outrageous customs of Peru. Complete denial of evidence.

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matt4068
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outrageous customs of Peru. Complete denial of evidence.

Postby matt4068 » Thu May 10, 2012 12:43 pm

Hi, I'd like to tell you my story, maybe you can use it or give me advice.

I have been with my girlfriend for 4 years now in Peru and wanted to get her a ring. My girlfriend and i didn't want to get a diamond so we decided to get a diamond alternative. I heard through the internet about a stone called Moissanite. Moissanite was discovered by Henri Moissan while examining rock samples from a meteor crater located in Canyon Diablo, Arizona, in 1893. Now its made in labs and is very ethical! Also pretty much better than cubic zironica (the only thing they seem to sell here in peru) in every way.

I bought the stone at moissaniteco.com for 95 USD and decided to get it "improved" for $95 (to make it clearer and less tinted) for a total of $185. I paid $50 to get it shipped to Peru and its been at customs ever since. They refuse to believe that it is not a diamond, valuing the moissanite stone at USD $876.38. The import tax they want is 228USD for a stone that cost $185!

So what did i do? I Phoned fedex explaining that it is not a real diamond and they asked for proof. Over a month emails were sent and received demanding more and more evidence... Firstly i sent them screenshots of the website, followed by an official invoice from moissanite.com, Then my bank statement showing them how much money was removed from my bank in England (Barclays). Each time refusing to accept. After this they asked for a catalogue... No online shop has a catalogue.. why would they? everything is on the website. So moissanite wrote a letter in Spanish to them along with two articles from Wikipedia explaining what the stone is.

I would go to Lima to argue with them but it will cost me half of the tax they are asking for just to pay the bus, taxi, food.... Plus they asked for a translator as my spanish isn't excellent and fedex told me they don't speak English...

I think its unbelievable what they are doing... I don't even think they have read these documents.

I have never given so much evidence for anything in my life. I didn't even need this much evidence to get a visa for my girlfriend to visit England! People say that is hard!

What should i do?

option A)Pay 230USD for tax on a 185USD stone.
option B)Pay half of this tax to get to lima/taxis/food/translator for them to say OK, or possibly say no.

Maybe someone wants to go on my behalf? :D

regards,
Matt.


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Re: outrageous customs of Peru. Complete denial of evidence.

Postby rama0929 » Thu May 10, 2012 6:09 pm

You forgot option c, "propina" :P

Best of luck getting this resolved, with the time and effort you're putting forth, you may be better off paying the bill.
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Re: outrageous customs of Peru. Complete denial of evidence.

Postby Jimmy111 » Thu May 10, 2012 6:38 pm

Yes, best of luck.
Even with reciepts, they didnt believe me on some prices for some equipment and just plain made up the value..... Same with some 5 year old 386 computers they wanted to value at $1500......
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Re: outrageous customs of Peru. Complete denial of evidence.

Postby amigorick » Thu May 10, 2012 7:11 pm

Hate to say it but I had a similar experience once and now I'm very careful of what I bring in to Perú and always say a little prayer when hitting the green/red light button at the custom stop at the airport.

I remember sending to family in Iquitos a small box of used clothes, photos and some old sneakers plus a few other things from the US - I could have bought the whole lot at a garage sale for under $10US. But local postal customs wanted $140US in taxes. After trying to talk to someone via phone I got nowhere and finally wired my family the $140 (only because I had told them the contents of the box before hand so nothing would go missing and they were very excited to get it). That really burned me they had the contents hostage and there was nothing that I could do about it.

Now I only bring inexpensive things into the country in case of a similar issue. Luckily when moving here I did it via several trips and took my chances with the big button at the airport.

If you and your girlfriend picked the stone out and did work on it it's got to have sentimental value - if it's what you really want offer a propina, or pay the taxes (and get receipts!). Mark it up to a lesson learned.

Just my 2 céntimos ....
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Re: outrageous customs of Peru. Complete denial of evidence.

