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  • personal cosmetics purchase stuck in customs

    Hi all,
    I made an online purchase of some cosmetics and they are being held in customs because they say I need an import license, permission from BPOM, etc. The relevant law seems to be this: http://www.mondaq.com/x/258914/inter...into+Indonesia

    Is there any way I can get them to recognize it's a personal purchase? Not an import? Is this just a shakedown? should the vendor be on the hook and not me? Mostly I don't want to go in person to the port to figure this all out. It's just cosmetics and grooming products. But I'd like to have it.

    Rebecca

  • #2
    What is the shipping method? Not Kantor Pos, I assume. They have pretty straightforward customs duty, no delay.

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    • #3
      Fedex. Fedex was the one to call me and tell me I'd have to come in person and apply for an import license etc. That was kind of disheartening since I would hope their job would be to cut through that tape for me. I'm sure it cost enough to ship!

      Rebecca

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      • #4
        They used to cut thru red tape and inform you of a fixed customs fee. I once naively had them handle the return of a dead computer peripheral. Free under warranty, but the cost of shipping was more than buying a non-OEM locally.

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        • #5
          Are there any ingredients that are "unusual" by Indonesian standards (which accept tons of local jamu, ramuan, etc.)? That might be the key factor.

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          • #6
            I've been having issues lately with items ordered overseas... It's a real hit and miss. I get a feeling that the customs are lining their pockets as much as possible before the presidential elections and uncertain future for them.

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            • #7
              It's literally makeup. one eyeliner, one moisturizer, one concealer, one lipstick. It's brands that I can't get in Indonesia but it's clearly not a "business" order since there are about 5 items one of each.
              I was afraid you'd say that about lining their pockets. If I knew how much it would take and who to pay, and it wasn't a crazy amount, I'd go pay but it seems really dicey. I could have 5 different people hitting me up for more than the shipment is worth.

              I'm thinking maybe it's best to cancel the order. If it gets put into storage or something won't I be liable to pay for the storage as well?

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              • #8
                It may have caught their eye because it will be perceived as "luxury" brands. So maybe they just see dollar signs. But there's nothing weird in the ingredients. Unless anti-aging stuff is considered suspect? It's not botox or anything medical.

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                • #9
                  Talk to FedEx HQ. Maybe they have handled it before, can tell you what actual duty is.

                  Customs fees can be subject to negotiation if not written down on the package/airway bill.

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                  • #10
                    Get back to fedex, tell them they are being ridiculous. Ask them to double check the papers and that it is merely a personal cosmetics order of what ever the value is and that anyone with an IQ over 10 could see that a lippy & eyeliner is hardly "importing" in trade trade sense of the word. Be assertive and see if they back down.
                    I had some similar issues with DHL... and eventually it all got resolved, I had to wait a while... but it could just be someone out there looking for a lil injection of cash, or a genuine error made by a new employee... tell them you want an explanation in writing or something, on official Fed-ex paper or you want to speak to the manager....
                    Cicak Magnet

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                    • #11
                      I found this, it looks like we cannot import cosmetics, for individual use.

                      http://www.bcsoetta.net/v2/article/p...tingan-pribadi

                      And I am not sure if the courier service can help or not.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by whatever View Post
                        I found this, it looks like we cannot import cosmetics, for individual use.

                        http://www.bcsoetta.net/v2/article/p...tingan-pribadi

                        And I am not sure if the courier service can help or not.
                        How ludicrous!
                        Things happen for a reason...

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                        • #13
                          I used to help my friend source and order cosmetics, arrange import for him 2-3 years ago. Also pet foods for friend's pet shop. But some time in 2013 our shipping forwarder told us we can't import those items again unless have a license. My friend already had an API for import, and he checked for apply an add'l documents for cosmetics will cost around 80 jt. at that time. The license usually valid for one year. Since its not worth it for small business, so we decided not to import any more.
                          BTW, according to our forwarder that is including pet foods, not only human foods.

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                          • #14
                            Just experienced the same exact issue last month when purchasing A TUBE of face serum from Korea.
                            (one single tube, people)

                            I tried explaining to the Customs people that it is a personal purchase.
                            Even contacted BPOM to get a permission letter.
                            BPOM insists they don't issue permission letters for individuals to import cosmetics even for personal use.
                            Customs insists they could not release the goods without a letter from BPOM.
                            I gave up.

                            A month later (last week) I received a letter instructing me to go to a post office near my place and redeem the goods.
                            The letter and tax/fee quoted is official.
                            So I guess somebody decided they don't want the hassle of sending the goods back to Korea.
                            So went to the post office, paid the fee, and received my serum without any questions asked.

                            Additional info : I contacted my online shop vendor and said they experienced same issue with several Indonesian customers after me.
                            So the next shipment to Indonesia they marked as "gift" instead of "merchandise".
                            And never heard of any issues.
                            So if you do decide to send back the goods and have the sender re-send it to Indonesia, might be good to try that trick.

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                            • #15
                              That trick is actually standard and important in a lot of countries, because some bureaucrats follow the rules strictly: merchandise = something a retailer buys in order to resell, so tax is applicable.

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