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Thread: Quarantine charges twice for incorrect labelling on packaging!

  1. #1
    Member Carol B's Avatar
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    I live in Adelaide, Australia and recently purchased some fabric from an online store in the US. This is the second time I have purchased from this store. When I received the first package which consisted of fabric only the package was labelled as "art and craft set". This incorrect labelling meant that when it went through quarantine in Australia it was flagged and checked at a cost to me of $43.70. I was pretty peeved but thought...oh well with all the fabric I have purchased it is probably my turn to have a random check. Then yesterday after receiving another package from the same online store, what do you know it happened again...another bill for $43.70 for the quarantine office to check the package.
    I phoned the Quarantine Department and spoke to the Officer who had checked the package to ask why this had happened twice and he said it was because it was labelled "art and craft set" and it may contain insects, bark or some item which would not be allowed into the country. When I asked if it had been Xrayed first he said yes, however they are required by law to site all the contents. He explained that if it had been labelled fabric and sewing thread (which is what was in the package) it would not need to be checked.
    So, bottom line is I sent an email to the company, explained what had happened, and asked them to please label all future packages to reflect its contents and not use a default label.
    Hope it works. I have ordered yards and yards of fabric and never had an issue. I will make a request in futuere for all packages to be labelled as fabric etc. so I don't continue to incurr this extra cost.

  2. #2
    Super Member Jennifer22206's Avatar
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    oh wow. I'm so sorry that you had to pay extra! I hope the company does follow your wishes.

  3. #3
    Junior Member Grama Chris's Avatar
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    A friend of mine that lives in Ontario, Canada, we exchange pkgs every month. When I send things to her I HAVE TO LABEL EVERYTHING, when she sends me things all she puts down is ARTS & CRAFTS. You would think with all that is going on in this world ALL countries would have to have the same labeling. Furthermore, I use the free boxes from the P.O. & she can use an plain manilla envelope, go figure :(

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    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    How ignorant of the store to not know this way of labeling for Australia if they ship there. All it takes is some research to find out the rules and to make sure the employees handling the orders know. If the extra money it cost you came out of their pay, they would remember. I bet if your payment had to be labeled a certain way they would be quick to make sure it was!

  5. #5
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    wow, expensive lesson. and thanks for spreading the word to all

  6. #6
    Moderator sharon b's Avatar
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    I use to ship out packages internationally and never heard of this - THANKS for sharing with us- and I am sure the shop will work with you , the employees probably never heard of the extra fees either- as a reminder when you order again - put in a message requesting the label read fabric only. I know you sent them the message now , but it is hard to keep all the countries straight :lol:

  7. #7
    Super Member Favorite Fabrics's Avatar
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    Hmmm... I suppose what is used for "arts and crafts" could vary by country. We would not be thinking bark or insects for crafts here in the US. More like paint, pens, plastic stuff...

  8. #8
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    Wow. That's a lot of money for someone to ex-ray and/or open a package.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Crabby Patty's Avatar
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    If the company accidentally "forgets" to label it correctly the next time you order could you not refuse the pkg? I'll bet the next time they will remember to do it right. Sorry for you. Good luck.

  10. #10
    Senior Member LLWinston44's Avatar
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    Omg!! That is terrible!!!

  11. #11
    Super Member sewbeadit's Avatar
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    Wow, you could have had a lot of fabric for what those packages cost you. So sorry this has happened.

  12. #12
    Super Member orangeroom's Avatar
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    Wow! That stinks! Good for you for investigating this and getting to the bottom of it. Good luck with future packages.

  13. #13
    Super Member Rebecca VLQ's Avatar
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    WoW! Would have never thought of that!

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    I've been sending care packages to my daughter who lives in Madrid for over a year now. Never did she have a tariff to pay for anything until the last shipment. Then, it got caught and she paid the equivalent of US$50. That was almost more than the package was worth!she could not get any explanation about why the charge was incurred. I think often it depends on luck and other times, who is behind that particular window on that day.

  15. #15
    Super Member Annaquilts's Avatar
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    Ugh!!!!! So sorry this happened.

  16. #16
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    I would email that company again and get your money back. in fabric would be good....
    seriously, email them. companies must learn and when the learning cost them money, they learn quickly.

  17. #17
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    When you order again, make sure that you place a comment on the order in CAPS. That will be a current reminder of how to label the order. I've always had good luck with comments.

  18. #18
    Senior Member doll-lady's Avatar
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    that is expensive. it is a shame you had to pay that for them just to look.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Crafter
    When you order again, make sure that you place a comment on the order in CAPS. That will be a current reminder of how to label the order. I've always had good luck with comments.
    Sounds like a good reminder for them on how to label that way if they label wrong you might be able to talk them into sending you something for your loss and trouble especially if you are a repeat customer.

  20. #20
    Super Member Raggiemom's Avatar
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    I'm sorry you had this happen to you twice, hopefully they'll label it correctly the next time you order from them.

  21. #21
    QKO
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    Super Member QKO's Avatar
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    Makes me happy that all our packages going overseas are labeled "Fabric" or "Sewing Supplies."

  22. #22
    Super Member Favorite Fabrics's Avatar
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    Likewise for us, too! Since all we sell is fabric, that's what the contents are listed as on the Customs forms when we do the shipping.

    But I'm very glad that this issue was brought up here on the forum. There are probably lots of members who ship this-or-that internationally, and it's helpful to know that if shipping to Australia, you won't want to label a package "arts and crafts supplies"!

  23. #23
    Super Member Favorite Fabrics's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BellaBoo
    How ignorant of the store to not know this way of labeling for Australia if they ship there. All it takes is some research to find out the rules and to make sure the employees handling the orders know.
    Ummm... I'm probably going to get in trouble for saying this - and I hope you won't be upset with me, BellaBoo! - but it isn't quite that simple.

    You could be diligent and do your research, and come up with "the facts" as they are in October 2011, but that doesn't mean that the rules won't change at some point in the future. And how would you even know that the rules had changed? You would have to keep checking, every so often. How often? Monthly? Yearly? Then multiply that by the number of countries that you are shipping to.

    At least with Australia, their Customs website (or whatever it is properly called) would be written in English. But... in our case, we have shipped to Norway, and Thailand, and Italy (and dozens of other countries)... and I don't speak any of those languages. I know there are online website translators but I would not assume that they would do such a good job that I could rely on the translation to be perfectly accurate, or even good enough for me to base my business procedures around their results.

    I think it's probably expecting too much of a merchant, to expect the merchant to be fully informed of the intricacies of Customs/Duty laws in all countries.

    Perhaps what is best, is to say that in the course of doing business, anytime something "goes wrong", it means that you have just encountered a LEARNING EXPERIENCE. When that happens, you have a chance to educate yourself (as a merchant or a shopper). And then you can change your procedures: fill out the Customs forms differently (merchant) or add instructions/comments to your order (shopper).

    Now that I think about it... the concept of "Learning Experience" applies to pretty much all of life, not just business transactions.

    It keeps us all growing, stretching, listening, refining... and getting better all the time! :)

    I'm very glad that Carol B shared her experience with us, so that all of us who read about it could learn from it.

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