how not to import a cruiser

Discussion in 'Importing' started by Matt1260, Jul 13, 2018.

  1. Matt1260

    Matt1260

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    Just two cents for anyone else wanting to import a land cruiser from Costa Rica. Do not use Vanguard Shipping and do not use the Seattle port. It seems many people import cruisers to Florida without a hitch. But it has taken us two and a half months to get our container since dropping the trucks off. Now, the trucks are sitting in Seattle, incurring storage, transport fees, and handling costs up the wazoo because Customs decided to wait 11 days to do an inspection and you only are allowed 9 free days of storage at the Port. The accrued costs are hideous--$525 so far for 3 days over. Thank you feds. Thank you so very much for taking care of your citizens.

    They still have to be sent to ANOTHER storage for ANOTHER "intensive exam" because Customs think they saw something or some things that require a closer look. This means the costs are going to be well over $1000 before even paying the tax. These costs are passed on to the shipping broker. And guess who the shipping broker passes them to? We were obliged to guarantee payment of any additional costs after the fact. What company makes a customer write a blank check!? There was, of course, no disclosure of such possible costs being incurred. If we'd known this was a possibility we would have much rather driven them through Mexico back to the states.

    Basically we are being severely punished/penalized for not doing anything. We're seeking any lawyers knowledgeable in importing/customs. They will find that there's no cartel, coke, or humans stowed away in our trucks and yet we are being penalized to kingdom come.
     
  2. woytovich

    woytovich Fake news SILVER Star

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    That's the way it works as far as I know. When I brought some stuff in from Australia years ago there was always a big ? as to the final costs and I was always obligated to pay for whatever came up. This is one reason people doing the importing as a business deserve to be paid for their efforts and pricing on "on the way" vehicles is not finalized prior to the processing concluding.
     
  3. Nas90tdi

    Nas90tdi

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    Unfortunately that is just the way it works. Sometimes you clear customs in 24 hours. Sometimes you don't. It really depends on how the Customs guys are feeling. You can pursue this, but I wouldn't sink a bunch of money into fighting it. You won't win. At best you might get some storage knocked off the fees.
    I have never used Seattle, so can't speak to their business practices. If it's anything like every other thing in Seattle it's run by inept morons who don't give a rat's ass about you.
    I have cleared customs in Tacoma really quickly, with no issues. But, that's operated by a totally different set of people than Seattle despite being right down the road.
     
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  4. Matt1260

    Matt1260

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    has anyone ever spent over $5000 to ship one 40' container from costa rica to the states?
     
  5. CIR

    CIR

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    Sorry about your troubles, welcome to importation and customs.

    I assume you are the responsible party for importation and your name is on the documents, therefore, you are accountable for penalties and security checks - whether they happen in the States or along the way before reaching the destination.

    Everything is more costly in the USA but things move a rapid rate compared to Costa Rica. About 10 years ago I imported a converted school bus (RV) into CR and it took me two years and several "lawyers" to get the plates and vehicle registered properly. I also made the drive down from the States several times, never up. To say it would be easier to drive up is an exaggeration. Each border going up is very strict and not anything like going down. It is doable but driving the PA highway through Nicaragua and Honduras today would be an adventure, and the "cops" would do everything they could to get their "security check" payments.

    In all, the fact that you got your vehicle into a container and onto a boat from Costa Rica is a great accomplishment! The recent developments are minor road blocks en route to your destination. Unfortunately, the world of borders and customs are not perfect (or even rational) at times but if it was me, I would prefer every customs inspecting every container that entered their ports or at least scanning them. What you are experiencing is cargo profiling and is human behavior.

    Good luck!
     
  6. mattimooseprime

    mattimooseprime

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    Oof. That's why I don't do container shipping. I do standard ro-ro and pickup in Tacoma......Wish I could help you out! I can reach out to a few people and get back to you with some ideas.
     
  7. Matt1260

    Matt1260

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    charges are now at $4200, mostly because of storage . And they STILL haven't finished. More charges to come.
    Land Cruiser shipping total now at $8000 and rising. Get out the popcorn. :popcorn:

    Still looking for lawyer referrals.
     
  8. mattimooseprime

    mattimooseprime

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    Is container shipping from costa rica similar to to-ro from japan, in the aspects of paperwork you give the port to check? Feel free to shoot me a PM, since we're local to eachother maybe we can meet up and see if we can come up with something.
     
  9. SteveJackson

    SteveJackson Supporting Vendor

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    That's how it goes unfortunately. You could try contacting William Hedrick (the Land Rover lawyer) but you'll probably be throwing good money after bad.
     
  10. PAToyota

    PAToyota Keystone Cruisers SILVER Star

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    It's a crime when they inflate the storage fees because of their own delays. The clock should start ticking on storage fees AFTER they've done their part.
     
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  11. Matt1260

    Matt1260

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    I'll be having a talk with these Customs dudes tomorrow.

    The shipping company should be requiring a guarantee of extra charges UP FRONT BEFORE you ship with them. Not after through force. That is criminal in its own right.
     
  12. PAToyota

    PAToyota Keystone Cruisers SILVER Star

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    The shipping company is likely in the same boat you are - they don't know what customs is going to do either.

    As an Architect, I have to explain to my clients that I'm at the mercy of the code officers and their interpretations. I can do something the exact same way for several projects and then get one guy who interprets the codes differently and adds a bunch of hoops to jump through.

