Receiving question for US folks

Receiving question for US folks

So a few months ago I ordered an instrument from the EU. It got shipped about 10 or 11 days ago via DPD.

According to the tracking, it’s been sitting in Boston in the “package delivery centre” for over a week. I don’t live in Boston (rather, northern Vermont). The tracking websites seem to be encouraging me to go to this mysterious place and pick the thing up, but no address has been provided.

Is this just annoying or, rather, highly unusual? Stuck in customs or stuck in bureaucratic limbo? It feels very odd to me because I have never had any overseas package (instrument or otherwise) sit in one location for more than a few days.

The maker has been contacted and has tried to get answers from DPD, so far to no avail.

Re: Receiving question for US folks

What is DPD?

Re: Receiving question for US folks

Dynamic Post Delivery. . . kinda the UPS of mainland Europe.

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I don’t think the European shipping companies are accustomed to giving the same level of information and service that U.S.-based shippers (UPS and FedEx) do. I recently shipped a full set of pipes from the U.S. to the EU, via DHL at the buyer’s request. They would make it to Cincinnati, sit there for a week, then get returned, all with no explanation from tracking or customer “service”. They did this twice, before I finally found out (after numerous phone calls, them promising to call me back every day and never once doing it, etc.) that all they needed was a corporate tax ID number for a US govt. export form. Gave one to them in 2 seconds, and the pipes were finally on their way and delivered. DHL could have saved themselves some jet fuel, truck fuel, and the time of employees to handle the package (not to mention the weeks of frustration of paying customers) with a 20-second email or phone call, but they wouldn’t do it. Needless to say, I will never use them again.

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Who owns the facility? I think it’s very unusual for you to have to go to the package delivery place yourself.

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As the shippee, I am technically not the client here, and I can’t even get info out of the courier beyond “The sender needs to contact us.” :/

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“Who owns the facility? I think it’s very unusual for you to have to go to the package delivery place yourself.”

Franz Kafka, apparently. No address, no phone number, no information of any type whatsoever.

I suspect “delivery centre” is a European term (even aside from the spelling) and the tracking forms don’t have any way to accurately describe this type of location (Whatever it is) in the US, so the description automatically defaults to what it calculates is the best fit.

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Once it’s in the US, DPD have passed it on to someone else, so you’re only getting the information that they pass back to DPD, which may be limited.

It’s quite likely that a missive demanding customs duties/taxes is on its way to you, and once the ransom is paid its journey will resume.

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Held up in customs most likely. Could be address problems etc.

I recommend UPS for this if at all possible. It’ll cost you, but the communication and information availability is about the best you can get. Bought bagpipes from England last year and it was an amazingly positive experience.

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@An Draighean: Many years ago I shipped at item overnight via Airborne Express. As it turns out, their definition of “overnight” was any night within the next month or so. Such great service! They were bought out by DHL and it appears DHL still has some of those former Airborne employees on the payroll. How unfortunate.

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DPD does not appear to have services in the States. Once here it would have to be sent to USPS or some other delivery service. That’s assuming the shipper (in the original invoice) had it shipped to your physical address in Vermont and customs & taxes are completed.

https://www.dpd.com/de_en/help_tools/contact_form

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Good luck with getting the instrument! I’m in the USA and have received a few instruments from Europe in the last few years, and each time it took around a week for customs. The typically delivery time was around 10-14 days, and I think the local standard mail service was used for each delivery. So the packages arrived here via USPS, like AB mentioned above.

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Very odd…. I had ordered a baroque flute from Vincent Bernolin in France and it arrived less than a week from when he shippped it (regular old mail).
Robert

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It’s probably in Customs. But a warning for you - it will likely be delivered by USPS, and if you are there to receive it, it might be best to inspect the package in front of the delivery person, so that they can witness any possible damage.

