When ordering puzzles from China, I recommend air shipping.
I recently ordered a fairly large order from Finder (http://www.9spuzzles.com
) and used surface shipping to save cost (about $50 instead of $90). I wasn't in a hurry, and so it seemed like the right choice.
Surface shipping took just four weeks (of the four to six week estimate) so I was happy when I heard the package had arrived. Sadly, it was mashed pretty bad, and from a tear in the corner was leaking pieces of my DIYs. Take a look:
The package could have been protected better (subsequent packing has been fine). Even with better packing though, it seems four weeks in a shipping container on the Pacific Ocean is pretty brutal to a package. It looked like it had been patched up by the post office because Finder confirmed the placement of puzzles wasn't the way he shipped it and had tape he didn't put on. Likely it was squashed, burst, and a postal employee scooped up what they could and slapped on some tape. Out of 24 DIYs a full 8 were not buildable because of missing pieces.
Unfortunately my post office just dropped it at my front door (even though it said signature required) leaving me no chance to refuse it, and Finder no chance to get insurance on it.
Nonetheless Finder was nice enough to send me the missing pieces in a subsequent package which went by airmail:
This worked out much nicer, and only took a week.
So spend a bit more money, wait less, and keep your puzzles safe.