US Online Shopping | VPOST or Comgateway?

Why Hellooooo Guys!

Some of you may know that I'm currently on a blogging hiatus until my exams are over, but if you've missed me so dearly, keep in touch on my Instagram okay? ;)

So anyway, I'm breaking this hiatus for a bit because there seems to be a battle on my Instagram feed to which forwarder service provider is better - Vpost or Comgateway?

SHEENA IS DOING SOME ONLINE DAMAGE
I am a user on both platforms, alternating between the two depending on my needs.

I'm not here to provide a fast and hard answer.

I am, however, going to provide you with the basis to decide, based on your needs, to which service is more beneficial to you.

[NOTE: Best read in 'web version' for easy reading of tables. Footnotes, which are important, appear tiny in the 'mobile version'.]

1. AIR FREIGHT SHIPPING COSTS
Firstly, let's compare the shipping costs in general.

SOURCE 1 SOURCE 2
Do also note that there are usually credit/debit card discounts available so don't forget to search for those to get more bang for your buck.

Different shoppers have different needs. Some simply need a one-off delivery, others need it for a massive shopping spree. Hence I'll provide you with some scenarios to help you best decide which is more cost efficient to you.

SCENARIO 1: Single Package


If you forsee your sole package to weigh more than 9kg either in volumetric or actual weight, Vpost will always be the cheaper option. (Actually if your sole package weighs more than 9kg, you should actually consider Sea Freight via Vpost instead but that's a story for another day.)

If your package is less than 9kg, it actually really depends. This is because Comgateway will round up to the nearest 0.5kg which may work against your favour as shown above. Through further calculations (not shown), I have found Comgateway is only cheaper a package that weighs 0.5, 0.9, 1, 1.4, 1.5, 1.9...... so on and so forth (do you see the pattern?) Even then, the difference in cost gets lesser as the package gets heavier and ultimately is indifferent at 9kg.

Notice that at the lowest possible weight charged i.e. 0.5kg, Comgateway is only 7% cheaper. Which means as the package gets heavier, the difference in % gets smaller.

Why am I pointing this out?

As mentioned in foot note #5, fuel surcharge has not been included. Based on the Fuel Surcharge in the past 3 months, it is unlikely to fall below 7% thus VPOST is highly likely always cheaper than Comgateway.

SOURCE

SCENARIO 2: Multiple Packages

When dealing with multiple packages, there are an infinite number of combinations/examples I can come up to compare costs. However, for the sake of my sanity, I'll just bring up two different types of scenarios. For both cases, let's assume that I have 3 packages to consolidate, each weighing 0.5kg.

CIF = Cost of Goods + Insurance + Freight

a) Total  CIF < $400 i.e. No GST


Assuming each package has a declared value of S$100;


For both forwarders, no GST is payable as the CIF falls below the Tax Free Allowance of S$400.

Do take note that I have intentionally left out insurance for VPOST because not everyone might feel the need to do so. Should you require all your packages to be insured, VPOST would set you back an additional $29.70 hence making Comgateway the cheaper alternative.

b) Total  C.I.F > $400 i.e. GST

Now this is where the main difference between the two forwarders take place.

Assuming each package has a declared value of S$200;



As you can see, having a high declared value per package changes the game rather drastically.

Even if one chooses to take up insurance, VPOST is undoubtly the cheaper option in such a scenario.

Therefore, for all you shopaholics out there, VPOST is the way to go!

*For more information on how CIF is calculated, visit here (Vpost) and here (Comgateway).

2. CONVENIENCE

If I'm not mistaken, VPOST only delivers during office hours. Hence, if there is no one to receive your package at home, there is the option to pick up your package at either your selected post office or POPStation. This option is very convenient as it reaches your hands faster since the postman need not make the failed trip to your house. Click here to view all 58! POPStation locations. Picking up my parcels at a POPStation is actually one of my favourite things to do. Nothing beats opening multiple doors to happiness :B

Parcels from Comgateway are fulfilled by DHL. Deliveries from DHL are not limited to office hours thus making it even more unpredictable. Recently however, Comgateway has started a service whereby one could pick up their parcels from selected Cheers and FairPrice Xpress counters. However, compared to VPOST's extensive list, this service is only available at 17 outlets.

