Guys, I ship ham radio stuff overseas almost every day.
(It's part of my part-time day job)
Cases like Don just pointed out sometimes happen.
My hunch is, it is simply due to unqualified staff (possibly newbees, but
with the carriers, it's often temporary help).
There is nothing you can do here but cross your fingers (assuming the
paperwork is correct).
But here is a TIP:
- Place a copy of the customs declaration and bill of sale on the OUTSIDE
of the box.
- Don't cheat. State values correctly. Customs now days use google to
Customs in most western first and second world countries will not open the
package unless the recipient is present, or they find it suspicious and
suspect drugs, etc.
By making the paperwork easily accessible, they are able to obtain the
information they need to process the tax aspect without opening the package
and are more likely to decide not to invite the recipient to visit them.
ALWAYS INSURE YOUR PACKAGE FOR ITS FULL VALUE. Make pictures of the article
before you ship it.
Collecting insurance for damaged packages is difficult. Pictures and honest
claimed values improve your chances of collecting.
People in other countries will often ask you to declare a lower value so
that they can save money on customs.
BEFORE you do that:
- get full payment in advance
- inform the purchaser that you can only insure the package for the value
stated in the customs claim and if you agree to stating a lower value, IT
IS AT HIS RISK, NOT YOURS. AFTER you have an agreement, you may do what you
As a business, we have learned that trying to be a nice guys and help the
guy on the other end save on customs fees, often means nothing but trouble.
As a result, even when I privately ship stuff overseas, I no longer agree to
write a lower claimed value on the paperwork. Believe me, long distance
calls to foreign customs officials, sending new invoices and proof of value
to them, just because the guy on the other end tried to defraud his country
is simply not worth it.
I'm a great supporter of "ham spirit", but sometimes common sense must
Oh and my final tip, always assume that the carrier will try to break it on
purpose, and package it accordingly!
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]
On Behalf Of Don Allen
Sent: Tuesday, March 06, 2012 12:07 AM
Subject: Re: [TenTec] TEN TEC FS
I recently shipped a wattmeter to Australia via USPS International Priority
Mail. Other than sitting in Chicago's International Outgoing Parcel Customs
Unit for two weeks (!), all went fine. Once it left O'Hare via Air Mail, it
arrived in Australia quickly and cleared Australian customs in one day, and
delivered to the buyer the following day. Why it was delayed so long in
outgoing US customs is anyone's guess. And, yes, the custom form was
correctly filled out.
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