    I could add in contingency fees up front to cover my extra time, but then it is likely clients would go elsewhere due to the extra cost - and they'd go to someone without the contingency fees and be back in the same exact boat of paying for it later.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2018
  13. Matt1260

    Matt1260

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    I talked for about 5 seconds with customs officials in Seattle. I wanted them to educate me a little and they wouldn’t give me the time of day. Typical bureaucratic gov’t treatment.

    then talked to a lady at the logistics warehouse who was happy to educate us... I said “this whole thing seems to be one of the worst things I’ve ever done.” To which she immediately replied “YEP. YEP.”

    I brought up the issue of the practice of a company holding your stuff hostage forcing the costs up until you promise to pay. She didn’t have an answer for that one.

    Seattle just keeps getting unhappier by the minute. The west coast cities which run the ports, Los Angeles and Seattle, are overrun by the most unhappy people on earth and I don’t say that lightly because Ive been to 40 countries in my life. Our Portland port shut down some time ago because it was such a crappy place for shipping businesses.

    Our agent in Costa Rica, a nice and extremely helpful guy, thinks this whole thing is “unbelievable”.

    All I got to say is ship to Texas...
     
  14. PAToyota

    PAToyota Keystone Cruisers SILVER Star

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    I get the same thing from the code officers. You submit the documents and get a brief (and I mean brief!) letter back with the things they feel don't meet code. Most of the time you have to decipher what they're talking about and guess how to fix it. Then resubmit and hope for the best. They never want to spend time talking about options to meet their interpretation or whether their interpretation is even correct.
     
  15. SteveJackson

    SteveJackson Supporting Vendor

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    Unfortunately, they have no requirement to do anything in a customer-friendly or timely manner. This is sadly too common for first-time shippers. Try and get your drayage company to unload the vehicles if they are customs bonded, then at least they can send the container back. You'll still pay storage, but it's cheaper than container use and container storage.
     
  16. Wayne Jacobs

    Wayne Jacobs

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    You likely won't get anywhere by doing this, but you could call your congressional representative's office.
     
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  17. Matt1260

    Matt1260

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    We got the vehicles finally and the total charges came to $5065.
    Making this shipment a grand total of $8500.
     
  18. SugarBear

    SugarBear

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    Customs holds happen, and Customs inspection costs are legally paid by the importer. NO forwarder in the world would eat those fees for you. That is why you have a single entry, or continuous bond, it protects the government if you flake out on the bill in the end. It is 100% legal, 100% the way the business works, and already printed up in the contract of carriage on your bills of lading (the fine print). We've had holds that cost a lot in Texas, Florida & Cali as well. We also have a hold in Tacoma right this minute. It is just a part of the business of importing. Sorry you got stung on this.

    If you can get free lawyer advice, go for it, but don't pay one as they will not be able to help you. It would just be throwing good money after bad. Sandler Travis, or Tuttle Law are two of the best trade law firms in the world. Maybe someone there would give you a free 10 minute chat or something.
     
  19. Matt1260

    Matt1260

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    Extortion is not legal.
    This is how it went so you all aren’t confused:
    ◦ June 28th - Trucks arrived

    ◦ June 29th - Trucks were apparently under Customs review

    ◦ July 2 - Customs called wanting "immigration documents" I sent our passports the same day

    ◦ July 9 - Notified by shipper that trucks were on hold for "Intensive Exam" , end of free days.

    ◦ July 11 - Notified by shipper that "The X-ray was just completed, but per terminal it has to go off-dock for an Intensive Exam." , charges blowing up now.

    ◦ July 12 - Notified by shipper "The container has to be transferred to the exam site. We will need your guarantee of charges before we can move the cargo off-dock." Miscommunication over what that meant over the next several days. I couldn't get clarification on anything that was happening from the shipper through phone calls or email.

    ◦ July 12 - Notified by shipper "The X-ray exam was done yesterday afternoon. Now, it’s on Intensive Exam and has to be transferred off-dock to exam site. I sent the paperwork to Matt earlier. I cannot move this unless I have his approval and guarantee of charges."

    ◦ July 12 - Shipper states "Shipment is accruing storage at the terminal, last free day was 7/9 and will continue until it’s moved off-dock. As of today, it’s $525.00. Please send your guarantee so I can instruct exam site to pick-up the container."

    ◦ I had phone called the shipper asking about all this. I asked if I needed to fill out a document. She said no. I asked what would happen to cargo if charges weren't paid. She said it could be auctioned off. Iterated that we were being forced to pay unknown amount of money and asked how much it could be. She said she didn't know, it could be thousands. She didn't tell me what they needed and no specification of what 'guarantee of payment' meant. I assumed it was good to go.

    ◦ July 13 - Shipper asks about arranging more shipping. States "Please advise on below request? As mentioned, I cannot move the container without your approval and guarantee of charges." I replied "Move this forward ASAP." and asked again if I needed to sign something. I was irate by now. Using a lot of CAPS. No response until following Monday.

    ◦ July 16 at 1:47pm - Shipper writes "The container is accruing storage daily and will continue until it’s moved off-dock. Please send us your guarantee of payment asap."

    I don’t have a choice but to fight this because I either lose my truck to the shipper or I lose it to a lawyer. I’m a poor mechanic for God’s sake.
     
  20. Matt1260

    Matt1260

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    Correction, total extra costs are $6300 for a grand total of $9800.
     
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