Sunday, June 29, 2014

REVIEW – NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING

For those of you who haven't been following, a brief recap is in order.

Cathey and I are moving...have moved...from the Lehigh Valley in eastern Pennsylvania to Quarante in the Languedoc region of southern France. Several months before our planned move, I began researching international shipping companies online. I checked out their websites, read customer reviews, and eventually contacted several to seek quotes. In the end, I chose NewYork International Shipping for several reasons. Their reviews were no better or worse than any of the others with the exception that their agent in France was mentioned favorably in reviews a couple of times. (People either loved or hated their shippers. No middle ground.) Their quote was in line with the others that I solicited but their quote included packing our stuff for us while each of the others required us to do the packing ourselves. And NYINTSHIP (their own shorthand) answered my email and phone questions promptly and reasonably.

We scheduled the packers in for mid March. NYINTSHIP had told us that the move would take from eight to ten weeks, door to door, with the usual caveats about the vagaries of timing. Since Cathey and I had tickets for a mid April flight, we figured that living for a month without the bulk of our stuff in the States would balance out living for a month out of our suitcases in France while we waited for our stuff to arrive...hopefully in mid May.

As mid March approached, several glitches cropped up.
  • NYINTSHIP advertised that they accepted PayPal, so I sent the deposit through my PayPal account. What I hadn't been told was that the PayPal fee would be deducted. I lost about $50. I found that a bit confusing. If I'd used a credit card, they would have had to eat a fee, wouldn't they? Still, I decided that the $50 was not worth fighting over in the grand scheme of things. I needed their good will more than I needed the $50.
  • The packing and pickup was rescheduled twice. I can't really blame NYINTSHIP for that. The winter of 2013/14 in the American Northeast was the winter from Hell with significant snows every few days. I could understand the nightmare of scheduling under those circumstances.
  • The final invoice was about 50% higher than the initial quote. Again, I don't blame NYINTSHIP. I'm not a professional estimator and we decided to ship much more than we initially contemplated. We added a sofa to our relatively small load, for instance, the largest piece that we shipped by far. As a result, even though I inserted an extra 10% of wiggle room into my initial list of items to be shipped, the sticker still shocked me.
  • Communication broke down fairly rapidly after the sale was closed. I received a receipt for our deposit but I had to ask for receipts for our two subsequent payments. I had to ask for projected date of shipping and had to ask for projected date of delivery. Everyone that I spoke with was polite and responsive. Emails were answered promptly. But I had to ask.
  • Our stuff arrived on June 24th, nearly twelve weeks after pickup, outside the eight to ten week estimate. Cathey was frazzled by that time and when Cathey is frazzled, I am frazzled. But our stuff did arrive. The guys lugged it from their truck to the first or second floor as we directed. And they had to park 50 meters away from the front door because we live on a pedestrian street that trucks can't enter. We shipped 91 pieces (a sofa counts as one piece) and we received 91 pieces.
  • It's taken us a couple of days to unpack and unwrap. The Wedgwood is intact. None of the other china, pottery, or glassware arrived chipped, cracked or broken and there's plenty of china, pottery, and glassware. None of our clothing or linens have become water-stained or bug infested. The ladder back of one chair is cracked, easily glued and so far within the insurance deductible that it's not worth reporting.
Given all of that, you would think that I give New York International Shipping low marks, that I'd warn you away from them. Not so. I recommend them. I'll tell you why.

Several million containers enter and leave the Port of New York annually. Our stuff occupied a small percentage of one of those containers. The fact that any shipment at all is delivered to its proper destination thousands of miles away, reasonably intact and within a reasonable period of time, is a miracle of Biblical proportions. That shippers who handle millions of dollars worth of cargo every year should be courteous when answering the questions of a tyro like me who will make minimal use their services once in a lifetime is a second miracle. And the container in which our stuff was packed didn't fall off the deck and into the Atlantic. Miracle number three. In the face of the odds, I have nothing to complain about.

So I grade New York International Shipping a solid B.
I'd use them again.

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