Postby captsirl » Thu May 10, 2012 8:42 pm

I don't understand.
I have some 150 shirts alone in the closet by now all shipped US Mail. Maybe 10 at a time. Most of the time to my door in San Miguel. If I missed the guy from SerPost on his bike for some reason they leave a paper giving the location to pick them up. Never have I been asked for any moneys.
And as far as shipping to the port. I had 5 complete dells potiplex gx520 monitors head set all ready for a call center. They charged me a few dollars less than $200.00 The only dumb thing was a fine for being 3 days late to pick them up. Because they were not ready for us to pick them up for 3 days. I didn't do it. I told them fine me what ever you want because I'm fining you twice that. After a few hours they suddenly realized what I meant. That turned into a wash. But really nothing unexpected for customs. in any country.
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Re: outrageous customs of Peru. Complete denial of evidence.

Postby VicManu » Thu May 10, 2012 9:41 pm

What is outrageous is that people will advice to someone else to give a propina. That's the way corruption started , huge companies like the american and canadian and french mining companies promoting corruption with the governments of every underdeveloped and developed country.
Give a copy to your girlfriend of the papers You sent to Fedex, and tell her to try with INDECOPI,
SEDE CENTRAL LIMA SUR: Calle de la Prosa 104, San Borja
Consultas y reclamos: (+511) 224-7777 Fax: (+511) 224-7800 - Anexo: 1715
http://www.indecopi.gob.pe/0/home_prote ... aspx?PFL=8

Good Luck.
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Re: outrageous customs of Peru. Complete denial of evidence.

Postby matt4068 » Thu May 10, 2012 10:53 pm

the amount of corruption in this country is sick... when one person does it, they want everyone to do it for them... Thats why they just completely abuse their power and refuse evidence. I will pay the tax and follow vicmanu's advice with INDECOPI! i hope they can do something :)

by the time i pay to get to lima and bribe them $50, i may aswell just pay the tax than let scum put it in their back pocket.

thanks for the feedback everyone :)
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Re: outrageous customs of Peru. Complete denial of evidence.

Postby rideout » Thu May 10, 2012 10:59 pm

VicManu wrote:What is outrageous is that people will advice to someone else to give a propina. That's the way corruption started .....Give a copy to your girlfriend of the papers You sent to Fedex, and tell her to try with INDECOPI ... http://www.indecopi.gob.pe/0/home_prote ... aspx?PFL=8


As much as I agree with you on this subject, unfortunately, a propina (as bad as it is to give in, is sometimes the fastest way to do it). HOWEVER, I also agree that a trip to INDECOPI may be a much better first choice. It is (surprisingly) a nice building that, from my experience, runs relatively smoothly and efficiently. Explain (or have your girlfriend explain) the situation, the INDECOPI person will document it in the system, and, if nothing is resolved in a short time, you will have a meeting with some representative from customs. As I have been through this process (though not with customs) in the past, they are essentially an arbitration entity with a (not surprisingly) strange two-system plan. They have both a free or paid option...(S/35 {at least for my issue}). We did the free one and got our charges reduced to what was agreeable to us and all was good! So, it may be worth a try!
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Re: outrageous customs of Peru. Complete denial of evidence.

Postby Scottperu411 » Thu May 10, 2012 11:58 pm

When my family was living in Trujillo, we DHL a pkg from Canada.
NyQuil cough syrup.
Tampons.
Gravy mix.
I think a tee shirt and an odd thing or two.
The DHL freight was over $100 and then it got stuck....
We were supposed to go and get some letter from some Dr. or some health authority or something.
My peruvian friend handled all the details but it came out that the tax was going to be in the $100-$200 range. The value before DHL cost was only $50 or something. I forget exactly.
We ended up telling them to throw it in the garbage. It wasn't worth throwing more many at it.
DHL has to inspect every pkg. we should've sent via post office. Serpost does not inspect every pkg we found out.
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Re: outrageous customs of Peru. Complete denial of evidence.

Postby chi chi » Fri May 11, 2012 12:56 am

rama0929 wrote:You forgot option c, "propina" :P

Best of luck getting this resolved, with the time and effort you're putting forth, you may be better off paying the bill.


They are after a propina. When you pay a propina they will suddenly accept your evidence.
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Re: outrageous customs of Peru. Complete denial of evidence.

