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Useful Components

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 This, is Useful Components. I am an electronics engineer who likes to locate difficult to find parts for your weird electronics project or repair job. I also like accurate item descriptions, good photographs, and on-time dispatch. I believe that this is reflected in my feedback ratings.

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Useful Components Main Contents Page Useful Components Dispatch and Post

Updated 20th April 2020


COVID-19 UK 

I'm still shipping within 24 hours but Royal Mail are taking a little longer than usual to deliver some items.  I know this from some customer responses, and from my own experience of deliveries.  I'm shipping via the local Post Office counter now, as we appear to have settled into a workable situation.  I'm wearing a simple mask while inside the shop and everything that doesn't require a signature is sent with the appropriate stamps already attached to minimise the work for the hard-pressed counter staff.  Most P.O. counters are closing at 15:00, so if your order arrives after 11:00 it may not be in the post until the next day.

I wash my hands, use the hand sanitiser left-over from the last flu, and follow all UK recommended precautions.  I will close down Useful Components immediately if I get any cold-like symptoms.

Economy international post via DPD International Mail continues with pickups twice weekly.  Some of those are taking a longer time as well, so please bear with me as far as possible.  Everything is still getting through, just with some occasional delays.


Brexit.  So Good, it's on Both Information Pages

(Arrrghh!) 

It appears that due to the impending UK EU exit, CN22 customs stickers now need to be applied to all packets, and indeed I am now doing that.  The efficient Germans were particularly prompt in applying this new rule very strictly, one might think about two months prior to it actually being required.  Unfortunately this resulted in three packets being sent back and one lost.  Sorry for the inconvenience on those.  Packets to Germany and other EU countries are now arriving as usual.

I've been happily sen
ding packets to Australia, the USA, and many other non-EU countries for years now.  Australia have instituted a new system of tax pre-payment for ebay which appears to work, and all the other non-EU countries seem to have some value limit before you will get stung for internal VAT/sales tax when your packet lands.  This varies but tends to be about $12 and items are marked by me as is appropriate to their intrinsic value.  Whatever the UK Brexit disaster of self-imposed trade sanctions brings, I'm open for business to anywhere that I can successfully post to.

General Dispatch and post.


Packaging

All packets containing small items are standard letterbox size, so you should never have to go and collect your packet from the sorting office unless you have requested a signed-for delivery.  The packets are not waterproof, but waterproof thermally printed stickers are used for the address.  The boxes are made from recycled cardboard, and very small items are sent in padded envelopes with additional protection.  Larger orders might be in a larger packet.  Your address will appear exactly as you type it in your ebay address fields, so it needs to be correct to avoid delays. You don't need to write or select 'default' in empty fields; It confuses the postpeople and their systems.


UK Mail

Dispatch Time, UK Mail


During Monday to Thursday items paid for before 13:00 are usually packed and marked as sent by the evening of the same day, but will always be packed and marked as sent within one working day of payment unless the shop notices or item descriptions state otherwise.  You should receive an automatic email note when the item is marked as sent, but I've found that these frequently get blocked or ebay systems fail to send them.  If a UK item is marked as sent, it has definitely been packed, it is in the post bag and it will always be posted within 24 hours.

Postal Charges, UK Mail

Within the UK you will only ever be charged one postage charge, and that starts at a low fixed amount for 2nd class post for everything.  You can add any number of the same or different items with no additional postage charge.  You need to use the shopping basket on ebay.co.uk and pay for them altogether for this to work.  You can buy the entire shop and get it shipped for the one standard post charge.

UK Post Method and Late Packets

Economy post within the UK is sent by second class Royal Mail.  "Standard" post within the UK is sent by first class Royal Mail.  These are more than 99% reliable and packets generally arrive in good time.
  I don't recommend 1st class signed-for, as this system is despised by the postpeople who often have to write out a card and carry the item back to the sorting office if there is no answer at the delivery address.  In my experience this actually increases the probability of your packet being lost. 

If your UK packet has not arrived within 10 working days of it being marked as sent, I will always resend it or refund your money at your choice.  This is my responsibility under consumer law and there is no reason to purchase extra insurance.  On these rare occasions you will never lose out, but you may have to wait a little.

