"IMEX" Express Office in Buenos Aires - an interesting experience / cowboy setup

CPixie

Registered
Just had the joy :rolleyes: of dealing with a local express service. Here's my experience (so far) in a nutshell. Any advice & opinions appreciated! (I had help from an Argentinian friend with this, for his Spanish is of course way better than mine).
Also: I'm here as a tourist & intend to continue travelling towards Colombia in a few weeks.


Two weeks ago I had something sent via DPD (dpd.com) from Germany to Argentina.
After 3 days it arrived at IBC (DPD's contractor), 2 days later it was in Buenos Aires at IMEX (IBC's contractor). So I'm dealing with a contractor of a contractor right now, which I'm sure you can imagine can be complicated...

Anyway...

The initial sender had written my Argentinian mobile number on the outside of the package. Still, IMEX didn't contact me. 2 days and 7 phone calls later, I finally got the number for IMEX in Buenos Aires. (DPD in Germany didn't have it - that would've been too easy. So I had to find out about IBC in Miami).

When I finally spoke to IMEX here in BA, they said they tried to contact me via a number they found in the telephone book and spoke on the answer machine (I never was in the phone directory). Again: Looking at the package would have been to easy... (And yes, the package is in the IMEX office, NOT in customs)

Good that we finally talk to each other. You need to pay $250 dollars tax when you pick up your parcel"
What? Why so much, shipping + item value is only $244
Yes. What's the content of the package?
It's a refurbished spare part for a motorcycle.
That's probably why. Refurbished parts are not allowed to be sent into Argentina by courier services.
I can't pay that much for something that is only worth 100 Euros!
OK let me speak to customs and call you back.

1h later:
OK - We can reduce the bill by US$50.
Still, US$200? Can you please send me the AFIP/ADUANA bill?

30 minutes later I get 2 bills. One looks OK (with AFIP header), the other looks a bit random & steep (without header, but an AFIP number which is different to the first one.
Also, in the tracking system it says "Customer refuses to pay taxes, shipment on hold".
Now: I NEVER said I don't want to pay the taxes. I just asked for the bill!!

We phone customs. After 30 minutes of discussion, customs says the bill should be lower than the claimed US$200.

We phone IMEX in BA. After another 30 minutes they admit that it should only be $50 for taxes, but the rest is "handling charges" in Argentina. $150 for handling charges? You gotta be kidding.

4 days later, after we phoned between DPD (Germany), IBC (US/Miami) and IMEX (Argentina), we're told by Miami that "the package was handled as "Express" instead of "Cargo" because refurbished items can't be handled as cargo, and you have to pay for the erxpress charges. This is the way it is, nothing else we can do.
My reply:"The contract is between DPD Germany and me. And according to DPD, the price I paid in Germany includes the door-to-door service. Basically everything apart from customs."

So we're going from $250 to $200 for tax, down to "err.. yes... err. it's only $50 tax but $150 handling charges - used parts are best sent by Correo Argentino" to "we had to handle it as express goods, used parts are not allowed to be handled as cargo".

So this is the way things stand at the moment. I'm DESPERATELY(!) trying to facilitate a direct communication channel between Germany and Buenos Aires, instead of going through the subagent in Miami.... but it doesn't seem to be possible.

Problem is:
I don't know who's the boss of who. 3 different sub-agencies, and everyone is referring me to "the other agent".... a nightmare! (I've made about 50 phone calls the last 7 days! Thankfully we've got Skype these days...)

Questions are:
Is it REALLY about the fact that the item is classed as a "refurbished motorcycle part"? And that this has to be handled "Express" instead of "Cargo"? (I checked ADUANA, where they mention second hand clothes. IMEX then told me that there's different regulations for Correo Argentina and for express couriers...

Is there any common sense in these rules & regulations? :confused:
Are there any offical guidelines available online for importing second hand/refurbished parts via a courier service?

What a nightmare...
 

mini

Registered
I don't know specifically about used goods thing but:

When you use a courier to send things (at least here & in Europe) you pay the courier a "broker" fee as they act as the rep between you and customs, which is ironic considering you basically worked out the tax with customs yourself.

But, I would call Germany & find out what their "broker" fee is in there. Then tell the people here you will only pay that.

However, I have a feeling your going you're not going to get away with pay them less the US$100 plus customs charges. Every thing seems to cost US$100.
 

CPixie

Registered
Well... According to DPD's Terms & Conditions, there shouldn't be a broker fee. The price paid to DPD is door to door. I've sent things express a few times –*and I've never paid a broker fee. It usually gets handled internally.

Problem is: ALL the communication goes through the subagent in the US. In other words: DPD and IMEX don't talk directly. Sometimes I wonder if we've really made it into the 21st century...

Lesson learnt. In future, I'll only send with couriers who've got a DIRECT rep / office in the destination country. (But it's hard if the manufacturer / person who sells and posts the stuff only has a contract with someone else).
 

mini

Registered
CPixie said:
Well... According to DPD's Terms & Conditions, there shouldn't be a broker fee. The price paid to DPD is door to door. I've sent things express a few times –*and I've never paid a broker fee. It usually gets handled internally.

Problem is: ALL the communication goes through the subagent in the US. In other words: DPD and IMEX don't talk directly. Sometimes I wonder if we've really made it into the 21st century...

Lesson learnt. In future, I'll only send with couriers who've got a DIRECT rep / office in the destination country. (But it's hard if the manufacturer / person who sells and posts the stuff only has a contract with someone else).
You've been very lucky then if you've never paid some sort of broker/handling fee. Any of the regular couriers FedEx, DHL, etc all charge on. Does the contract actually say "this is the total price you pay door to door"? If so then your issue is with the original dispatcher.

Sorry I can't help you more.
 

SaraSara

Registered
steveinbsas said:
Yep. That's exactly what I had to pay to get my dog into the country (at EZE).
I haven't travelled with my dogs for some time, but it used to be cheaper to fly in during the week than on weekends, when SENASA inspectors get double pay.
 

CPixie

Registered
Yep, the original dispatcher clearly says "door-to-door" service. Even if it weren't, the handling charge should be a total of 20% of the value of the items.

Anyway... Good news is: After 1 week of towing & throwing and endless phone calls, I went to the IBC office on Indepedencia. And I was told I didn't have to pay anything –*not even the tax. "Germany will pay everything", I was told.
Funnily enough, I had spoken to Germany before (just before end of business-day), and according to them they were still waiting to get a detailed list of costs from Buenos Aires.

I think that IBC just 'tried it on' and gave up after a week of persistence from my side. But what gets me is that I didn't even pay any tax...
 
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