I am no stranger to online shopping. Aside from groceries, most of my other purchases are online. For one thing, it’s usually cheaper than buying at the malls. Also, because of my provincial location, most of the stuff I like can only be found online.
Locally, my usual “haunts” are Shopee and Lazada. Occasionally, I buy from international shops as well, mostly from the US. Shipping from the US to the Philippines could cost more than the purchase itself, so I rely on cargo forwarders to save on shipping costs. In the past, I have used (LBC) Shipping Cart and My Shopping Box. The latter’s rates are cheaper, but Shipping Cart provides a more comprehensive tracking. To their credit, they both delivered on time.
Recently, I had the chance to use another cargo forwarder, HopShopGo. It’s tied up with Paypal (which I use and deem pretty legit) so I figured they oughtta be decent as well. Their rates are higher than both Shipping Cart and MSB’s but they had a pretty sweet deal at the time of $1 shipping for the first half kilo. I had an Amazon voucher so I used that to buy a Roku Express, which is pretty small and light, and had it delivered to my HopShopGo address in Portland, Oregon.
Before buying, I looked up the shipping weight of the Roku Express and figured since it’s pretty small and light, I’d probably get charged for up to 1 kg, which would amount to a discounted rate of $5 ($1 + additional $4 for every half kilo). A coupla days later, I got a notification that I the parcel has arrived there. And to my shock, the chargeable weight was 1.50 kg and the shipping fee $26.37! That is, $22 shipping charge, $3.96 fuel surcharge (which was not disclosed before) and $0.41 insurance.
The promo code brought it down to $13.37, but it still seemed too expensive considering the amount was already discounted. In comparison, My Shopping Box starts at $5.99/pound for air freight. Still, I went through with it, as I did not really have any other choice as my Roku was already with them.
Delivery Time (and FedEx Charge)
So I thought that was that and all I had to do was wait for it to arrive. I got a FedEx tracking number so I was able to see the progress of the shipment. It was delivered earlier today, seven (7) business days after I paid for and authorized the shipping. BUT. When the FedEx delivery guy handed me the box, he handed me an OR and Billing Statement as well, amounting to Php 576.80.
Which is totally NOT COOL, as I already paid for the door-to-door delivery to HopShopGo; so why am I being forced to shell out more money again for the delivery? I asked the delivery guy, but then again, he was only delivering and couldn’t give me an answer why I had these extra charges. Got no choice so I had to pay through the nose for my package.
And when I opened the FedEx box? The Amazon packaging was opened and the shipping label cut out. Amazing.
Thankfully, the item itself was intact and still sealed. Upon closer inspection of the FedEx box, I discovered the Amazon shipping label hidden beneath the DHL shipping label. Wtf, right?
At this point, I was already pretty pissed off at HopShopGo. I mean, I thought I paid for door-to-door delivery and then I was forced to shell out more money later. And then that cut shipping label. So I reached out to their Customer Service to file a complaint and maybe clarify the extra charge. I sent them the FedEx OR and Billing Statement as well. Here are some of their responses via live chat:
One good thing I can say about their CS, at least the one I talked to (Kim), knew how to answer knowledgeably and politely despite my already pissed-off tone. Kudos to him/her.
HopShopGo was able to deliver my package on time. But with the already expensive base shipping rate and undisclosed extra charges, I am not gonna use their services again (discount offer notwithstanding) nor am I gonna recommend them to anyone else looking for cargo forwarding services from the US to the Philippines.
Update 1 (05.09.19)
comGateway just called apologizing for the inconvenience. They gave me a refund, and I should have it in 1-2 business days. Here’s the email they sent as well:
Gotta commend their Customer Service further, after this. Thank you HopShopGo for resolving this matter. Will I recommend them now? Maybe, but do it at your own risk.
Update 2 (05.09.19)
Well, that was fast. I got notified that they have processed the refund. And sure enough, it was there already in my Paypal account.