Postby Kelly » Fri May 11, 2012 1:49 am

My advice is not to ship things via DHL/Fedex. It's so rare to hear of a smooth transaction and it's always the same thing - they want ridiculous sums of money to release packages. Vic has the right idea, call INDECOPI on them.

I've always had things shipped via US mail through SerPost and have received every package ever sent to me. I've got three bottles of Nyquil in the closet right now that my mom sent a few months back, they even inspected the box, didn't bat an eye.
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Re: outrageous customs of Peru. Complete denial of evidence.

Postby amigorick » Fri May 11, 2012 9:19 am

amigorick wrote:Hate to say it but I had a similar experience once and now I'm very careful of what I bring in to Perú and always say a little prayer when hitting the green/red light button at the custom stop at the airport.

I remember sending to family in Iquitos a small box of used clothes, photos and some old sneakers plus a few other things from the US - I could have bought the whole lot at a garage sale for under $10US. But local postal customs wanted $140US in taxes. After trying to talk to someone via phone I got nowhere and finally wired my family the $140 (only because I had told them the contents of the box before hand so nothing would go missing and they were very excited to get it). That really burned me they had the contents hostage and there was nothing that I could do about it.

Now I only bring inexpensive things into the country in case of a similar issue. Luckily when moving here I did it via several trips and took my chances with the big button at the airport.

If you and your girlfriend picked the stone out and did work on it it's got to have sentimental value - if it's what you really want offer a propina, or pay the taxes (and get receipts!). Mark it up to a lesson learned.

Just my 2 céntimos ....


I just remembered that the box that I had sent was via DHL - that could have been the reason for the large tax assessment.
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Re: outrageous customs of Peru. Complete denial of evidence.

Postby Lloyd007 » Fri May 11, 2012 9:49 am

I had a very similar experience with FedEx recently with some herbal medicine that I bought via website in the US. FedEx Lima told me to get it registered at the ministry of health and certificated (sure, as that would take less than 3 years...), plus pay another US$30 for them to deliver it to me (although that price was going up for each day it stayed with them). I told them to get lost and kicked up a storm with the supplier who shouldn't have shipped it if the product couldn't even get in to Peru, which, as a shipper, they should be aware of. I got a full refund from them and I have no idea what happened to the package.

Another option (if INDECOPI doesn't work, which it probably will anyway) is to complain to the company that sent it to you. Then, tell FedEx to send it back to where it came from and then have a friend/family member bring it later on when someone visits you in Lima coming from the UK. That is, if all else fails...!

It's ridiculous, I know, and oh how frustrating!
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Re: outrageous customs of Peru. Complete denial of evidence.

Postby Omikron » Fri May 11, 2012 10:13 am

I have used the INDECOPI free service before and had success with it.
Vicmanu provided a link, but a more direct link is this one http://www.indecopi.gob.pe/0/modulos/JE ... 0&jer=1387

I have another idea: send an email done by someone who speaks Spanish to "Caretas" and "Somos", two of the most read magazines here. They have a "letters sent by readers" section. that would embarrass customs.
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Re: outrageous customs of Peru. Complete denial of evidence.

Postby matt4068 » Fri May 11, 2012 10:54 am

rideout wrote:
VicManu wrote:What is outrageous is that people will advice to someone else to give a propina. That's the way corruption started .....Give a copy to your girlfriend of the papers You sent to Fedex, and tell her to try with INDECOPI ... http://www.indecopi.gob.pe/0/home_prote ... aspx?PFL=8


As much as I agree with you on this subject, unfortunately, a propina (as bad as it is to give in, is sometimes the fastest way to do it). HOWEVER, I also agree that a trip to INDECOPI may be a much better first choice. It is (surprisingly) a nice building that, from my experience, runs relatively smoothly and efficiently. Explain (or have your girlfriend explain) the situation, the INDECOPI person will document it in the system, and, if nothing is resolved in a short time, you will have a meeting with some representative from customs. As I have been through this process (though not with customs) in the past, they are essentially an arbitration entity with a (not surprisingly) strange two-system plan. They have both a free or paid option...(S/35 {at least for my issue}). We did the free one and got our charges reduced to what was agreeable to us and all was good! So, it may be worth a try!


I'm in trujillo, does this company work within Trujillo too? doubt i'm going to go to Lima for a meeting...

