US Customs question

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by frisco kid, May 10, 2016.

  1. frisco kid

    frisco kid Member

    Messages:
    1,793
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2005
    Location:
    Dallas
    Hey guys...a buddy of mine bought a guitar off eBay from a Japanese seller over a month ago. Took two weeks to land stateside and has been sitting in Customs Chicago for another two weeks. He just now got an email that he must have a customs broker to get it out??? I'm getting this all secondhand from him so i could be missing something but I've never heard of such a thing? Any advice?
     
  2. Semitone

    Semitone Member

    Messages:
    898
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2012
    Customs is a pain in the a$$.

    Usually I can just go down there by myself and file the paperwork. Then you have to go to the warehouse and get in line waiting to pick up your item ( watch out for other surprise fees all along the food chain...cash only!) There are no import duties on items for personal use. The whole system, however, is structured to wear you down and get you pay brokers, IMO. One of the few industries I've come across that wont take credit cards much of the time. It's like making three trips to the DMV ;(

    You don't need a broker, however, I have used one sometime when I am being charged $75 more or day for storage and can't afford to screw it up.

    I've even had to pay a $75 bond once, to guarantee I will pay a $4 duty fee. ( No I could not just pay the fee!) It is screwed up but you can navigate it.
     
    superrock likes this.
  3. hobbyplayer

    hobbyplayer Member

    Messages:
    1,349
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2012
    This is from the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website <https://help.cbp.gov> :

    If CBP has detained your package for some reason (for example, lack of a proper invoice, bill of sale, or other documentation, a possible trademark violation, or if the package requires a formal entry) the CBP International Mail Branch holding it will notify you of the reason for detention (in writing) and how you can get it released.

    When you have fulfilled the requirements necessary to effect release, CBP will clear the package, note how much duty is owed, and return it to the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) for delivery. Usually, you will receive notification in a matter of days, but it can take as long as 30-45 day
    As far as I can tell, this should not require a customs broker. Are you sure that your friend got an official notification from CBP itself and not just from some customs broker trolling for business?
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2016
  4. Semitone

    Semitone Member

    Messages:
    898
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2012
    By the way, isn't your friend racking up storage charges?? If it is out of inspection/fumigation...whatever, then he is probably being charged.
     
  5. frisco kid

    frisco kid Member

    Messages:
    1,793
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2005
    Location:
    Dallas
    Jeez...what a PITA! I'll turn him on to this thread....note to self, no foreign auctions!
     
  6. Semitone

    Semitone Member

    Messages:
    898
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2012
    A lot of my small stuff that I buy overseas, just shows up on my door with no issues. Stuff that arrives at the airport is usually easier than stuff that arrives by boat, IMO.

    Typical steps:

    1.) Get paperwork from freight forwarder...pay fees.
    2.) Go to customs, get cleared..no fee ( This is the easy part)
    3.) Go to warehouse, pick up goods..get a surprise fee..bring passport...yada, yada,yada

    I'm not an expert but I've gone through the process about six or seven times for personal use items.
     
    superrock likes this.
  7. frisco kid

    frisco kid Member

    Messages:
    1,793
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2005
    Location:
    Dallas
    Problem is we're in Dallas, the guitar is in Chicago.


     
  8. Chris Pile

    Chris Pile Member

    Messages:
    511
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2016
    It's not a CITES problem over the woods in the guitar, is it?
     
  9. Jay K

    Jay K Member

    Messages:
    2,189
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2011
    Location:
    Bellevue, WA
    Are you sure about this? I am no expert on the subject but thought there were import duties on items for personal use, if the item is above a certain value and from particular categories. Country of origin (i.e., manufacture) might also play a role.
     
  10. Semitone

    Semitone Member

    Messages:
    898
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2012
    I would have thought a guitar would make it straight to my door without any issue. Your friend should have some paperwork specifying why the guitar is in Chicago. You must have a letter from customs or the freight forwarder explaining why it is where it is. Somebody has to get it from the customs warehouse to your friends house obviously. I've had DHL and FEDEX take care of this in the past depending on country of origin. They provide an end to end solution.

    I am not sure how it was shipped. I live in CT and get my stuff from the local airport (e.g. JFK) or down in NJ from Port Elizabeth. The customs broker is just a small piece of the puzzle. You need a delivery company. I would guess that a customs broker could just forward it via UPS..but that is a guess.

    Bottom line is you need somebody to go to customs and clear it. If not yourself, then a friend or broker. ( not sure what paperwork would be required for a friend) In any event, You are missing information. Nothing you have said makes it sound like it is "stuck" in customs. It sounds like it is just in the warehouse waiting to be cleared and forwarded.

