Updated: Oct 28, 2020
(1) What is Japan's Shopping Proxy Service?
First of all, let's understand the word proxy. Proxy is an agent that helps you to do something. In this case, a proxy is someone that you appointed to help you get your items from Japan, you may call them a middleman too. Basically, they will buy items from Japan be it online or physical stores, and send it to you. Some even cover orders for flea markets and used items. Some are located in Japan, but some do travel to Japan on a monthly basis to get items for buyers.
Don’t get mixed up with these words, proxy, forwarder and reseller.
Forwarder: is a service that only forwards your parcel. Forwarder acts as a transit, to forward your item to your address. The forwarder service will be suitable for you, if you only need an address in Japan for your order.
Reseller: Commonly found in some countries, mostly in Asia or Southeast Asia. A reseller is an individual that goes to Japan on a regular basis, purchases items in Japan and resales them in home country.
(2) Where can I get a proxy if I need one?
Here is a list that covers most of the proxy services for shopping in Japan: https://www.japanonlineshopping.com/how-to-buy-from-japan
(3) How are the reviews for proxies like Buyee, White Rabbit Express, FROM JAPAN, Zen Market, DEJAPAN?
Pros: Deposit is not needed to bid on Yahoo Japan Auction. Payment is only needed when the user wins the bid. Buyee offers a wide range of shipping methods, which users can choose to meet their needs
Cons: JPY1,000 consolidation fee (other proxies may do it for free)
White Rabbit Express
Pros: Great level of communication. Prompt responses to enquiries
Cons: Unclear breakdown of the shipping cost etc. The commission fee is charged above average in the market
Pros: Low service charges. Items are packed carefully
Cons: Poor English communication skills, which may lead to confusion. Customer service: Passive aggressive and unclear communication
Pros: Cost transparency: JPY300 is only charged for their services. Domestic shipping: From seller’s location to Zen Market's warehouse
Cons: Shipping delays: Unannounced shipping delay caused by staff shortage during COVID-19
Pros: Users like the staff which is able to answer questions.
Cons: Unstable website. Orders cancelled and refunded without reasons.
(4) How to use a proxy? What is the procedure?
Once you have decided which proxy to use, you should:
Contact proxies to check if they are able to help you. Some proxies do not accept adult goods, orders from MERCARI etc.
Create an account
Order (make payment, and order using form/ chat)
Ask for shipment
Check for parcel
(5) When should I ask proxies such as Buyee/ White Rabbit, etc. to help me?
You DO NOT need a proxy service, if:
you can find the item you need from a website
the website is trustworthy
you have no trouble buying from that website
You may just buy from the website itself.
Otherwise, you MAY NEED a proxy service when:
you have problems with the payment methods
you need a product inquiry
you need someone to negotiate for a better price
you need someone to visit the physical store
(6) How much does a proxy cost? Is it expensive? How to save on cost?
Basically, 10% (just a rough estimation about the market service charge).
Is the commission expensive?
Compared to resellers, if you are getting a few items, the total cost may be cheaper.
Compared to forwarders, it may be more expensive.
We recommend you to think about combining items in your shipment to save the overall cost.
(7) What should I check before using a Proxy?
There are 3 things you should be aware of before using any proxy:
Restricted items (Example, firearms, drugs and things that are prohibited by post office shipping)
What happens when a parcel is lost or the item is broken when received?
Restricted Items We have received many reviews regarding the proxy service: “the proxy helped me to buy that, but refused to send it to me!”.
Proxies should not be blamed solely as some of them are dealing with thousands of orders daily. It is recommended that you check whether the items you are going to buy are restricted. Some of the common restricted items which are mistaken by buyers during orders are: perfume, hair tonic, suspension (pressure air, or oil), spare battery, portable battery (power bank), counterfeit items (pirate software), air gun, sword, and etc. Kindly check for the items restrictions before placing an order.
Many buyers complain about “hidden fees” when using proxy services. Most of the charges are shown on their website. Actually, nothing is hidden, just that some charges are written in a smaller font size.
According to our analyzation, these are the 5 charges that seem to be “hidden”:
Domestic shipping cost from the seller to the warehouse
Parcel Lost or Broken Item Upon Receipt
Basically, every shipment has a tracking record. Thus, there is a slim chance for the parcel to be lost. However, there are cases where some parts of the product are lost, such as accessories of an action figure. In most of the cases, it won’t be compensated because it is difficult to prove.
If your item costs more than JPY30,000 and is quite small, such as a diamond ring or a luxury watch, then DHL may be a good option. Many users’ reviews said that it is easier to get compensation from DHL compared to EMS etc.
Alternatively, you can also pay about JPY500 to a proxy, such as Buyee that will be fully refunded, if the item received is damaged during the shipment. However, review is needed in order to get the refund.
Please feel free to drop me an email if you need any further information.
Disclaimer: We have no relations with all the businesses mentioned in this article. This article is not sponsored by any of them. Read this too: https://www.japanonlineshopping.com/disclaimer