If you have ever had to be the “transporter” or “carrier” for a family member or friend in Nigeria who has bought things from an international store, then you will agree it’s not easy. What with the extra luggage, not to talk of all the trouble you might go through at customs.
The most annoying part of it all? You don’t get paid for it, except your friend or family member is generous enough to consider your labour worthy of reward.
Shypmate is a delivery network/service through which people in African countries can buy items from any online store in the US or UK and have them delivered through people travelling back to their location. At the moment, it works in Ghana and Nigeria only.
To use Shypmate, you need to sign up on their website. Then you have to copy the link of the item you want to buy and paste in Shypmate’s request listing section.
Type in the name of the airport where you want to pickup your item, the item name, the price and weight. Then click continue. It will take you to the payment page.
I tried to purchase an Asus laptop for $699.99 with the service, my total bill amounted to $806.99. That is a difference of $107, which I suppose covers charges for the service and commission for whoever the carrier or transporter will be. This price was determined by the price and weight of the item I wanted to purchase.
At the end of the chain, all you need to do is meet the traveller at the airport you typed in. It is Shypmate’s responsibility to pay the person.
If you don’t mind earning extra cash for the space in your luggage, then you can register as a Shypmate traveller. It’s important you note that Shypmate is not a shipping service or a transportation network, it’s just a platform for connecting you with people who want to buy things from international stores that normally don’t deliver to Nigeria or Ghana. All of this takes between 5-10 days.
This is pretty cool. But, the thing is, there are terms that can’t be overlooked.
Shypmate explicitly states that they do not “handle or guarantee shipping, tracking, quality and condition” of your items, and they will “not be responsible or liable for any damages or other problems resulting from shipping.”
Also, about the travellers, Shypmate says “you are solely responsible for all packages that you choose to carry for a sender. You affirm that all packages that you choose to carry have been thoroughly reviewed to ensure that it is legal to do so. You also affirm that the said package will not put you in harm’s way and that the package abides by the rules of your country’s customs and regulations.”
Simply put, Shypmate won’t be held liable if you get into trouble. They are not responsible for your mistakes or negligence.
This is a lot different from what MallforAfrica does. MallforAfrica takes your orders from ecommerce stores that do not deliver to Nigeria and they handle all the logistics for you. Shypmate doesn’t do that.