How to order from iHerb

I thought I’d do a post about ordering from iHerb as I have had several emails from readers asking me how you go about it. Its not as straight forward as it may seem due to the different postage options and possible customs charges. However, these can be navigated so you can access all the goodies that iHerb have to offer! Please note this post has been written with UK readers in mind.

*I can’t take any responsibility for any unexpected customs chargers incurred – you can challenge Royal Mail if you feel they are not correct. This post is not sponsored, I just really like iHerb! This post is in response to readers requests :-)

1. Check out the site First and foremost take a look at the site! I have listed below some of my top iHerb products that I purchase on a regular basis.

2. Create an account Then you need to create an account. Once you have created your account and entered your address details the postage options for the UK (or where ever in the world you live – iHerb post to loads of different countries) should be displayed on your Cart page.  As an international customer there may be an extra step involved in approving your credit card but you will be emailed for any further information if they require it.

3. Add items to your wish list Once you have created an account this also means that you are able to create a wish list! I think the best way to start an order is to create a wish list of the products you would like to try. When viewing products you should see an ‘add to wish list’ link.

wish list

4. Add to Cart and create your order Once you have filled your wish list its time to create your order selecting the products you would like and adding them to your cart. I advise using the wish list function as an easy way to list the things you want, as you might need to mix up the different products in each order to be able to fit the shipping weight and total cost rules detailed below.

5. Decide on shipping options using the rules For us in the UK we have two main postage options – airmail or DHL / UPS. For DHL there is a high shipping fee added, however your order will arrive much quicker than by airmail. You will be charged additional customs fees and DHL tend to withhold your order until you call them and pay those charges. I have used DHL in the past, but would only use it now for really large orders and if I was desperate!

The much more affordable option is airmail. To ensure you can use the airmail option and avoid customs charges if you are in the UK you need to follow these rules:

  • The package has a shipping weight of less than 4lb
  • The total of the goods (sub total) is less than £15 (at the moment this equates to $23.24, but use a currency converter to double check)

iherbclose up

If both of those rules are followed you should not be charged anything additional other than the $6 shipping fee. I have recently placed orders for Sun Warrior Protein Powder which is more than £15 and NOT had any customs charges, so sometimes Royal Mail might not check!

Standard international airmail is $6 on top of your order (unless your order totals more than $40 but then you would get charged customs charges anyway). Below you can see a breakdown of what customs would charge you if you went over the £15:

shipping

6. Decide if you need to split or order else where If what you would like to order is made up of several smaller cheaper items it will probably be worth splitting them down into a few packages to keep their totals under the £15, regardless of weight. If you are ordering something which is over the £15 in its own right, then you will need to work out the additional charges you may get, check to see if you can purchase that product from a cheaper source in the UK, and if not weigh up how much you really want that product! Make sure you use code AGA105 for $5 off your first order.

7. Place your order! Once you hit ‘proceed to check out’ you will be asked to confirm the shipping option and review your order before confirming it. If using airmail your package will tend to arrive in about 10 – 15 days. I like to make a small order once a month or so, its a lovely surprise when it arrives!

*EDITED TO ADD – please remember that it’s the total value of the goods, NOT the total of the order (i.e. if you get a discount that reduces your order to under £15, but the value of the goods is still in excess of that, you could still be charged the tax and admin fee my Royal Mail)

My top iHerb products

P1060725

These are the products that I buy on a regular basis:

The site has an enormous range of products so just have a good browse and see what they have to offer.

Don’t forget to code AGA105 to save $5 on your first order!

I really hope that this post has been useful! If you have any further questions please leave me a comment below. If you are already an iHerb customer what are your favourite products you’d recommend for others?

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  • LOVED iHerb when I was living in US but for UK and Europe its a bit tricky. You have to balance you order and use different addresses otherwise Royal Mail start wacking on huge fees for anything over £20. I get these guys to order in almost anything I want – and they give sound health advise too! http://www.ablevitamins.com, they ship to most places

    • Laura

      I actually did a whole post all about how to order from iHerb and avoid the charges. I actually believe its £15 not £20 unfortunately! Those teas come in well under the threshold tho :-)

  • Rachel

    Thanks for the tips! I’ve just made 2 orders with iHerb to try and avoid customs charges, fingers crossed!

    I discovered iHerb today when looking for the cheapest prices for many supplements that I take and I am blown away by how cheap they are! I only wish we had something similar in the UK.

