Friday, May 3, 2013
The Great Philosopher, Confusion.
Confucious says "Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself"
His evil twin Confusion says "Never yourself choose, or impose, or impose upon others detest, things that you."
Recently I purchased some musical equipment from my guy at www.sweetwater.com and had it shipped to me in China. Turns out this was quite a hassle in itself... people cannot ship music gear out of the USA without the purchaser changing their address on their credit/bank account to be the destination of the shipment. I know it does not make sense, but fraud departments now days are so worried about scams that a loyal American customer cannot even call to order gear while touring without having to jump through a million flaming hula hoops. After convincing the Americans to ship the gear to us, (two weeks after we were charged and officially purchased the equipment) our gear is now in customs in Beijing.
I receive a call from FedEx. A woman with very little English asked me for my e-mail address, since I am expecting a package from FedEx, I gave her my e-mail address. Ten minutes later I receive an e-mail, it is copied and pasted below.
1 passport copy
2 please fill the accessory personal letter, another is your air way bill
3 do the personal entry need about 6-7 working days
Weird, okay, great. I already know where this is going. I open the attachment to find the following letter.
Please examine closely.
My thoughts on this letter follow:
"Personal effects Explain Letter"
More than the bad choice of words, I was bothered that they did not capitalize the second word..
"Dear Capital Airport Customs:
My Parcel Tracking#______________ Parcels of items for personal use, without any commercial purpose."
What? Am I writing a freaking love letter? Dear Capital Airport Customs: I have missed you every day since we last parted, and you tried to screw me out of a million dollars... but it is okay because I am really a forgiving person...
The second part seems straight forward enough, so I fill in my tracking number. Moving on,
What? Am I supposed to write something here? Or are you telling me 'The following are statements?'
"Package itself does not contain the relevant state regulations to limit or prohibit the import of products"
After living in Asia for an extended period of time, I can kind of make out the meaning of this. What they meant to say was "Your package exceeds the state regulations on imported products". That is a nice statement, they told me there were going to be statements coming up!
"Can provide proof of purchase invoice (if not available please state why):"
What? Are they stating that I can provide proof of purchase? Are they asking me to provide proof of purchase? The second portion makes me feel that they need proof of purchase... but since this is under the 'statement' section I hope what they actually mean is "You are now able to purchase invoices provided in a can".
"2. Detail Information:"
Straight forward enough!
"3. Additional instruction:"
I guess I can provide additional instructions for the guys going through my box of very expensive musical gear. I am sure to write "Break it and I will break you!" but I am also tempted to write "All fake, very cheap" except Sweetwater provided the receipts inside the box. Damn.
"4. I already know of Customs Announcement No. 43 of 2010 declared value on personal items can not be more than 1000 CNY limit, I guarantee to avoid similar incidents happen again."
No I did not already know, I do not know how I would know, and I am not sure that I even believe that right now. 1000 CNY is about $150USD, is that really the price limit on something you can have shipped to China? "I guarantee to avoid similar incidents happen again." What? Are they apologizing for me? If so, I am not sorry! However, I definitely guarantee that I will never ever ship anything to China ever again.
"First, individuals mailed items, customs import duties imposed by law, but apply import duties at 50CNY below shall be exempted from"
Uhhh... I think what they are saying is anything that has been shipped that is under 50 CNY ($8) is exempt from duty..? What do you think?
"Second, individuals sent from or sent to Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan regions, items, limit of 800 CNY: sent from or sent to other countries and regions, items, limit of 1,000 CNY."
Ok, so Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao although 'part of' China get even more screwed. That makes me feel better.
This is my favorite:
"Third, personal mail import and export goods beyond the prescribed limits, should be procedures for returned goods or the provisions of the customs formalities. However, only one item within parcels and indivisible, although beyond the prescribed limit, the Customs examination indeed personal use, in accordance with the provisions of personal items for customs clearance."
GOOD FREAKING LUCK DECIPHERING THAT BAD BOY.
"5. Base on China Customs'No. 147 decree: Because I will not be available at customs site during inspection, I appoint Fedex employee to assist customs officer with inspection process."
I definitely do not know China Customs'No. 147 decree, but hot dang! They must have underlined that portion of the letter because somebody who speaks o.k. English proof read it! It is good writing, real potential there, and they underlined it because they did not want anybody to accidentally miss the best part of the letter!
"6. I am willing to bear the customs in accordance with the relevant provisions of the tax levy, about RMB____________. (total amount of tax based on the final scene customs instructions.)"
This part scares me. Do I fill out how much I am willing to pay? Or do I leave that blank? How do I know how much to pay? Shouldn't the company have filled that portion in before sending this to me? The rest of the letter is obvious, but if I sign this and do not fill in #6, somebody gets to fill it in for me and I have to pay however much they say!! AAAGGGGGHHHH! Feeling CRAZY! They are holding $3000US of music gear ransom at the airport
FedEx is a global company, there should be no reason that any portion of their company has some sort of crazy letter such as this! No instructions other than to fill out and return. Wow, I am really disappointed. When I think that I actually paid them several hundred dollars for this confusion it makes me want to jump off my sixth floor balcony!