Post office users angry at duty-free fee

  • Notice of the new $5 charge at the post office (Photograph from Facebook)

    Notice of the new $5 charge at the post office (Photograph from Facebook)

  • Notice of the new $5 charge at the post office (Photograph from Facebook)

    Notice of the new $5 charge at the post office (Photograph from Facebook)

A new $5 fee slapped on duty- free items posted to Bermuda has sparked fury.

Angry post office users said they had been hit with the fee when they collected birthday cards.

One woman wrote on the Maj’s List Facebook page that she was charged $20 to pick up birthday cards addressed to her son.

The charge, introduced on August 1, means anyone who fills out a Bermuda Customs declaration form — required to collect all packages — has to pay the “processing fee”.

Another customer said that she was warned about the change last week when she went to collect a letter from overseas.

She added: “Had I left it until this week, I would have been charged.

“I was more concerned about the fact that the contents are confidential and that they would want to look.

“And to be told that even if no duty has to be paid a form has to be completed and a charge for $5 made, that is ridiculous. Fair enough for packages, but not for letters and cards.”

She added: “Christmas is going to be either very busy at the post office or they will be thumb-twiddling, as no international mail will be coming in.

“Also, what happens with our international businesses and law firms? Are they going to have to go through the same process?

“I don’t think this was very well thought out.”

A spokeswoman for the Bermuda Post Office said the fee was introduced as part of the mail service’s efforts to upgrade services “to create a more efficient, modernised customer- service experience”.

She said: “We are always looking to improve and enhance the client experience. This involves modernising our processes, some of which took effect August 1.

“Customers should be aware that the BPO’s customer service representatives act on behalf of HM Customs in the collection of customs duty and must adhere to their process and procedures.”

The spokeswoman added: “The BPO assists its clients with completing the Bermuda Customs declaration form.

“The person collecting the package must sign the BCD as the declarant and pay the duty. The BPO will process your BCD and customs duty fees directly to customs.

“There is a $5 BPO processing fee for each BCD.”

She added: “Gifts, duty-free items or items attracting a zero rate of duty still require a BCD to be completed with printed invoice/receipt and valid photo identification as per customs requirements.”

The spokeswoman warned customers that anyone collecting packages must be authorised to do so and have valid photo identification.

She said: “A printed invoice/receipt is required for all goods and merchandise, inclusive of gifts.

“Customs requires the BPO to submit a printed invoice/receipt attached to the BCD, whether the goods or merchandise are dutiable or not.

“If unable to provide an invoice/receipt the customer can provide an equal representation of the items with pricing.”

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Published Aug 7, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Aug 7, 2019 at 6:50 am)

Post office users angry at duty-free fee

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