i can’t use zelle for accepting payments, because it makes the customer have to go through an extra step, with which they are not familiar (and, i suspect, somewhat skeptical), but it turns out that i can use zelle for making payments to people in other countries — in this case, tibet — a lot easier and faster than i could using a wire transfer or western union.
it turns out i was somewhat skeptical, myself… i made a payment of almost $300 to someone i only sort of vaguely know, from tibet, and didn’t hear anything back from them for a few days, which made me wonder… and then, yesterday, i got an alert from my bank that the payment hadn’t been collected because the person i sent it to was not signed up with zelle, which made me very concerned, especially since i read the other day that zelle, and the bank that’s behind zelle (key bank? i don’t remember… one of the lesser-well-known ones) are being sued by… germany, i think, or something like that… because of all the zelle scams that have been cropping up.
it turns out that they were just getting their shit together, as well, and hadn’t completed the process of signing up, because i got a notice today that the payment had gone through, and then i got a response from the person in tibet, saying that they had received my payment, and would be shipping me a medium-ish pile of incense soon.
it seems to me to be a payment method that is RIPE for scams, but, when it’s not used for scams, it is a GENIUS way of transfering money. 😉
they DIDN’T break the screen of my tablet, which means that i picked it up TODAY, and it charges, just like it should! 👍 now i KNOW i’ll be able to use it for the moisture festival!
and, speaking of moisture festival, i got a call YESTERDAY to determine if i was up for playing in a band for tim furst (fyodor karamazov)’s wedding TOMORROW, and, naturally, i said yes… because i haven’t played music for long enough that if i were a normal person, i probably would have forgotten how to do it by now… and the fact that they’re paying me $100 doesn’t hurt… 😉
also, i ordered 12 dozen boxes of Sugandha Shringar Gold incense, from india, at the beginning of march, and i just took delivery of what moe calls “a big box of incense” (but i know better, because i have gotten “BIG” boxes of incense, in the past, and they were more than HALF AGAIN as big as the one i got today)… but it’s for an “old time” incense, which has been around for AT LEAST 50 years, and it’s somewhat rare.
but it is a PRIME example of how “those indian people” use sanskrit… well, okay, devanagari, because hindi is written with the same alphabet, and i don’t really know which one they’re thinking of when they do this… but the insence is called “Sugandha Shringar Gold”, which it says on the english language side of the box. on the other side of the box is what one might assume is the name of the incense in hindi (or sanskrit), written in devanagari letters. if you don’t actually read devanagari letters, you might assume that it is the hindi, or sanskrit equivalent of “Sugandha Shringar Gold”… it says “सुगंध शृंगार गोल्ड” except “sugandha” is already a sanskrit (and hindi) word that means “incense”. “Shringar” is a place name, of a place in india… and the rest of the name? “गोल्ड” is the word “gold”, spelled out in devanagari letters — “GOLDD” — and they do this ALL THE TIME! i’ve seen NUMEROUS boxes of incense, and other things, which have devanagari writing on the box, but are, basically, the english words, spelled out in devanagari letters. they don’t use the hindi words, or the sanskrit words, they use ENGLISH words, spelled out phonetically, using devanagari letters. 😒
i bought it because, at the time, i thought it was a requirement to order more than one scent, when you’re ordering in bulk from the manufacturer. i now know this to be false. i made a number of assumptions about the first HPOI that i, now, know are false.
nevertheless, today, 3 years and a few weeks later, someone actually BOUGHTONE POUCH of 7 “Africanas” Powers…
and, oddly enough, i still have pretty close to 26 kg left. my guess is that it’s going to last me a while. 😉
i didn’t have to spend three quarters of the day dealing with testy customs agents, indifferent import brokers, and recalcitrant shipping managers, and paying almost $500 to various people i had never heard of before, who had practically nothing to do with my shipment…
i arrived, was directed where to go, submitted two documents, had the lady scan my driver’s license, and then she gave me a piece of paper (with my scanned driver’s license on it), and told me to go “down the hall, to your left”, where i walked into a big wire cage. on the other side was a warehouse, full of wares. a friendly-looking guy with a grey beard under his mask, came up, asked to see my paperwork (😉), and then told me to pull around to the sally-port and he would meet me there. i backed my car up to the sally-port, and the guy came with a forklift, carrying three big boxes… i loaded them into my car, and drove away.
