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International shipping guide

Because prices on Reverb tend to be 20-40% less than typical retail prices in the U.K., Japan, or Europe, there's a huge demand from international buyers. Expanding your shipping options to regions outside of your country greatly increases your chances of a quicker sale on Reverb and can assist with growing your shop’s exposure and sale volume. As a result, our team has provided tips and guidance to help make your sales go smoothly.

Shipping carrier information

You are free to use whichever carrier you prefer for your shipments. Please note that if you use a national carrier, like your local postal service, the package will be handed over to the recipient's country's national carrier. If you arrange the shipment with an international carrier (UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc.), the shipment will be handled by that carrier throughout its journey.

Sellers are responsible in the event any package gets lost or damaged in transit. We recommend insuring your shipment, receiving tracking information from the carrier, and rounding up your listing's shipping costs to account for these factors.

Pro Tip: USPS tends to be significantly cheaper than UPS or FedEx, but has sizing and insurance restrictions.

Can I use a shipping label from Reverb?

Communication is key

Communicate well. Ensure international buyers are aware they are responsible for taxes in their country.

  • The buyer is typically responsible for taxes, duties and customs fees.
  • It varies by country, but most governments charge local tax plus import duty. For example, most guitars imported to the U.K. pay a VAT rate of 20% plus a Duty of 3.7%.
  • The shipping provider will collect these costs from the buyer before releasing the package.
  • A fee is charged for clearing customs paperwork. USPS is significantly less expensive than UPS or FedEx.
  • Most worldwide deliveries take 5-10 days, though high-value packages may be held by customs inspections for 2-4 extra weeks.
Pro Tip: When shipping to Australia, instruments made in US are exempt from duties (not taxes) if you supply an AUSFTA statement of origin. If you ship to Canada or Mexico, instruments made in the US are exempt from duties (not taxes) under NAFTA.

Steps for shipping

1. Fill out a customs form.

The main customs form required is a Commercial Invoice; your shipping provider will have a template.

  • Most information is straightforward, such as address, dimensions, etc.
  • You will need to enter a Harmonised Tariff Schedule. This is a standard classification and can be found here. For example, an electric guitar is 9207.90.
  • A “Waybill” number is just the tracking number on your shipping label.
  • The “Reason for Export” will typically be a sale.
  • Make the description as specific as possible. For example, “A red 1998 Gibson ES-335 semi-hollow body electric guitar, serial number 915480300.”
  • The country of origin is where the instrument was manufactured, not where you’re shipping from.
Pro Tip: Do not mark your item as a gift. Buyers sometimes ask sellers to do this so they don’t have to pay duties or taxes. This is a surefire way to get your gear confiscated by customs.

2. If needed, complete an EEI.

Instruments over $2,500 shipped anywhere except Canada require an Electronic Export Information (EEI) form.

  • To complete an EEI, you’ll first need an Employer Identification Number (EIN). If you don’t have one, you can get one here. You don’t need to start or be a business to get an EIN number.
  • You will need to set up an account with the Census Bureau’s AES Direct website so you can file your EEI form. You can do that here.
  • Once you’ve registered, fill out an EEI form on AES Direct.
  • Once filed, you will receive an Internal Transaction Number (ITN) as confirmation of your filing. The ITN starts with an “X” and has 14 digits.
  • UPS and FedEx may have the ability to file the EEI on your behalf if you give them power of attorney.

3. Drop it off.

Drop your package off and enter the tracking number on your Reverb sales page.

Shipping service & protection

Shipping internationally can seem like a costly and risky pursuit, but it is actually quite the opposite. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • As a US seller, you will receive the same great Reverb Seller Protection as your domestic orders if Safe Shipping is selected. Keeping your communication and transaction all on Reverb will provide you with the safest selling experience.

  • We suggest over-estimating the shipping amount to account for any variation and cover any additional costs of packing materials and handling. If shipping comes out to be less than what your buyer paid, you’re always welcome to refund the difference.

  • Unless you use Safe Shipping, you would be the one handling the claim in the event something goes wrong during transit. The better and more specialized the service is, the higher success rate your delivery will be.
Pro Tip: The maximum reimbursement will not exceed the declared value of the item on the label. The declared value of the item must be true to what it sold for or else your protection may be voided. 

Additional tips

  • Your international buyers pay the shipping rates entered on the listing during checkout. Try to choose the best shipping service for the smoothest transaction. If your buyer has additional questions on what international buying entails, we have that covered for them in our International Buying Guide.

  • When packaging, be sure to include the customs form on the outer packaging, ideally in a clear packing envelope so the agent can clearly see this. We also recommend putting a copy inside to be safe.
  • Communication is important in helping make a sale successful. You can note your elected shipping service in your shop policies/listing descriptions, and we recommend remaining flexible on any discussions regarding these details if a potential buyer messages you.

  • If you are unsure how to properly and safely package your item(s), you can refer to Reverb's Shipping Guide for a visual demonstration on best practices.

general-question-mark.svg Further Reading:

New Requirements for Orders Shipped to the EU
How Do I Verify an International Address?
I Have No Idea How Much It Costs To Ship an Item Outside My Country, Can You Help?
How Do I Ship to a Buyer Outside the US?
Where Can I Find an Invoice or Packing Slip For My Sale?

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