Recently an American online game store Noble Knight warned it's customers of a forthcoming price increase. Domestic postal costs are set to rise early February along with international rates. Whilst the domestic should be fairly low by comparison international is expected to be much steeper and in some cases double. The main theme of the message was either buy now to beat the increase or consider surface mail as an alternative to Air Mail.
To anyone who is thinking so what I don't buy from the States, consider this. Many American suppliers still post product out to foreign distributors rather than licence molds etc. in most countries. This means our providers costs will go up and as such these costs will be passed onto the customer. You can also expect the cost of posting to America to also go up, after all part of the journey will be dealt with in America. Other postal services I am sure will also be applying rate increases possibly hitting us with a double whammy.
Whilst I know postal services are in some countries making a loss, possibly no where more so than America but have the Governments though all this through. I will take my own case as an example. As you may have guessed I like to play ASL (never) and the main supplier is MultiMan Publishing (MMP), now already you have the situation where shipping is too expensive. MMP have a habit of charging for priority air mail even when it sometimes due to very low weight could be shipped for far less and still arrive at the same time. I have found it cheaper to order from a UK based supplier rather than use the pre-order system with the discount. Once it was not only cheaper but famously quicker!
Now MMP is really not the best example given their postage system. So lets look at the average, lets say I want a certain set of miniatures not yet available in the UK. I am sure some of you have been here before. The cost of the figures at $40, post is $15 so I pay my $55 safe in the knowledge that it's about £40 and only a bit more than if I had got them from a UK based company if that option was available. A knock on the door and Pat has a parcel just for me. Hold on, whats that slip of paper in his paw? Turns out I have to pay duty on it, forgot to factor that in, that's 20% more expensive than I had considered. Er think again, you also have a £8 collection fee as the Inland Revenue has 'loaned' you the money. So now the a bit more expensive has become "what the hell was I thinking?" and that is now. From sometime in February that postal charge could be $20-30+. I can see purchasing from America coming to a crashing halt. Already it's not allowed to send cash in dollars to the States, I can't think of better reasons to try to buy elsewhere. Also did you know gifts of over $15 are subject to tax and as such the £8 loan shark fee? I have bought a couple of boards from MMP a few years ago that cost $6-8, postage was $20 and tax was something like 60p and then collection fee of £8. Anyone see something wrong with this?
So whilst such moves in this one small hobby will not impact too negatively on the American export business the effect of thousands of other pinpricks from countless other hobbies and interests will lead to a fairly large hole in revenue. So what will you do, buy and pay up or seek alternatives?