I've tried this service once back in February and had my boyfriend help me pick it up since I was overseas. He specifically told me not to use this service again as he had to wait a good 30 minutes at the counter itself for the staff to get the parcel sorted. Staff may or may not be better trained now. Do note that this service is done by the Cheers/NTUC staff hence the level of professionalism and adeptness may vary.

If you are unconcerned with the price difference between the two and just want one which is more convenient, just take note of which service has a more convenient collection point for you.

3. MERCHANT POLICY

Certain merchants do not allow deliveries to forwarding companies for unspecified reasons. Thus the only way to order from said merchants is to make use a concierge service like VPOST's VShop4u or Comgateway's BuyForMe service.

Even then the respective forwarders have their respective "restricted merchants".

The list for vShop4u can be found here and as far as I know, Comgateway's BuyForMe service allows you to order from anywhere under the sun.

I can't discuss much on this point as I personally have used neither.

vShop4u does not charge any concierge rate whereas Comgateway's BuyForMe service charges 5% of your total declared value.

While vShop4u is seemingly cheaper, Comgateway's BuyForMe service may actually be the cheaper option. Reason being, vShop4u predetermines the weight to a minimum of 0.5kg per item, not per order.

Here's a very simplified example;
I order 3 items from the same merchant with actual weight 0.1kg each. Each item costs me $50.
All 3 items will be delivered in the same box of volumetric weight 0.5kg.


In the instance of the above example, Comgateway is actually cheaper.

However, as to which is the ultimately cheaper option depends largely on your declared value.

As the declared value increases, Concierge Fee + Fuel Surcharge + Insurance will also increase hence making the total payable higher. Eventually, these costs will be larger than vShop4u's inflated weight charge making vShop4u the better option.

Vshop4u is basically ideal for those who have 1 small, but very expensive, item to ship as the total payable is not dependant on the declared value.

Lucky for us, you can submit an order for quotation without any payment with vShop4u (an account is required first) and from there, deduce if the inflated weight charge is worth sticking with vPost or heading over to Comgateway.

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Phew. I hope you guys have found my verbal vomit useful. Do let me know in the comments because interaction is always good :)

Also, if you find that any information I've put up is false, unclear etc, do also let me know and I'll edit accordingly.

Before I end, just a little Public Service Announcement;

SPEND WITHIN YOUR MEANS
With that, bye guys!

♥ Sheena V

Disclaimer: I am affiliated to neither vPost nor Comgateway. My tables, figures and calculations are based on facts/info provided on both websites hence I urge you to visit the read the footnotes mentioned and links provided should you require verification. Additionally, I encourage you to do more research but I personally am happy with either. (:

11 comments:

Piggy Chai at: Tuesday, April 21, 2015 at 11:02:00 PM GMT+8 said...

Hi Sheena,

I would like to provide some additional insight should your readers choose to take up either service. I recently bought a ton of items from Everlane, and used HopShopGo (comgateway) as my forwarder. Their customer service is efficient and professional. It helps a lot that there's also a live chat system.

"comgateway/hopshopgo uses DHL Express. I'm not entirely sure about other DHL branches, but the customer service officers for DHL SG are friendly and extremely flexible in terms of scheduling for deliveries. I've had asked for night delivery, to the extent of having an 8 to 10 pm time slot with no issues whatsoever. You're also charged 1% of your declared value for insurance.

I recently had to use Speedpost to exchange some items since the retailer was based in the U.S., and had the worst time dealing with Speedpost customer service. Singpost Registered, Speedpost and Vpost, I would assume, are under the same corporate umbrella and have the most horrifying customer service.

You guys are the classic textbook example of customer service recovery gone wrong. When my package just dropped off Singpost's tracking website, I had to go through the hotline's interactive voice response. Pressing 3 and entering my valid tracking number proved to be futile since the system deemed it invalid, and there was no option for me to choose to speak to a human operator. When I pressed 1 (obviously the wrong department), halfway through the conversation, your operator gently berated me for calling for the wrong department. It's a Catch-22 situation eh, Singpost?

I was promised a call back eons ago and have received no response at all. None. Nein. Zilch. Your operators tried pushing the responsibility to an "overseas operator" and gave me a number I couldn't call, despite trying multiple times. It was only when I googled for that number, did I realise that it was USPS' hotline. And boy, did I heave a sigh of relief, because their tracking system (actual real time tracking system, may I add) is impeccable and they are much more reliable than Singpost. Dare I submit that even the postal services in Iraq and Syria are more efficient than Singpost?

