanted to purchase from different makeup sites in the US but I was pretty hesitant because either they have very high rates for international shipping or they don’t ship internationally at all. Then I learned about third party forwarders– you sign up for their services, they give you a virtual US address where you can have your stuff delivered to and then they ship it to you–for a fee of course. I was actually choosing between Johnny Air and LBC Shipping Cart since they can both ship my items directly to Iloilo. After further research, I chose to go with LBC Shipping Cart because they consolidate. Consolidation is really important for me because I (and my mom) was planning on buying stuff from different sites.
So I made an account with Shipping Cart, a very easy process mind you and ordered some stuff to be delivered to the virtual address in my account.
First site I ordered from was ELFcosmetics.com.
More details on why I decided to buy from their US site in another blog post.
Then I bought a perfume, a Maybelline Fit me! foundation (sucks that this line isn’t available in the PH) and a pair of Roxy slippers from Amazon.
Drugstore.com was our next site. We bought a few stuff and a Sally Hansen gel lamp. (Praying the lamp doesn’t get broken in transit huhu)
Then we finally ordered a pair of Adidas Tubular Runner on Ebay for my brother. (On a sidenote: Adidas.com doesn’t accept credit cards with a PH billing address. Trust me, we tried. LOL)
Some of my items were shipped with USPS, UPS and FedEx. From my experience, all of these couriers were good and timely. These US Shopping sites will give you a tracking number immediately after they’ve shipped your products.
Shipping cart sends you an email like the one below once they have received your items. From my experience their email usually arrives ~2 hours AFTER the email from the courier or website.
I’ve got 5 parcels in all excluding the second ELF one since it was a late purchase. They arrived in this order:
- January 12- My order from ELF Cosmetics
- January 16- My slippers from Amazon
- January 16- My items from Drugstore.com
- January 16- The pair of shoes from Ebay
- January 18-The perfume and foundation from Amazon
It usually takes them days to post the items into my account. One time, it took them 5 days!
I checked back everyday til January 21. All of my stuff were in my account then:
I’ve got 2 issues at this point.
#1. They can’t ship the perfume. I was shocked because I read their Prohibited items list and there were no mention of perfumes. This particular perfume isn’t in a pressurized container so I didn’t understand the restriction.
#2. The weight and dimensions of the foundation. It’s one fluid ounce! According to Amazon, this item’s shippable weight is 1.6 ounces and product dimensions are 1.2 x 1.2 x 4.5 inches. source. (Remember, shipping cart at this point removes all the unnecessary packaging and measures the ACTUAL WEIGHT)
Look how tiny it is. I didn’t understand the measurements at all.
I immediately called them up to inquire further about this and one of their staff, a woman whose name I forgot said that maybe they can arrange for their team in the US to change the status so I can ship it “Kahit via sea cargo na lang” and she added “but it’ll still be better if they can include it for air cargo”. I also asked them to include the perfume with the foundation since they came together.
January 25. It took them 4 days to change the status of the perfume but they still didn’t put the perfume and foundation together. Curious I tried to check out (or should I say ship out? lol) the foundation alone via air cargo and the shipping cost was nearly the same as my brother’s shoes. Then I checked the details and saw that the perfume’s weight is 1.12lbs with the same dimensions as the foundation (I couldn’t see the perfume’s weight and dimensions before since it was in their “not eligible for international shipping” list) and the foundation’s weight is still 1.1lbs. So in conclusion, LBC tried to charge me TWICE for one parcel. Though I was pretty sure it was a mistake (or someone got lazy to weigh these stuff again). So I emailed them about it. And guess who got a reply? Not me for sure.
Another thing came up while that issue remained unresolved. I tried to check them all out just to get a glimpse of the final amount I would be paying. I chose 4 items for air cargo and 2 via sea cargo and as you can see from the photos, the amount on the final computation is very different from their estimates.
I kept calling and tweeting them about it. They did make changes on the same day but the dimensions and weight of each item still seem weird to me. Point 5 pound for a 30ml foundation? Okayyyyyyy.
But then I was still so confused about the final charges.
I finally got a reply from one of my tweets and I dm’ed them the issues I was having.
Apparently, the person in charge of their twitter account has no idea too.
Then it hit me. Their fixed rates. I live in the province that’s why they added $10 in the final computation. Later, I remembered the newsletter they sent.
Changes will be applied February 1 and I calculated the differences and I thought it was okay, I’ll save more if I waited for their $10 flat rate. ELF also released new stuff, restocked some items I was planning to buy and had a free Smokey Eye kit for orders above $35 so I decided to wait til February 1.
And let me tell you. It was the WORST DECISION EVER.
What they didn’t mention was they’ll be changing how items will be charged. I was led to believe it’ll stay the same since there was no mention of it in the newsletter. If they made it clearer I would’ve sent my parcels before February 1st. They should’ve written in bold letters that they’ll be charging us not the actual weight but the actual weight or volume weight whichever is higher. I thought LBC “consolidates” parcels in a way that they’ll be removing all excess and unnecessary packaging and putting them all in one box so getting the actual weight of the items will be more accurate indeed.
Another thing one of their staff kept insisting on the phone was that it was because their rates have increased from $5.04 to $5.99. If indeed that was the case, the total should’ve been somewhere between Php 1,500 – 1,600 and not Php 3240!!! (EDIT: This is only for the stuff I wanted to ship via air cargo and excluding the last package from ELF. But if I were to choose air cargo for all of them it would’ve cost me Php8000 more or less.)
Anyway, my mom and I decided to just have them all shipped via sea cargo since we weren’t really in a hurry. Having them here faster would’ve still been better though. *insert crying emoji*
February 6, my last haul from ELF was delivered by USPS. It appeared on my account February 10. And here I was expecting an increase in efficiency of their services since their rates increased but noooo.
Hey look! They didn’t remove the box.
I had everything shipped out immediately, it was very cheap to be honest but of course, I have to be very, very, very patient.
Now the waiting game begins.
Next update will probably be after they have consolidated my stuff. When? Who knows. Wish me luck.
UPDATE: Feb. 28 – Status changed consolidated
UPDATE 2: March 3- I sent them a message via Facebook messenger asking for a tracking number and they sent me one the next day.
UPDATE 3: March 7 – Status changed to “In transit”
UPDATE 4: April 7 – IT FINALLY ARRIVED after exactly 56 days.
Note: I was expecting the ELF box to be included but they still removed it. Hey LBC! You measured the boxes so it’s only fair you send me my stuff with the original packaging!
UPDATE 5: I mentioned in my JinioPH post (another US-Philippines forwarder) that I wasn’t able to get a tax refund from Amazon because the Bill of Lading was lacking the necessary details. My tip is to get a screenshot of the details of your shipment once it’s in your account. Don’t forget to do this before paying because you won’t be able to see the details after payment has been made.
However, I’m not sure if Amazon will accept it because they want evidence of the delivery destination which isn’t specified in that page. Just in case they won’t, just ask a Bill of Lading from LBC which I am sure they will be able to provide.