Monday, November 9, 2015

Quick "FromJapan" tutorial and tips - Japanese Auction and shopping proxy service

Hi everyone! Long time no see again ^^ I know I haven't really been updating this blog at all, but I will try my best. I'm actually going to be away for a couple of weeks but plan to write more after I'm back again :D

Anyways, today I want to share a quick "FromJapan" tutorial with you guys and as well as some of my personal tips. As some of you probably knew from watching my last Sailor moon haul video on Youtube, I have been using "FromJapan" for pretty much all my auction purchases and some shopping site purchases too.

The auction site I use the most is Yahoo auction Japan (http://auctions.yahoo.co.jp/), and I mainly go there to hunt unique, vintage, or second-hand stuffs. Other than that, I have been using Premium Bandai website for limited edition goods (http://p-bandai.jp/).

Ok, let's start this quick tutorial ^^

UPDATED 20/12/2016

Please note there were adjustments made with the fees they charge:
Now for Charge 1, you only pay for the item price. For Charge 2, you will need to pay for the following:

- International shipping cost
- Domestic shipping cost (if applicable)
- Bank transfer fee
- Insurance Plan fee: You will get to select 1 out of 2 plans before you order the item, it consist of Buyer protection plan (700 yen - which includes both domestic and international insurance for lost and damage, and check of item upon arrival) or Basic forwarding plan (300 yen - inwhich is merely a simple forwarding plan with no insurance).
- Consolidation fee: the cost is 500 yen regardless of how many items need to be combined.

*So basically, they took away commission fee (previous 5% system fee for each charge + 200 yen), ie regardless of the cost of your item/s, they would only charge a set of fee.


LOGIN


When you first open up the website, you will find the login column on the right hand side near half way of the page. For a quick login, you can use your Facebook, Paypal or Google existing accounts. Otherwise, you can always sign up for free.


After you sign up all your details, you can scroll down to "Change account information" on the top right corner of the page (click on your name). From here, you can check/change your details, password, email address and its settings (Most importantly you want to make sure your name and shipping address are correct).

TIP: Please note that if you are paying by Paypal, "FromJapan" will only ship to your default paypal address. Thus do make sure that is the correct address you'd like to ship your items to.


Another point worth mentioning is that you can actually search for items on "FromJapan" homepage, this may be more convenient for some people. Also you can check out the exchange rate and current Japan time on the top right corner for your reference.


DEPOSIT


After you finished registering/login, it's time to head to your account page. From here you can see it's been divided into 4 tabs, I'll start with the first tab which is where you can see your deposit (can be done through credit card or Paypal) and FJ points (can be earned from referrals, buying items, or purchase through international banking transfer. Please refer to http://www.fromjapan.co.jp/title/pay?lang=en for more information on FJ points).

TIP: You don't need to pay the 5% system usage fee (in both charge 1 and 2) if you are using FJ points to pay for your item charges. 

Before you bid on any auction or purchase any items, you will need to have sufficient deposit to cover the 1st payment for your item/s (For information on commissions/fees, please refer to http://www.fromjapan.co.jp/title/charge?lang=en), so we are going to click on "Place a deposit".


The amount you deposit will be kept on your account for a certain period ONLY, ie. 20 days for Paypal deposit, and 7 days for credit card deposit, after that your deposit will be released/refunded automatically.

TIP: You can release your deposit earlier by selecting "Release deposit".




The next page will allow you to enter how much money in Japanese YEN that you'd like to deposit. In here I have demonstrated an example using Paypal to deposit, and also highlighted the warning message of shipping to default Paypal address. The next page will then lead you to login on your Paypal.


After you put in the deposit, you can head back to your account page and starting buying/bidding! ^^ Here we have 3 options: Place bid (Real time bidding), Sniper bid (your bid will appear within the last 5 minutes of the auction) and Place an order (for shopping site purchases). 

Some other things that I'd like to mention from this page is: You can earn FJ points by introducing your friend, so that both you and your friend will get 1000 FJ points if your friend signed up using your referral site and bought something ^^ (though this may take up to 2 months to process). My referral site is http://www.fromjapan.co.jp/?afid=C84825 if you guys want to sign up here (HIGH 5! Thank you!!). 

Another service that "FromJapan" provide is "Find it for me request" and it's FREE!! Basically you send the item names to them and they will find them for you in about 1 business day (this may be handy if the item you are looking for are quite difficult).

AUCTION BID


Ok~~ so let's try a demonstration with bidding on Yahoo Auction! This is actually quite simple, first you need to copy and paste the link of your item.


Search for the range of products on Yahoo Auction: in here I have looked up the term of "Sailor moon" in Japanese.

TIP: Sometimes certain terms can be way too broad, eg this one came up with 19625 results (which is very scary to browse through!! lol). Thus it's better if you find out the specific term that you are looking for beforehand. For instance, try search the term "セーラームーン まぼろしの銀水晶" instead of just "セーラームーン".


After you find your item, you can then copy the link and paste it on the previous Auction bid page.



