January 21st, 2005

Calvin pissed off

(no subject)

A week and a half ago I placed an order with a UK company for some books about ships - one about the history of the Orient Line, and a couple about Scandinavian ships and shipdesign. They cost somewhere around, say, US$125-130, paid online. Yesterday I found in my mail a letter - a bill, in fact. In it a company based in Oslo confirms that the parcel with the books has arrived in Norway, and would I please pay them US$65 within ten days, for clearing the parcel through customs, or my books would return to Great Britain. On the specification in the bill, I found that the sum is made up of a US$24 fee for customs clearing, 25% VAT on the same fee, and US$34 to the company in "expenses". The absurd thing is that I won't be actually paying import-duties - I am paying this for someone to verify that these are in fact books that are excempt from import-duties.

I have not yet managed to get in touch with the company that holds my package - that must be tended to over the weekend, as they seem to require my personal number (equivalent to a US social security number) to be able to get me the parcel. There seems to be a possibility of clearing it myself, but I fear this qould require shelling out hundreds of dollars on flying to Oslo. If these books had been available through Amazon, I'd have ordered them there - Amazon-books are just rubberstamped the whole way through customs, and I never have to pay a fee (just today I got schoolbooks worth US$200 in the mail from Amazon, with no fee). There are limits to what even Amazon can stock, though.
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