Put simply, I’ve had enough. Packages get delayed in customs for weeks (with no explanation), when I finally do get them, most of the time the box is damaged (watch out if it comes in a softpack, because you’re screwed), and their location can only be accessed by helicopter (and only if you know how to zipline or base jump).
Shop and Ship could be a fantastic service but they just don’t have the basics right… I’ll work backwards. Have you seen their main pick up location? Although they’ve moved to a new location, I think that parking is actually worse! There are huge rocks, steep ditches, and unless you’re in a Land Cruiser, you’re definately going to damage your car. Even after you pass all the rubble and get onto their parking spots (I think there are around 10 by the way and they’re on the sidewalk!), you then have to suffer with the fact that they have NO queing system. That means that you’ll get either drivers with no manners or the ‘I’m better than you because I wear Chanel glasses that cover my whole face’ masters of the universe.
Can you believe that Aramex even gave me someone else’s package by mistake (like they literally put it in my post box, smsed me to pick it up, and then told me that they were sure it was mine), then told me a week later they called me saying they made a mistake and I had to drop it back. I explained that they could come and pick it up since it was THEIR mistake. I think they did come after another week and picked it up from the apartment lobby. Who knows… perhaps it’s still there gathering dust.
Another annoying thing (and perhaps a smart way from their end on charging you MORE) is the fact that they ship every single item separately. They don’t hold your packages and send it in one nice bundle. So since they have a minimum charge, let’s say you ordered a camera, memory card, case, and a pink thobe from Amazon, they would all be sent separately. You’d get charged for delivery of each one.
Oh did I mention that although Amazon delivered 4 packages, Aramex only records 3? Looks like we’re going to have to hunt for the 4th… -_-
It’s not just me complaining, it seems like they’re consistent in many countries. Here are more:
- Abu Dhabi Woman – Aramex Alternative needed
- Aramex Shop and Ship Problems
- Aramex Kuwait Still sucks
- Aramex now delay shipments
I mean according to Amplicate.com (a site that looks at how positive or negative people feel towards a brand), a whopping 66% HATE… Aramex! Check it out for yourself, click here.
Alright alright, alternatives. You’ve probably landed on this page because you’ve suffered through your own pain with Aramex. I’ve found three services that are recommended by different people.
1- MyUS.com (They use DHL or Fedex) – US only
2- BorderLinx (They use DHL and are the official DHL Partner) – US & UK only
I’ll describe the advantages of each service then talk about cost.
This service was the first that was recommended to me by people when I asked for alternatives. They claim to be able to save you 80% on global shipping but we’ll see about that. The nice thing is that they’re very responsible, their website is very detailed and they have some unique services!
1) They have a concierge service in case a shop only accepts US payment. They’ll send someone to the shop and buy what you need. Apparantly they’ll even recommend a cheaper place if they can.
2) They’ll bundle packages. That means that unlike Aramex, you can decide when they ship a box over. You could choose a frequency of once a week if you wanted. Let’s say that you had set your frequency to once a week but there was ONE thing that you really wanted asap. No worries, they’ll send that over to you seperately.
3) Repackaging. Again, unlike Aramex, who’s definition of repackaging means rip the package open and fart in the box, these guys will repackage items in order to save you space.
Set up fee: USD 10 for Standard membership (no discounted shipping rates and no consolidated delivery). For the Premium account (where you get discounted shipping and consolidated delivery), it’s USD 20 + USD 7 monthly fee (why….)
These guys have a simple site, but it seems that many people complain about two things. They can be expensive (since they charge based on volumetric weight) and they aren’t available during the holidays. So don’t bother ordering something when it’s christmas. From the DHL side, reviews are mostly positive when it comes speed and updates of where your package is. They do have a key problem (especially for a country like Qatar), they don’t ship to POBoxes. So you’ll need your stuff sent to your home or office.
1) They allow you to set up a UK and US address
2) Have additional services like SafetyLinx which is basically insurance on anything lost or damaged.
3) signing up took me literaly 10 seconds. I im
Set up fee: Free
Honestly, I wouldn’t have considered them because their site looks… a bit crap. Then again, it’s not like my blog is designed to look like a DaVinci work of art either. These guys DID get mostly positive reviews.
1) Have a Transit time calculator (pretty handy for managing expectations)
2) Allow shipping frequency, so you can send everything at once
3) Allow shipping from UAE, UK, and USA
4) They ship via Special Delivery (Mumtaz post/EMS), which in my opinion is quite fast.
The Mumtaz post pick up point is at the Post Office in the Teyseer building near the airport. Parking isn’t usually hard there. If you have a POBox or specific address, they can deliver it to your home too.
Set up fee: USD 25
Alright, so you know the basics, now let’s get down to the costs. I’m going to exclude the cost of set up since the purpose is to compare the cost of the service. This isn’t a super analyzed comparison. These are just examples of course using each of the site’s calculators. What I plan to do is order the same item from amazon and ship it to Qatar using all 4 services and then compare the cost, speed and service. (It won’t be anytime too soon though).
Item: Nintendo 3DS XL + Game
Item Value: 1,162 QR
(needed for Volumetric Weight)
Weight: .76 KG
Important note: Borderlinx includes Shipment insurance. Without it, it would be 97QR.
Item: 2 boxes of GooGoo Clusters (Chocolate)
Item Value: 175 QR
(needed for Volumetric Weight)
Weight: 3.7 KG
Item: Multiple Items that arrived on different days
Number of Items: 3
Item Value: 500 QR
Size: 10X10X10 each (reduced to a total of 25X25X25)
(needed for Volumetric Weight)
Weight: 1.1 KG each
I wish that simply by looking at these rates it would be clear which one is the best.
MyUS repacks the items so that there is no wasted space. With the Nintendo 3DS XL for example, there was A LOT of wasted space with packing materials.
MyUS seems to be the best in over all speed as well as the fact that they repackage multiple items to save space and individual shipping fees, regardless of this fact, they’re still the most expensive even in a repackaged situation. (And we haven’t even included the set up and monthly fees)
Borderlinx is the second most expensive, but they do give you insurance included which is a nice touch. Is that enough for you though? Is the DHL speed (which is days faster than Aramex based on my own experience) very important to you? They don’t repackage so that means that you’ll end up paying more if there is a lot of wasted empty space in the box.
The cheapest is UShopWeShip, but that’s because they aren’t sending it via a special courier. I can tell you though, if sent by Mumtaz post, it’ll STILL arrive very quick. I’ll be trying this solution the next time I order something and let you all know for sure.
Aramex does one thing that I appreciate. They charge by the weight. That’s all. None of this volumetric weight garbage… Still wondering what that is?
Let’s say that the item weighed 1KG but the shipping company calculated based on Volumetric Weight. They would first calculate the weight based on the size of the box, and then charge you whichever was the highest rate (based on size or just weight itself). Doesn’t sound fair but they calculate this based on how much space the box uses because the more space it uses, the less stuff they can ship at the same time. (Volumetric Weight is calculated by Length(cm) X Width(cm) X Height(cm) / 5000. )
I’m off to bed, it’s 1am and I’m tired. You guys tell me if you’ve had experiences with any of these shipping companies. Leave your comments below 🙂
Note: I really do hope that Aramex takes this feedback and uses it to improve. If they drop me a line promising everyone in Qatar that they’ve taken steps to improve, I’ll gladly share it with the ILQ community.