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Guide to online shopping in Zimbabwe: buying from sellers who don’t ship to Zimbabwe

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In this series I will look at tips and how-tos for prospecting and current online shoppers in Zimbabwe.

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One of the most frustrating things, when checking out during online shopping, is finding out the product you selected to buy cannot be shipped to Zimbabwe. This is true with a good number of leading computer manufacturers and some merchants on popular storefronts such as Amazon.com and Ebay.com. At best, you have to contend with some local middlemen or dealer who will of course have their cut at your expense or, at worst, the product simply is not available any other way.

The problem can be solved by using a package forwarding service that will receive the package on your behalf using a US address and forward it to your country of choice (Zimbabwe) using a courier service such as DHL or FedEx. There are several reasons you might want to buy using a foreign address:

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  • The obvious one of seller not shipping directly to Zimbabwe.
  • To participate in deals that are exclusive to customers resident in a certain domain.
  • The seller limits the means of payment available when you use a Zimbabwean address. For example www.laptopscreens.com does not accept credit cards if you input a Zimbabwean address during the checkout process. This restriction is lifted once you have entered a US address.
  • To save on shipping costs by bundling several packages into one using the package forwarders’ repackaging service.

I would recommend two services UsaBox.com and comGateway.com because they are popular and reliable, have been around for a while (UsaBox.com has been around since 1998), are cheap (free signup and no hidden costs) and I have used UsaBox.com with great satisfaction. When you sign up for both services you receive a US based address that can be used to receive your packages.

Opening a Usabox.com account

  1. You will need a Visa/MasterCard, at least two forms of government issued identification (National Id, Passport, Driver’s license etc.)
  2. Visit www.usabox.com and sign up.
  3. Login into your usabox.com account and click on the given link to verify your account.
  4. Check your bank account and enter the exact amount deducted. This may take several days to appear on your statement for some banks.
  5. Once you have verified your account you can use their Florida based address instead of your Zimbabwean address when making purchases.

Once a package has been received in your mailbox, you will receive an email notification and you will be asked to send scanned copies of your identification documents to a given email address and as soon as your account is verified, the package is sent to you and your card is charged. The sign up process is pretty much the same for comGateway.com with the exception being that comGateway.com adds a phone number and allows you to request a quote before making a purchase.


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23 thoughts on “Guide to online shopping in Zimbabwe: buying from sellers who don’t ship to Zimbabwe

    1. Km can u tell me how can I shop online wana get my ecu from eBay but don’t know the procedure help

  1. anything for South Africa?, i’m tired of paying runners 30% of the value of my order.

  2. Does anyone know how much ZIMRA would charge me, say if I buy a laptop or cellphone…?

    1. There will be an article on that but basically you dont pay any duty on laptops and any ICT equipment. You however have to pay 15% VAT. This is calculated using a mysterious base price that you will only know about once you have imported the item. You can visit http://www.zimra.co.zw and try and search the payable duty on the item.

  3. okay is it possible to purchase a phone on ebay and have it shipped to the usa box adressv after that have usabox ship the phone to zim…if any1 has done can i have some insight on how much it will cost to get an iphone 5s to zim

    1. Did not do it with a phone but an LCD screen. It depends on the dimensions and weight of the device. Unless it’s a good phone and totally worth it don’t do it because it can end up getting expensive since most couriers will make you pay a handling fee.

  4. Just read the .pdf containing the list of all VAT charges, and cellphones are at 15%. I want to import a phone which is not available anywhere in the Southern Africa but is not network locked and allows for international use. Given the value for money, the new Moto G 3rd Gen and the Google Nexus 5 are my considerations right now given the rate at which technology is advancing.
    If my calculations are correct, this would be a whole lot more for not a whole lot less but fair enough when compared to the overpriced Galaxy A3 which has very similar specs to these.

    1. Thabani, let me know how this goes. I am in the same boat hence i dug up this article

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