    I have things "stuck" for weeks to be inspected ( yes, there is an inspection fee.) (edit" stuck" is the wrong word. Sometimes this is just how long it takes to "process". I think it is the luck of the draw regarding random searches, inspections....) If it is wood, it may need to have paperwork specifying it has been fumigated....

    You don't have enough detail and info at this point. For instance, somebody got it off the plane or boat, into "Customs" It doesn't just appear. This would typically be a freight forwarder. I think they control the process, more or less. They should be telling you what you need. Most likely they will direct you to a "customs broker" but you still need to see who paid for and arranged for it to go from Chicago to Dallas.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2016
  11. Semitone

    Semitone Member

    Messages:
    898
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2012
    This is what I was told by customs directly. Multlple times I have imported items from various countries worth $5-10k. Once I paid $4. That was on a 40 foot boat imported from Sweden ( Yes that is the case where I paid the $75 "bond" to guarantee the $4 duty on something) I paid a broker in that case because I was warned that if I screw it up, the daily storage charges where going to freak me out. Never paid a duty/fee otherwise.

    Personally, the half dozen or so times I have brought stuff through customs they haven't said much of anything. Stamp it and move on. Maybe if it was alcohol, tobacco or some other such thing there might be an issue.

    A couple years ago, I imported some items from India ( about $7k). That is when i was told directly from the customs officer, there is no duty/fee whatsoever on personal use items. I think I asked him if there was a limit and he said no.

    But hey...maybe a different person gets a different answer...
     
  12. Semitone

    Semitone Member

    Messages:
    898
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2012
    By the way, the boat did cost me about $25K to ship but only $4 of that was for customs ( This was in 2001). That is why some of this stuff cracks me up.
     
  13. iced_earth

    iced_earth Supporting Member

    Messages:
    365
    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2009
    What I'm missing here is how was the guitar shipped? I've ordered guitars directly from Japan that took 5 days or less to my door. It seems the seller/shipper screwed something up and now your friend has to deal with it. Maybe there was no paperwork attached to the shipment?
     
  14. Semitone

    Semitone Member

    Messages:
    898
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2012
    I agree with iced_earth. A guitar is small enough that I would have thought it would go pretty smoothly, particularly from Japan. I've bought a lot of things on eBay and had them shipped from overseas. Never had a problem.

    I would be curious what really happened and the outcome. Might help keep me out of trouble sometime in the future.
     
  15. Ron Kirn

    Ron Kirn Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,240
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2006
    Free trade... ain't it great?

    Ron Kirn
     
    Cal Webway, Summa and superrock like this.
  16. Orville Greco

    Orville Greco Member

    Messages:
    418
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2008
    Location:
    Japan
    You really need to find out HOW it was shipped, if the shipper in Japan used EMS it should sail through like no bodys business & if you read threads on here shipping from Japan is almost ALWAYS fast!

    I will take a guess & they used a courier, DHL or UPS & when it got stateside the courier didn't have the consignee in their files so its being tied up & they are likely going to charge you brokerage or pawn if off for the consignee to sort on their own..................
     
  17. HerrRentz

    HerrRentz Member

    Messages:
    2,189
    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2010
    Location:
    Midwest
    The first pair of Meindl boots I bought from Germany was tied up in Chicago for nearly three weeks while they dragged their sorry asses to get my package through.

    Bastards.
     
    ef_in_fla likes this.
  18. frisco kid

    frisco kid Member

    Messages:
    1,793
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2005
    Location:
    Dallas
    Thanks for the replies...my friend contacted eBay for advice and they told him the seller was responsible for getting the guitar through customs and delivering to his house. They've started a claim for him. He got a great deal but not sure i would go through all the hassle to save a few hundred bucks...it's Gibson Johnny A. Signature that he paid $2500.
     
  19. frisco kid

    frisco kid Member

    Messages:
    1,793
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2005
    Location:
    Dallas
    Here's shipping info from the auction:
    Shipping
    We only ship to PayPal registered address.
    Service: EMS
    Tracking URL: Japan Post

     
  20. Masa

    Masa Member

    Messages:
    331
    Joined:
    May 5, 2007
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Is it luck? Or, lack of paper works by the seller?

    I've bought a couple of guitars from Japan and one from Hong Kong. They were $2,000 to $3,000. The sellers shipped by EMS, and I received the guitars in 3 or 4 days, and the shipping was only $150 or so. Didn't need to pay for the customs.

    Last year, I bought a $12,000 classical guitar from a dealer in England. It came in 3 days. I thought I got lucky again. But, a week later, FedEx told me that I needed to pay the customs, about $1,000, so I paid. Then, a couple of months ago, California Tax guys mailed me, and said they were notified by the customs about the guitar, and I owed them the use tax. I paid another $900 or so, when I filed the income tax return. The guitar just got more expensive!
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice