Monday, November 02, 2009

Death and taxes

These two things are certain, according to Daniel Defoe (1726) and Benjamin Franklin (1789). Well, putting death aside for the time being, I was somewhat irritated to encounter taxes on Monday.

In my previous blog I passed a comment that my motorbike was too quiet. The sewing-machine impression afforded by stock engine and exhaust lacks Presence, so I needed to do something about it. I canvassed opinion on a motorcycle forum and decided that several brands would be offensively loud and were rejected on that basis. "Which one is quietest?" was my fundamental question. What I have ended up with is a new stainless steel and carbon-fibre system that has been developed to maximise power without shaking every window in Mirdif or rattling the fillings out of the teeth of slugabeds when I set off in the early mornings.

I ordered the system from Area-P in California and it was duly despatched last Wednesday, courtesy of the United States Postal Service. Despite allegations that "The U.S. Post Service was established in 1775. You have had 234 years to get it right and it is broke", the USPS managed to contrive to get my package to Sharjah by Monday morning. And the Emirates Postal Service got it into my hand by 5pm that same day.

I had to go to the Post Office to collect it, of course. After signing for the package, it was x-rayed and then opened - presumably to confirm that the x-ray machine wasn't lying - and at that point I was invited to pay import duty.

I was ready for this: 5% tax on the value of the goods. The trouble was that the nice customs gentlemen were adamant that the duty was payable on the entire cost, including postage and packing. Naturally I argued the toss. And then explained the problem to the next official up the chain. Why should I pay 5% of the value of services bought, paid for and utilised last week in California to the UAE government? The goods, yes. But surely not the carriage?

Eventually I was forced to pay my Dh40 over the odds in order to get my stuff. But I am not pleased. I'm convinced that this is a rip-off.

]}:-{>

4 comments:

Mme Cyn said...

Count yourself lucky you actually got the package! If you'd ordered it closer to Christmas, it woul dhave stayed in the post office until after Jan 1.

nvmarv said...

Now it sounds like you are oversea's and you didn't make clear how the package was shipped..ie priority, or express or slowest boat via China...so to get it in a week, including having to use "other" countries mail, not knowing how it was shipped i would consider good!! I mailed a post card from Mexico to states over a month ago to my co-workers here and still have not seen it...Probably still in Mexico.....awaiting the next illegal worker shipment.....

The Yellow Box Of Doom said...

Yeah but you do now have a sexy new exhaust so at least you can console yourself with that.

I once had some silver jewellery shipped here that wasn't even new it was stuff left behind ona trip home which mum posted to me.

The 'nice gentlemen' at the post office insisted I pay a sum nearly equal to the value of the nick-naks. When I objected he jsut smiled at me and said "you pay or we keep package....and you will never see again".

I refused and then sent the office drive back the next day with a sum equal to the 5% import duty....and he returned with the parcel no probelms.

Ian the Dog said...

Import duty is indeed calculated on the CIF (carriage, insurance and freight) value of the goods for everything coming here. It's nothing personal, it's the same for everything.

Now, if you want to have a rant about the random additions to Joe Public's recent phone, leccy and water bills - now that's a REAL ripoff! (Go on, you know you want to..)

 

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