Bongo Review: Mail Forwarding Your Tall Purchases

First of all, I’m going to do a quick plug for my other website, but only because I’m giving something away free — if you want to win a free, sexy-as-all-hell leopard print dress, name it in my competition!!)  OK, I’m done — on with the post 😀

Those of you who live in the US and UK might not realize it, but life as a tall person gets MUCH harder once you step outside either of those countries.  Why?  There are only a handful of companies making products — especially clothes — that fit talls, and shipping them internationally is a nightmare.  Did you know many companies not only won’t ship internationally — they won’t take credit cards from those whose billing addresses are outside national borders!  Last time I checked, my Visa card worked just the same as any other.  Grrr.

Us folks in parts of the world that don’t have tall stores have to find sneaky ways of getting what we want — one of those is mail forwarding.  I recently started using a service called Bongo and it’s pretty good, so I thought I’d review it here.

How it works: you prove your identity to Bongo and pay them $5.  They then give you a fake address in the United States.  You give that address to stores, pretending to be an American, they ship to Bongo, and Bongo send your package to you.  If the store won’t accept non-US credit cards (sigh), Bongo will make the purchase on your behalf for a 10% fee.

I signed up with Bongo months ago, and we got off to a rough start. I bought some sandals with Zappos (I know they’re awesome for Americans, but they’re scared of moths, shadows, and anything outside the borders of their own country).  I had the shoes delivered to my fake US address (Bongo’s warehouse), went to ship them and – !!! – they would have cost $100 to ship.   Being a totally calm and productive person, I calmly returned them and resolved to be a more cautious buyer of shoes stormed off in a righteous huff and kept thinking about those dumb shoes for six months.

Times changed, and with it the Aussie dollar’s value (yay!).  I came back to Bongo and reappraised my options.  For $100 I could have my shoes, no strings attached.  But it was slightly cheaper to get a minimum 3 month subscription (@ $15 a month) and pay the reduced member price of $45 shipping.

Confused yet?  Yeah, I know.

Aaaanyway, then I started thinking about maybe shopping for some other stuff while I had this 3 month window already paid for.  A good friend and stocked up on makeup from Nars that, for no good reason, carries a 100% plus premium here in Oz.

So, the deal with Bongo: it’s not cheap.  It’s definitely a luxury service and I won’t be paying them $15 a month as an ongoing thing.  They also charge to return products, as I found out to my considerable annoyance with the shoes.  $40 to return an order to Zappos?  !!!!!  However, we saved a huge amount on makeup which about covered the cost of the subscription, and I got my pretty size 11 shoes, so if you’re serious about your internet shopping it’s a pretty good idea.

Bongo are one of many mail forwarders, but I haven’t tried any others — if you have, or if you’ve had a different experience with Bongo, please leave a comment!

Anne Shea is the founder of the Sarah Vain and Tall clothing line: find her at www.sarahvainandtall.com/blog

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