TIP: You can translate this page to your language on the top right corner, this will ensure you fully understand the condition of the item (Sometimes there may be a mismatch between the picture and writing) and anything you shall be aware of from the seller (eg. does the seller get a lot of negative feedbacks? Perhaps you'd like to find out why).

The next page will allow you to enter your maximum bid in YEN and the quantity, in here I'm showing you an example of sniper bidding (the bid only appears within the last 5 minutes of the auction). If you are not sure how much the total fee will end up to be, you can get a quote before you put your bid in. 

TIP: You can still change/cancel your Sniper bid later as long as it's not within 10 minutes before the auction ends. However you CANNOT decrease/cancel a real time bid.


Here is what the page look like if you want to get a quote. Fill in each field and this will give you a rough estimate. As with the weight estimation, I'd always prefer to overestimate rather than underestimate so feel free to give your maximum guess. 

TIP: Be aware there will be additional charges which are not included in this calculation if applicable. For example, re-packing fee will be 2000 yen, carton boxes may cause extra charges, shipping to other Japanese address will cause 8% charge, larger/heavier items (eg. car parts) may incur surcharges, checking stock will cause 150 yen extra, custom fee etc. In general, please do read the fine prints/terms and conditions if you are worried (some are outlined on Q&A page here http://www.fromjapan.co.jp/qanda?lang=en). And if you ever have questions about your extra charges, please contact "FromJapan".


After you put in your bid and quantity, you will arrive at this page before you process your bid. Everything is pretty much easy to understand here, one thing to note here is the 150 yen fee in which "FromJapan" charges to check your item condition upon arrival.

Once you put your bid in, the deposit will be locked on this item so you will not be able to use it on other bids. 

TIP: Please note even if you put your bid in, sometimes it may fail. It could be due to the fact the auction ended early, ie Seller has cancelled the auction, someone outbid you before your bid could appear, or the seller simply rejected your bid. Although the 3rd cause doesn't happen too often, it did occur twice for myself. But don't worry, even if this one wasn't meant to be, there will always be another one out there! LOL XD



From your account page, you can then see your bid under the "Sniper bid list". Once the sniper bid appears on Yahoo Auction, it will be moved under "Now bidding" tab. 

If you didn't manage to win the item, the deposit will be return to you (this applies both to Real time and Sniper bids). In case of any difference between bidding price and winning price, they will also be refund to you. 

After you win the item, it will automatically move to the "Winning bids" tab if the seller didn't reject your bid (you will get an email notification if it does fail). You shall then get a notification to pay your first charge which is your item cost + commission 200 yen and system usage charge of 5% of the total.


SHIPPING


After you paid charge 1 for your item/s and received your item/s, you will be able to add shipping instructions for them. Here you can tick all the items you like to ship together.

TIP: Remember to ship the items within 30 days since arrival, otherwise an extension fee will apply. 


Later you will get to chose packaging and shipping options, these choices will depend on the nature of your item. 


Once you have confirmed your shipping instructions, you will be able to process the packaging. They will then send you the amount of second charge (approximately 2 business days) which is the total domestic delivery fee + total bank transfer fee + additional fee if applicable +  total international delivery fee + 5% system usage fee.


WATCH LIST


If you don't want to place a bid straight away but prefer to watch it instead, then you can add an item to your Watch list. By clicking on the alarm clock icon, you can also set a mail alert when the auction is close to the end.


SHOPPING SERVICE


Now let's go on with the shopping service option, this will allow you to buy pretty much from any Japanese shopping website. First you will need to copy and paste the item link.


Then you can copy and paste the item name, and state the quantity and any relevant comments. The other parts are similar to Auction pages which allow you to have optional checking service and selection of domestic shipping methods.


You can also select 3 pictures to upload, this can be done manually or from the website. After that, you are DONE! 

TIP: For pre-order items, "FromJapan" will require you to pay for charge 1 before placing your order.


REFERENCE

Here's a summary of the fees:

Another thing is that your membership also have different ranking, here's a summary:


In conclusion, I would definitely recommend "FromJapan" to anyone who wishes to buy/bid on unique items in Japan. I'd like to give you a brief summary of the pros and cons at the very end, but if you ever have any questions please feel free to drop me a comment ^^

Pros:
- Easy to use, suitable for first-time users with thorough explanations.
- Relatively lower fees
- Quick response to enquiry
- Highly experienced
- Automatic processing system with less waiting time and drama
- Occasional sales
- Handy features: find items for you, reference to exchange rates and local time etc
- Great packaging

Cons:
- Can have a few extra charges (not included in quote calculation)
- Bids can fail/get rejected by sellers
- Pre-payment are required for deposit for bids/purchases/pre-orders
- You won't get to know the amount of charge 2 until after you paid charge 1
- Cancellations are not allowed (except Sniper bids)


My referral link to FromJapan (Join here for 300 FJ point for both of us if you buy something*):
*Your FJ points shall be awarded 2 months after your items have been dispatched

Thanks for reading guys! I hope this helped a little ^^

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