Matt
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Re: outrageous customs of Peru. Complete denial of evidence.

Postby Omikron » Fri May 11, 2012 11:00 am

matt4068 wrote:
rideout wrote:
VicManu wrote:What is outrageous is that people will advice to someone else to give a propina. That's the way corruption started .....Give a copy to your girlfriend of the papers You sent to Fedex, and tell her to try with INDECOPI ... http://www.indecopi.gob.pe/0/home_prote ... aspx?PFL=8


As much as I agree with you on this subject, unfortunately, a propina (as bad as it is to give in, is sometimes the fastest way to do it). HOWEVER, I also agree that a trip to INDECOPI may be a much better first choice. It is (surprisingly) a nice building that, from my experience, runs relatively smoothly and efficiently. Explain (or have your girlfriend explain) the situation, the INDECOPI person will document it in the system, and, if nothing is resolved in a short time, you will have a meeting with some representative from customs. As I have been through this process (though not with customs) in the past, they are essentially an arbitration entity with a (not surprisingly) strange two-system plan. They have both a free or paid option...(S/35 {at least for my issue}). We did the free one and got our charges reduced to what was agreeable to us and all was good! So, it may be worth a try!


I'm in trujillo, does this company work within Trujillo too? doubt i'm going to go to Lima for a meeting...

Matt


The "free service" is taken only by phone and/or emails so Indecopi might call you to Trujillo. They would ask for receipts and such so you should have them scanned. If there is no success, they might ask you to try the paid process which involves personal meetings. There IS though an office in Trujillo http://www.indecopi.gob.pe/0/modulos/JE ... 15&JER=655
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Re: outrageous customs of Peru. Complete denial of evidence.

Postby RICHARDandNORA » Fri May 11, 2012 11:19 am

Use a courier service. The one that I use has never had a single problem with my shipments over a period of 15 years. I believe that the current rate is $6 per pound and it arrives in Lima on a weekly bases.
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Re: outrageous customs of Peru. Complete denial of evidence.

Postby rama0929 » Fri May 11, 2012 1:07 pm

Kelly wrote:My advice is not to ship things via DHL/Fedex.


I'd have to agree; I've sent stuff down through US Mail/SERPOST and haven't had an incident yet *knock wood*
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Re: outrageous customs of Peru. Complete denial of evidence.

Postby renodante » Fri May 11, 2012 7:20 pm

yeah i sent my monitor here via fedex when i first moved here and it was a nightmare. totally incompetent and i ended up having to pay lots more even though i was assured of a certain price by the U.S rep.
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Re: outrageous customs of Peru. Complete denial of evidence.

Postby cally » Thu May 17, 2012 10:37 am

Kelly wrote:My advice is not to ship things via DHL/Fedex. It's so rare to hear of a smooth transaction and it's always the same thing - they want ridiculous sums of money to release packages. Vic has the right idea, call INDECOPI on them.

I've always had things shipped via US mail through SerPost and have received every package ever sent to me. I've got three bottles of Nyquil in the closet right now that my mom sent a few months back, they even inspected the box, didn't bat an eye.



I TOTALLY agree with this advice! Every time I have used DHL to have something sent to me, it has been a complete nightmare to get my hands on the package. It's a disgrace for a company thats supposed selling point is offering fast, secure service. And, as always, the staff are completely unapologetic about the useless service.

Meanwhile, Serport is great. Only once have I had a problem - when the postie got mugged in Chorrillos and so my package was lost. Luckily it wasn't anything too valuable that time. Countless other packages have arrived, safely and quickly, with no troubles at all.
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Re: outrageous customs of Peru. Complete denial of evidence.

Postby falconagain » Thu May 17, 2012 11:28 am

At least serpost works fine. I would count that as positive because
before you could not get anything in Peru.
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Re: outrageous customs of Peru. Complete denial of evidence.

Postby rgbjr » Thu May 17, 2012 5:08 pm

RICHARDandNORA wrote:Use a courier service. The one that I use has never had a single problem with my shipments over a period of 15 years. I believe that the current rate is $6 per pound and it arrives in Lima on a weekly bases.

