Packages: A Few Tips

Do you wish to send your grandson a package for his birthday? You have just seen the most wonderful sports shoes at a ridiculously low price on a Chinese website? You are about to receive a gift from one of your friends based in the United States? Caution is the keyword here.

You are the shipper?

If you want the chocolate, the money and the red scarf to arrive safely in due time to your grandson:

  • Choose your delivery product carefully. Every postal operator and delivery company offers a wide array of delivery products. To that end, we advise you to thoroughly check the General Conditions of the chosen product.

It is important to know that a number of products are forbidden in the postal network or merely allowed in very specific circumstances. Sending money to your grandson may prove to be not as simple as you first imagined.

The price you pay for your delivery option not only determines how your package will be handled, if and how its trajectory will be electronically tracable and if you are liable for possible compensation should a damage occur.

  • Make sure your postal item is properly packaged (that also includes the inside package) adapted to its contents (fragile goods, liquid goods, perishable goods, …). Be aware that packages have to go through a series of processes: containers, sorting centers, delivery trucks … all the way to the parcel deliverer. The package and its contents have to be damage resistant because of the numerous steps detailed in the delivery process.
  • Make sure your grandson's address as well as your address as shipper is correct and readable.  Do not forget to state the full address including the box number (if it concerns an apartment building).
  • Make sure random thieves are not led into temptation: the package in itself or written indications on the surface of the package may jeopardize the integrity of the postal item. Sending a smartphone in its original package is not a good idea.
  • Make sure to send your package in a timely manner: postal operators may sometimes be under the pressure of dealing with a lot of packages in a limited time and sometimes weather conditions may prevent the package to arrive in due time.
  • Is your grandson based outside of Europe? Be aware of possible customs costs as well as possible specific import rules in the destination country. Also take into account that delivery times are mostly indicative especially in the case of remote areas. It is also advisable to mention the telephone number of your addressee: this can be of use to the last mile delivery company.

You are the addressee of a package?

Do you really want those magnificent shoes from China?

  • Make sure you know from whom you are purchasing your product in order to guarantee a good deal. Offers which are too good to be true mainly are.

Be aware that:

  • the shipper is responsible for the package, the information and the documents accompanying the postal item. The address needs to be readable and the value declaration authentic.
  • the shipper/seller usually chooses the conditions under which a package will be sent. There is an array of options in which the price can often play a determining role in the package treatment as well as damage compensation coverage conditions.
  • a damage compensation (if any) will be first paid to the shipper/seller.
  • you are still able to cancel your purchase in a certain timeframe if you use PayPal or a credit card.
  • Take into account, prior to your purchase, of what the exact final costs will turn out to be. Be aware of possible import rights costs, VAT or other costs. Costs which are liable for purchases as well as gifts. Those may sometimes be of a very high value. There may be exemptions in some cases whereby postal items do not need to be cleared through customs.

If your package needs to be cleared through customs, be aware that content value, shipping rates as well as administrative customs clearing costs booked by customs agencies will be taken into account in the calculation of the customs costs incurred.

  • Make sure you are not purchasing/ordering forbidden products. The Customs agencies are playing their role of watchdogs. Designer shoes from China will be checked for possible counterfeit and in that case, customs will then consequently confiscate the concerned goods for authentication by the trademark owner. If you are lucky, this will only translate into possible delay. In the worst case scenario, the concerned goods will be destroyed and this may sometimes go with extra costs booked for the destruction in question.

In addition to forbidden goods (counterfeit goods, drugs, weapons, …) controls can be operated on import of medical goods, hardware goods, food products, …

  • Make sure to mention a correct and authentic content value. This is valid for purchases as well as gifts. Trying to outsmart customs authorities by giving a lower value in order to avoid customs related costs is not a good idea. It may sometimes result in a hefty fine.
  • Make sure to check for possible damage when the package is delivered to you before signing any document presented by the postal operator. If you notice any damage (even if you only notice the damage upon opening the package) please immediately advise the postal operator.
  • Make sure to have a solid mailbox. This prevents you from having issues upon package delivery and also has the benefit of improving security:
    • Mention your name (or names), number and box number (for apartments)
    • Make sure to place it near the public road (which, for bpost, is one prerequiste to ensure delivery and if you are absent and/or in case of a large parcel delivery to place a notification in the mailbox).
    • Make sure that the opening/gap of your mailbox is large enough for the delivery of an A4 document (that you would need not to fold to insert in the mailbox).

 And if it goes wrong anyway?

  • Keep all evidence and, if necessary, take some pictures 

Keep your proof of purchase and proof of payment for the contents of your package as well as the shipping costs, the proof of delivery and/or the proof of receipt. The package can also give away a large amount of information on the delay or on the damage. The inside packaging and the damaged contents can also be of help in formulating your complaint.

  • Contact the concerned postal operator or delivery company and file a complaint under its internal procedure.

Be aware that

  • you may file your complaint in your quality as a shipper but also as an addressee/receiver
  • it is best to request receipt acknowledgement of your complaint
  • it is advised to immediately provide the postal operator with all necessary information
  • If you do not reach a solution contact ombudsman poste
    • Through the website
    • In our offices: Boulevard Roi Albert II 8 box 4, 1000 Brussels

For more information, call:  02 221 02 20