Tuesday, March 06, 2007
It's always been my impression that countries of the world encourage people to conduct business, not prevent it. Which is why I lost my composure a bit recently with a local logistics company in Austria. I recently received a small, 4.5 kg box filled with my used clothes from the US via FedEx. My dad paid the shipping fees and declared on the invoice the value of the used clothes at $10 , so far so good. Until a local logistics carrier got involved and all hell broke loose. The local provider charged me $57 to receive the box. When I asked why, I was told the fee was to pay for them to open the box and confirm that what I declared was accurate. HUH? I smartly confirm, "So I declare what's in the box and then I have to pay you to verify that I didn't lie?" He replied, "correct." My head is spinning at this point, but it gets worse. Then the provider goes on to explain that I would have been better off lying and declaring that two music CDs were in the box with a value of $25, which wouldn't require a need to open the box, thus eliminating the "open" fee and only requiring me to pay a $5 tax. At this point I told him to find a new job because his company will be out of business with advice such as this. This is the dumbest thing I have heard in a long, long time. Sad, but true.