    • Laura

      Thanks Rachel! I’m glad you found it useful :-) Hope you enjoy your purchases x

  • Sian O’Brien

    Thanks to your post and the discount code, I just completed my first iherb order! Go the Eskimo 3 omega 3 (and a free organic lip balm!) for $23 delivered!! Yay! They’re £20.20 on Amazon!

  • sarah

    Hi, I was just wondering if the mail service you mentioned is the international air mail with tracking at $8?

    • Laura

      Yes I’m pretty sure it’s that one – sometimes it can also be $4 or $6 I think depending on how much you are purchasing – actually the air mail I usually get is not tracked. Hope that helps!

  • Jemma wood

    Hi i was just wondering if the 15 pound total includes or excludes the extra postage?

    • Laura

      I’m pretty sure that the £15 excludes the postage – so you *should* only be charged customs if your order (excluding postage) comes to over £15 as the fees you pay are for the customs duty of the value of the goods you receive. That is what Royal Mail and HMRC say and what has happened in my experience. x

  • Anh

    Hi Laura,
    Could you please clarify if the mail service you used is “Global Priority Mail by DHL” (formerly called International Airmail, $4) or “nternational Airmail with Tracking” ($8)? The website (http://www.iherb.com/info/shipping/International) says that for the Global Priority Mail by DHL, “chances are high that you will not pay any additional Customs import taxes”.
    Thanks so much!

    • Laura

      Hi Anh,

      Yes that is the one I use yes, they have changed how they describe it since I wrote that post, but that’s the one! Just got a delivery with them yesterday!

      • Anh

        thanks very much, I ordered on 15Aug and it arrived on 31Aug without any charges :)

        • Laura

          Excellent! x

  • Tina

    I’ve just made a $50 order with iHerb about £32. Their DHL postage is $8 up to 8lbs in weight, then $1 per lb. Then I was charged £12.52 tax and customs etc. If I had split my order it probably would have been another $8 about £5 so I guess I could have saved £7 splitting my order. I only ordered it 2 days ago and probably could have received it today if I’d paid DHL this morning. It depends on each individual order, weight etc. Will probably split my order next time. Thankyou, Laura.

  • Christopher

    Hi Laura,

    I just placed my first order with them and, even if I have to pay the 20% vat and 9% customs duty it will be about £100 quid cheaper than getting it here!

    I thought about the whole breaking it into smaller shipments thing but then this line really jumped out at me, “Refunds are not available if you choose Global Priority Mail by DHL as a shipping method and your order is lost.” Just thought that was important to point out, especially since there is no tracking with Global Priority Mail.

    My order was $940 and pretty heavy (over 30 pounds) and I would much rather be safe. It was only $37.00 for DHL Express. It would of been a whole lot of small packets that could go missing. Plus there is always the chance it won’t get a customs charge even with DHL Express.

    People should also be aware that your bank will charge about 3% for the currency conversion. I wish they used Paypal, as that would be free and Paypal offer their own insurance. Apparently Paypal don’t like some of the things they sell.

    The order limit for Global Priority is now $80.

    Finally, regardless of the shipping method, should it be stopped by customs, VAT is payable on the full value of the goods PLUS the shipping cost for orders over £15, so almost everything will be subject to VAT as the shipping costs something even if iherb give it to you for free. The customs duty is charged on anything over £135 (I think customs duty excludes shipping costs), but waived if the duty calculated is less than £9.

    :-)

    http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/customs/post/buying.htm

    http://www.dutycalculator.com/dc/186234370/health-beauty/supplements/food-supplements-other/import-duty-rate-for-importing-health-supplements-from-united-states-to-united-kingdom-is-9/

    http://www.iherb.com/info/shipping/International

    • Laura

      Thanks for that Christopher, I certainly think that when ordering something of that value DHL would be the way to go. Although I have had 100% success with the air mail I would not use it if my order exceeded a certain amount, something I should have added into the post. I did not believe that the cost included shipping if it exceeded £15, I’ll check this out x

      • Christopher

        Hiya,

        Yeah, it’s the price of goods and services, which includes shipping. I recently got a charge from another company I order from in America and the VAT was for the goods and the cost of the postage. The value on the form was less than £135, so I did not pay customs duty. It all goes by what the form says, so if $0 is listed for postage then you shouldn’t have to pay.