total elapsed time, LESS THAN 20 minutes.
total money that exchanged hands, $0.00!
it’s SO! MUCH! EASIER!! when i know what i’m doing, have done “the needful”, and have everything ready BEFORE i show up… 😎
the people i have been talking to on the phone, at US customs (two different CBP air cargo officers, to date), have all been demanding two things: one, that the document they need to see is the “bill of lading”, and the commercial invoice and the master airway bill that i have are not good enough (pay attention to that last one, because it’s important), and, two, that the shipment be manifest in their system, which (allegedly) doesn’t happen until the flight leaves the ground, before they can even think about releasing it.
okay, “bills of lading” are for ocean cargo. if it’s air cargo, the “bill of lading” is called a…
wait for it…
“master airway bill” 🤦
so the broker i’ve been talking to (the one who cleared my shipment the last time) recommended, now that i actually have an email address for US customs air cargo, that instead of going at them on the phone (her precise words were “Customs does not have much patience, and if they have to read too much or explain too much they will just send you to a broker, as they are not obligated to clear low value shipments.”), i should just send them the MAWB and the commercial invoice, with the flight information, and ask them to clear it “under section 321”. so i did.
half an hour later, this was their response:
> Please be advised that AWB 125-91897142, arriving today 3/19/21 on BA49, has been entered and released.
they got the date wrong. this is not for a shipment arriving TODAY, it is for a shipment arriving SUNDAY… 🤦🤦
because of the fact that they actually GOT the master airway bill number correct, i SHOULD BE able to bypass customs on sunday, and just go pick up my shit.
and the broker agrees.
so, come sunday, one of two things will happen. either:
one, i go down to WWFS, pay them their cut, and pick up my shit, or…
two, i go down to WWFS, get the run around, leave, come back on monday (after having talked with a CBP officer on sunday about why their release wasn’t actually a release), and have to pay them their cut PLUS a 24-hour storage fee, before i can pick up my shit.
i pray to the incense god that it’s going to be the first option, because i really don’t have the energy for the second.
ETA: it’s not arriving sunday, it’s arriving TONIGHT! (which is why they got the date “wrong”… it turns out mr. joy gave me the wrong date). because of the fact that it’s already been cleared through customs, AND i have beat the rush (and the $36 extra charge for paying them in person, using CASH ONLY 😒) by paying my ISC online, i can go down FIRST THING TOMORROW and pick it up without incurring extra fees whatsoever!! WOOT!! 😎
the HPOI have left india, and are now in london. their estimated departure from london is 210319 14:25Z, and their scheduled arrival time is 210321 17:25PDT.
i’ve been on the phone since 9:00 am (it’s 11:00 am, now) and talked with two different customs agents, and four different… i don’t know what they’re called, but they work for US customs, WWFS, and british airways cargo service, and they are PARTICULARLY annoying… and i’ve FINALLY gotten someone who understands that i’m trying to avoid extra storage fees, understands that the US customs office is closed on sunday, AND has the ability to find, and send me the document (the bill of lading) that US customs says doesn’t exist in their system. as soon as that happens, the shipment can be cleared through customs before COB friday, so that i can pick it up sunday and avoid the additional storage fees! 👍
not only that, but i’ve got their name, phone number, email address and physical address, so if they DON’T send me the bill of lading in a timely fashion, i can, physically, go down there and STRANGLE them and STILL have all the paperwork before the US customs office closes for the weekend. 😈
as soon as i have the bill of lading, i can do everything but FORCE the customs flunkies to clear the shipment, in spite of the fact that they, pretty clearly, couldn’t give a flying fuck whether or not i will EVER be able to pick up my shipment.
