Most / All (?) Yahoo Auctions, thru Zen etc, you can contact the seller during the auction and request things - pictures, additional packing if needed if you win - they don't ship the item to Zen until you win, pay Zen for the item & in-country shipping. Extra packing from seller, you take a hit in-country and Int'l - but you can get it from the seller or Zen, save a few øre on in-country by waiting until it gets to Zen.
When Zen gets the item, you can get 3 pix for ¥500 - many times as you want and they will open the package the seller sends them if you okay it. You can see what the seller shipped it in, actual contents & condition so you can work things out before Int'l shipping, etc. Although it isn't free, I wouldn't call it steep - their base fee is only ¥300. They can add reinforcement, generally edges and corners and lots of tape for ¥1000 (and it does indeed reinforce) and they can do additional boxing - and if they think you need it, they will suggest it - your call. They know to pack tight, light. And no, no returns - you can file claims / damage claims with Zen, UPS, etc - but it isn't going back, no. 12 or 11 transaction now - always been happy.
I've done best with OTAs 100cm or less, sans mounts and particularly CWs whenever I can. Week or two ago UPS volume based weight allowance was (IIRC) 12.5 or 13.5 lbs / ft3, after which weight takes over - otherwise it's dimension. As far as I know, the Big 3 all charge the greater of wt or volumetric wt. Fair enough - I don't have their infrastructure and resources. I could get that Uni 102x1500 in it's case only @ 165x30x15cm here to Page for about $480 - add 10cm to each dimension for ~5cm foam/cardboard all around (175x40x25cm) and it's ~$915 - either way, it's a Stateside purchase in my books.
Zen with Int'l shipping is pricier, but a lot less risk for damage than SGW/FedEx. Zen listens and accomodates whenever possible (for a fee) and things arrive intact. SGW is more "Hi! Got your request, Thank You" and they shear the trunions anyways. Really Great Ship-Scope-In-Mount Loose/Rattly Packers.
About Average SGW - 75~100mm slop:
Milben 40mm Variable Power Telescope W/Metal Tripod -=:LiNk:=-
Vintage Kelvin & Hughes London Telescope -=:LiNk:=-
Bausch & Lomb 60mm Telescope The Discoverer IOB -=:LiNk:=-
Meade 1000mm f/11 Mirror-Lens Coated Optics -=:LiNk:=-
Pic No. T1 40x40mm Achromatic Coated Telescope -=:LiNk:=- 6.32øre shpg.
JCPenney #0135 J-B Catadioptric Telescope -=:LiNk:=-
Celestron C-90 -=:LiNk:=-
Celestron ExploraScope -=:LiNk:=-
Vintage TASCO 9F 400X60mm Telescope in Original Box -=:LiNk:=- 62,541øre BIN, free shpg
Tasco Vintage Refractor ... #99VR in Original Packaging (1984) -=:LiNk:=- 94,759øre BIN free shpg
Edited by AstroKerr, 02 April 2021 - 12:22 PM.