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  1. #1
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    Tulsa, OK
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    Non bag related international shipping question

    Recently, I visited old friends in Spain. When I returned to the US, I sent a thank you package to some of their friends who hosted us for a few days in Barcelona—inexpensive tee shirts, small children’s book, etc. Unfortunately, while it reached its destination very quickly, the recipient was required to pay a very large fee to pick it up. She would not tell me the exact cost, but my impression was that it was a lot more than she carried in cash, so she did not pick it up the day it arrived. Well, today it was returned to me, but I cannot find any label or tag that explains the extra fees that caused my acquaintance to not pick it up. My tracking info never provided an explanation, either. All I can think is that the mistake was on my end, ie, in spite of the clerk at my post office walking me through the customs forms, the package was construed as commercial. Then again, I wonder if Catalonia has its own postal fees that my friends from other parts of Spain are unfamiliar with—similar packages to friends in other cities arrived with no fees. I have asked my Spanish friends, and they don’t have an explanation. Perhaps someone on the forums does?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by AshleyM View Post
    Recently, I visited old friends in Spain. When I returned to the US, I sent a thank you package to some of their friends who hosted us for a few days in Barcelona—inexpensive tee shirts, small children’s book, etc. Unfortunately, while it reached its destination very quickly, the recipient was required to pay a very large fee to pick it up. She would not tell me the exact cost, but my impression was that it was a lot more than she carried in cash, so she did not pick it up the day it arrived. Well, today it was returned to me, but I cannot find any label or tag that explains the extra fees that caused my acquaintance to not pick it up. My tracking info never provided an explanation, either. All I can think is that the mistake was on my end, ie, in spite of the clerk at my post office walking me through the customs forms, the package was construed as commercial. Then again, I wonder if Catalonia has its own postal fees that my friends from other parts of Spain are unfamiliar with—similar packages to friends in other cities arrived with no fees. I have asked my Spanish friends, and they don’t have an explanation. Perhaps someone on the forums does?
    Yikes. I've been on the other end of this more than once! It most likely has to do with the listed value of the contents. In the UK, I have to pay duty and fees on any gift with a declared value over something that equates to around $50 USD with the current exchange rate. A relative sent me a gift with a declared value just over the threshold and I had to pay £12 in handling fees plus £12 duty on it. So even though it was around a dollar over the cut off, I paid duty on the whole value. Spain has a similar system with a similar threshold.

    If you don't think the issue was the value that you declared, it may have been a clerical error. One time I had to pay duty because the $14 was interpreted as $74. I got my money back in that case.

    I hope this helps.

  3. #3
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    Sweden
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    Yes, what you described happened to me several times in the UK. Marking it as a gift doesn’t mean no customs. My Dad sent me something where he put a value of $100 on it and I paid about 35 GBP to get it out... And, you pay duty on shipping as well as contents.

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