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Old December 31st, 2008, 10:04 AM   #1
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US Customs holding my order

For those not on the Sony EX CineAlta forum, Ross Herewini of e-films developed an adaptor to allow the EX series cameras to use SDHC cards. In the first hours the store opened I ordered 2 adaptors via Airmail registered (signature required) delivery.

US Customs received the cards (shipped from Hong Kong apparently where manufacturer is based) on Dec. 24 and has been holding them since. Others in the same region as me ordering at the same time and same method of delivery have received their adaptors.

I've contacted the US Post Office and they can't give me any information on why they're being held or when (if?) they will be released. e-films (based in Australia) has also contacted the US Post Office and couldn't glean much more information.

At this point I have no more access to information. Frustrating is that the US Post Office apparently isn't being told why this extra delay or even how long it will be. One would hope that if US Customs actually had serious questions about the content (after inspecting XRAY, MRI, whatever else they do) they'd contact either e-films or myself with further questions.

In addition, if US Customs can do this, without explanation or timeline, it makes it difficult for me to order many pieces of gear only available outside the American continent. That's a significant negative impact on this small business.

Heck, I'd be willing to go to the location holding the device (just a short drive for me) if US Customs wanted to question me or open the package in front of them. I'd even settle for some definitive statement as to any issue or potential release date.

Has anybody else experienced this? Do I have any recourse to get any info?
Craig Seeman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 31st, 2008, 10:16 AM   #2
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Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do with the situiation but wait it out. I have shipped gears to the USA from Canada and the best way for us is to use a Custom Broker, each gear should have an HC number, etc, etc and it's a pain doing it yourself.

They do spot checks for small items, and unfortunately yours got picked. You can thank the Holidays for the delay but Im sure Customs will clear it eventually.
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Old December 31st, 2008, 10:25 AM   #3
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If they've decided to "frisk search" my order so be it. What peeves me is that if they're "checking" anything you'd think they'd contact me or e-films for info or at least say "it'll take x time for us to come to a determination."

It's as if they're doing no "checking" at all. In the "information age" how long does it take to "check" something? If they showed signs of "doing something" at least I'd know things were moving to a conclusion of some sort. I have to make a business decision about my purchases which are often done with lead time for specific jobs or business plains.
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Old December 31st, 2008, 10:28 AM   #4
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Have you called US Customs? You might get somewhere with them. I've not had any problems like this in the past so I don't know what else to advise.

-gb-
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Old December 31st, 2008, 10:50 AM   #5
 
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Craig...

I've not received my order, placed at the same time as you did. I'm assuming US Customs is holding it, as well.

Best,
Bill
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Old December 31st, 2008, 11:18 AM   #6
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Hi Bill,
e-films can send you a tracking number. Use the tracking number as USPS website and it'll show when and where the customs office is that's holding it.

One issue is that US Customs does NOT contacting either the sender or potential recipient that the item is being held. In effect it would be "lost in the mail" except that of course the US Post Office knows it's being held, which is what the tracking number will reveal.

Apparently the US Post Office is not informed of a reason or a timeline.
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Old December 31st, 2008, 09:52 PM   #7
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This is why companies use expediters through US Customs for important bits. The Postal Service will be of less service to you than Customs. Call them and give them the PS tracking number. It may help, it may not in this post Sept 11 world. Your gear could be held up for 30 days. Longer if they think it's "suspicious". A call could move things along. Squeaky wheel and all that. If you call, be as sweet as pie. Sweeter. Give them a toothache.
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Old January 1st, 2009, 12:50 AM   #8
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Thanks Tripp,

Seven days after being held at customs at the local airport in Queens, New York not too far from me, today they've been sent to Richmond Virginia.

It's just an adaptor card for my camera. Hundreds of people ordered these if not more and they've already gotten them delivered.
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Old January 1st, 2009, 01:28 AM   #9
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That's weird Craig, I live in staten island and got my cards with no problem.
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Old January 1st, 2009, 01:32 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Seeman View Post
Thanks Tripp,

Seven days after being held at customs at the local airport in Queens, New York not too far from me, today they've been sent to Richmond Virginia.
doesnt the CIA have a big counterterrorism office in Richmond?
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Old January 1st, 2009, 11:19 AM   #11
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Lou, I know many people in the New York City metro area who have already received the cards. Either through random chance or inspection, customs have decided these cards may well be dangerous unless they have suspicions about the shipper or receiver in question.

If they have any suspicions they certainly have NOT contacted either the shipper or myself about this. If I hadn't actually checked the tracking I would have thought they were lost in the mail. Even checking the tracking gives NO indication as to what's happening. It simply lists that it's moving from city to city which doesn't seem to have anything to do with post offices. It was my call to the post office which finally resulted in telling me that US Customs is holding the package.

Allen, I wouldn't doubt it. But you'd think that I or the shipper would have gotten the "knock at the door" by now. Federal Department of Commerce and Federal Department of Small Business Administration are also in Richmond VA.

I'd love to see what's happening to Bill Ravens' package.

Last edited by Craig Seeman; January 1st, 2009 at 11:51 AM.
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 11:01 PM   #12
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Apparently they sent them BACK to New York right after arriving in Richmond Virginia either late night Dec 31 or New Years Day. I've never seen anything like that before (shipping on a holiday) even if they mistakenly sent them 400 miles to Virginia rather than 8 miles to my local post office. So the cards took an 800 mile round trip in one day. They arrived early Jan 2nd.
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Old January 4th, 2009, 09:11 PM   #13
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It's great that you got them at last.

I often bring various kinds of equipment into the US from Japan and have had stuff held up at customs in Anchorage AK. I always have them shipped FedEx and FedEx has been pretty good about contacting me and helping to get the shipments cleared. I wouldn't expect much of the Post Office, though.

I've also gotten sales tax demands from California (where I used to live) because Customs reports the declared value of the shipments to the destination state. In my case, the sales tax would have been several thousand dollars, even though the shipments were no charge evaluation units that had been returned to Japan. Long dance with the infamous California Franchise Tax Board and Fedex etc, but in the end I didn't have to pay.
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