Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Mail Regulations sending you Postal?

Let's face it, we're a little island on the edge of Europe, new mail regulations are probably going to affect us more than most. I wrote this post about a month ago and held off posting it to see if more info turned up but there's been little change or new information, since.  Also, this turned out to be a bit of a verbose post so sorry in advance and I couldn't resist the terrible pun in the title either, so apologies for that too!
Some of you may have seen on twitter or forums like MakeUpAlley, that new royal mail postal regulations have been implemented by the Royal mail.  I first saw there was an issue when A England suspended their international shipping and have since started using other e-taillers to fulfill their orders. If you go to their website a little pop up comes up saying they only post in the UK now.

A-england's pop-up about shipping

  Since, a lot of my overseas shopping comes from the UK, I thought I'd take a look.  It's probably better to describe these as better enforcement rather than new rules, and it came into force on the 14th on January.  So from the 14th January, the Royal Mail will not ship nail polish, perfume or aeresols internationally. They will ship limited quantities of no more than 4 bottles of polish inside the UK.   (More info here http://www.royalmail.com/customer-service/terms-and-conditions/compensation-and-delivery#danger1)  Just a note, these aren't the royal mail's rules, these are the International Civil Aviation Organization rules for airmail. 

Royal Mail's section on prohibited items for international mail
So you maybe thinking, hey there's nothing new here, we're shipping Art supplies or cosmetics, but it seems that the Royal Mail have stepped up their x-raying of packages and some bloggers have already had packages destroyed (http://lacquersofkasterborous.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/they-destroyed-my-pretties.html). Also some Illamasqua orders seem to have been destroyed.  A England's post office just refused to take their packages.    So is it the end of the world, will we never receive another nail mail package from the UK? In a word, no.  The US, Austrailia and Canada have already had crackdowns on the same issue, and there are ways round it. These are airmail regulations so, if someone was to ship with a courier company who uses sea rather than air, we'd still get our polish. But, this is more hassle for the companies and more expensive for the consumer. You might have noticed some US companies don't ship international anymore. 

Although the regulations came in on the 14th Jan, it seems they've just started to enforce near the end of January, so how it will turn out is a bit of a waiting game. Larger companies who have distribution centers here, I'm thinking Amazon and Asos here, probably will get around this by shipping by sea, if they don't already. Personally, you could try a service like Parcel Motel, which gives you an NI address to get deliveries to and then forwards them to your nearest depot for you to collect, for a cost of €3.50. The first two uses of Parcel Motel are free when you sign up, so it costs nothing to see if it works!

Above I said these weren't Royal Mail regulations but International regulations, so they most affect An Post too, right? Well, they do but how much they are being enforced is anyone's idea.  Well An Post have helpfully (?!) given a mnemonic to remember the postal regs. (More here)
An Post's helpful mnemonic!

Nail polish falls into two categories here, it's both liquid and flammable.  The most interesting thing here, I think, is the liquid part, this includes gels and creams and is different to the Royal mail's website where they say liquids over one litre, An Post's website seems to say any and all liquids are prohibited. On the face of it, it looks like shipping most cosmetics other than powder products is now prohibited and liable to get your package destroyed (and maybe even a fine, some US and Canadian bloggers have been fined before).  Like I said before, I have no idea if these rules are being enforced but forewarned is forearmed or something like that. I'd be a bit wary of shipping irreplaceable things that fail in these categories for a while, until a clearer picture emerges. 

It's not all doom and gloom, though luckily we've have had some great Irish e-talliers open in the last year or two and can still get our online beauty fixes.

Have you been affected by the new stricter enforcement of the air post regulations?


  1. ugh this all sounds awful! Other countries are way cheaper to buy cosmetics from :/ they clearly do not understand for the best cheapest products!

    1. It's a giant PITA alright but I think it will calm down, once everyone is used to the new regulations. It's bound to hit only the smallest suppliers, unfortunately, the larger ones will have to find a solution.

  2. I'd hope it's a storm in a teacup but it would put me off a little bit. Saying that, I don't really order many Indie polishes so that's not a problem but I love doing nail polish swaps and it would be a huge nuisance if that had to stop! Also, An Post - ink cartridges??!!

    1. Me too, and I was kinda afraid that I'd be adding to or starting the panic with the post. I'm pretty sure it won't end up being as bad as it sounds.

      My guess it's the little suppliers and regular people who are going to get hit most. Large suppliers can easily get this sorted.

  3. Just so you know, I couldn't do a Parcel Motel on food flavourings from Lakeland - they fall into the same prohibited category & they can't even ship to NI from the UK apparently. I had a very small and discreet tantrum when I found this out...

  4. i so wish i had read this earlier! thanks for the info lady x

  5. Great post lady - I am finding this a total pain in the hoop!

  6. It has my head wrecked. I needed to post a phone back to pixmania during the week. An post wouldn't take it as it has a battery duh it's a phone. So I had to get dhl to pick up/ delivery. Cost me €68. I was raging.
    I also needed to return a product to beauty webite it was cream product so an post again wouldn't take it thankfully my mate was going to UK and posted it from there. It is a nonsense.