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Shipping Expensive Sets *warning*

Brick_ObsessionBrick_Obsession in a "Brick" house - Calgary, AlbertaMember Posts: 656
Folks, I just wanted to let you know some of the experiences I have had over the last couple of months.  I have sold some high end sets (#10179 and #10182).  For reasons unbeknown to me it appears as though the customs agents have become more ignorant than ever before.  They have a complete disregard for what is being sent.  I would urge those of you selling high end sets to reconsider any shipping across borders.  If you choose to sell across the border I encourage you to take the maximum out in insurance.  I also encourage you to take before pictures of how you packaged it and how it was received on the other end.  I have gone as far as to include letters inside my packaging to appeal to the agents, but alas, I had no idea that reading was so difficult to these people.  As you will see below, where are some examples as to how they treat items.



Rant over!  Hopefully a caution to others.
Pitfall69Farmer_JohnbobabricksAllBrickLegoboysnowhitiekiki180703catwranglermadforLEGOTheMaker37Shpadoinkle
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Comments

  • 12651265 The Great State of TexasMember Posts: 1,005
    edited July 2016
    Anything going over or coming from the border is a chance.  Then again, it's open borders in the U.S. for anything or anybody to come on over....no questions asked.
    Farmer_Johnecmo47kiki180703
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    ^Wait...There's no wall around the US?
    tamamahmkiki180703MattsWhat
  • LegoboyLegoboy 100km furtherMember Posts: 8,829
    Holy shit!

    Give me a minute, feeling sick and it's not even mine.
    bobabricksAllBrickCommanderRaabkiki180703BrickDancerAdeelZubairPenkid11
  • bobabricksbobabricks Vancouver, BC, CanadaMember Posts: 1,842
    Wow! I can't believe they would do that. I think next time the letter should be a bit more simple, "BOX IS VALUABLE, PLEASE DONT USE KNIFE", because if you think about it, these guys are going through hundreds of boxes in a given time slot, they don't exactly have the time to read notes.
  • Pumpkin_3CK5Pumpkin_3CK5 CaliforniaMember Posts: 795
    That's f*ckin' bullshit. I know it's not mine, but it makes me angry.
    Legoboykiki180703bobabricksAdeelZubair
  • FireheartFireheart Suffolk, UKMember Posts: 620
    That is criminal...
    Can I ask what side of customs was this done, sending, or receiving?. How was it sent i.e. Air freight, or via a courier?. And if it was in the receiving side, what country was this? 

    Was any paper work filed with the contents, codes etc. For customs clearance?

    p.s. I take it the buyer paid import duty first, and then found the contents in this state.. 

    Not nice, not nice at all...
  • ShibShib UKMember Posts: 5,421
    While from a collectors POV this is awful to see from a logical stand point (and having seen just how clever some drugs smugglers have become) I'm not at all surprised, often packages are sandwiched between bits of card etc and glued cleverly to look like it's just a thick card box. With contents like LEGO it'll be hard for them to be completely sure of the contents from just xrays etc.

    I mean this with no disrespect but I'd imagine a letter in the parcel asking any customs officials to not damage the box is more likely to arouse suspicion than stop them. 

    honestly I don't think there's much that can be done to prevent this, but obviously taking lots of pictures before sending and insuring stuff as best as possible is the best thing to do.
    cheshirecatbandit778catwrangler
  • klatu003klatu003 Hobbiton, Shire, Middle EarthMember Posts: 724
    Dear Fellow USA Bricksetters,
    Can you please keep your desire to make political statements in the off-topic discussion group?  I know it is hard to control your urge to demean that which you don't like, but try - it builds character.
    Thank you for your consideration,
    Klatu003  
    Jern92nicoyagomezkbenjes
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    edited July 2016
    I can fix this...

    "Klaatu! Barada! N... Necktie... Neckturn... Nickel... It's an "N" word, it's definitely an "N" word! Klaatu... Barada... N...[coughs] Okay then... that's it!"

    All is well in Hobbiton ;)

    ricecakekiki180703gmonkey76obi_gsonsofsceva
  • GeordiePaulGeordiePaul Glastonbury, CT, USAMember Posts: 599
    Klaatu! Barada! Nexo Knights?!
  • klatu003klatu003 Hobbiton, Shire, Middle EarthMember Posts: 724
    Off topic in general is a fun diversion - sniff your ponies, wave your sausages, stand by with your red things.  
    https://youtu.be/z7GlgSh2wpk 
  • ecmo47ecmo47 North CarolinaMember Posts: 2,101
    Red sausage pony, standing by....
  • ryjayryjay Member Posts: 1,001
    edited July 2016

    Ah, that sucks.....but if you are shipping art work/collectables package it accordingly...if it has glass they will drop it, if it has cardboard, they will cut it....and if you want special handling, you have to pay for it....unfortunately. 

