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Buying From Yahoo! Japan

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Hi Folks,

I'll likely come back to this topic to amend it over time as my experience changes and as the platforms and options become more broad. It seems every week there is another Yahoo! buying service available.

 

To begin with here are some problems buying from Yahoo! Japan.

 

1. Sellers often don't communicate in English so it can be hard to ask questions about auctions etc..

2. Sellers often don't want to deal with outsiders for a variety of reasons (see #1 as the most likely) but in some cases they may not be too happy to see rare items leave the country. Understandable.

3. No postal address within Japan. Just like some eBay users in the US refuse to ship globally. It's a hassle. 

4. Payments are often done via Japanese Bank Deposit, this means no PayPal. If you don't have a Japanese Bank Account it's not going to be easy to get around this.

 

This is where a broker or brokerage service comes in, they facilitate the purchase and deal with all these details and basically act as a middle man in the process. Charging a fee for their time, money (currency transfer) and storage of items (warehousing) until ready to ship.

 

Buying from Japan vs eBay?

 

eBay North America is great for finding the common 240z/260z type parts, usually parts are cheaper on that side of the world too, as I find the North American's don't tend to value their cars the same as the rest of the world.

 

In Japan I find you pay a Premium for certain parts simply because there is less around and they understand the value of these cars or at least are prepared to pay a Premium for a hard to find part. This is particularly the case with early parts I've found.

 

The other reason why you'd look in Japan vs eBay North America is perhaps the most obvious RHD vs LHD parts. If you need something RHD, you're best off searching in Japan for it.

 

Other factors to consider are YEN vs AUD and USD vs AUD.

 

Using various shipping services from Japan also tends to work out cheaper than shipping similar items from the US (since it's a lot further away).

 

The following list are services I've used I'll try and list some pro's and con's of each.

 

1. Jesse Streeter (Expat Australian living in Japan).

http://jessestreeter.com/

 

Jesse started a Yahoo! Auction buying service a couple of years ago and through word of mouth has grown. Enough to fund his 4 rotor rx-7 purchase.

 

How Jesse works:

 

Basically you tell Jesse what item you want to bid on and how much you're willing to spend. Jesse then requires you send a deposit to his Australian bank account and if you win the item you usually pay the remaining invoice.

 

Jesse usually tells you to bid your max amount up front and hope for the best. He won't allow you to alter bids at the last minute (usually). If you lose the item you have to request a refund to get your deposit back. Otherwise you have a credit with him for the next potential purchase.

 

Jesse works over email and he gets a LOT of email, so if you see something you like with 2 hours to go. There is a good chance he will get your email too late to bid or act on the item. Therefore it's best to let him know a couple of days in advance, do your research and submit your max bid.

If you win he won't tell you right away, you'll need to check for yourself and wait for an invoice later. He also allows you to consolidate packages (if it makes sense).

 

If you're concerned about the value of the item being > $1000 AUD and triggering a customs tax when arriving in Australia you can negotiate the value of the insured item before shipping. This of course will impact your eligibility for making a claim later if something happens.

 

My experience with Jesse however is that all items are very well packaged and everything is tracked. Jesse's communication is great and he's very helpful. There is a reason his service does as well as it does.

 

The only negative is that sometimes his fee's can sting a little, especially on some of the more expensive items. But I still think what he charges is reasonable.

 

The 1 big advantage of using Jesse is that he can also act as a middle-man for other vendors in Japan (outside of Yahoo!) so if you want to purchase parts or products from another vendor and need help facilitating that Jesse can usually help by dealing with the translation and paying for the item. Since a lot of small Japanese businesses have poor websites with very little payment options (no credit card etc..) using someone like Jesse to purchase something helps a lot.

 

2. Buyee.jp

 

I admit I use this all the time, but not for bidding or buying. Mainly for browsing. Just plug "S30" in as a search term and you'll find most items related to a 240z/260z. I use their saved lists to watch items and keep an eye on them. It also has a handy translate option too.

 

The problem I have with Buyee is that sometimes small purchases can be very expensive given their fee structure. I bought 2 Fairlady Z books that cost me $30 for the pair. But by the time I shipped them over it was over $100.

 

They do allow you to package multiple items together and consolidate shipping which is handy and I think you have 30 days of storage before you have to ship or incur more fee's. I generally find them quite reasonable for auction fees and shipping, but sometimes get sticker shock on smaller items. This could however be due to non-standard sizes of postage etc..

 

A problem I have with Buyee though is that often items get marked as "junk" since a lot of old car parts are notes as NC NR (no claim no return) and their system flags the item as not eligible for bidding on. You can apply for an exemption but sadly I don't think any of my applications have ever allowed me to bid on a previously prohibited item.

 

For this reason Buyee is useless for bidding on carbs, or other components that get marked or classified as "junk" and this can often be really good items you simply cannot bid on.

