Shipping a Flute with USPS to Ireland from the US, Tips

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Ben Shaffer
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Shipping a Flute with USPS to Ireland from the US, Tips

Post by Ben Shaffer »

I recently sent a Flute to Ireland from the US via USPS and then Ah Mail
At first everything looked fine
The Flute went through the normal Distribution Centers in the US It then arrived in Dublin.
At that point I assume it was in the hands of An Mail
A week later I see through tracking that its arrived back in the US and is in the Distribution Center here in Greensboro
I'm guessing it will show up @ my Door Step in the next couple of Days and I'll have more info
The Person in Ireland is going to check with the Mail as well.
He said a number of People have had items sent back to the states and not delivered to the recipient there in Ireland
I wonder if I messed up the Customs Declaration somehow? :-?
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Re: Shipping a Flute with USPS to Ireland from the US, Tips

Post by Mr.Gumby »

I have had no trouble getting things into the country from anywhere. I have been avoiding buying stuff from the US because of the outrageous cost of postage but the odd time I have any trouble was on the US end (between Covid and the Trump government tearing down the postal system at the time), not with An Post. Items were not of high value though and once here sailed though customs without any tax or duties. There were huge volumes of stuff arriving with spiralling online shopping during the lockdowns and a lot of stuff appeared to have been waved through without a fuss.

Recently I sent a CD to the US and noticed An Post now works an online system, address of the recipient and sender as well as details of the package, value, content etc, are entered into the system at the postoffice and a customs barcode/number is provided on the spot. Package arrived in a week at the other end. Perhaps the new system rejects incomplete declaritions of stuff arriving into the country?
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Re: Shipping a Flute with USPS to Ireland from the US, Tips

Post by kkrell »

Possible causes, in my experience:

1) An incomplete or incorrect Customs Declaration. For instance, did you sign & date it in addition to printing out the Customs form?

2) Package or labeling was too damaged to continue delivery.

3) Recipient did not want to pay duty & VAT & either did not pick up item, or refused delivery. Recipient may or may not have been notified package was ready & lack of response resulted in a return to sender.

4) Total screw-up by postal services. I once sent out a package and the USPS delivered it to me as the TO:/recipient address, despite clear labeling to the contrary. No refund of postage, either.
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Re: Shipping a Flute with USPS to Ireland from the US, Tips

Post by kkrell »

Adding that if this was, say, a carbon fiber (fibre) instrument, there may be a restriction on import, or a different category of customs duties that apply. There are rules for carbon fiber for non-electrical use.
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Re: Shipping a Flute with USPS to Ireland from the US, Tips

Post by Ben Shaffer »

I've got the Carbon Copy of the Customs declaration
The one thing I did not do was put the date next to were I signed for it
This could be the reason it was sent back, who knows
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Re: Shipping a Flute with USPS to Ireland from the US, Tips

Post by Ben Shaffer »

Also there may be something about a Tariff Number or Code which is on Box 24 of the Customs Claims declaration
I knew nothing about this
That said the# for a Flute is 9205909000
So if I receive the Flute back I'm hoping it tells me why it was returned
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Re: Shipping a Flute with USPS to Ireland from the US, Tips

Post by kkrell »

Ben Shaffer wrote: Mon Sep 20, 2021 9:53 am Also there may be something about a Tariff Number or Code which is on Box 24 of the Customs Claims declaration
I knew nothing about this
That said the# for a Flute is 9205909000
So if I receive the Flute back I'm hoping it tells me why it was returned
In most instances, it would not be necessary to provide an Harmonized Tariff code. Mainly for use by large importers/exporters.

The Customs Declaration should include a good description (ie: used flute, type of material), marked as Merchandise, quantity, value & weight. Invoice should be included in the package (if opened & contents examined).

The returned package may not have much in the way of explanation. Possibly "Undeliverable as addressed", or "damaged". Will be interesting to see what you get. Do please let us know.
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Re: Shipping a Flute with USPS to Ireland from the US, Tips

Post by Ben Shaffer »

Theres this Tarif Number that must be filled out in Box 24, but I don't know if this is just for businesses
Apparently this is a new requirement that went in importing in the EU
So this Harmonized Tariff code does not apply to Individuals just selling one Flute?


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Re: Shipping a Flute with USPS to Ireland from the US, Tips

Post by Geoffrey Ellis »

I've shipped a lot of flutes internationally using USPS and only once did I get one back, and that was fairly recently from Canada. No explanation on the package as to why, but the local clerk speculated that my description of the contents needed to be more detailed. I've always provided what I thought was an adequate description. Once I've told them that it is merchandise, specified the value, weight, etc. and then told them it's a musical instrument, specifically a wooden flute, then told them what wood it's made from, I don't have a lot to add to that! In any case, I sent the package again (the clerks were super helpful and they let me modify the description on the spot and put it right back in the system with no extra charge) and it went through no problem. Weird.

However, one thing that might help is if you use the Click and Ship service and print your customs forms off the USPS site. These documents look more "official" than the hand written type you get at the post office, and I think this might actually make a difference to customs officials. This might be nonsense, of course, but some instinct tells me that it helps. It looks professional, and if you have an invoice you can put a copy in the same clear envelope with the customs forms.
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