the HPOI is leaving bangalore tomorrow. it arrives in seattle on…
and, because of the fact that it doesn’t leave until tomorrow, the people at US customs won’t even TALK to me, because my shipment isn’t in their system yet… despite the fact that i’ve got ALL the paperwork they want, plus a “Certificate of Insurance” which they didn’t ask for, but they want anyway. <grumble, mutter> 😒
aside: study the etymology of the words “imminent”, “eminent”, “immanent”, and “emanant”. look for sources.
they sent me an air waybill… or an airway bill… or something like that… and are, allegedly sending me a commercial invoice tomorrow. the customs agent seemed to think that it was those two documents that i needed to clear the shipment myself, but, because of the fact that “TRITAN TRADEX, LLP” advised me to “do the needful” but didn’t tell me what “the needful” means (i’m assuming it’s because they think i know what i’m doing… 🤣), i’m getting anxious again.
i emailed the customs agent, but they haven’t gotten back to me yet, and, because of the fact that they mentioned that the air waybill and the commercial invoice are all i needed, i’m having to assume that means that i’m going to be receiving the shipment within a few days, i’m going to hope that they reply VERY soon…
but, on the up side, i’m getting 99 dozen boxes of ANOTHER incense that nobody else in the united states imports for resale on the web. 👍😉
someone new just signed up for a VIP IOTM club account. i’ve had two members for two months, and now someone new signs up…
so, do i start them where i started everybody else? or do i start them at the same place as everybody else, and extend their account past the first of next year? or do i just arbitrarily end their account in december, because they were late signing up? do they even expect their account to end in december?
or what? 😕
for now, i’m starting them with everyone else, because that way i don’t have to figure out who has which account, but i imagine that i’m going to have to straighten this whole thing out, eventually.
and it couldn’t have come at a better time, because now i am even more confident that my impending purchase of HPOI will turn out well! 😉
i am beginning the process of importing another HPOI in a few days. 999 Lord Krishna Puja Agarbatti has become one of my best sellers. it was part of the original HPOI, which arrived three years ago, and, while i have sold NONE of the other two incenses, i have almost completely sold out of 999: of the original 33 dozen, i’ve probably got 4 dozen left… so, this time, instead of getting one carton of three different kinds of incense, i’m getting three cartons of one kind of incense… 33 dozen boxes per carton, 99 dozen boxes total, $1.24 a box, with a 400% markup… and, if current trends hold, that should be enough to get me through the next few years… sending out one, two, or three boxes a week… 😉
and, once again, as far as i can tell, NOBODY imports 999 to the united states… NOBODY… 😕 it’s weird, but i’m not going to argue.
it seems odd, however, that i am not anywhere NEAR as worried about it as i was, even for the last HPOI, which was not even a year ago. i think part of this is because I gave the shipper some knowledge that he didn’t have: he was going to arrange ocean freight again, and i told him air freight would be better. he said that air freight wasn’t possible, because of the “flammable nature of the product”, to which i responded “that’s strange, because i just received the same product by air freight in october of last year”. he said wait, while he confirmed this, and a week later, he sent me an invoice, and it’s coming by air freight. 😉 then there’s also the fact that i made contact with the customs agent AHEAD OF TIME this time: she knows that i am going to be expecting a shipment which will need to be cleared, and as soon as i have details, she’s going to be available to make sure that i don’t have to go through the hassles that i did last time. 👍
we’ll see how it goes. the fact is, i could be a little short on money, which would mean that i would have to borrow from the home account, but even that doesn’t worry me that much. it would probably only be a couple hundred dollars, and, for sure, i could pay that back within a month or so. i feel confident that i’m going to have enough money to cover it, though, and that, in the end, it will be something that brings in money for a while. 👍
and it appears that the antidepressants are working. 😉
okay, as i reported here, the HPOI arrived on friday, at 1730. i went to WFS, but was informed that i had to get the shipment cleared through US customs, before i could pick it up.
