As one of the backers of the Hexiwear project on Kickstarter I was more than happy when last Monday MikroeElektronika has announced that all problems with the missing bracelets were solved and they have shipped all the packages. Yesterday evening my package has arrived, and now I’m the proud owner of a Hexiwear power pack.
DHL and customs experience
You might ask yourself why it took four working days for my package to arrive, considering that the distance between Belgrade and Bucharest is less than 460 km as the crow flies. Well, my package took a visiting tour of some EU countries before reaching my desk. As DHL tracking shows, it was picked up from MikroElektronika Monday at noon. After clearing the Serbian customs it made a quick stop on Tuesday late afternoon in Budapest, Hungary, only to go to the sort facility in Leipzig, Germany. Then it departed from Leipzig and Wednesday morning it went to another sort station, this time in Bergamo, Italy. From there it finally reached Bucharest, Romania on Wednesday at noon.
As Serbia is not (yet) a member of EU, the package must go through the customs first. So, while my package was still touring Europe, I took care of performing the requires steps to get the customs clearance from the Romanian authorities. Here I have two choices: I can perform myself all the formalities, or I can let DHL do the customs clearance on my behalf.
The first option is the difficult one: in order to perform the customs formalities myself I need to hold an Economic Operators Registration and Identification number, short EORI. This is required regardless if I’m an individual or a business. An EORI number is issued by the local customs authorities, and for Romania it takes about three days if all paperwork is OK.
Fact is that I receive only a few packages from outside EU every year, and I don’t want to go to all that hassle of obtaining an EORI number. This leaves me with the second choice, to leave DHL perform the customs formalities on my behalf, using their EORI number.
However, this extra service is not free: DHL charges me 100.8 RON – that’s about 22.3 EUR based on today’s exchange rate – if the customs taxes + VAT are between 25 and 4200 RON. If the taxes are below 25 RON they won’t charge me anything. If the total amount of taxes is over 4200 RON I will pay 2% of the tax values.This goes the same every time I order something directly from MikroElektronika, with no exceptions.
Of course, I could choose the slower postal services, but the Romanian Post is known to “lose” packages, especially those containing electronics. And even if the package arrives, I have to go to the customs office attached to the international post office, meaning a round trip of 30 km in heavy traffic and at least one hour to get the customs clearance – half day lost. With this option I would rather pay DHL and do something useful in that time.
Back to my Hexiwear: the only issue I had is that it came with a 30USD invoice, and the customs officers asked for the proof of payment. I told them this is a reward as a backer on Kickstarter. Their response is that the normal invoice is not good, and next time when I receive a product as a reward or a gift I should ask for a proforma invoice for customs purposes, as they need a document to establish the value of VAT I have to pay. Anyway, they were kind to give me the customs clearance based on the commercial invoice, and all I had to pay is 24RON VAT – about 6USD, representing 20% VAT of the 30USD value on the invoice. This falls below 25RON, so this time there’s no charge from DHL for performing the customs formalities.
With this being said, Thursday morning I received the customs clearance, and in the evening the courier was on my doorstep.