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Arizona Hobbies uses the United States Postal Service classes of Priority, First Class Package and Media Mail for Domestic Shipping. Items that qualify to ship at the very low cost Media Mail are books, videos, maps, magazines and other printed matter. If your order includes non-qualifying items, the shopping cart will not allow the choice of Media Mail. Priority, First Class Package and Media Mail are the best values for shipping within the USA. No surcharges for Saturday Delivery or other surcharges, and Insurance from $50.00 to $100.00 for no additional charge (with Priority Mail). Overall our experience with the USPS over the years has been very good. Only a handful of shipments have been lost or damaged out of thousands mailed.
Delivery Confirmation service with Media Mail has helped with faster transit times. Packages are often scanned along their journey and this has allowed for more efficient handling/routing. Often Media Mail transit times approach UPS Ground service transit times. You may see a package go 'backwards' from Arizona to California to destinations east of Arizona. This is because USPS hubs try to load full trailers to other hubs. This is the only way USPS can hope to make money on low-cost Media Mail.
Live USPS Rates
Arizona Hobbies website receives current shipping rates from the USPS server. Therefore all rates presented are the most current. Rates include a small amount added to the rate for packaging materials, postal software and handling.
USPS Flat Rate Boxes
If the customer chooses Priority Mail, Arizona Hobbies will use Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes when item weight and size can be accommodated by those boxes. Rates quoted on the website for Priority Mail do not include Flat Rate Box pricing. This is because some customers could possibly select a box size that will not be large enough for their shipment. Almost every shipment where Priority Mail is selected receives postage savings off of the calculated USPS Rates.
Holiday Transit Times
During the Christmas season, USPS Media Mail service can be up to a week slower than average versus the rest of the year. If in doubt about receiving your package in time, select Priority Mail for shipping. My experience from past holiday season shipping has been packages mailed on or after December 13th had about a 50% chance of delivery by December 24th when shipped by Media Mail.
More than ever on-line shopping at the last minute has swamped the USPS, FedEx and UPS during the holidays.
Arizona Flat-Rate Shipping
Arizona Hobbies is experimenting with flat-rate shipping for Arizona destination orders. For only $7.00 for up to 10 lbs. Arizona Hobbies will mail orders within the state.
Credit Card Payments only 'Captured' (Approved) until order shipped
If you pay for your order using a credit card, your payment is only 'captured' (approved) and not 'authorized' (debited) until your order is shipped or within 30 days if you have ordered a pre-order item. In other words, your order is in Pending Charge status, so if there are shipping charges to be reduced, they will be reduced when the charge is 'authorized' (debited). If you paid for your order with PayPal, you will receive a refund at the time of shipment if a refund is due.
Arizona Hobbies uses a freight-forwarder to enter packages directly into the Canada Post system at Windsor, Ontario. The US Postal Service is completely by-passed. In order to make this service cost effective, Arizona Hobbies gathers a number of shipments together to send to the forwarder. It may take up to a week to have enough shipments to meet the cost/weight threshold. After the threshold is attained, UPS Ground is used to ship all orders to the forwarder. UPS does not deliver to Canada for this service (no processing fees), the forwarder uses their own truck. It may take up to 1-2 weeks before a Canada Post tracking number is available and your order is updated. Often by the time the tracking number is known, the package is close to the destination or has already been delivered. This service is much less expensive than using the USPS directly.
International Bulk First Class and Priority Mail Service: VERY IMPORTANT / PLEASE READ
Arizona Hobbies is now using a freight-forwarder who uses Air Transport to your country's postal service. From their port-of-enty, the final delivery is handled by ground transport. This adds about a week to transit times, but the savings are about 1/3 to 1/2 compared to the cost of standard Airmail Service!
Unfortunately this lower-cost service is not available to all countries. It depends upon the negotiations between the USPS and the other postal services. Standard USPS service is offered to countries where this service is not available. More countries are participating in this service as time goes on.
Here is how this service works:
1. Arizona Hobbies must meet a threshold of 10 lbs. of orders for the freight-forwarder or there is no profit for them providing this service.
2. It may take 1-2 weeks for enough orders to to placed to meet the threshold. This is necessary for the discounted shipping rates to apply.
3. Once the threshold is met, Arizona Hobbies places all orders into a large box to go via ground service to the forwarder.
4. The forwarder is 1500 miles away from Arizona Hobbies (Chicago) and it takes 4-5 business days for the package to be delivered to them.
5. The forwarder consolidates other shipments for air service to the postal carriers of other countries and delivers them to the United States Postal Service.
6. Air service delivers to the port-of-entry for that country's postal service. From there final delivery is provided via ground service to the customer.
7. Transit times depend on volume (fill the containers and the aircraft) and distance from the United States.
8. The whole process can take up to 4 weeks. Often to the Europe the transit time is less.
9. Package tracking will not be available for up to one week after shipping as they travel 1500 miles in one large box.
Shipping charges will vary greatly depending upon the pricing the US Postal Service has negotiated with other country's postal carriers. If Arizona Hobbies experiences lost packages with this service to a country, that country will be removed from this shipping option.
First Class and Priority Airmail service
It has been more than 10 years since the USPS discontinued Surface Mail for International shipments. This includes ground service to Canada even though there are many superhighways connecting the two nations. As many of you know, this leaves only expensive International First Class Mail for packages weighing less than 4 pounds, and International Priority Mail for packages weighing more than 4 pounds. Arizona Hobbies website receives live International shipping rates from the USPS server. Therefore all rates presented are the most current. Rates include a small amount for packaging materials, postal software and handling.
Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes
Arizona Hobbies will use Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes when item weight and size can be accommodated by those boxes. Rates quoted on the website for Priority Mail do not include Flat Rate Box pricing. This is because some customers could possibly select a box that is not sized for their shipment.Any postage savings by using Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes will be refunded to the customer.
The weight of an order usually is slightly inflated because the weight of an item will include the weight of the box and packing materials. Therefore, there will be some savings in shipping when ordering multiple items. For example, two Morning Sun titles will fit in a box and weigh right at 4.5 pounds. One Morning Sun book will weigh over 2 pounds with the box and packaging materials, and will ship at the rate for a 2 pound, 8 ounces (2.5 lbs.) package. Therefore, there is some savings in shipping charges for ordering multiple items.
Arizona Hobbies invites any comments you may have regarding our policies. Thank You!