 

Buyee as far as I know has no room for negotiation on marking item values down for Australian customs etc..

 

3. Rinkya

 

I also find Rinkya really good, less so for finding auction items but in terms of their UI which provides a countdown on auctions and their end time. Basically very similar to Buyee. However they don't have the same level or strictness around which items you can bid on.

 

So I've managed to buy some Mikuni's from Rinkya, that Buyee would not allow me to bid on. They have a similar warehousing and consolidation of package process. They also allow you to modify the insured value of items before shipping - which is good for avoiding additional taxes on the Australian end of things.

 

The problem is you may lose some ability to claim if there is ever any damage.

 

With both Buyee and Rinkya I find packages are well padded and protected when they have arrived. So far I've not had any issues with either in this regard.

 

However as a side note, I did however once bid on some Mikuni's, the auction went through and I was under the impression I was the highest bidder. Several hours later I got an outbid notice. When I queried Rinkya they apologised and told me that the Yahoo! seller has the option to accept the highest bid and can sometimes reject it after auction. They said there is not much they can do about it.

 

I'm not sure if specific sellers are aware of bidding platforms on Yahoo! and the usernames they bid under and decide to reject bids or buying via those proxy services or not? Perhaps they do, but this has only happened to me once, it's worth knowing it could happen however and may happen to various platforms more than others.

 

FromJapan 

 

This is another service I've signed up to, but haven't used yet. I'm told their auction fees are lower and therefore it's cheaper to use. But I have no experience buying anything through them yet, so can't rate them on service etc..

 

Stacked.co.jp

 

I was recommended this company by Jesse Streeter when I wanted to import 2 rear 1/4 panels (NOS) for Project #51. Unfortunately bidding exceeded my comfort zone so I never went through with the purchase and had them ship the items to me, but I found them like Jesse to be good, since you're dealing with a human over email and I wouldn't hesitate to try them again in future, since they refunded my deposit quickly enough.

 

They would generally be good for larger items, for example Jesse Streeter won't deal with very large items like bumpers, motors, gearboxes, large panels etc..

 

ImportMonky

 

Yes the misspelling is deliberate, Bardan lives in West Sydney and has been running his import business on the side for many years. He is a member here also (import monky). I've not used Bardan to buy items on Yahoo!, however I have bought a couple of items from him in person (from an S30Z he imported LHD to Australia).

 

I'm not sure if he's actively importing lots of stuff these days because he may be busy as a new full time dad, but I always like to use people in our community where possible also.

 

Summary:

 

Each platform has pro's and con's and you'll get used to the UI (user interface) and experience on a specific platform over time and develop your own favorite, personally I use Buyee as my browsing tool, but they make it hard to transact with. So I use either Jesse or Rinkya for certain items.

 

What I like about Jesse is you talk to an actual person and he can sometimes help ask questions about an item, he also helps consolidate packages and you can pay money into an Australian bank account so you're always paying in AUD.

 

Sometimes Jesse is out of office (on holidays) and as a result you can't bid (around Christmas in particular). So I've had to revert to using other platforms. Other times competition for an item is intense and Jesse can't respond quickly enough if you don't set your bid high enough. So using a platform to outbid someone is a good option in those cases.

 

Unlike eBay snipe bidding doesn't work as effectively on Yahoo! since a last minute bid often extends auction time by 5 mins. I actually wish eBay did this, instead of sniper bidding, but to each their own.

 

I think the first time you bid you're a bit nervous, about the whole trustability of the system, but so far I've not had much to complain about. I actually find I have a better experience on Yahoo! Auctions than I do with most eBay auctions.

 

I have to admit I don't fully understand all the fee structures of each service. It's pretty complex, so instead I bid with a view to paying 10-15% extra for the broker service and shipping on top of item purchase price. It can add up quickly.

 

If you have any questions that are not covered in this post, please feel free to ask below and I'll try and answer.

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As i say there is a lot of different sites now offering the service. I almost wonder why Yahoo! doesn't make it easier themselves? Perhaps they prefer to outsource and take their cut?

 

No doubt each platform has its pros and cons.

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I just added Import Monky and Stacked.co.jp to the first post as I forgot about those companies also.

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I recently used Import monster to buy a Nissan Competition wheel.

Found them very easy to deal with, lots of emails updating me on my items location and postage costs etc. Postage is estimated at the start and once they actually have the item theyll refund the difference or let you know a remaining balance (depends how its packaged etc)

You'll need to create an account and transfer money into it before you start bidding so know how much your willing to spend before you start.

Ill definitely be using them again, good bye bank balance...

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I've used FromJapan in the past. But only for small items, watches. Clear payment / fee structure with regular updates as to the status of the deliveries. Ability to bundle items, to reduce final despatch cost. Items always turned up well packaged. 

Cheers, 

Rob 

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