If you need something the next working day Monday to Thursday, then before 13:00 on the previous day, I may well be able to send it next day special delivery by special arrangement.  This will cost £9.80, but it isn't an option on the listings due to me being unable to guarantee availability.  The best way is to send a site message before buying to see if I'll be able to reach a Post Office by the collection deadline that afternoon.


Economy International Airmail

International mail is sent at least twice a week Monday to Thursday and often more frequently.  Unless the shop notices or item descriptions state otherwise, orders will always be sent in this time-frame. You should receive an automatic email note when any item is marked as sent, but I've found that these frequently get blocked or are not sent by ebay systems, especially for overseas customers.  If an international mail item is marked as sent, it has definitely been packed, it is in the post bag and it will always be shipped on the following international dispatch.

Postal Charges, Economy International Airmail

Prior to a few months ago, using international postage rate tables as a seller would result in misleading prices being displayed in search results on overseas sites.  I first reported this as an ebay site problem about five years ago.  Yes, Really!  After much telephoning over months I was finally told it would take two years to fix.  It took five. The incompetence of ebay boggles the mind.   This was fixed recently however, and this finally allows me to send packets to Italy and some other countries with lossy postal services.  If the economy international post price comes up as £12.95 in the postage rates tab, you're in a country with a lossy postal service and unfortunately, it's the only option available.  A tracked, signed, or tracked and signed service will be used.  It's expensive for small single items, but don't forget it's a flat rate for any quantity of anything from the shop provided that you pay for everything together using shopping cart.

"Economy International Post," that being standard airmail via DPD-LaPoste to most other EU countries, Australia, the USA, New Zealand and many others remains a sensible price for any amount of anything, and is about 98% reliable.  You'll always get a refund if it doesn't arrive in 31 days but it's usually there within 14 working days.  Ebay Central Politburo Command in their infinite wisdom give some excessively long delivery times to AUS, NZ and some other countries for economy airmail.  Generally, it is better than their estimates, but bear in mind that it's variable.

Economy International Airmail Post Method and Late Packets

All economy international airmail now ships by DPD-Geopost / La Poste International Priority Airmail.  This service is an untracked airmail service which has proved to be very reliable.  Your packet should arrive via the standard national post carrier in your country.  The stated delivery time is ten business days, but please be aware that it will be much longer than this for about 10% of packets.  This is the same for all standard airmail carriers.  I don't know why this should be, and I assume that there are random samples taken for security checking for which there is a queue of varying length depending on the season and security alert state.

All packets will now be marked with a CN22 customs sticker indicating the contents and the approximate value.  Depending on your country, sales tax-like charges might be incurred for higher value items.  Most countries operate a system where there is no charge below a certain value, and many small items will pass below this value unhindered.  If there is a charge, you will always be notified by some system operated by the national post carrier, and the packet will not be lost because of this.

If your packet has not arrived after 20 working days in the EU or 25 working days in the rest of the world, I will always re-send it or refund at your choice.  This is my responsibility under consumer law and there is no reason to purchase extra insurance.  On these rare occasions you will never lose out, but you may have to wait a little.

I may not be able to send at all to some countries, but I am generally willing to give it a try if it is actually possible.

International Tracked Airmail Service

"Royal Mail Tracked" is available to almost all countries and claims a 3 to 5 working day transit time.  This is fully tracked only within the UK.  The service claims some degree of expedited passage through customs but this is not guaranteed.  I may not be able to send at all to some countries, but I am generally willing to give it a try if it is actually possible.


Dispatch by Courier Service

I only use courier services such as DHL by special arrangement.  Be prepared to pay an extraordinary amount, in the region of £50 GBP for any item.  I have done this recently.  The estimate is accurate, and it will take me 24 hours to arrange a pickup.  Delivery is guaranteed within four days on DHL.

The New eBay Shop Format

The new ebay shop format does not allow any useful custom pages like these.  I tried it and they disappeared.  I will be forced to transfer over at some stage, meanwhile, you and eBay UK VP Rob Hattrell might enjoy listening to some of my many telephone arguments with eBay so-called seller 'Support,' over the various failures of his pathetic toy-town website.  You can listen to them here:

https://www.interestingelectronics.com/old/henrys_interesting_electronics/customer_service/ebay/ebay_main_page.html