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How To Order

 

and Our Terms Of Service (as of 11/1/2014)

  • Can I send you a list of what I need?

PLEASE PLACE YOUR ORDER THROUGH THE SHOPPING CART. Entering orders manually takes us time that we can otherwise give to getting things shipped. If you have trouble figuring out what you need, drop an e-message; we can offer some help with interpreting specs and finding things.

Here are some other suggestions for working with the shopping cart, understanding shipping methods and sending funds.

 
  • What is your turnaround time? How will I know when you ship?
It varies some with our order volume, the size of your order, and payment method. We ship most orders within four business days, usually much faster. If we are backed up, we will post notice here. The shopping cart will send an automated confirmation when your order is queued for packing, and another when we ship. TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU SEE THE CONFIRM MESSAGES, PLEASE MAKE SURE THAT YOUR E-MAIL SERVER/FIREWALL WILL ACCEPT MESSAGES FROM Sales@smallbearelec.com
 
  • How does your shopping cart work? Security? Privacy?

The cart is on a secure server. As a new user, you create an account using your e-mail address and a password that you set. By long policy, I do not sell the SBE mailing list; I can't stop spam, but I don't contribute to it knowingly.

PLEASE ENTER YOUR ADDRESS INFORMATION CAREFULLY. We print the shipping label from the information you provide, so mistakes can cost you money and grief.

 
  • Why are your shipping charges higher than the actual postage on the package?

Especially for small orders, the price of the parts does not nearly cover all of the costs of operating Small Bear. Part of the shipping charge pays for people (or Bears, if you like,) to do the packing, rent, and the other costs of running a shop.

 
  • Domestic shipping choices and rates?

My minimum domestic shipping rate is $5.25, which covers the first four ounces by First Class Mail. We can get a fair amount of stuff in a #0 shipping bag, so please use the weight whenever it makes sense for you.

Unless you request otherwise, small packages (up to 14 ounces) go First Class Mail. USPS rates over 14 ounces cover Priority Mail. USPS rates do NOT include insurance. The USPS rarely loses anything totally, but you can have insurance if you want to pay an additonal fee.

Fedex Ground is a good choice for larger packages. They charge us for a minimum of a pound, and that includes $100.00 insurance by default. Their service is trackable and pretty reliable, and in the Northeast pretty fast. If your order totals more than $100.00 and you choose Fedex shipping, let me know if you want additional insurance!

 
  • International shipping choices and rates?

The shopping cart has internal shipping tables for all of the countries from which I have received orders. If you don't see your country in the drop-down of destinations, ask me and I'll add it. Postage is calculated by weight, plus a surcharge for our handling.

International First Class is our standard service for packages under 400 grams unless you tell us otherwise. Transit is 10-15 business days to most countries. It is not trackable from our side, nor does it include any insurance. We can't recover money for you from the Post Office when such a package is lost, so please be aware of this risk if you prefer cheaper shipping. Please be aware that in 2013, the U.S. Postal Service doubled what they charge us for International First Class package service. Any questions, please refer to the calculator at USPS.com.

International Priority Mail is trackable and includes some insurance (see notes on Risk Of Loss below). Present minimum post office tariff for this service is around $30.00 depending on destination. Packages heavy enough to make this minimum go International Priority automatically. If the shopping cart quotes less than that because your package is light (but it contains a lot of high-value ICs, etc.,) let us know if you want to pay extra for International Priority.

Notice To Customers In Brazil and Argentina:

We have had more than usual problems lately with failed shipments. Until further notice, if we ship by International First Class or International Priority Mail, we will ask you to release us by e-mail from responsibility for replacing a lost package. We will also give you a quote for Express Mail or courier services, and we will continue to accept responsibility as we always have if you pay for end-to-end trackability. We don't like doing this, we realize that this policy change may well cost us business, and we hope that the postal services in your countries improve their service. It had become better, so we know it's possible.

 
  • I only need a few small things. Can you put them in an envelope and send like a letter to reduce the shipping cost?

It does not work, as we notice when people mistakenly try to return parts in this manner. Wires and contacts work their way through in transit and the sorting process, items get lost, and nobody is happy. We ship correctly in a padded envelope, for which the USPS charges a package rate. Any questions, please first consult the shipping calculator at USPS.com

 
  • What happens if a package is lost? What is the limit of your liability?

The good news is that outright losses have actually gone down, even though mail-order volume is up enormously. In part, this is because Postal Services actually make money on delivering stuff, and they need those profits to underwrite delivering mail. In the unusual event that your package is lost, we will do our best to assist you with finding it or getting reimbursement.

Note that you can't insure anything for more than the declared value on the invoice. The declared value is the limit of our liability if your package is lost.

 
  • What if I want you to ship internationally using a courier, like Fedex, UPS, TNT, DHL, or a forwarder?

No problem! Let us know what you want and we'll quote it. If you have your own account with a courier and want us to use that, also no problem. Let us know, and we'll quote a reduced shipping charge to cover our handling only. We have gotten some experience in recent years working with forwarding companies, and we have always been able to accommodate requirements for shipping docs and local pickup.

 
  • What about tracking an international shipment?

The USPS does not provide the seamless, end-to-end service of a courier like Fedex or UPS, but it, and most foreign postal services, have improved their on-line exchange of information considerably in recent years.

When we ship by International Priority Mail, the e-mail confirm from our shopping cart will include the USPS tracking number. By entering this number at USPS.com, you will usually be able to know when your package enters Customs in your country. At that point, give the tracking number to your local post office and ask their assistance. Procedures vary from country-to-country, and may differ depending on the size/value of your shipment.

Stay in touch with the post office, and know your local postman if possible! When packages are returned to us, the most common reason is that the carrier left a pickup notice, but the customer never got it.

 
  • Payment methods in the U.S.? International? Can I use a credit card?

PayPal to smallbearelec@ix.netcom.com is  good from anywhere. From U.S. customers, personal checks and money orders (payable to Small Bear Electronics LLC) are also fine.

In most countries where PayPal is available, you can register a credit card at www.PayPal.com, and PayPal will bill your card. The transaction is like any other purchase, and there is no fee to you. Go to the PayPal site for setup instructions.

Customers who don't have a PayPal account can still pay us with a credit card. We accept Mastercard, Visa, American Express and Discover. Click here for instructions on setting this up.

To help control our costs, we have started to request that customers placing orders over $500.00 send funds by electronic bank transfer. E-mail us if you need our bank info. Within the U.S., electronic payment can often be done for a very small fee through the inter-bank ACH system, and many banks will let you do it on-line. Ask your bank if the service is available...major time-saver! Note: We will credit up to $25.00 of bank fees on electronic payments over $1,000.00.

International customers can send us a check in U.S. Dollars drawn on a U.S. bank, or an International Postal Money Order denominated in U.S. Dollars. The payee should be Small Bear Electronics LLC. Still another possibility is sending funds by Western Union or Moneygram; check westernunion.com or moneygram.com for the address of a local agent.

 
  • Can I send an order by mail?

The address for Snail Mail orders is:

Small Bear Electronics

123 Seventh Avenue #156

Brooklyn, NY 11215

 
  • Can I pick up an order at your shop?

We are an on-line-only business; the snail-mail address is Park Slope Copy Center, which is our mail drop. However, local customers and visitors to New York can pick up orders there. Just place an on-line order and let us know in a separate e-message that you want local pickup. We will make arrangements with you.

Please be aware that we still charge S & H on pick-up orders, because it helps cover the fixed costs of running our shop. We also must collect (and pay!) New York State sales tax.