Thursday, July 18, 2013

Hostage Care Package

I had another run-in with Czech customs.  About three weeks ago, I received an e-mail from customs in Prague.  They had a package addressed to me but in care of my work address.  According to the customs form, the box contained a t-shirt (which equals clothing) and customs wanted to make sure that this package was for personal use and not a commercial transaction.

I replied back that it was for personal use and confirmed that the package should be sent to my work address.  About a week later I was informed that I had mail at work.  But what I received was a letter from the customs office.

The offending product
Apparently, when my package was red flagged the office opened it.  Inside the box they found a 20 oz (567 g) bag of crumbled bacon.  Who knew that this was such a big no no?  I was issued a letter that stated that it is illegal to import meat products in to the European Union.  The offending product would be destroyed and that I had to pay for the "destruction".  I had to inform the post office if I still wanted the remaining contents or if I wanted everything returned to sender. 

Just like before, I had two choices.  I could go to the main office in Prague to claim my package in person.  Or I could complete a power of attorney form, everything would be handled for me (for a higher fee) and I would receive my package in Brno.

I had to pay 180 Kč ($9.50) for the customs clearance and administrative fee.  I also had to pay another 900 Kč ($47) to have my bacon bits "destroyed".  Next time, I'm gonna' have someone put it in a suitcase and hand deliver it.

The lesson learned here was to never put clothing items on the customs form because then the government was its VAT.  On the bright side, I love my new In-N-Out t-shirt.  Thanks Mom and Dad!!  

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