21 July 2013

23andMe complacent about exorbitant international shipping cost

I`ve had several DNA tests for family members done by 23andMe. I like the product even though it`s not the best in every respect. But their high charge for shipping is a deterrent.  You can order a test for $99, shipping in the US is $9.99, to Canada $59.95, to the Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, and the UK $74.95. Some countries including Israel and Norway are even more.

A recent comment on a list "You'd think 23andMe, with all their push to a million kits this year, they should offer their kits with free S&H all over the world - if they are really serious about meeting the 1,000,000 goal." motivated me to email 23andMe. I also mentioned I`ve purchased several kits, but hesitate because of the high cost of shipping outside the US and that I also hesitate to recommend 23andMe when lecturing on genetic genealogy because of the high shipping cost, which is much higher than other companies. I asked why their shipping cost is so high when others can do it for much less?

The prompt response received from a person named Caroline is obviously boilerplate:
Thank you for contacting the 23andMe Team. We appreciate your feedback on the cost of international shipping. The shipping cost for each collection kit includes shipping to the recipient, return shipping to the laboratory, and additional transportation fees and customs duties where applicable. In most cases, customs duties are included in the international shipping cost; however, if you live in a Non Delivery Duties Paid country (i.e. Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Latvia, Macedonia, Moldova, and Montenegro), the recipient of the order is responsible for customs duties assessed.
When returning your saliva sample to our lab, it is important to know that a large number of countries and shipping offices are still unfamiliar with the requirements of shipping an exempt human saliva sample, sometimes believing it to be hazardous and erroneously charging FDA fees and expedited shipping costs. The documentation included with your international order is vital towards ensuring the uninterrupted transport of your sample to the lab.
International shipping can be complex; we're confident you will be satisfied with the value and peace of mind that comes with our guaranteed round-trip express international transport, prepared shipping materials and documents, and guaranteed replacement that comes built into our international shipping cost.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps BIFHSGO could invite 23and Me to set up at their coming conference distributing and collecting the samples in bulk, thus greatly reducing the feeble excuses which they have given for the exorbitant mailing costs. Time is now short but if it cannot be done before the conference it could be done at some other suitable meeting at a later date.

Anonymous said...

I recently tried to cash a check at my local U.S. credit union. The check was written in U.S. dollars on a Canadian bank. The fee to cash the check was $25, which was more than the amount of the check.

Ann said...

I wanted to buy this test but stopped because it was 80 dollar to belgium :/

Anonymous said...

Ann, it is still worth it.

Harmen said...

You can use for example shipto as intermediate service.

They also claim incorrectly that you have to pay import duties. The package itself contains only a plastic tube worth $5 and $5 of shipping.
You don't have to pay import duties on a service, which the DNA sampling is.

Using shipto I could fill in my own customs form and select a different (much cheaper) shipping method. I still have to pay for return shipping but after all it is much cheaper this way and it provides some anonymity. I used a virtual credit card as well.

Anonymous said...

I just went to buy it... Not only is the cost now $149 for the test, the shipping is now $102.99 to Australia!