Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Expensive Mail

I am completely frustrated by the Italian postal system and custom's office. Every time I receive just about anything from the US, I end up paying at least Euro 10 ($14) on it because it's value gets taxed at 20% and then additional customs and postal services are added for it to be handled at the Italian border.

The most recent frustrating payment occurred when someone sent what they declared as $50 worth of pictures to me (but pictures weren't even in the envelope). I found myself paying the normal taxes and fees with none of the benefits of even getting what I thought I was helping pay for!

Another good story comes from the time I sent 3 big boxes of old kitchen supplies to myself. Once the packages arrived, and since I had declared no value on the old pots and pans, Italy's customs office decided to tax me on the cost of the postage of having the boxes sent from the US. So for the box that cost $80 to send, I was taxed 20% on that value. It was absolutely crazy!

Those boxes were delivered to my house by a man with a TNT tag on his shirt and he was driving not a TNT van but a plain white one with no insignia . I found out later that the Italian postal service pays for private delivery services once the big packs come into the territory. I suppose some of these bogus fees are helping subsidize this costly Italian option. I just don't know why the Italian postal system cannot complete the delivery cycle itself, especially considering the foreign sender has paid for its total voyage to destination at the departure site.

If you think you can just take your boxes and not pay, you risk having the police come to your door with a criminal report.

Meanwhile, if you call the phone number the post office gives you to inquire about these fees, no one answers. You only have five days in which the package will remain in-country and not delivered. If you do not pay within that time, you risk having the package sent back to the sender for the cost of return delivery. It's a no-win situation for the receiver.

As usual, the system is awful and who pays? YOU


  1. E io pago!! Sounds like it's time to call Striscia! I have told everyone at home in the states to NOT send me anything! It didn't used to be this way, I have noticed the increase in fees in just the past year! It is the most frustrating thing ever! Well ONE of the many here in Italy!

  2. Striscia is a great idea!
    Some put the blame on the increase in internet sales, especially through ebay, where many more people are buying things and pretending to get them "as gifts" from abroad. It has made customs assume everything is something to tax.

  3. me too, me too, I had to pay 12 euro taxes for a plush squirrel and few jelly belly sent for valentine's day from my girlfriend! I hate italian postal system!