    But what they did, they didn't have to do....but since they did, now no one is happy.

    On the shipping papers did you put down a value, and was there paper work inside to validate the value?  Sometimes customs or the shipper will open up to prove the value stated as real, and when they don't find any validation, uh-oh, they may open up everything.

  • Brick_ObsessionBrick_Obsession in a "Brick" house - Calgary, AlbertaMember Posts: 656
    So guys, as I mentioned before all precautions were taken.  The packaging by UPS stated clearly the value of the set on the invoice they placed on the box.  Inside the box were two letters letting the agent know that this was a very valuable and rare item and to handle with care.  There were copious amounts of fragile stickers placed on it.

    What I trying to drive home here is that no matter how well you pack it up, pack it in... oh wait!  Wrong thing.  No matter how well you think you have package it, there will always be a Darwin candidate that has escaped their destiny.  You run the risk of damage, so make sure you document everything and insure everything for the right amount to protect yourself.

    My #10189 (I know I had the wrong number in my original post) was man handled by the US customs.  They opened the box, they broke 2 of the 4 seals, they pealed back the covered and creased the box.  Ugh!

    My #10179 was a different case, this was done by the Canadian customs (and you all thought we were kind).  For reasons unknown to the customs superintendent, one of their employees (they have identified him) decided to inspect the box.  In doing so, clearly after watching Texas Chainsaw Massacre, he proceed to blast his box cutter into the first shipping box (there were two shipping boxes and then the actual set) ensuring that he reached China.  Long story short, he has to file a report as to his actions, I have sent in all my transactions and the copious amounts of references as to how expensive these first edition sets are.

    I am hoping to have some resolution for my buyer sometime next week.
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 14,061
    Pitfall69 said:
    I can fix this...

    "Klaatu! Barada! N... Necktie... Neckturn... Nickel... It's an "N" word, it's definitely an "N" word! Klaatu... Barada... N...[coughs] Okay then... that's it!"

    All is well in Hobbiton ;)

    Clearly, you are out of pipeweed.
    Pitfall69kiki180703gmonkey76KingAlanI
  • ryjayryjay Member Posts: 1,001
    The reason I asked about the value, I have heard of people claiming a small percent of what it is actually worth so customs/shippers never open it to inspect the accuracy of the value.  You obviously run the risk of shipping damage or a lost package altogether, but the chance it will smoothly go through customs may be better.

    This is too late now, but I dont think I'd ever do the letter thing. We will never know the cause, but something motivated the inspector to dig his knife in with a little anger


  • flordflord CanadaMember Posts: 781
    When shipping something as expensive as 10179 would it better to ship via Purolator or Fed-Ex, or would man-handling customs agents still be as likely to happen?
  • Brick_ObsessionBrick_Obsession in a "Brick" house - Calgary, AlbertaMember Posts: 656
    No matter who you ship with, they take it to a staging area.  There the courier usually opens it under the inspection of the customs.  There are times where, exporting will open it after it has passed customs and then there is even the rarer time that security will open it.  Apparently, it is security that opened it.  They all have different tape which is an indicator as to which branch they work for.

    As to stating the value of the set, I can assure you it was well north of $6000 CDN (i prefer to keep the costs personal) so there was no "trying to pull a fast one on someone".  As a seller you should always claim the true cost as you are not the one who has to pay taxes on it, the buyer is.  It would perplex me for a seller to undervalue their item.
  • xwingpilotxwingpilot UKMember Posts: 797
    Pitfall69 said:
    ^Wait...There's no wall around the US?
    Sounds like there needed to be a wall around the UCS!

    I'm here all week...

    But in all seriousness, it's frustrating to see that a valuable set has been carelessly damaged by customs. I wonder if any carriers provide a service that ensures this doesn't happen, and how much it costs (I'm assuming that customs don't routinely slice valuable art with box cutters for example).
  • LegoboyLegoboy 100km furtherMember Posts: 8,829
    There were copious amounts of fragile stickers placed on it.

     Long story short, he has to file a report as to his actions, I have sent in all my transactions and the copious amounts of references as to how expensive these first edition sets are.

    And there lies your problem.  The only time I ever see or hear that word copious used is when drugs are involved.  They thought they were onto something.
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,332

    My #10189 (I know I had the wrong number in my original post) was man handled by the US customs.  They opened the box, they broke 2 of the 4 seals, they pealed back the covered and creased the box.  Ugh!


    How would you expect them to check the contents without breaking two seals?
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    There are TV programmes about the work of various border agencies around the world. I can't help thinking that we watch those without giving a moments thought to the type of issues raised here when the parcel is something else - something for which we don't have specialised knowledge.

    We wouldn't think twice about somebody slitting open a packing case or even the actual box, and dents, scuffs, scratches and holes are all part of the shipping process anyway. Of course, we would be conditioned by the producers that it was all in a good cause - the agents are clearly seeking something dubious and therefore working to enforce the law.