Several years ago, I had a banjo being delivered. It was sent via Swiss Post, and arrived in the U.S. It showed a similar status for several weeks. And nobody could find it. Swiss Post had handed it off, and USPS hadn’t received it yet. Then, one day, it randomly appeared at my door. The box didn’t look TOO beat up, but after opening it, it became clear that the box had been dropped from a significant height, and had landed on the end of the box. Even though it was very well packed, the pure momentum of the fall had broken the neck and resonator of the banjo. The problem was that it was insured through Swiss Post, but they wouldn’t pay because they had “successfully delivered it” to their endpoint (US Customs). And USPS wouldn’t pay because they didn’t witness the damage and they had delivered it just as it had been handed off to them. (Also, USPS had a $1000 limit of liability, which wouldn’t have really covered the damage… Sigh.) My guess was that it fell off a conveyor belt in Customs, and sat on the floor until someone discovered it a month later.

Anyway, I hope you have a much better experience! I have had many instruments shipped through Customs, and only once had the problem, so I’m fairly confident that you won’t experience my anguish!

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AB, already tried that contact form. The response was basically “tell the sender to get in touch with us.” They would not even tell me who the US affiliate is.

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I don’t recall any of this hassle when Sam Murray shipped my flute about a decade ago. . . If my memory was accurate, the entire process took a week or less.

I wonder if larger packages draw more attention from customs officials?

This is a set of drones and a mainstock. .. I suppose they could be packed into a small parcel if necessary?

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Kingbreaker said: “This is a set of drones and a mainstock.”

The good news is, thanks to President Kennedy’s administration, all bagpipes and bagpipe parts imported in to the U.S. are exempt from customs duty.

The bad news is, not many customs agents/bureaucrats these days know that, and even if your parcel is clearly marked as bagpipe parts, it may take them months to get around to figuring it out.

I once bought a nice (Cillian O’Briain) chanter from a guy in England. He shipped it via Royal Mail, which of course converted to the USPS once it hit the continental U.S. Either right before or right after the USPS got it, it sat in customs in Chicago for six weeks, with no notice, and no way of resolution. I had pretty much written it off as lost to me, when one day it just showed up at my door in good condition. And it was clearly marked on a customs declaration form as a bagpipe chanter.

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Re: customs exemptions, I made darned sure that no materials listed on CITES were involved. Plum, box, and brass only!

Thanks Richard!

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I think that more than just “bagpipe parts” is needed. When I bought mine, the maker specifically stated on all paperwork (both his declaration to the carrier, and his necessary invoices) “duty-free bagippes” plus the tariff code. I would imagine that this is part of why my set was able to get from Liverpool to Portland, Oregon in 2 1/2 days.

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Of course, if the carrier is behind on production or waiting to fill up an entire trailer or otherwise inconvenienced, it’s all too easy to drop an exception code of “customs hold” in their computer.

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The maker in question has been doing this for three decades, so I assume he knows what he’s doing.

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Finally figured it out. . .

So the drones got transferred from DPD to DHL upon arrival in the states. Someone in customs thinks I needed to pay $62.55, so the shipment was put “on hold.”

Meanwhile, no one bothered to tell me or the shipper what the issue was. DHL supposedly has an automated telephone service for such purposes, but I never received any calls? Meanwhile, my pipe maker in the EU was given the run-around for several weeks before getting the full story. He finally got a response from DPD today, with a new tracking number and an American service center to call.

Long story short, I should get them sometime in the next week or so? Keeping my fingers crossed that nothing got smashed up!

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Sweet! That’s annoying, but hopefully a good outcome!

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Great news Kingbreaker; hope you have your drones soon.

That was essentially the same problem I had with DHL, albeit shipping from the U.S. to Europe - they were absolutely incapable of any kind of communication, even after their customer service phone line promised it over and over again. Maybe it’s against their religion. Suffice it to say that I will go out of my way to use any other shipper in the future.

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They arrived today.

It was a near thing too - DHL never got my condo unit number for some reason. I happened to be sitting by a window looking at the parking lot for my building when a DHL van pulled up. The driver must have gotten out, looked around, and decided he did not have the right place, because he was driving off by the time I got downstairs :(

A quick call to DHL customer service got him back here inside an hour. If I had not seen the truck in the first place, who knows where they would have ended up.

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Glad to hear a happy ending Kingbreaker!