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Could my necklace have been taken by customs
March 31, 2014 12:02 PM   Subscribe

I recently made an online purchase for a necklace made with a bird skull, shipped from the UK to the U.S. Seller said it shipped on March 17, and general guidelines seem to be 5-7 days for items to arrive here from the UK (which has been my experience with other mailed items in the past). However the package hasn't arrived yet and I'm wondering if it was delayed by customs.

My question is: Are there customs laws which disallow the shipment of animal bones (just regular bones, not ivory, not rare, or antique) from the UK to the U.S. -- if they are incorporated in jewelry? I'm starting to wonder if the package was seized along the way. And if customs does seize mail, is the intended recipient in the U.S. notified, and are there any sort of penalties? Google searches were inconclusive. Thanks!
posted by cuddles.mcsnuggy to Society & Culture (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I've only had limited experiences with customs seizing things, but the experience went- its delayed, opened, and either the package was sent from customs, or a letter sent saying what they seized, why, and how I could pick it up (I think for a small fee). I declined to pick it up. I think the letter showed up 2-4 weeks after the shipment was due.

As for the law, I suppose it could be protected species or agricultural protection type laws.
posted by Jacen at 12:14 PM on March 31


It might still be in transit, or it may have been lost, damaged or mis-addressed. The seller might be lying. You really have no way of telling or finding out. My experience is that Customs seem to scrutinize stuff from the US more than from, say, Japan.

Give it 30 days.
posted by epo at 12:41 PM on March 31


epo, the OP said this thing was going TO the U.S. shipped 3/17 frequently means it was picked up by the carrier 3/18, 13 days ago, i'd give it another week before i panicked.
posted by bruce at 12:52 PM on March 31


Apologies, my reading comprehension seems to be off today.
posted by epo at 12:54 PM on March 31


Shouldn't there be a carrier tracking number you can use to check on its status? FedEx, USPS, UK Post Office, UPS, DHL, all those carriers use tracking numbers. The seller should be able to give you a tracking number?
posted by Wretch729 at 12:58 PM on March 31


I recently had a package from the UK show up a month after I had given it up for lost - about 6 weeks after being sent. No idea what happened, but it's still possible it might turn up! (I think it was Royal Mail and USPS handling it).
posted by chocotaco at 1:20 PM on March 31


Yes, this is regulated.

And yes, if discovered without proper paperwork, it would likely be destroyed. It's actually heavily regulated even within the United States. As far as I know, no, you won't be prosecuted, unless you were a dealer or it seemed suspicious. I am not sure if they would even notify you.

It's also possible it is just delayed and will slip through the cracks.
posted by umwhat at 1:24 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


I make jewelry from animal parts (mostly bird in fact) and yes they ask specifically if you're shipping animal parts, even within the US. Bird parts in particular are heavily regulated in my experience (history of birds going extinct/nearly extinct for feathers, migratory bird treaty, etc) but also because animal/animal part trafficking is HUGE.

If your seller declared what the item was and it could be verified if/when they checked, you will likely still receive it. In my experience you will not be informed if your package does not make it through customs. Occasionally they will return it to the sender, but with animal parts that is not as likely (I've seen that happen with out of country friends who were mailing other things to the US, like food). I only ship my pieces internationally when specifically requested, I make the buyer do the work on checking about customs regulations in their country before I agree, and I still let them know that it might not make it through. I hope your seller at least explained some of that to you.
posted by primalux at 2:46 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


I don't know anything about the rules for shipping stuff, but in my experience two weeks for shipping from overseas can be optimistic. Sometimes stuff shows up in only a week, and then sometimes it takes several more for absolutely no discernible reason.
posted by Sequence at 5:15 PM on March 31


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