    I don't know how the contents were described, but we would all be sitting there knowingly shaking our heads and saying that something wasn't right if it was described as a toy (or most other correct descriptions of a LEGO set). A toy at $6000? And just how do you send a box, anyway? Nobody ever attaches a value to a box do they?

    There are also ways of doing this properly. Many courier companies offer services where they not only ship but pack items - and if that item is just a plain, unassuming, "valueless" box, then they'll still get it there in one unpunctured piece. As they operate internationally, they'll also be able to short-circuit customs checks - or tell you if they can't. It's in their interest to get it right because, at the end of the day, it's going to cost them if they don't. Yes, there's going to be a cost attached to this sort of service, but would you really put anything else of this value in a simple padded box and then entrust it to a normal courier service?
    cheshirecat
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 14,061
    edited July 2016
    Well, I suppose the only thing you can do now is build it.  

    But I do hope you are able to recover some damages for the hack-job they did on the packaging.
  • BlueAbarth500BlueAbarth500 LondonMember Posts: 18
    Maybe, just take it out of the original shipping box? it;s pointless sending it in that anyway, anything could be inside. I'd rather just have a sealed 10179 without that outer box.
  • MatthewMatthew Cheshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 3,735
    I wonder if a metal flight case would work for items like this. Obviously it's going to push the costs up but it may signify the contents is valuable. 
  • ACWWGal2011ACWWGal2011 Member Posts: 534
    ecmo47 said:
    Pitfall69 said:
    ^Wait...There's no wall around the US?
    No, but we're considering building one while a certain presidential candidate is out of the country to stop him from coming back...
    I think you meant "her".
    No i'm pretty sure he's talking about trump. There's some of us that think he's an overrated Twit.
    Tkattkiki180703AllBrickKingAlanI
  • SprinkleOtterSprinkleOtter Member Posts: 2,751
    ecmo47 said:
    Pitfall69 said:
    ^Wait...There's no wall around the US?
    No, but we're considering building one while a certain presidential candidate is out of the country to stop him from coming back...
    I think you meant "her".
    No i'm pretty sure he's talking about trump. There's some of us that think he's an overrated Twit.
    Now, now.

    No need to put it so nicely. ;)
    Tkattkiki180703bobabricksBricklover18AllBrickKingAlanI
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 10,101
    ecmo47 said:
    Pitfall69 said:
    ^Wait...There's no wall around the US?
    No, but we're considering building one while a certain presidential candidate is out of the country to stop him from coming back...
    I think you meant "her".
    Wait, Trump is a woman?
    SprinkleOtterkiki180703bobabricks1265Bricklover18AllBrick
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 14,061
    (Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy jokester says: Hillary isn't a man?)
    oldtodd33pharmjod
  • catwranglercatwrangler Northern IrelandMember Posts: 1,890
    edited July 2016
    Me, I'm still grumbly about the time we sent a box of Christmas presents to the in-laws (as usual) in the Netherlands and it got torn apart, all the presents opened and one of them was broken. The lesson we learned? NEVER put anything aromatic in a parcel crossing international borders.

    Customs officers (or perhaps the sniffer dogs; I don't know what compounds mulled wine and particular drugs have in common as far as the canine nose is concerned) will assume there's something illegal in there, and it won't end well...
  • ecmo47ecmo47 North CarolinaMember Posts: 2,101
    ecmo47 said:
    Pitfall69 said:
    ^Wait...There's no wall around the US?
    No, but we're considering building one while a certain presidential candidate is out of the country to stop him from coming back...
    I think you meant "her".
    No i'm pretty sure he's talking about trump. There's some of us that think he's an overrated Twit.
    I was going to let the sleeping dog lie but since you brought it up again I'll respond. Trump isn't my first pick, but I'll vote for Elmer Fudd before I'd vote for the other candidate. I'll not bore you with a long diatribe against Hillary but as former holder of a Top Secret clearance, everything about the email issue stinks. I wish the general population would understand how egregious her actions were and determine that she is not qualified to lead the USA. 

    If this post makes it past the mods, I'll respond as able to any PM's but I'm done high-jacking this post. 
    bobabricksryjaypharmjodPumpkin_3CK5oldtodd33kiki180703SumoLegoGoldfreek
  • SprinkleOtterSprinkleOtter Member Posts: 2,751
    ecmo47 said:

    I was going to let the sleeping dog lie but since you brought it up again I'll respond. Trump isn't my first pick, but I'll vote for Elmer Fudd before I'd vote for the other candidate. I'll not bore you with a long diatribe against Hillary but as former holder of a Top Secret clearance, everything about the email issue stinks. I wish the general population would understand how egregious her actions were and determine that she is not qualified to lead the USA. 