        Another thing I was thinking was that if you get a lot of small packages and if you were very unlucky enough that they all got charged then you would end up paying more in the handling fees than you would in the customs duty.

        This is a further link that goes into more detail.

        http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/customs/tax-and-duty.htm

        “The import VAT percentage rate is applied to the total value of the goods. In the case of goods brought in this is the sterling equivalent of the price paid abroad, as shown on the receipt. In the case of goods posted from outside the EU, it is the amount on the Customs Declaration, which includes the price paid for the goods, the cost of transport, postage and packing, insurance and any duty that may be payable.”

  • Christopher

    EDIT:

    Customs duty does include shipping cost.

    http://www.dutycalculator.com/help_center/cost-insurance-and-freight/

  • Kelli

    I’ve ordered quite a few things from iherb in the past. I’ve been careful to keep my subtotals under £15 to avoid VAT and/or customs charges with Royal Mail but I don’t always escape getting slapped with a charge. It’s worth noting that iherb doesn’t separate the value of your goods from the amount of postage you paid on their label – they both get lumped together on the customs declaration as one total.
    To use your example – a purchase that comes to $23 + $6 shipping will be marked as having a value of $29 on the label – if the Royal Mail does the conversion, they will assume your goods are worth £18 and therefore you are subject to a VAT charge plus an extortionate ‘administration fee’.
    I’ve tried to bring this up with iherb and have asked if there is a way to re-design their labels but so far I’ve had no response.

  • Kelli

    Oh, drat! Sorry, I’ve just read Christopher’s response and seen the links posted. (I guess I should have had a beter scroll through before jumping to comment) =P

    • Laura

      No worries! It is very frustrating. I have been been ok with my orders, but as you and Chris have said they are adding shipping on which is a pain!

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  • Agnes

    Hi, I was just wondering if you know how long it takes for the orders to arrive in the UK? Mine was shipped 9 days ago by airmail and still hasn’t arrived, and I haven’t received any messages about paying for taxes even though my order was above 15 pounds.. Does it usually take that long or should I start getting worried?

    • Laura

      It can take up to two weeks depending on Royal Mail, so try not to worry. I’ve placed over 30 orders with iherb over the years and nothing has ever gone missing so I’m sure your parcel is on it’s way!

  • Sam

    Hi iwas just wondering which shipping it is. Is it the
    Global Priority Mail by DHL $4 or is it the
    International Airmail with Tracking $8? Thanks

    • Laura

      It’s the $4 one that I get, I think the DHL one is the $8 one?

  • Mila

    Hello!
    I placed an order over 2 weeks ago (28/4) which totalled more than £15 – didn’t realise I would get charged until after placing the other (oops). I realise I may incur a fee – thjnk the total came to $34.90 (£21.30) including the $4 international airmail shipping. Should I contact somebody to locate it’s whereabouts? Ie. will the parcel be held somewhere until I pay whatever is extra? Really can’t wait for it to arrive so it’s driving me crazy each day when it doesn’t come!

    • Laura

      It shouldn’t be long until it comes, best thing to do would be give it a couple more days and then contact iHerb, hope you get it ok, the fees shouldn’t be too bad xxx

  • Darcy

    Hello. Is it possible that i might receive (estimated delivery) my parcel after 5 (!!!) weeks?
    I took International Airmail.

    • Laura

      You’ll need to contact iHerb directly thanks x

  • Sarah

    My order total is £14.99 on iHerb, however I had $10 credit in my account. Will i still be charged customs? As I am only paying £14.99 (excluding postage)

    • Laura

      Yes you may be as the charges are based on the value of the goods. Best double check with iHerb if in doubt!

  • Vijay

    Hi Laura,
    I ordered from iherb last month and bought a box of Quest bars (2.13lbs) $26.78 (£15.98) and some peanut butter for $5.45 (£3.26) and chose the cheapest shipping option which was International Airmail at $4, the total inc $5 off code was $31.23 (£18.57).
    A few weeks later I was hit with a £11.23 customs fee by Royal Mail, ouch! :-(

    Do you know if it’s possible to order the Quest bars without being hit with the customs charge?

