Letter to book customers (2018)

Dear book customers,

Some time ago we had many customers come to buy Chinese books. We love this group of customers very much, because we also like reading. We are happy that Chinese books are going to the world.

Later, we learned that some of these customers come to know our shopping service because they read the blog of one of our customers. This customer shared her 42agent shopping experience and many of her readers come to buy from us. We are very appreciated for the author’s share. However, recently we have read another related blog, the conclusion of this blog is that 42agent’s charge is more expensive than buying directly from Taobao.

First of all, we would like to give deep thank to our customers for review of 42agent. Secondly, for the criticism of 42agent service, we must acknowledge our own shortcomings and will keep improving ourselves. However, the analysis of 42agent fees may be somewhat biased and unfair, and we would like to make some explanations from our own point of view. Finally, we offer some limited time offers for book buyers.

The questions of Taobao book customer

42agent canceled SF shipping without any news or notification on website.

Since books usually are heavy, some customers try to use our service because SF is an economical and fast international shipping. However, after they placed the order they found that SF shipping has been canceled. In this case, they are unhappy. In fact, you can see all available shipping methods by yourself when you submit an order. If there is no SF option in the shipping method list, it means this shipping method is not available. Among all our customers, SF users are less than 5% while most choose EMS as it’s fast and the fee reasonable, so we did not specifically remind on our page.

We started cooperation with SF at the end of June and at the beginning most parcels go smoothly. However, there were some packages delayed or lost in October, so we decided to stop cooperation with them to avoid more package lost. In early December, SF claimed that they have solved these problems, so we cooperated again. We are sorry for the troubles and inconvenience caused. We have also learned from this incident that even if there are very few customers use one shipping method, sudden cancellation of it without eye-catching remind can lead to their inconvenience easily, as they may do not want to switch to other shipping methods due to fee difference. We will pay attention to this carefully in the future.

42agent charges domestic shipping fee for all sellers

The blogger mentioned that even if some sellers provide free shipping, 42agent still charges domestic shipping. You know that book is a special product which different with other non-standardized items. Many book sellers offer free shipping. However, the main purchase of 42agent is custom Cosplay clothes, shoes, props, etc. and these sellers seldom provide free shipping. In order to reduce the workload of the confirmation link, our system sets a default domestic shipping charge: the first weight of 1KG is 15yuan, and continue weight is 1KG /10yuan .

However, this is not a locked rule. You can just feel free to inform us if you find any sellers provide free shipping. We will manually remove the domestic shipping fee for you during the confirmation process.

42agent exchange rate is higher than bank real-time rate

To be honest, all Taobao agents will set an exchange rate a little higher than bank real-time rate. This is because PayPal, intermediary bank as well as terminal bank all will charge kinds of fees each time we withdraw payment. That’s why we set exchange rate higher to make ends meet.

Our exchange rate is published in the most obvious position on the front page. In fact, no matter which page you are on, you can always see the exchange rate at the top of the left navigation. The exchange rate in the first half of the year is basically in the range of 1 CNY = 0.158 USD. In the same period, our applied exchange rate is 1 CNY = 0.163 USD, which is 3% higher than the real-time exchange rate. However, in the second half of the year, due to trade wars and other reasons, the exchange rate sent a sharp fluctuation, and the RMB quickly depreciated.

Since the exchange rate market changes very quickly, we usually adjust after a period of continuous depreciation or appreciation (usually about 3 months). Over the past few months, we have been expecting the exchange rate to return to normal after the trade friction between China and the United States has subsided, returning to the 0.158 range (the recent G20 summit has shown signs of easing). If the RMB is still at a low level by January 2019, we will adjust the exchange rate relatively.

To avoid exchange rate difference fee, you can transfer money directly to our bank account after exchanging to RMB based on real-time exchange rate at your bank. In this case you don’t have to bear extra exchange rate.

Taobao international transit service is cheap

Taobao’s parent company Alibaba invests heavily in the logistics industry, such as Chinese domestic rookie logistics (which accounts for 50% of China’s logistics in parcels) and Singapore Post (holding 14.4%). In June of this year, it spent 12 billion HKD in Hong Kong to invest in international logistics hubs, etc. However, 42agent is just a small company, and of course it can’t compete or compare with industry giants like Alibaba.

If you only buy from one Taobao/Tmall store, it is really cheap to use Taobao International Freight Service directly. But if you buy from four or five Taobao stores (this is also most 42agent users do), the advantage of 42agent shows. We combine all the parcels and send them together to you. The shipping fee difference mainly lies in the first weight of the package. For example, standard EMS fee has a first weight of 500g which costs 240 yuan, each continue weight of 500g costs 75 yuan. There are 10 first weights for 10 packages but only 1 if parcels are combined for shipping. No worry, for EMS shipping, we provide 40% off for parcels less than 5KG, and 45% off for parcels over 5KG.

Standard EMS fee: 10KG parcel from China to United States is 1,665 CNY while after 42agent EMS 45% discount is 1,665 x 0.55 = 915.75 CNY.

Still looking forward to cooperation with book customers

Through 42agent, we will carefully check the goods when they arrive at our warehouse. If there is any problem, it will be solved in China, no need for the customer to bear any expenses. What’s more, we will take photos before sending out the package, protect the books with good quality bubble film, pearl cotton, etc.. And we use our own thick boxes with 5-layers or 7-layers for goods protection.

Of course, you can also choose to buy directly from Taobao/Tmall if you understand Chinese very well. When you encounter any problems, you can always contact 42agent for help, and we will not charge any fees and will not seduce you to use our services. If you want to buy directly from Taobao sellers but want to ship by 42agent, that’s also OK. You can have the items sent to 42agent warehouse, then we will consolidate parcels and ship to you. For ShipForMe only service, we charge 10 yuan/KG of material fee (no quality checking, no photo taking), or 15 yuan/KG ( including quality checking and photo taking), and international shipping fee on you, which can be calculated by our online calculator. (Note: We will no longer offer $10/KG starting in 2020.)

In short, 42agent is a commercial company and we charge a reasonable fee to keep our business running. You can learn more about us through Letter to Taobao English customers 2018 . But in any case, we will not secretly reach into your pocket and transfer your money without your knowledge. We do not have hidden fee. All the fee we charge, we state on our site.

limited time sale offer for book buyers

In order to apologize to the customers who missed SF International Express, we launched a limited time sale offer:

Time: 20/12/2018 – 20/03/2019

  1. Each purchase order will be provided with a 30-yuan shipping coupon, which can be used in international shipping costs.
  2. The book-buying customers who register during this period will enjoy a 6% service fee rate forever.

Usually we only provide 6% service charge to SVIP customers (accumulated transaction amount reaches 500,000 RMB or annual transaction amount reaches 200,000 yuan, refer to 42agent membership introduction). If you are a previously registered book-buying customer, as long as you send us an email before 20/03/2019, we are still willing to lower the service fee to 6% for you.

We look forward to sharing your Taobao shopping experience with us and looking forward to working with you again.

42agent Team

December 20, 2018