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Old 20.05.2009, 14:57
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ACortese ACortese is offline
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Re: DHL and customs on gift?

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Nah you pretty much understand it - they'll unwrap presents within boxes (happened to us at Christmas), and I'm not sure just how they determine the price exactly but I'd guess it would depend on the customs official who looks in your package that given day. They searched our packages at Christmas time - but then never charged us customs fees so yeah, I'd lean towards it being dependent on who was doing the looking.
I don't mind paying duty or charges if that is what the laws/policies state. What I do have a problem with is inconsistency. The policy/law should be clear and the courier should be able to explain why he is charging the amount he is charging. In Italy, the couriers are unable to ever explain, they simply tell me to call Poste Italiane or Italian Customs to find out what the charges are for (meanwhile, if I want my package, I have to pay up then and there or the courier will take it away). There should not be just random and inconsistent charges.

The other thing is if the person sending the package fails to declare an amount on the customs form, then I can see where the Swiss customs officials would declare an amount (it's the sender's fault for not declaring an amount...so this is the punishment). HOWEVER, if the sender declares an amount (and it's not ridiculous like $2 for a large box of new clothes and baby toys), then who are the customs officials to decide the value of baby clothes bought in the U.S.?! Are they pricing experts in the global infant garment industry?? I think it's absurd for a Swiss customs official to inspect baby clothes and judge whether or not my mother valued them correctly. If the price tag on the Gap onesie says $1.99 (because it's on sale...my mom never pays full price ), then that's what the value is. How can a Swiss customs official, look at the onesie and say, "Hmmm, this onesie would have cost about 20CHF, rather than $1.99, if bought here in Switzerland, so I'm going to change the amount of the value declared that this person's mother wrote on the customs form." Seriously, is this right????
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