How To Avoid The Frustrating Shipping Hiccups?

Knowing how to avoid some of the most common and frustrating shipping hiccups will help you stay out of the trouble.

International shipping is a complex set of processes with many moving parts and decision points.

Here are some tips to avoid extra shipping time, returned cost, or abandon fee for problematic orders. 

1. Check the Additional Paperwork Required for Import Declaration

Customs may require an import or export license for certain products such as food, medical products, or animal products, depending on the harmonized tariff code and importing country. Different countries may have different regulations and special customs clearance requirements. In some cases, the goods being shipped might be restricted or prohibited, so it’s important to do your research ahead of shipping.

Additional information is usually required for formal customs clearance:

  1. Power of Attorney and contact details (phone number and/or email address)
  2. Tax identification number

2. Provide a Clear Description of Your Product

Customs delays are often due to simple paperwork errors. Goods descriptions must be accurate, values must be realistic, quantities must be given, and the specifics for each item need to be included. Providing the Harmonized System (HS) code will help ensure that the description of the goods is understood in all countries.

Unacceptable Acceptable
Apparel Men's Shirts, Lingerie, Girls' Vests, Boys', Jackets
Auto Parts Automobile Brakes, Windshield Glass for Automobiles
Electronics Computers, televisions, CD Players, Walkmans, Tape Recorders, Mobile phones, Monitors, Printers
Gifts Dolls, Remote Control Cars Household goods Plates, Dishes, Tableware (birthday gift) 

For some cases, the local carrier or customs may hold your shipment and clarify the following details:

  • Country of manufacture
  • Manufacture name and address 
  • Ingredient list in local language
  • Import license 
  • Recipient tax ID

3. Declare a Realistic and Fair Product Value

Customs authorities may request additional information to evaluate and verify the transaction value of goods. Therefore, it is highly recommended to prepare the following information upfront:

  1. A proof of payments
  2. A reference to the respective marketplace shop, as well as the sales price stated for the commodities on this platform.

Every shipment (commercial, samples, gifts, repair, return) requires a realistic market price of the commodity. Customs authorities usually determine the sales price on the marketplace shop as the basis to calculate the payable duty and tax charges.

4. Have a Concise Shipping Policy and Reminder on Who Pays the Import Tax

Showcase your international shipping policy by communicating the estimated delivery time and who is responsible for international taxes, charges, and any additional fees. In case the recipient fails to pay the customs fee, the shipment may be forced to return or be abandoned by customs or the carrier, incurring additional costs. The shipper will be liable for the tax, forced return fee, or the abandon cost incurred.


Last Updated:  13 Mar 2023