I proceeded to Singpost CustCare's page, and my my, come October, people who celebrate Halloween should join the festivities and complaints on that page.

To have the words "Sing" as in Singapore and "Post" as in postal services in your organisation's name is to make a mockery out of the good name of Singapore and of the actual service of delivering letters. Should a school come up with a master's programme on "How to fail at customer service recovery with the mastery of obfuscation", you guys would be the professors nonpareil.

To Abby, I sincerely wish you all the best in securing your money back. Another guy who had his $2000+ camera vanish into thin air, had a case with 3 investigations and a CCTV clearly showing the postman NOT delivering the package to the POPstation and walking away with it, and was offered a compensation of $68 simply because the overseas sender did not insure the package.

This is the worst example of a monopolistic industry I have ever encountered. What a shame Singapore is too small for FedEx / DHL to expand their operations in.

This is Singpost for you, and to that, I say, what a disgrace.

And no, don't ask for my package number or contact details anymore, because it resolves nothing."

Piggy Chai at: Tuesday, April 21, 2015 at 11:05:00 PM GMT+8 said...

I forgot to mention that the text in quotes was a comment I left on one of numerous complaints on Vpost's facebook page. I would most likely leave a similar comment on the actual Singpost CustCare page itself too.

Sheena at: Wednesday, April 22, 2015 at 12:17:00 AM GMT+8 said...

Hi Piggy!

Firstly, I did mention Comgateway's insurance policy under footnote #9 of Table 3. It's a mandatory insurance costing 1% of declared value AND shipping. If you're viewing the mobile site, it's very likely you missed out as the table/pictures are published small. I shall add a note at the start that it's best read in Desktop Version.

Secondly, by "text in quotes", are you referring to paragraph 2 onwards? If so, that would explain a lot. I was wondering as to why are you commenting as though I'm Singpost. Hahaha.

Just in case anyone is wondering, no I am not affiliated with vPost. Got to also add that disclaimer there.

I have yet to use Speedpost for my overseas shipments so I can't comment on that.

I am well aware of the horror stories posted in forums with regards to vPost however I have also read and heard happy reviews online and from friends. I personally have had to contact vPost with questions on shipping charged on my packages and so far have faced no problem.

So it's kind of 50-50.

Yes I agree there are aspects of each forwarder which may affect overall service delivery eg live chat for comgateway users. However to touch on each an every aspect in a blogpost would be near impossible.

For my post, I focused mainly on cost efficiency while touching slightly on convenience. It remains true that I much prefer POPStation to the options provided by Comgateway. However, I had no idea I could contact DHL SG office to request for a night delivery. I shall have to look into that. Thanks for mentioning that!

To remain objective, I have to point out that the issue you had was with Speedpost and not vPost. Therefore possible that each are under separate managements. One possibly better than the other. Moreover, from what I understand, your package was outgoing rather than incoming. While I empathize with the problem you faced, it isn't exactly in line with the topic written i.e. forwarding mail via vPost or Comgateway.

However, I am still grateful you've spared the time to give fellow readers and I your input. I'm sure your experience has stirred readers who are less familiar with both forwarders to do further research before committing to either, or neither.

Lastly, thanks for supporting my blog and my IG (I recognize your user hehe)

x Sheena

Piggy Chai at: Wednesday, April 22, 2015 at 6:28:00 AM GMT+8 said...

Morning Sheena!

I typed out a lengthy post earlier on... and Google redirected me to their login page and my comment was... gone. D:

Let me try to recollect my thoughts...

You are correct that my experience (outgoing) was not in line with the theme of your post (incoming), much less the same intra-organisational group. I hope that this comment serves as a better, more-informed post for your readers to consider.

Some readers who require deliveries after office hours and who do not live near a POPstation may be inconvenienced. It may also be a problem for them to lug home their bulky packages especially if they are taking public transport. Yes, choosing between Vpost (who offers more self-collection options) and hopshopgo/comgateway (who uses DHL, who are in turn, more flexible with their delivery hours) is then dependent on the needs of each individual.

I have come across your blog post about Colourpop cosmetics and Vpost as I was vacillating between Vpost or Borderlinx, who were promoting quite aggressively on Twitter at that time. I actually ended up using hopshopgo after reading numerous reviews online. Readers should not just take a anyone's word for it, mine included, and should conduct their own research and decide if a forwarder's postitive reviews can overcome their negative points.