customs operates under “normal” business hours, i.e. 9-to-5, M thru F, so i figured i was going to have to wait until monday.
the “carrier certificate” that WFS gave me said that i had to pay an ISC fee, which worked out to $89 if i paid it online, or $125 if i paid it in person, so, while i was waiting — saturday and sunday — i took the opportunity to pay it online, so that i would have yet another impediment taken care of before monday.
the “carrier certificate” also, CLEARLY said that the date that storage charges started accruing was 201012, which was further impetus to get things rolling as quickly as possible.
note, that THIS ENTIRE TIME i have been getting EXTREMELY CONFLICTED messages about whether or not i would need a broker. at this point, everything i have heard leads me to believe that i would NOT need a broker to pick up my shipment of incense.
this morning, i contacted customs, got their new address (because they just moved, and nobody at WFS knew where), and went down to clear my shipment.
when i got there, i talked with a US customs agent, who told me that, because my MAWB said that the value of the shipment was more than $800, but less than $1,000, i would have to have a broker clear the shipment.
way back when i was arranging all of this, i specifically remember (backed up by email from 200824) arun giving me precise numbers: “USD 7.45 PER DOZENS”, which amounts to $357.60 for 48 dozen boxes. i also specifically remember (backed up by a different email from 200824), arun telling me “Please note Air freight is additional.”, so when he sent me a proforma invoice that said $986.40, i presumed that it meant “$357.60 for the incense, and $628.80 for shipping”… but it wasn’t itemised, and i overlooked that point.
i SHOULD HAVE gotten an itemised MAWB, but i didn’t.
so, i spent some time on the phone, talking with brokers, who quoted me around $400 just to get my foot in the door, and then i connected with lisa, from Frontier North America — a very nice, helpful lady who is going to get my business the next time around — who assured me that, because i was actually paying more for shipping than i was for the actual product, that she would clear my shipment, and provide a surety bond, for $182.22, so i said go for it, and half an hour later, my shipment was cleared through customs.
then, i went back to the airport, to WFS, who informed me, because i didn’t have a broker, who could clear my shipment on friday, after business hours (despite the fact that customs was CLOSED for “normal people” like me), that i had to pay a $110 storage fee — which was EXACTLY the thing that i was trying to AVOID by picking up the paperwork on friday, after normal business hours — and then they had a problem charging me the storage fee, because i had already paid the ISC fee, and they couldn’t charge me as a “guest” because the computer wouldn’t let them create two different accounts with the same MAWB number. finally, they told me that their web site wasn’t meant for people with iphones, which meant that i would have to go home to use my computer at home to “set up an account” so that they could charge me a storage fee, before i could pick up a shipment that i was already there to pick up… 😒
fortunately, after talking to two other managers, i finally talked the third manager into waiving the $110 storage fee, and, after scanning my drivers’ license (because my passport wouldn’t fit in their automatic scanning device 😒) they “gave me permission” to pick up my HPOI.
and i managed to get through the whole thing without swearing, losing my temper, or stomping out of various offices, as good as it would have felt.
according to the people at Worldwide Flight Services (which is the umbrella company that handles British Airways Cargo in seattle), i have to pick up documentation, take it to customs, so that it can be cleared, pay an ISC fee (Importer Service Charge, which is, basically, their way of “legally” taking a cut of my action), and then they can release the shipment to me.
customs is closed over the weekend. also, they just moved, and nobody at WFS knows what their new address is… 😒
and, because of the fact that WFS doesn’t accept credit cards, i would have had to pay $125 for the ISC fee, if it weren’t for the fact that i actually went down to the airport last night to pick up the documentation (so that i don’t have to go through that step on monday, when customs is open), the guy pointed out that i can pay the ISC fee online, and it will only cost $89… so i did that.
