Jump to content

Beware - Customs Scam

Li Mu Bai

Recommended Posts

Hi all,
Just a little heads up on and issue I have experienced with customs duties when ordering items from overseas, specifically CRC.

On Monday 12-04-10,
11:00am I drove to the International Mail Centre(IMC) at OR Tambo to collect a
parcel that had been sent to me from UK.

I make purchases
from CRC and eBay regularly and have the parcels addressed to my PO Box number in Halfway

On occasion, when
the international courier (Parcel Force in this instance) indicate that the
parcel has arrived in SA, I collect from the IMC to save some transit


I presented my
tracking numbers to the lady at the counter, who disinterestedly passed it on to
another person to go collect. After 40 minutes of waiting I was presented with
the parcel and the Manifest of Foreign Parcel - Tax Invoice

On checking it I
noticed the exchange rate used to calculate the invoice was incorrect and
12.3394, much higher than what the current rate was.
I queried it with the
teller and she was quite put out that I dare question her about it saying that
they used the highest going rate. I then insisted that she show me what rates
are being applied on at which she rudely walked off for and returned a further
32 minutes later with a 'Revised' manifest. It now showed 11.4285

The new rate was
significantly lower, and better reflected what the current rate of exchange rate
was. She also had a Nedbank printout of the days forex exchange rates and this is what they had now used correctly.
(I don't understand why the PO are using the banks higher forex selling rates, no forex is changing hands, customs is just making money from duties and vat, surely they should just use the std trading rate. No service is being provided either. But thats a moral debate for another day)


This has happened to
me on two occasions before, specifically when I collected parcels from Halfway
house. When I queried the high rate of exchange with the tellers there I was on
both occasions informed that there was nothing they could do, the parcels were
assessed off site at the IMC, and I had to take it or leave it, much to my


Having now found out
exactly what is going on, I suggest that anyone buying anything from overseas check the exchange rate that is being applied to the goods that you purchase. On large orders it does add up to a lot extra.

Not for a moment do
I believe that this is an isolated incident, I am convinced that there is a
collaboration of people in the PO Office customs employ who are benefiting
financially from these errors and seemingly corrupt practices

I have laid a complaint at the PO. Not holding my breath though...
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yip - point taken.


It's easy for thuse guys to charge you any old rate and then they pocket the difference?

Sure the rate applicable should be the excahnge rate on the date of the invoice? I.e when your monies was deducted from you Credit Card/


Link to comment
Share on other sites

nope, they use the rate on the day, so if you buy something and the rate is 10.97 to the pound and when it arrives the rand has slumped to 12.06 you pay a lot more than you should. another moral debate for another day i suppose. making it too difficult for the special people behind the counters is unfair labour practice isn't it?



Link to comment
Share on other sites

On imports the correct rate to be used is the rate on which its shipped for final destination SA, SARS customs rates are inflated. Customs put out a rate everyday day


Link to comment
Share on other sites


and don't use UPS they are even worse... and charge you extra locally.


UPs are probably using the correct SARS rate for that day


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Was also charged R 12.33 for a parcel ex CRC that arrived yesterday. It seems like normal practice by the skelms @ the PO. Someone  is pocketing the money for sure. Thank goodness I'm VAT registered!!. I see the PO manifest was compiled by "Shadi".....go figure

Link to comment
Share on other sites

yip, Customs rate of exchange is higher and has nothingto do with what you paid for the goods or what CRC show on their page.......




for example goods shipped today will be subject to roe against the pound of 11.62 - the current bank roe is between 11.04 to 11.64 depending on buying/selling/notes etc. so as you can see is is and always will be higher than you think.....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, in this case it was a deliberate use of the wrong exchange rate. the first rate was sucked out of someones thumb there. when the revised invoice came back, the rate on it matched the nedbank forex selling rate for the day that the woman had printed out and was almost a rand less.

they are doing this to thousands of packages everyday, that 'extra' money is going somewhere, you do the math...
Link to comment
Share on other sites

but they're not meant to use the bank rate of exchange in any case.....so there's a clear issue, has to be the customs rate for the 'shipped on board date'........how big was the order that it could make such a difference - in any case you're lucky they assesed it as I'm sure it was over R500 so you should have a clearing agent make a formal declaration with a SAD500......which would cost a few hundred to a few thousand depending on the size/value of the order.....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

this stuff is too technical.. its such a gamble ordering from overseas, costs, guarantee that its actually going to get to you.


ive had too many things stolen from my international orders to make me not lus for the struggle.

(none of them CRC orders)



Link to comment
Share on other sites

my order from CRC came in 2 seperate parcels & the chops from customs charged me double VAT.endless phone calls,grey hairs & running around to sort this out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Settings My Forum Content My Followed Content Forum Settings Ad Messages My Ads My Favourites My Saved Alerts My Pay Deals Help Logout