    If this post makes it past the mods, I'll respond as able to any PM's but I'm done high-jacking this post. 
    To be honest, I would vote for Elmer Fudd before I vote for either candidate...
    pharmjodkiki1807031265SumoLegoBricklover18DedgeckoBumblepantsOldfan
  • flordflord CanadaMember Posts: 781
    Elmer Fudd is too lax on gun control. 
    SprinkleOtterkiki180703bobabrickskizkizAllBrickKingAlanIGothamConstructionCo
  • 12651265 The Great State of TexasMember Posts: 1,005
    edited July 2016
    flord said:
    Elmer Fudd is too lax on gun control. 

    Fudd has the right to keep and bear arms.
    Pitfall69davetheoxygenmanoldtodd33pharmjodSirBenBricklover18Farmer_John
  • bobabricksbobabricks Vancouver, BC, CanadaMember Posts: 1,842
    1265 said:
    flord said:
    Elmer Fudd is too lax on gun control. 

    Fudd has the right to keep and bear arms.
    I feel like his hunting license may be a bit sketch though...
    pharmjod
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    TigerMoth said:
    madforLEGO said:

    Wait, Trump is a woman?
    That would be a Trumpet.
    A Muppet you say?
    davetheoxygenman
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    I'm sorry @klatu003 , I must have spoke the wrong words ;)
    davetheoxygenmanklatu003
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 10,101
    I believe there is a poll out there saying that 13% of the American public would rather vote for a meteor to slam into the planet.
    Look, if people do not like one candidate then don't use that solely for a reason to vote for the other.
    I have no love for Hillary, but Trump has endorsed the use of nukes (twice now at last count), which is bad for someone who obviously has thin skin (another bad trait for someone who wants to be President). He also panders (and uses ohh so accurate internet blurbs as 'truths' to do it) to those that are angry, afraid, and that also have thin skin; not really the base you want running any country, let alone one with nukes. Those are just three of the things wrong with Trump.
    Is Hillary the best? No, she is- at best- a corp insider (and has taken large sums of money from the banks and investment firms that cause the crash in 08 and likely will cause another soon without regulation), nothing will likely change with her as president, and one has to wonder if Billy Bob really will be the one running the country from the shadows.  She is also arguably a Republican in Democrats' clothing.
    So, according to reports, one errantly put secret docs on an unsecured server.. Sounds bad right? Well when the other candidate is talking about shredding the 1st amendment (at least) and endorsing the use of nukes, then what good is either candidate, other than who could cause less damage?

    So I say that if people do not truely believe in either candidate, then go to the polls and write no confidence, undecided, or write in themselves because voting for one because they are not the other is not really an informed decision IMO.
    SprinkleOtterkiki180703MattsWhatsnowhitie
  • SprinkleOtterSprinkleOtter Member Posts: 2,751
    I believe there is a poll out there saying that 13% of the American public would rather vote for a meteor to slam into the planet.

    Did they specify if the asteroid would wipe out all life or earth, or just wipe out a building were a presidential debate is being held? I think #2 would have skewed results quite a bit. ;)
  • pharmjodpharmjod 1,170 miles to Wall Drug, USAMember Posts: 2,916
    There will be a third party candidate. It's not like those two are the only option.
  • MaffyDMaffyD West YorkshireMember Posts: 2,970
    edited July 2016
    pharmjod said:
    There will be a third party candidate. It's not like those two are the only option.
    Isn't there a Simpsons Halloween episode which covers the "third option"? Something about the American public would vote for one of two aliens before considering a third candidate.

    Ah, here it is:
    pharmjod
  • samiam391samiam391 A log cabin in PA, United StatesMember Posts: 4,374
    A lot of the discussion here, as off topic as it may be, is very intriguing. A few days ago I wrote a short article on the Trump vs. Hillary debacle and the tough decision that the US is facing in November 2016. A lot of the conversation about "Never Trump. Never Hillary" and the idea of voting for the "lesser of two evils" is the basis of the article. 

    If anyone is interested in reading it, feel free to drop me a PM and I can send it to you. I'm not sure how appropriate it would be to post it straight to Brickset. 
    pharmjodPitfall69Bricklover18
  • klatu003klatu003 Hobbiton, Shire, Middle EarthMember Posts: 724
    Does anyone think that they are influencing opinion by posting about the presidential election on this thread?  If so, you have been sniffing too many ponies.
    "Princess Twilight Sparkle is super smart and a natural born leader. She is good at helping her pony friends use their skills and talents to get the job done, while discovering new things about herself and all her amazing friends!
    She also loves to share the magic of her political leanings with new friends because her opinion is Magic!"
    Pitfall69kiki180703bobabricksstluxFurrysaurus
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    ^She's gorgeous...puts Palin to shame ;)
    bobabricks
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