In the last while, supposedly reputable shipping/delivery companies have started trying to weasel fees/data when shipments are inbound.
For the third time in about 6 months, I have an order incoming from the US, and the carrier, in this case FedEx, is sending me emails like:
Thank you for your reply.
Because we need to clearance with customs.
The Letter of Authorization & passport copy is necessary documents.
We need receive as above document and then we can clearance with Taiwan customs.
After clearance this package, Taiwan customs will release the package.
And Our courier will delivery to you.
We are looking forward to your reply.
Their story is that the item falls within a regulated category (Housewares/Appliances in this case, Toys in the last), and thus Taiwan Customs requires my ID and signature on the (insanely dodgy looking) document they attached.
The thing is, it’s a single item valued at right around NT$1K, and Customs never really cares about that level of Import.
(Last time this happened, I just refused to send them anything and told them if they wanted my signature, I’d sign when they delivered it. Next thing I know, it had arrived with no siggie or anything requested)
Oh yeah, as far as I can tell, the FedEx tracking page shows it as being cleared already.
So right now I’ve requested some kind of proof that it is actually being held at Customs.
To my understanding, your name/address/phone number, should suffice for imports, despite the quantity or value.
I have been contacted by DHL a 2 out of 2 times for held packages coming out of the UK. I got a a few phone calls (which I did not pick up) followed by an e-mail asking me to transfer funds to DHL for an undervalued parcel. I called back the number on the e-mail and the agent assured me that the parcel would be released.
It got released.
I would gladly pay 1000NT instead of handing over my passport number.
I never had a package from FedEx in Taiwan when they DIDN’T ask for this document.
There were no fees associated with my clearances. This document is actually a power of attorney to allow FedEx to act as your broker/clearing agent with customs. It is possible (likely even) that they’ve already cleared the parcel without this document and they’re anticipating getting it from you to give to the authorities by the end of the week or something.
There is a permanent version of the document that you can submit so they’ll stop bothering you. There’s no scam involved.
That’s the same letter of authorization we use when we export anything that needs formal entry (more than NT 50,000). FedEx, DHL, UPS, TNT, etc all require it. We also just send it blank, aside from our company stamp which looks very similar to the sample you posted. It basically gives them power of attorney for customs handling on your behalf.
Not sure how it works for imports, I only use it if I have to send a part via express delivery which is valued more than NT 50,000.
P.S. Just saw Guardians of the Galaxy 2. You were really funny in it.
Edit: Just read @spaint’s reply and realized I repeated what he said. But yeah, not a scam.
It’s worth mentioning that the only reason this is happening is because I was driven by desperation to buy from eBay, who has implemented, in the last year or so, this egregious and borderline-illegal Global Shipping Program, a genius way to overcharge buyers dreamed up by eBay and Pitney-Bowes (yeah, the postage meter guys).
The deal is that they allow sellers to, at no charge to them, opt into the program, and the sellers just need to ship (domestically) to the GSP center. Normally nobody doing this level of business uses carriers like UPS or FedEx because their rates are exorbitant.
But not only does the program force buyers to do business with these pricks (with higher rates and a buttload of ma fan not present in other methods), the real genius is that, on top of the shipping fees, they provide prepayment of customs and duty charges.
Irrespective of whether such charges are actually applied.
Irrespective of whether the buyer wants it.
AND, to cap the whole thing off the charge never shows up on the invoice prior to agreeing to pay.
That’s right, you never see the charge until you’ve made your payment.
I’m not kidding, you agree to pay XX.XX and then receive a receipt for XX.XX PLUS 10 to 30 bucks MORE.
Once again, you have no choice whether to use the “service”.
And yeah, once again, they keep the fee even if no Customs charges are applied.
Sorry, I’m kind of getting my tail in a knot here.
I wrote to them when this whole shit show started and complained, since, like most anyone who’s careful, I never have to pay Customs on International Shipments to Taiwan for personal use.
They said, and I’m not really paraphrasing here, if you don’t like it, go pound sand up your ass.
I get this document every time with FedEX/UPS unless the shipper knows what they are doing and correctly supplies the information and sometimes fees. Probably should edit the thread title as it’s not a scam.
What do you mean I’m funny?
What do you mean, you mean the way I talk? What?
You mean, let me understand this cause, ya know maybe it’s me, I’m a little fucked up maybe, but I’m funny how, I mean funny like I’m a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh, I’m here to fuckin’ amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how? How am I funny?
You said I’m funny. How the fuck am I funny, what the fuck is so funny about me? Tell me, tell me what’s funny!
Ya stuttering prick ya.
I almost had him. I worry about you @Yang_Gui_Zi. You may fold under questioning.
But seriously, Rock, this whole thing has been exceptionally baffling since you may recall I get monthly international shipments and aside from the occasional snag on import duties - oh, and the “Fuck You Thieves” incident - I’ve never ever seen or received anything like this. And yes, sometimes it comes UPS or FedEx. Usually registered mail, which I think makes things easier, but the fuck do I know? It works for me.
Maybe somebody could educate me. The value of my shipment is $100; it’s for personal use; it’s subject to duty. Why are you getting this bullshit and I’m…not?
I thought we had established this already? It’s because he’s a talking raccoon! Who wouldn’t be suspicious of a talking raccoon?
Ok, I’ll stop too.
Like @Yang_Gui_Zi said, it’s shipments over 50k NTD. I guess this is something our freight forwards file for us. I would assume I have seen it because our shipments are well well over 50k NTD, but I haven’t even seen this document in my daily responsibilities.
Yessir, Mr. @ranlee, but Bradley Cooper up there said it was a US$30 item. I know Brad, pretty well. If he’s splashing out 50K on a monthly basis and keeping me out of the loop, I guess I don’t know our favorite trash panda as well as I think.
Bad friggin luck?
Or maybe I should say it’s my turn, given that there are months where I receive five or six shipments, and this is only the (sort of) second time this has happened (as mentioned above).
I was going to mention that a couple of times, this one place I get stuff from in China has suddenly, out of nowhere, told me that they NEED my ARC number to ship, despite multiple prior shipments where they didn’t. Any friggin ways, I just told them no, these weren’t the droids they were looking for, and the stuff came though just fine.
Update on this particular situation, since I refused to do any of this bushwah via email, they finally agreed yesterday to send their monkey out to get me siggie and ARC copy, after which they’ll get the shipment “cleared” though Customs.
As noted, so far the process is exactly how it went that other time, when they finally just ended up delivering it, with no special docs or siggie or nothing.
(Please note that, despite repeated requests, they still have yet to provide a document or any other reference showing that it has actually been held up)