How do I get more info from US Customs about a stopped package?
April 20, 2010 7:33 AM Subscribe
UPS says that US Customs has stopped a package being sent to me from Hong Kong and it is going to be destroyed, but they won't tell me how to contact Customs directly. Is something fishy going on here?
posted by Menthol to law & government (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I ordered a digital camera from a company based in Hong Kong recently, which was shipped UPS. I got the tracking number and things seemed fine until last Friday, when the UPS tracking website showed a "NON-CUSTOMS GOVERNMENT AGENCY HOLD." Never having ordered anything outside the US before, I am not sure if this is standard or what, so I just wait.
I came home a few days later to find a phone message from UPS telling me that US Customs has stopped my package because it contains "jammers," and they are going to either destroy it, or, I can ask them not to, in which case they will seize it anyway, "blacklist" me (whatever that means), and then destroy it.
I then called UPS back and spoke with a woman about the situation. I asked what exactly was in the package and the woman said it was just described as "jammers," and suggested it may be cell phone or GPS jammers. I explained that that is strange, as I ordered a camera. I asked if I could contact Customs directly but she said she was not allowed to give out that information. I then asked her how I could get some sort of proof or documentation of what exactly is in this package and she suggested that I send her an e-mail which she would forward on to Customs. However, she kind of gave me the impression that she didn't think I was going to get the response I wanted (or any response at all).
I sent the e-mail anyway, requesting that they make sure the package in question really did contain these "jammers," and if so to do with them whatever they wanted, but please forward me some documentation, or a case number, or a picture, or some other proof (and of course if they discover they are in error to please send me my camera).
I also e-mailed the company that shipped the package. They responded right away and assured me that their records indicated that I had bought the camera and that is what they shipped. They offered to send me a replacement item if I was willing to pay an additional $24 for alternate shipping, but I am reluctant to do so until I hear more from UPS/Customs.
My question is, does something seem wrong here? Is it weird that UPS wouldn't give me contact information to talk to Customs directly about it? Should I be talking directly with Customs? If so, who do I call? Am I being scammed somehow (I paid via PayPal so I am pretty confident I will get a refund, but still). What is going on?