It's with regret that I have to announce that I have had to remove the International Shipping option from the website. The nature of what I send worldwide means that packages tend to attract the attention of customs offices and postal departments despite the fact that the items are inert, historical and legal.
This has caused considerable delay in a lot of cases. Packages that should get there in a week are actually taking weeks and in some cases get returned to me with no explanation. A couple of packages have been destroyed by customs with no contact with myself which in itself is disgusting, especially as they were just lumps of polished brass. An inert disc grenade I sent to a client in Germany, who is also a good friend, on Jan 2nd was locked away by Heathrow customs and only returned to me THREE MONTHS LATER!!. This was followed by a letter three days later telling me they had actually destroyed it. I had to laugh as it was sitting on the desk in front of me as I read the letter. It just shows the level of incompetence these people have.
What makes matters worse is that certain buyers expect me to be a mind reader and to know that an item has arrived. They file a claim with Paypal without even bothering to contact me first. Those that do contact me file a claim anyway when I don't respond to their e-mail immediately ie, the same day. I do not have a magic hotline to the customs fairies or the postal pixies, be it Royal Mail or couriers. When I contact them, usually on a premium rate line, I get passed around and fed excuses and promises that never materialise. A lot of the call centres are in the Far East and it is next to impossible to get anywhere with them. I persist and usually by call number 30 when my language is turning pure Anglo Saxon I might if I'm lucky get a senior customer services manager to look into things. The disc grenade problem I mentioned earlier cost me in excess of £45 in phone calls. All this means if I have nothing to report then I probably won't respond straight away. I am also a one man band, extremely busy with the new galleries as well as having whats called a life. Because of time differences I usually get the mails in the early hours and a claim gets filed before I even wake up!
Filing a claim with Paypal means that they freeze funds on my account. This in turn does not make me willing to chase anything and as far as I'm concerned the sale gets cancelled, especially if the claim has been filed without contacting me first which is so unprofessional. I then work hard to get it returned to me as I have had a couple of cases where Paypal refund, I spend money on phone calls and the buyer gets their item. And guess what? They don't respond to emails asking to send payment.
Packages that get returned usually means that they have tried to deliver and failed. Except Canada who return packages because the return address isn't on the front of the package! I repack these and resend AT MY EXPENSE!! Sometimes this is an additional £30 so there is no profit in it for me.
I'm sorry about this. I have a lot of regular buyers worldwide, some who have become friends over time and I hate letting them down. Unfortunately a combination of over-strict incompetence from customs services and some buyers who are just way too quick to file a claim without consultation as well as I simply do not have time to spend on premium rate phone calls leaves me no choice. Its not a decision I've taken lightly.
I will still ship to the UK but payment is purely by Bank Transfer. I have removed Paypal as a payment option as I feel they don't offer me as a seller any protection. The new gallery in Brewers Quay, Weymouth is now open and buyers are more than welcome there.
I am no longer listing on the farce that is Ebay. Again, for the same reasons as why I won't use Paypal who they own. In addition to this, a combination of excessive fees, incompetent customer service and the fact that they won't allow me to list spent rounds or inert grenades as it breaches their moronic "Firearms Policies" means I will never use them again.