My issue with Singpost as a whole is that workplace theft, be it Singpost Registered, Speedpost or Vpost, or doorstep delivery and POPstation, seems to be rampant, yet management has not been taking steps (at least publicly) to assuage the... public. In my opinion, it is important for any organisation to establish a robust customer service recovery system. One negative review that appears at the top of a google search damages the hard work they put into branding their organisation.

I initially wanted to use Vpost because of your post, but after reading some pretty horrifying accounts of Vpost, I had to look for alternatives that provided insurance at a more reasonable rate. At that point of time, I have already decided to ship over some USD1500 worth of goods from Everlane and I knew that I would not be able to stomach the loss (albeit partially since the shipments are separated).

After sending over several shipments with hopshopgo, I had wanted to use Vpost for purchasing some Colourpop cosmetics and to try out their service. I did not do that in the end, since I had more incoming orders and I could easily tack on my Colourpop order to them and avoid paying the initial base cost of USD11+. However, to make my view of Singpost/Vpost more objective and neutral, I guess I will have to try Vpost someday, when I purchase something of a lower value - my trust for them is just not there yet.

Piggy Chai at: Wednesday, April 22, 2015 at 6:28:00 AM GMT+8 said...

Part 2:

Is it fair to Vpost that I'm bringing them down and throwing them into the same disparaging attack as their other branches? It is definitely not. However, the crux of the problem lies with how the top management handled (or the lack of) the image of the organisation. And that affects every group within the organisation itself.

I know there are more points in my lost comment, but for the life of me, I just can't seem to recall it! I hoped my second comment provides a more useful insight than my initial comment, which was more a rant against Singpost than a useful account of forwarding services. I would also like to reiterate to your readers that conducting their own research is also important.

To some, costs may be their differentiating factor. To others, similar to me, quality of service and a peace of mind are what makes us customers. I have easily spent more than a few hundred SGD with hopshopgo in several shipments and now default to using their services - making me a loyal customer with significant lifelong equity since online shopping is more widespread now than ever. I am sure there are more customers like me who, to any organisation, have a high customer equity and thus, a higher return on marketing. These are customers that Singpost are losing to other forwarders due to their failure in containing negative publicity or even taking steps to ensure satisfactory service recovery has been followed through.

Again, I should try out Vpost one day to make my review more objective to be fair to Singpost (however much I dislike their normal and registered mail services - I have had several magazines simply vanish into thin air or delivered to the wrong address and my neighbours had to return it to me).

This is what I have to impart to you, Sheena, and your readers. Please see yourselves as customers who are valuable to organisations and should thus be treated as such. I am glad you had a positive experience with Vpost, and I'm sure with the flexible night delivery hopshopgo / DHL offers, perhaps you wouldn't even have to leave your sofa during your whole online shopping experience!

Thank you for having me as a reader of your blog, and a good day to you!

Sheena at: Wednesday, April 22, 2015 at 10:36:00 PM GMT+8 said...

Oh yes, definitely gotta check out the night delivery option.

And if you do decide to have a go at vPost, just a tip, certain cards offer free insurance on your packages so be sure to google "vPost Promo Codes" before paying.

All the best dear!

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MOlson at: Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at 5:03:00 AM GMT+8 said...

Hi, MyUS.com here. We'd love to be your international shipping service! We pride ourselves on providing fast, reliable shipping to Singapore.

We can get your US packages delivered to your home in as little as 2-4 days!

With MyUS, you receive your very own MyUS address so you're able to shop the American websites you want.

We offer FREE package consolidation (with up to 30 days free storage), free repacking, and free $100 in shipping insurance with every package. Our free package consolidation makes it really easy to save a lot when you're buying and shipping multiple items from the US.

We hope you'll give us a try! Our members love us - we have 4.6/5 stars on Facebook (check the other competitors, they don't even turn their reviews on because they get so many negative comments about missing or late packages).

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Bharat Dixit at: Monday, August 15, 2016 at 4:00:00 PM GMT+8 said...

Hi Sheena,

Your post is really very informative. I am looking for information on shipping of single item which is of more than S$400 (my item price is USD 381). Can you suggest me which provider should I go for my shipping?

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