Opinion: My ill-fated YouShop experience

Attempt to dodge high prices doesn't go to plan.

Youshop hero

I’d been meaning to try NZ Post’s YouShop service for a while, so when my foundation ran out in November I thought I’d see if I could get it cheaper from the US.

I must admit I did minimal research into how YouShop’s delivery prices were calculated so will take all the blame for my experience. But perhaps it will encourage others to consider a few factors before they buy.

So here’s what happened:

Sephora in the States was selling the foundation I wanted on its website for $49. In NZ it costs $89 to buy from the manufacturer’s ‘.co.nz’ website. Shipping was free because I threw in a nail polish to get me over the $50 free-shipping mark.

I assumed the cost of sending it back to NZ would be nowhere near the $40 difference and I’d be saving a heap. So I had my order sent to YouShop’s warehouse in Oregon.

I was feeling quite smug until I got the email from YouShop saying my parcel had arrived and it was time for me to arrange delivery back to NZ. That delivery was going to cost me $31.50.

All up, the parcel and delivery cost about $NZ110 – I’d saved nothing.

But YouShop’s website was telling me there would be “a discount applied” if I sent multiple parcels.

Well, you don’t have to ask me twice.

There was this handbag I should have bought when I was in the States earlier this year.

I hadn’t been able to stop thinking about it since, but I didn’t want to pay the $323.50 it was selling for when I used the NZ settings of J Crew’s website.

However, when I pretended I was in America and had it to sent to YouShop’s Oregon address the handbag was a much more reasonable $US115.60.

Cue much bragging to my partner about what a clever shopper I was – until I again got the email to say it had arrived at YouShop’s warehouse.

This time the cost to get it to NZ was $112.25. I’d assumed it would be closer to $40, given that’s what J Crew charges to send a parcel to NZ.

Taking in the exchange rate, the bag had now cost me about $260. It was still a saving of about $60 on the original price but had I known it was going to cost that much I probably wouldn’t have bought it.

My discount for sending an extra parcel was $6.

Of course, it all made sense once my parcels arrived. Both boxes were huge compared to what was inside them.

Unless you know exactly how the retailer is going to package your item it’s impossible to calculate costs.

I had a look around YouShop’s site for an explanation of how it calculates the shipping costs and found this statement: “YouShop didn’t set out to replace conventional international shipping – we’re here to help get Kiwis the things they want to buy from the US, UK and EU stores that don’t ship to New Zealand. If the merchant offers direct shipping to New Zealand, it may well be cheaper (and sometimes faster) than using YouShop because of the merchant’s commercial agreements with their shipping company.”

That explanation sums up how I’ll be approaching the service in the future. I no longer see it as a way to get around the high prices we pay in NZ. Perhaps I’d give it another try if there was something I really wanted that the seller wouldn’t ship to NZ.

by Kate Newton, Head of Online Content at Consumer NZ

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24 Jul 2019
Do not use YouShop

I did all the research and still got stung. I had the parcel dimensions and weight and used YouShops calculator to work out shipping costs to NZ.
This was not what they charged me and to add insult pushed the value into ‘duty required’ value by a few dollars. An additional $134.
If the two items had been sent separately I would have saved nearly $200.
I’ll be looking at ANY other option in future.

Max K R.
03 Dec 2018
Don't use YouShop!

My first experience of YouShop will certainly be my last. I ordered some shock absorbers for my car from a USA Amazon supplier, to be sent via YouShop. The delays,inefficiencies and outright misinformation I subsequently encountered were nothing short of scandalous. First off,I was advised by YouShop that the two parcels concerned could not be sent because they contained batteries. Knowing this to be nonsense, I had to get confirmation from the merchant that no batteries were included. YouShop then turned around and told me they were prohibited items (which seems curious, considering that I could have ordered exactly the same items on Ebay and got them shipped direct to NZ by the Ebay merchant!) There have also been unreasonable delays in getting YouShop to reply to some of my questions,some of which have only been answered in part. I am now encountering yet more frustrations trying to get YouShop to return the shock absorbers to the merchant for credit.

These problems could stem from several factors,inexperienced staff,not enough staff or inadequate internal systems. Who knows? I hear that the Board of NZ Post is in disarray,with the Chairperson having recently resigned,and perhaps this malaise is shared by YouPost.

17 May 2015
Your own fault

So you didn't look up the prices beforehand and figure out why they were so huge? That's your own stupid fault. YouShop does offer a repackaging option that would have saved you a substantial amount of money.

Kate N.
18 May 2015
re: Your own fault

Hi there fluffycatsdad,

Unless you know the size of the box they are going to send your item in it's difficult to calculate how much it will end up costing you. The boxes were much bigger than I expected or thought necessary so I couldn't have known it would cost so much.

Kate Newton - Consumer NZ staff.

Martin R.
29 Dec 2014
YouShop hugely overcharged me...

...for one of three parcels.

They charge on volume as well as weight so a small lightweight item in a big box can cost a lot. In my case they simply mis-calulated the volume.

Did eventually refund (so good on them!) but only after sending multiple emails, photos, and jumping thru all sorts of hoops. The effort involved cost me more than the $20-$30 refund...

Edwina R.
26 Dec 2014
YouShop was a fail for me

As a Kiwi based service I decided to use this rather than my normal option...it was slow and expensive. SHIPITTO.COM is a much better, quicker option with a choice of shipping options.