- Buying & Importing Zoids

 There are innumerable Zoids products out there in the world, and the greatest selection of products is, of course, located in the country of origin. Unfortunately, many sellers in Japan don't ship their products overseas, which can leave you out of luck. So in this article we'll walk you through where to purchase Zoids, and how to get through the import process!

Costs   Ordering Process   Deputy Services   Stores and Markets   F.A.Q.

- Expected Costs

 Importing Zoids can be a great opportunity, but an expensive one. Fees add up fast, since you're paying 2 shipping charges (from seller to deputy service, then internationally to you) and other additional fees. For example, the service fee. Below we'll list some rough estimates! These may vary between services.

Exchange Rates:
 Exchange rates listed on Google are often different than what Paypal charges. You can check exchange rates by going to the send money page and filling out the form. You do not have to complete the last step (to send it) to see the amount that you'll pay.

- Fee Type- Expected Cost
Base Cost:The cost of the Auction/Purchase itself.
 * For USD, removing the last 2 digits gives you a very rough approximation.
Banking Fee:$2 (This is the cost of bank transfers in Japan
Domestic Shipping:$5-$20 for most Zoids (shipping to Importer)
International Shipping:Varies depending on country. This is shipping to you.
 * In the US around $20-$30 (EMS) on small kits, $45 for HMM Liger Zero size.
 * EMS has a minimum charge of $20. Keep this in mind for tiny items!
Service Fee:Usually $5-$15 for items under 10,000 Yen.

 All in all you can expect to add $35-$40 to the overall cost when you import a Zoid. Finding a service that'll hold items and combine shipping will go a long way if you buy a lot of Zoids.

- Ordering Process

Costs   Ordering Process   Deputy Services   Stores and Markets   F.A.Q.

 Buying from Japan can seem daunting at first, but it's not much different from ordering from a regular online store. The first step is choosing a service, which we can help you with. Visit our Services page to find what works best for you!

 The second step is to submit your order. This is usually as simple as sending them the URL, or visiting the item page. Most stores will require you to pay 50 ~ 100% of the item cost up front. Once they've placed the bid or purchase, you'll usually receive a charge or invoice in a few days for any remaining service fee amount.

 After the item has arrived at the Deputy Service you can have them hold your items for a certain period of time. This allows you to buy multiple items and have them shipped to you all at once to save on shipping costs. Then it's just a matter of choosing and paying for shipping! EMS is usually the default speedy service, but is more expensive.

- Frequently Asked Questions

Costs   Ordering Process   Deputy Services   Stores and Markets   F.A.Q.

My bid disappeared, or was never placed. Why?
 If you are using a manual service like Celga or White Rabbit Express, you may have submitted your order too late. It is recommended to send an order at least 24 hours before the auction ends. Otherwise, YJ has a very lax bid cancellation policy. Some sellers cancel bids from known deputy services, or for a variety of other reasons. The bidder doesn't get notified about this, so no service will be able to warn you that your bid has been cancelled.

How do I know if I'm getting a good deal?
 Visit our Names page to find the name of the Zoid you're looking for. Copy the Japanese name, and use the links at the top of the page to compare prices from various stores and auction sites! Then be sure to search for the Zoid's English name on sites like Ebay, to make sure that cheaper local options aren't available. Be sure to include shipping estimates in your calculations. The price of a kit may be $10-$15 higher on Ebay, but if the shipping is cheap, it may still even out.

Why have I not received any updates after a few days?
 Sometimes sellers can take a few days to ship an item, or may choose a slow shipping service. It also often takes a few days for items to be packed up and shipped from the deputy service. If your wait time seems excessive (1 week for general service communications) E-mail them and ask.

My item shipped, but my tracking number hasn't updated. Should I be worried?
 It's normal for it to take up to 2 days for tracking numbers to display any information at all. If you used a cheaper shipping service, you may not receive tracking updates after the item leaves Japan. It sometimes takes a month for it to arrive. Services like EMS usually take a few days to reach the states, then roughly 2 days to clear customs, arriving in about 1 week's time.

Is there any way to know how much shipping will be before buying?
 You can use Japan Post's Shipping Calculator to get a rough estimate. An older website Toy-Wave though not very updated (and not particularly reliable service-wise) conveniently lists the item weights, which is a great way to get an exact estimate! For smaller obscur items like CDs, be aware that EMS has a minimum charge of about $20.

Do I need a deputy service for Amazon Japan?
 No, Amazon Japan will ship internationally. However, it requires a separate account. Please see our Stores page for more information!

Do I need protective packaging?
 Some services offer protective or fragile packaging for an additional fee. This is rarely needed, unless you're used to receiving damaged boxes from your local postman. Do be sure to read our pros & cons on the services list to know if you need to consolidate, though!

Buyee is giving me red warnings about the item possibly being junk or services. What do I do?
 You'll see this a lot on buyee. It's usually a result of Buyee auto-detecting the word "junk" or "service" in the description, most often from an item condition chart. Think of it like items being rated A+, B, C, etc. on Ebay. Sellers often include a chart saying what each ranking means, including low rankings being junk items that may be in need of repairs or "services". Unfortunately, this means that every auction they list will be auto-detected by Buyee for those keywords. You can usually see the actual rating highlighted in the description.

 Next we should discuss terminology. Japanese sellers are much more cautious about listing their item condition than overseas sellers. If an item is pre-owned, even if it is still in the box, it is often listed as used. If a model kit is built, it is almost always listed as junk, even if it's complete. Be sure to check the auction photos carefully and assess the condition of the item for yourself.

How do I know if I'm buying a bootleg kit?
 For starters, there are hardly any bootlegs of Tomy's motorized kits or Zoids Wild*1 kits. So buying those is relatively safe. HMM kits have the most bootlegs, but they won't contain the Zoids, HMM, TakaraTomy, or Kotobukiya logos on them. Instead you'll see a logo for BT / Black Knight, STK, or Dragon Momoko, etc. If the auction does not contain photos of the box, keep an eye out for the word "Overseas" in the title. This is a codeword for bootleg kit*2.

 *1. There are a decent number of fan-chromed Wild kits going around. Be sure not to mistake these for official.

 *2. Overseas is usually codeword for bootleg on HMM kits, but not all Overseas items are bootleg. For example, Hasbro Motorized Zoids sold on YJ are also listed as overseas.

I've heard about bad experiences using deputy services. How dangerous is it?
 Importing is pretty safe. Bad experiences are rare, and most importantly, people often blame a service (ie. buyee) for a bad experience with a seller, which is outside of the service's control. That's not to say that it's without risk. Like Ebay, most of these places consist of individual sellers. Even the stores, like any business in the world, will have some degree of human error.

 The main risk factor is that you're disconnected from most buyer protection options. Most services are unable to chase down bad sales in the event that something goes wrong. This is for a number of reasons. Maybe too much time has ellapsed or they've already left feedback upon checking the item, etc. While you can make use of Paypal's buyer protection or your CC's chargeback system, expect that your account will be closed, as you're taking money directly from the service.

 All that being said, most people buy without incident. I myself have only ever had 1 item missing out of hundreds of transactions with deputy services. Japanese sellers are usually pretty honest. The amount that you can save buying from cheaper Japanese markets often greatly outweighs the risk. Even if you lose an item, it's unlikely that it'll exceed the cost of how much you've saved over the years. Most risks are also universal to online business in general.

 Got other questions? E-mail us at KenihhiWolf@gmail.com and ask!