    • Laura

      As far as I am aware – remember I’m not iHerb! – as long as the order value, regardless of any discounts, is under £15 in value you shouldn’t get the customs charge x

  • Darcy

    Hi everyone. I did order on 11th of may. Used International Airmail $4. Total value was $23 (delivery included). My parcel have not arrived and do not think it will ever.
    How it was: delivery date was 3 weeks after I replaced order. After 3 weeks it was changed to 2 weeks later. Then again the same. During that time I was contacting customer service, which said that parcel is stacked in customs… After 5th change of delivery date and conversation with them, my delivery date was deleted permanently. So the lesson: iherb is waste of time.
    The is no chance that they can not track the order even if you paid for delivery without tracking service. In my case date was changed frequently. So somebody was in charge!
    I am very disappointed, left with nothing and lost $.

    • Hi Darcy, I would take this up with iHerb directly, I am not a representative of that company and can only genuinely talk about my own experiences with them which have been perfectly fine every single time. I’m sorry you haven’t had any luck but I would keep on at either iHerb or the customs / postal service as it may have been out of iHerb’s hands. What was your last conversation with the company?

      • Darcy

        Thanks, Laura. I just wanted to share experience.
        They are too far to reach them and sort it out. I don’t see they really looking for solution as all they wrote was copy&paste instructions from some template. That’s all. Unfortunately.
        Will use local food in local market.

  • Nichola

    Hi

    Ive just discovered iherb after looking at supplements on amazon which are £14,23 plus £3.99 for delivery, i checked iherb and they cost £4.01!!

    so cheap

    Anyway, to get them delivered i clicked on airmail premium which is £3,96 and i got a first time customer code, so my entire total including shipping is £4.67!!

    Is it likely i would get any charges when it arrives?

    Ive never ordered from the USA before thanks

    • I don’t think you should, as long as the value is less than £15 you shouldn’t get any additional charges (according to what I understand about import charges!)

  • Dan

    Hi!

    After reading your post about 6 times over, I made an order on the 18th Oct, which totalled £14.53 including postage. I’ve just realised I used a $5 code as a first time customer, which is about £3.25.

    Will this mean that my order is actually over £15, with a risk of me being charged? Even though I only paid £14.53 in total?

    If so, how will I know if I have been charged? Will I have to contact the mail service or will I be notified? My order is estimated to be delivered between the 26th Oct until late Nov so I’m not too worried just yet.

    Thanks!

    • I’m not 100% but yes I think it might with the total value being over £15 :-( You will find out as the Royal Mail will probably leave you a card and ask you to come and collect the parcel and pay the tax. I’ll definitely update my post to make sure that is super, super clear xxxx

      • Dan

        Ah so annoying :( at least I know for next time I guess! Thank you so much anyway, your post is so helpful as there isn’t much information on it, so it’s easy to get caught out! Xxx

        • Dan

          So my order came super quickly and I thankfully did not get stung with any charges, even with the $5 off coupon! Just wanted to say thank you for your help :)

          As an extra, the price stated on my package was the price of my order BEFORE delivery…. Not sure if it has been the same for others but thought that was a handy thing to note!

  • Catherine Joy Korni

    Do iHerb still deliver to the UK? The UK doesn’t appear in the drop-down list of countries they ship to…

    • As far as I’m aware they still do, just checked my account and I can ship x

  • Shad3y

    I ordered a bunch of items from iHerb and did my research on their site about shipping fees. Eventually worked out the exact VAT I would need to pay extra (£8.34).

    Items arrive promptly but without any further charges. A week and a half later I got a customs duty invoice for £18.34.

    Nowhere on iHerbs site did I find that there would be a £10 Admin fee by DHL. Not the end of the world, just not very transparent and slightly cheeky that it’s not well communicated. I won’t be ordering again as the shipping fees negate the savings I would have made from iHerb in the first place compared to local suppliers.

    • That is very annoying, thanks for sharing that, I’ll edit the post and add that to the information up there, hopefully this will help anyone else out.

      • Shad3y

        No problem, have a good day :)

  • Joanna Pawlik

    I ordered with iHerb twice, both orders wer oer 40 pounds and I have used DHL. I was charged something over 15 pounds per parcel :/ I am very careful now when ordering from America

  • Judita Vaisnoraite

    Hi, can it be that now I can order from Iherb up to £56? Or is it still up to £15?

  • compton

    Just got hit for £12.11 on an order total of £21.45. Non warning on I herb , unless you click on a ? icon in the sales total, and then hardly informative.

    Be careful here!