the “documentation” they gave me is, basically a “carrier certificate” which is a receipt for services rendered by the carrier (which is what i pay the ISC fee for), four copies (out of at least seven, total) of the MAWB, one for the destination airport, one for “my agent” (which is me), one for the consignee (which is also me), and one “extra copy”, a “MAWB/CBV Acceptance Statement”, which basically, says that the shipment isn’t anything vague or illegal, is being shipped by a legitimate shipper who is not a criminal, and is being received by a person who is not a criminal, and a MYSTERY ENVELOPE which is stapled shut, THREE TIMES ON BOTH ENDS, which, from indications of the writing on the outside, was stapled shut in india, when the shipment was loaded, and i have NO CLUE what it contains…
now, all that’s left is for me to wait until monday, contact customs, find out what their address is (i think it’s in burien, but i’m not sure), go down and get the documentation stamped, and then go back to the airport to…
basically, they’ve shipped out today, at 0700 bangalore time, on BA118, there’s a stop over at london heathrow, and then it’s on to seattle, on BA49, and i should have 31kg (68.34lb) of incense by friday at 1730. someone at the airline is supposed to contact me immediately upon arrival — although how is still somewhat of a question… they don’t have my phone number, and if they have my email address, it’s not on the MAWB. the only address that IS on the MAWB is my street address, so, theoretically, they could snail-mail me, but that would take longer than it took for the incense to get here, so i don’t think that’s a viable option… and i still don’t know exactly how they are supposed to contact me, but i suppose i’ll find that out on friday…
and a WHOLE BUNCH of my customers are going to be extremely happy. i guess this is probably as close to being a “drug dealer” as i will ever get… 😉
okay, that last bit is a lie… i actually was a drug dealer, for a while, about 30 years ago. i sold weed and acid to a few friends for about 6 months, until the supply dried up… but it’s that sort of feeling. 🤣
this is my imaginary response to the email that i got from arun’s customs clearing agent, melvyn.
obviously, since i’m posting it here, you can presume that it is because, if i actually sent it, i probably would NOT be receiving any incense from arun, any time soon.
On 03/10/2020 00:34, sspf wrote:
> Importer Security Filing (ISF)
> It is USA Govt Compliances. Hence consignee Clearing
> aware about this.
so, when you said, on 200930 that i wouldn’t need a customs clearing agent, you were… what?
On 30/09/2020 01:04, Arun Mysorein wrote:
> Hello, No need for any agent, you can talk to airline ,
> take delivery order
> and get the goods from the airport.
it should be fairly obvious, at this point, that this is NOT the way it’s going to happen… 😒
> It should filed
> online 72 Hrs before the last departure air/ seaport station.
meaning that, if you notify me when the shipment is loaded on the airplane, it’s already too late.
could you PLEASE notify me 72 hours BEFORE the shipment is loaded, so that i won’t have to pay more than i already do, for things that i won’t use?
> If we file from here the agent
> will take $ 100 for this service. It is better consignee
> Or their agents do at their end.
so, let me get this straight: $100 is too much for you to pay, but it’s perfectly okay for ME to be saddled with extra fees and fines because i don’t know these things, and, because YOU think it’s okay to tell me the EXACT OPPOSITE of what i should know in order to AVOID paying these extra fees and fines.
and, once again, MELVYN references an agent, which, you have assured me, i don’t need! 🤬
if i hadn’t already sunk more than $900 into this incense deal, i would cancel it right here and now. 🤬
this is NOT the way to do business and have me as a customer. 🤬
so i wrote to arun at mavana, concerning my impression that he had not given me all the information. he wrote to his customs clearing agent(!), melvyn — and copied me — who informed him (and me) that the consignee’s customs clearing agent(!) should have been aware of all this…
the immediately previous email i got from arun said that i would not need a customs clearing agent, or a single entry bond. now, his customs clearing agent tells me exactly the opposite! 😒
melvyn also said “If we file from here the agent will take $ 100 for this service. It is better consignee Or their agents do at their end.”
in other words, it’s better for the consignee (me) to pay this, rather than “us”, because “It is USA Govt Compliances.” and it costs “us” more money that the consignee could be paying.
