Buyee Experience


Buyee is a proxy buying service in Japan that lets you shop on Japanese online shops like Amazon.jp and Rakuten if you are based in the Philippines or wherever these Japanese sites can't cater to. In this post I am going to share my experience shopping via Buyee and compare their rates to Nihon Goodies who is my personal shopper in Japan.
For this transaction I bought a Shimamoto rubber block for making stamps. [両面使える合成ゴム板 はがきサイズ画用紙付き ビニールゴム版画板 はがき倍判 5枚セット] My translation may be off so if you can read Japanese, let me know if I got it wrong.

I'll have a separate post to review this carving block.

What's nice about Buyee is its ease of use, you can install a browser plugin on google chrome which lets you automatically add any product from any shopping site onto your Buyee Cart. No need to log in on Amazon or whatever site you're shopping from.

Buyee often offer discounted EMS shipping promos so shop during their promo period to get a good shipping deal. Its also because of their promo that I decided to try them out.
After adding my item to my cart I was asked what service plan I would like to avail. Because its my first time using Buyee and I am not familiar with the item I am buying I went the inspection plan which costs an additional 300 JPY. In hindsight, I didn't really need the inspection and would have opt for the lite plan which is just asking them to buy the item. Choose this option if you're sure of the item you are purchasing.

See the lower left tag on the screenshot? That's the EMS Promo. They'll indicate that information while you are processing your order. After that you'll choose your mode of payment and they'll proceed with purchasing your order.

Once they've purchased your order you'll get an email notice from them. Stating the price they got your item at (usually its the published price, unless you specifically asked them to look for an item at a determined price or auction price.) along with a break down of additional fees such as buying service fee (I believe its a flat rate) of 150JPY. After paying for them to buy your item next is to wait for your package to arrive to their warehouse, they can also consolidate your orders if you are buying from different shops.

Shipping fees

Now for the tricky part, choosing what kind of shipping method you'd like. I reviewed all the horror stories on the PhilPost page plus hearing personal stories from my friends and settled with EMS. It happens to be the most reasonable rate and speed next to regular mail and sea freight. But this is the good thing about Buyee it's your call how cheap you want to shipping to be. Unfortunately I still don't know which service will guarantee that you'll get your package to your doorstep.

I took the EMS method which promised that my item would get to the Philippines in 3 days. And it did!
By the time it got to the Philippines I was supposed to wait for a white slip in my specified address telling me that I can pick up my parcel but that didn't happen. It's just been sitting in their office for two months. So much for the 3-day delivery promise.

I emailed Philpost to know the status of my package and thankfully got a prompt response asking me to claim it in their main office in Pasay which is counter-intuitive considering that EMS is supposed to be sent to my delivery address.

I brought my invoice and tracking number to Philpost main and waited for them to process and inspect my parcel. I didn't know it was packaged in a small box as I had assumed it would be in a parcel. In any case the inspector, who looked he had his share of drama for the day, had the box opened by a staff in front of me. He looked dumbfounded by what was inside. I told him it was carving rubber for stamps (you should have seen his face!) he insisted to see my invoice to cross-check. WHY WOULD I LIE, SIR? I didn't notice buy Buyee listed my item as a toy.

And that was that. I paid the vat fee of Php 112

So here's the price breakdown for Buyee rates (rates are based on the conversion that I paid for):
Purchasing
Item price - JPY 1020 (5 pieces)
Buyee Shopping fee - JPY 150
Inspection fee - JPY 300
total buyee fees: JPY 1470 (USD 13.80)
+
Shipping
Shipping fee - JPY 1960 - discount of JPY 98
Total shipping costs: JPY 1862 (USD 17.31)
+
Custom taxes - Php 112
Transportation - Php 260
total: Php 370 (USD 6)
Total: Php 1877 (USD 37) or USD 35 without additional fees+ discount

VS. Personal shopper (Nihon Goodies)

Now because I was unsure of what I was buying I went to my personal shopper and asked her to buy me one piece of the same item. The beauty of this is that it cuts the guesswork and effort to go through customs (I won't be the first to say that its stressful to deal with customs!) plus I just love the sisters running Nippon Goodies who are reliable. The best part of buying through them is that I can expect my items at my door-step.

Nihon Goodies price breakdown:
Item price - Php 260 (1 piece)
Shipping - Php 40
Total: Php 300 / 6 USD or 1,300 / 26 USD for 5 pieces

Verdict

Price savings & Convenience: Nihon Goodies
My personal shopper wins by the convenience and their rate obviously. Will I shop through Buyee again? Probably but I'd want to try a different shipping method that would be worth the wait. What really ticked me off here is customs, they're such a wild card. What should have gotten to me in a week took me two months of anxious waiting. I would have opted for sea freight and gotten it at a cheaper rate.


Horror stories I've heard while I was waiting:
- One guy received a branded second hand watch. He was taxed by its original price at PHP 200k (USD 3946) he tried to bribe the officer to keep the tax low and ended up getting fine fees over the taxes he had to pay. The guy sharing this story seems to a be regular at customs he was giving tips to his seatmate on how he can avoid getting taxed by PhilPost... in front of the PhilPost staff.
- The lady before me had to pick up a balikbayan box of hand-me-downs but the inspectors refuse to consider it as second hand items and wanted to tax the lady at each item's original price.
- Another lady who was picking up medication worth $400 AUD was exorbitantly taxed and complained (for me or anyone to hear, she was trying to win a sympathy vote but what can I do?)
- A not so horror story: the guy who followed after me, picked up a bag. The same inspector who looked at my box called him "This an LV?" but the guy quietly answered it was a knock off. He got his stuff faster than I did even if I was queued ahead of him.
- And then there was also this incident that got my fences up about PhilPost even before I picked up my package.

IDK this is a game of chance with PhilPost quite similar to visa applications. BAAAH

But regardless since this is not a PhilPost review. I'm throwing in this link you might find helpful if you do choose EMS as your shipping method.
Circular on De Minis Value of goods not Subject to Tax

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Who is Marz



Name: Marz Ren | AKA: 認馬摯
​Marz is a handmade stamp artist based in Quezon City, Philippines. This one-person team takes pride in making handmade stamps as mindful way of printing.

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