Oh crap … I guess a bunch of us just got this email. No more iHerb at all, for now. Glad I placed that order a few weeks ago - and I guess I’m lucky it arrived so quickly, with zero hassle.
Has there been much in the news, whether in Chinese or English, about what’s going on with these delays? Or could this be a company unjustly blaming government? (Not that that would EVER happen!)
Dear Valued Customer,
Due to new regulations and strict inspections, Taiwan Customs is experiencing extreme delays. iHerb will temporarily suspend service to Taiwan to ensure your experience is not negatively impacted by these disruptions. Recently placed orders that have already been shipped may experience some delays.
Unfortunately, iHerb has no control over these customs policies and does not know how long they’ll be in place.
We’re working diligently on alternative solutions and look forward to serving Taiwan as soon as possible. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.
Once these disruptions are resolved, iHerb will resume service to Taiwan and provide customers with exclusive offers. Rest assured, we’ll bring back our holiday offers for you so you don’t miss out!
However, the Customs Administration said the delays were the result of the company trying to have its products pass customs through simplified procedures. Instead, the normal full procedure was required, which meant documents from the importer and receipts needed to be submitted.
As long as that had not happened, customs could not allow the iHerb products to enter the country, the report said. One of the factors complicating the import of iHerb products was the difference in regulations covering health and medical products in Taiwan and overseas, leading to a requirement for more import documents.
That quote sounds pretty dire actually, because it seems to suggest that more import documents will be required in the future from the importer (i.e., the customer?) before shipments can resume. I understand that those can be a pain for bringing health products into Taiwan. (Maybe impossible for regular consumers who don’t have a registered company to get the import license?)
I can’t imagine the look of horror on the faces of Taiwanese customs officials at the idea of “simplified procedures”…
Yeah, I’ve seen that too. The main thing I ordered last time was melatonin, and for vitamins and stuff I was previously bringing them in from Malaysia or Thailand - also much cheaper and more readily available (this was before the Great Pestilence arrived).
Nature Valley granola bars are the closest, and they’re not that close.
The things I may really miss are the dried beans: navy and black and cannellini are hard to get here. Used to get a lot of French lentils from iHerb too, but they stopped selling them. Also used to get plenty of breakfast cereals, but they stopped selling most of the ones I liked. Oh shit, steel-cut oats. Haven’t seen those here in years.
And iHerb is just easier for plenty of spices, which I can usually find here but it takes a day of touring the import supermarkets to see who’s stocking what this season. Ditto masa harina, even cornmeal.
At least dried porcini are easier to find here these days. For now, anyway, until whatever happens to Carrefour.
Anyway for most of those I’ve got enough to last a while.
So a multinational commerce giant, that deals with dozens of countries’ customs areas, and presumably has a team dedicated to greasing the wheels in this capacity, stuffed up some paperwork? I find it a little hard to believe.
I wonder if the Taiwan authorities communicated clearly around what forms were needed and by when? I presume they didn’t issue conflicting information or instructions.
I dunno. They can come across as rather ramshackle. Their website is often a disaster - I’ve changed my language settings from Chinese back to English, checking “remember these settings”, many, many, many times over the years. I’ve set up notifications for when products are back in stock for weeks or months, and then gotten the notification, and then they’re out of stock again within a few hours - which has me wondering about how they manage supplies (this was way pre-COVID).