the problem, if all of the web sites i’ve been reading are correct, is that, from the consignee’s (my) point of view, the customs clearing agent’s fee is $125, the single entry bond is a minimum of $75, and that’s before we start talking about fees for the ISF.
so, it’s an extra $100 from them for the ISF… which they are, apparently, unwilling to pay…
or it’s an extra $200 from me before we even get to the ISF… 😒
and i know, from past experience, that if the shipment gets loaded without the ISF being filed, then i have to pay $400 for a continuous bond, rather than $75 for a single entry bond, plus i get to pay another $400 (or more, the maximum is $10,000) for importing without an ISF. 😒
i’m guessing that i’m going to have to pay more money to get this HPOI into the united states. 😒
first the guy doesn’t know what ISF means, then he says i have to file an ISF, but doesn’t give me all the documentation to do so, and the only “resource” i have is a web site whose “toll free, 24/7” help line has a recording which says to leave a number, and they’ll call back (and they don’t), or leave a message that includes ALL of my contact information, including my social security number, on an un-secure (not https) web form — NO THANKS, FRANK! 😠
then, literally EVERYTHING i’ve read seems to indicate that, along with the ISF, i have to have either a “continuous bond” or a “single entry bond”, and a customs clearing agent, but the guy says neither of those things are necessary: “you can talk to airline , take delivery order and get the goods from the airport.” not only that, but i can’t even find where i’m SUPPOSED to file the ISF, except this, same “resource” that wants me to submit the information over an un-secure web form.
so i broke down and started up kmail, to retrieve the email addresses for the people i was in contact for the last HPOI go-around, two years ago, and contacted one of them, with the information i have… the last time i was in contact with them, they were USL Cargo Services, but i hit their web site, and it says that, as of a year ago, they’ve merged with another company, and are now CEVA Logistics… but their uslcargoservices.com web site and email addresses still appear to work, so we’ll see what happens… just to make sure, i also completed the easy-to-use form at cevalogistics.com as well.
the information that the guy has been giving me regarding the ISF is, substantially, wrong… which leads me to believe that the other information that he has been giving me is also wrong.
hopefully, the whole story about how he’s the CEO of mavana is not wrong, as well, otherwise i’m going to be REALLY pissed off!
the main concern, at this point, is the “continuous bond” — which only lasts for a year, so it’s not really “continuous”, but only in relation to a “single entry bond” which costs $10 for every $10,000 worth of product imported, with a minimum of $75 — and the “customs clearing agent” fee, which is $125. both of these “extra, add-on” fees were sprung on me at the last moment, last time, and ended up with me having to pay “extra, add-on” FINES before they would let me have my stuff.
all of this information is coming from TurboISF, a web site that i found after the last HPOI came in, when i was still seething about having to spend almost the same amount in “extra, add-ons” as i spent for the incense itself. hopefully, i have been alert enough to avoid the fines, this time. 😒
part of what i am worried about is the ISF, which nobody told me about last time, which resulted in my having to pay a $400 fine for “importing without filing an ISF”… but, apparently, the ISF is only needed for ocean cargo… and, if it is needed for air freight, nobody has told me about it yet… but nobody told me about having a “broker” or a “continuous bond” last time, either, and i ended up having to get one at the last minute, at extra, added expense…
but, i paid the money this morning… i initiated an international wire transfer to india, so they’ve got my money, now, and if they don’t actually send me incese, at this point, i will be extremely pissed off.
the latest is that i send them $1,000 and they send me 48 dozen boxes of aparajita, by air freight.
i have to wait until tomorrow to wire them the money. i tried today, but international money transfers have to be done on the same day, and, apparently, that day ends at 1300 hours, PDT, so i have to try again tomorrow.
this appears to be A LOT easier than the HPOI that i ordered two years ago… and a lot less expensive… but i seem to recall that a lot of the charges the last time around were ones that were added on by freight companies, intermediaries, and the federal government, so it’s not over yet. 😒