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So yesterday I got an sms from the Post Office telling me I could come and collect my parcel. It was that awesome 4K Xiaomi Mijia Camera I have been raving about. All in all it took a record breaking 15 days to come from China and being in my hand. That was a mere 17 days after placing the order on Geekbuying; we are counting weekends and everything here.
Placing the order
Buying from Geekbuying is no different from buying elsewhere online. You just find the item(s) you want, add them to the shopping cart and when you are ready click check out. Most items can be shipped to Zimbabwe freely, however, small items might not have the Registered Mail option which means you cannot track them. You will need to pay about $1.99 to get tracking for these. Shipping options are less confusing when compared to Gearbest which offers a lot of choices, all you need to do is enter your address and you are done.
Geekbuying accepts Visa/MasterCard as well as PayPal. I would strongly recommend that you link your card with PayPal when purchasing things online. This service is free and you can protect yourself in case of problems. I have my card linked with PayPal and the payment process was intuitive. My bank has a $100 limit so I was lucky I could use Bonds in this instance.
If you are not so lucky you should be happy to know that you can use your FBC Prepaid MasterCard/Steward Prepaid Visa to make purchases. I can also help with small purchases ($25 and below) see below for details.
Waiting for the camera
Geekbuying uses SingPost ( strictly speaking the division is called 4PX). Last time I tried SingPost in 2013 they took 6-8 weeks to deliver to Zimbabwe and boy have they changed that now. It took them only 15 days to get the parcel in my hand and it could have been faster but for ZIMRA who of course had to asses the package for duty purposes.
SingPost tracking numbers are issued when the package is shipped out. It takes about 3 days before the number starts working. You can use any number of sites to track the progress of your package. One thing to note though: Registered Mail tracking numbers are different from say Express Shipping numbers. Just because your package’s status has not been updated in a while does not mean it’s not coming. Some way points don’t bother with scanning.
For tracking I tested packageradar.com, 17track.net ( which Geekbuying recommends), track24.net and 4PX’s own tracking system. While all of these work well I would recommend Package Radar and 4PX’s sites as they offer more detailed and accurate information. I had a scary moment when the other sites told me the package was “held by Customs”. Turns out it simply means Customs clearance is in progress and there is nothing to worry about. Something my recommended trackers make abundantly clear.
Also for the first time I could partially track the package within Zimbabwe.
ZimPost and ZIMRA
The package came with the usual strange invoice marking it as a gift with zero description. While this might work in other countries to ZIMRA this is an invitation that says open me please. After opening the package the guys at ZIMRA plucked the Value for Duty Purposes out of thin air. The usually 45% duty for cameras and 15% VAT was then levied.
Here is the thing while classification is easy, as shown in the image, cameras belong to the category 98090090 in ZIMRA’s handbook. Knowing the VDP in advance is hard. I think officers are told to use research as well as their own judgement. The Post Office meanwhile is very predictable with its $10 handling fee which is nothing compared to the fortune demanded by Express Couriers.
Unwrapping the goods
Below are a few pictures of the unboxing. I will be doing a couple of reviews but I have to wait for the accessories I bought from Gearbest to do this. I expect to get them on Tuedsday as PostNL has proven itself to be nearly as speedy as SingPost despite my first impressions.
If you want to make a purchase of $25 or below from Geekbuying and have no Visa/MasterCard just get in touch and I may be able to help you make your purchase via Ecocash.
- Email me at garikaib at gmail dot com or WhatsApp message(no calls please) +263772473953
- Send me the link to the product you are interested in and I will take a look and send you a quote if I have funds
- Once I give you the okay you can then send the money, your name and surname as they appear on your ID, the address to which the item is to be sent and your phone number (the one ZIMPOST will send the sms to when the package arrives)
NB While I will make the purchase on your behalf it is dropshipped and sent by Geekbuying and not me. The prices I send do not include duty, you are solely responsible for that. Duty can be paid using swipe or Ecocash at your local Post Office when you collect the item.
The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority is a government department which is responsible for the collection of state revenue in form of excise duty, customs duty, road tolls, corporate and civil taxes. In addition, it also facilitates trade, offers fiscal advise to the government as well as... Read More About ZIMRA
EcoCash is a mobile money transfer facility which is run by Econet Wireless Zimbabwe. The facility has grown in leaps and bounds since its inception and is arguably the largest mobile money transfer agent considering the huge sums of transactions that the platform is said... Read More About EcoCash
Zimpost (officially Zimbabwe Posts) is a government owned postal and courier services company. The company was established from the unbundling of the Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (PTC), and it is incorporated as a public body in terms of the Posts and Telecommunications Act [Chapter 12:05]... Read More About Zimpost