Thursday, May 31, 2007

Dr Jekyll and Mr DHL

Well who knows, my package won't be scanned again until it gets on a plane, so maybe my quilts will go to the show maybe they won't and there is nothing I can do about it. I did call DHL first thing this morning and was told my quilts were help by outbound customs who needed a VAT number. I am not VAT registered, I don't need to be so I told them this. I was then informed that my quilts would be going no where until I got a VAT number. They can't be returned to me or shipped out. It's OK though you can get a temporary VAT number before you register. Erm, NO! I cannot afford to be VAT registered right now. I don't have the turnover to need it and it would either bankrupt me or make me uncompetitive. Not good.

So I tried calling my account manager, but whilst she is in the office she isn't in, so can't talk to me. Hmm. I did tell the story to the person who answered the phone though, in the hope he might tell her given they sit very close to each other. Well about 10 minutes later I have another call from DHL asking for my VAT number, so again I explain I don't have one, no problem we just had to check your package will go out tonight. Now that is interesting. I asked the first person I spoke to why they hadn't bothered to get in touch when there was a problem with my package and I was told DHL doesn't operate a pro active service it is up to me to call and check (which I had yesterday as well) and now I do get a call.

Paranoia now kicks in and I decide to call exports to see if the customs paperwork has been done correctly for a temporary export. Yes it has I am assured. Great at least that part is working. Then 10 minutes later I get a call, "Could I have your VAT number please?" No I am STILL not VAT registered. OK not a problem and I hang up. Then it occurs to me, wouldn't that question come up when you do the paper work? Which was done before I called? Hmm, I am not sure I believe this.

I have also been told the package will not be delivered until at least Monday (at which point I said don't bother return it) and it will definitely arrive tomorrow (OK go ahead and ship it then). It is being processed, and it is being held. It has never had a problem, and it has been very difficult. All in all I have no idea what is happening except that by the time I can be sure it will be entirely too late to do anything.

No one in DHL seems to have a clue, well not the same clue anyway. I have 3 different procedures I have to follow for a temporary export. I have several versions of shipping time and even more versions of what my responsibilities are in making sure my package is shipped. I can't take this level of aggravation. So either I need another shipping company or I need to give up the idea of entering American shows. Does anyone know of a courier who actually understands the process of temporary export for small businesses or individuals?

Oh yes, yesterday I was told by a DHL telesales person that he had only had to do 1 temporary export in 12 years. So he couldn't be expected to know the process, and DHL did it so rarely they didn't need to have proper documentation to explain to customers how to do it. Maybe this is my problem, I need to find a company who do this on a regular basis. When I said that he did entirely change his tune saying DHL do this all the time. I have the choice, do I believe DHL staff routinely lie (then I don't want to deal with them) or that DHL don't have much experience of this kind of business (then I don't want to deal with them).

If anyone for DHL reads this and would like to explain what their policies are, how this process is supposed to work, and why so many staff seem to be confused about it, I would love to hear from you.


michael said...


Ferret said...

If you want me to read your comment I could do with it being in English.

Connie said...

Ferret, You have my sympathies for this horrible predicament! Mercy me, what a mess! For the cost of shipping plus your anxieties caused by these problems you perhaps could have bought an airline ticket to the show and carried the quilts to be hand-delivered. I hope it all works out!!!

Ferret said...

Thanks. Looks like it won't they are still sitting in the depot :(

I guess they aren't going to the show. Next problem, can I get my quilts back?

Ferret said...

I've just looked at the cost or airline tickets (incase I could get the quilts back and then fly with them) that would cost at least 595 GBP I can't justify that.

Beverly said...

Frustrations galore, I'm sorry and hope it all gets untwisted in time. Maybe you should plan on hand carrying, if you get a ticket enough ahead it might be cheaper!!