Hi Would you be so kind as to post or PM me the courier service you use.
Thank you
Bobby :D
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Re: outrageous customs of Peru. Complete denial of evidence.

Postby joanjoni » Thu May 17, 2012 8:48 pm

I think something has changed lately in the customs- they act like they are not accountable to anyone.

I used to get some medicine-( herbal pills) from Canada via Serpost, directly to the door. (package under a kilo) However, a few months ago, it was different - they wanted a prescription- got it! a decree from Digimed- I sent the driver to get it , the factura- copy of my credit card statement, etc. Then they wanted $100 for the medicine which cost $36 (they said the calue was $400). I told them to keep it - no idea what happened to it. Another friend had a similar occurence and it was sent back.

Coming through the airport with my husband a few weeks ago, they taxed him for the tensionometro (the blood pressure monitor) that he was bringing in. My husband is an MD and showed his membership card in the Colegio Medico Peruano. According to the rules, you are allowed to bring in instruments for your profession. Now, if this were a machine such as the one that takes a sonogram or an electrocardiogram, etc., I could understand it - those things have to be imported and duty paid, but every MD basically has a stethoscope and BP monitor and thermometer- basic, no? Evidently no. They also taxed him on vitamins, etc- you know those bottles you get in Costco? and some other herbal pills. The tax was $180 and there was no arguing the point because they threatened to keep it all and maybe more. He asked for a breakdown- how much was the monitor, the pills, etc - they would not do it. No separate value, not even what they valued the objects as, and no mention of the tax rate, nothing... and supposedly you can bring in $300 worth of things and these did not amount to that. No fair!

Oh- and every single person got a red light - there is no such thing as luck- someone is watching. If you have several bags, you get red.

Someone should take up this problem of the aduana, but what can be done?
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Re: outrageous customs of Peru. Complete denial of evidence.

Postby asgoodasitgets » Sat May 19, 2012 10:13 pm

Definitely do not pay the scum bags. Get your evidence together:

1. Document even if it's an internet article explaining the nature of this stone, it's name, etc. Use one in spanish with the URL printed on the page so they can look it up themselves.

2. Show the invoice / receipt which details that same name.

3. Go in and see them personally. Phone calls and emails don't really work the same in Peru usually as they do in other places.

You just have to be patient with them and calmly go and explain. Be polite, but don't let them walk on you, and most of all be calm and patient. Let them feel they are being very stupid but without being overt about it, just show them very simply: a) "here is the explanation of this KIND of stone, as you know *there are many stones in the world*" and b) "Here is the receipt showing it is that kind of a stone.

Perhaps too you can show your credit card or paypal statement showing how much you paid, so they know the receipt was not changed.

Then just wait for the penny to drop.

After that if they still refuse, then you can say "you are not following the law, the law says you can only charge me a tax on what I have paid, and you are trying to charge me more". Say it calmly, then give them time to think. Then, if you still don't have success talk to someone else. Don't give up. They may try to palm it off, give you the run around, etc. just be persistent, keep pursuing it. It may take you a whole day, or even two. But you'll get there in the end. When they see you are persistent and calmly adamant, someone there will change it. The thing NOT to do is back them into a psychological corner they feel they can't get out of. But it's ok and in fact useful sometimes to make them feel stupid if they are being stupid (like with anyone). Because it IS stupid, and often that kind of peer pressure will motivate them to think better of what they are doing. They're only civil servants and they only have the powers give to them though they like to imagine it's more of course But they have to follow the law.

Anyway, that's been my advice based on trial and error, failures and successes in the past. I don't really import anything anymore anyway, but I hope that helps.

Definitely please do not pay more than you have to. It's tax for gods sake. It's daylight robbery by a corrupt monopoly corporation as it is.
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Re: outrageous customs of Peru. Complete denial of evidence.

Postby chi chi » Sun May 20, 2012 1:25 am

asgoodasitgets wrote:After that if they still refuse, then you can say "you are not following the law, the law says you can only charge me a tax on what I have paid, and you are trying to charge me more".It's tax for gods sake. It's daylight robbery by a corrupt monopoly corporation as it is.


Every custom officer makes up his own law.

I suggest that he goes back to customs and talk to a different custom officer. Hopefully, he has a more 'convenient' law for you.

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