My Purchasing/Buying Experience from AmiAmi (Japanese Character & Hobby Online Store) for Pokemon TCGs and Items from Malaysia Using PayPal

Thought that I would like to share my first oversea purchase from the nation of the rising sun, Nihon or Japan!

I had to admit, being a young adult, having a hobby like CCG (collectables card games) is usually frown upon by parents. And that is so true in my case. Regardless, I earned my own money and my wallet answers to no one but myself, or at least that is the case for now.

Anyways, I might be the latecomers when I say that I am purchasing some Pokemon TCG Gaia Volcano/Tidal Storm (or also known as Primal Clash in English) Booster Boxes since it was released roughly one or two months back.


AmiAmi website with a very tangerine looks. Kinda reminds me of Mirai Suenaga mascot from Culture Japan founded by Danny Choo. Any Japanese fans or otaku is bound to know him :-P

Mirai Suenaga about page from Culture Japan. Uses the same tangerine theme :-)

Why I choose to Purchase from AmiAmi?

  • They have their own English site in accompany with their native Japanese website. This is not some site that uses Google Translate as the language translation. They actually designed a totally new site just for their non-native buyers like us! They certainly know their market demographic well enough :-P
  • They featured easy to navigate website
  • They are (or claim to be) the largest online hobby shop in Japan
  • They carry a wide variety of Japanese goodies, e.g. figurines, trading cards, collectables. Anything that you want, they got it, provided they are the latest ones. They are very seldom to restock old items. But when they do, you'll be in a treat for sure!
  • They accept pre-order or backorder for new items
  • They offers multiple shipping options, e.g. EMS (recommended), SAL, and other. From where I am from, i.e. Malaysia, the shipping cost might be considerably lower than the America or Europe.
  • Great and friendly customer service, living up to the norm that we know of Japan from textbook or even in real life! They calculate the shipping cost manually after receiving confirmed orders from you instead of basing on some automated calculation like most online shops did. They will then send the email alongside with a payment link (e.g. PayPal) for making the payment.

Here is a screenshot of their Pokemon TCG selections:
Pokemon TCG merchandises
As shown, each Gaia Volcano/Tidal Storm booster box is only sold at 2550 JPY (RM78 or USD21), which is 21% off its retail price of 3240 JPY (RM 99 or USD27)! Just for price reference, eBay listings is showing a staggering price tag of USD37.99!
eBay listings for Gaia Volcano Booster Box at a much higher price tag

Enough of the sales pitch of why I chose to purchase from AmiAmi, here comes the items that I ordered. I chose to ship using EMS and pay using PayPal :-)


A family of Pokemon TCG merchandises :)

Receiving an automated email telling me that they acknowledged receiving my confirmed order to make sure my order does indeed go through their system.

Order acknowledgement from AmiAmi


Payment request from AmiAmi (top)

Payment request from AmiAmi (bottom)

Using PayPal to make the payment.
Using PayPal to make the payment
AmiAmi acknowledging my PayPal payment

AmiAmi shipped out my items, YAY!


Summary

To recap, I received a total of 4 different emails from AmiAmi before they started to ship my item. The entire process is very smooth and I do like their friendly human intervention rather than some automated response.

Below is a brief transcript of the entire order process.

Submitting order - 1/13/2015 (Tuesday) 3:11PM
Payment request - 1/14/2015 (Wednesday) 10:41AM
Payment acknowledgement - 1/14/2015 (Wednesday) 12:31PM
Shipping - 1/15/2015 (Friday) 7:47PM



And here is the tracking information from JapanPost website (EMS):
Tracking result from JapanPost website

Tracking result from PosLaju (Malaysia's designated EMS courier)

 Note that the items from PosLaju website is slower to update than the Japan tracking site. It actually took a day for the tracking details to reflect on the PosLaju website.

As per AmiAmi's shipping policy, they are totally abide to it and hence they DO NOT markdown the total value in their shipping invoice as this is a fraud by law. In fact, this is EXPLICITLY mentioned in their FAQ pages for Shipping.

AmiAmi's shipping policy for custom


FYI Malaysia custom will only impose tax for items valued above RM500 (~USD 138), and this includes CIF (Cost, Insurance, and Freight/Shipping). This is why the item is being regarded as High-value goods as per the latest update. I could only hope that they will not retain it and ask me for import tax valued at 20% (10% MFN duty + 10% sales tax) according to DutyCalculator for items categorized under Toys>Playing Cards (HF Tariff Code 9504.40.000). In other words, I will have to pay the tax amounting ~RM195/USD54 should that misfortune does bestowed upon me :-(

Import taxes for Toys & Games > Playing Cards (HF Tariff Code: 9504.40.000) in Malaysia

Updates on 22/01/2015

The worst nightmare had befalled on me. Received a letter of detainment issued by the Custom Department in PosLaju Johor Bahru which was sent yesterday. It was delivered by PosLaju this afternoon. For one second though, I actually thought that it could be the parcel that I am waiting for :( According to the letter, I have three choices:
- Appoint PosLaju as the agent and pay a handler fee of RM49.50 plus whatever tax charge that they are going to imposed from the shipment
- Appoint someone else as the agent
- Approach them in person

Given that I don't have spare time to travel all the way to Johor Bahru to declare and claim the parcel, the immediate response is to appoint PosLaju as the agent. I am not willing to sent it back and refund since I've waited so long for this. And frankly, though not justifiable, I can still accept RM100-150 of tax charges.



They also require me to send them any invoices from seller. Instead of asking AmiAmi for it, I decided to just sent the PayPal invoice along with my Order Item Page from AmiAmi. I then printed those documents, sealed it into an envelope, put a 60 cents stamp fee, and post it out using normal 'slow-mail'. Then it hit me, since they have the email address stated on top of the letter, I decided to send an email to them too for faster response.

PosLaju JB Customs Email
Although email is not mentioned as a way to response to them (fax and post are accepted), I decided to try it out anyways in attempt to get a faster response.

Method to response
My email inquiries to PosLaju Custom JB.

To my surprise, I actually gotten a response from them right after I'm back from posting. As per the reply they charges me RM146.20 and will send it to the local PosLaju branch near my place on Saturday. I'm guessing that they do not operate on Friday since it is considered as public holiday in Johor along with some northern states like Penang, Terengganu, etc.

Email response from custom officer on duty for my previous inquiry sent one hour after. Not bad for efficiency :)

Oh well, what can I do more but to wait :-)

---

Updates on February 2


Alright. So the package finally arrived after being held by the customs for almost a week! I ended up paying RM348 or USD 95 for it. Well just hope that I'll have a decent pulls of Pokemon Cards. :-]














5 comments

hello, may i know how and where did you pay the handling fees of pos laju, import taxes, etc?

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This website seems like the card collectors dreamland. How easy is it to ship things back to Japan if you don't get what you ultimately needed? I know that sometimes it can take a while to get because the shipment overseas can take a while but it sounds like it doesn't take a really long time. That would be nice because then you aren't waiting for your money to be refunded for weeks. http://yamatoamerica.com/en/business/index.aspx

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Holy crap does it actually happen (shipping costs and poslaju) for every purchase on amiami? if thats so its really a rip off imo

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