TNT Express - TNT Misreporting Weight to Pocket Fraudulent GST Costs

Courier Service - Complaint
Review by 3cents7499 on 2013-08-27
Rating: StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
SYDNEY NSW -- I recently had a high value item shipped from the United Kingdom to Australia using TNT Express. The item was low weight, less that 1kg, but was valued at over $1000, and therefore applicable for GST/import duty in Australia (but only GST applied for this item).

The item got stuck in customs, I called them up regarding it, apparently the item was stuck in customs due to no invoice being attached, and then told me the weight of the item amongst a few other details. When I heard that the item was 62kg I was shocked, and then fired off an email to the sender. They confirmed that the item was registered on their side as 1kg, and sent me an invoice, which I forwarded to TNT to get the item out of customs.

I had already calculated the taxes and broker costs based on best guesses according to others I had talked to who had imported items internationally. When the item arrived, the price on the invoice was $100 higher than my estimate, I had almost gone forward and paid for the amount, figuring my estimates were off. Luckily I read the invoice!

TNT had reported the weight of my <1kg item as 62kg, although it may have seemed like a clerical error there may have been something very shifty going on underneath. 62kg = $1,000 postage = $100 GST. The payment is made to a representative at TNT, who could pocket that extra $100 (on top of their brokerage fee) and forward the balance to the authorities.

Furthermore it was confirmed by the sender that they had not been asked to pay any extra fees for postage.

I had to make numerous calls and send numerous emails to TNT in order to get the weight adjusted before paying the duty. When calling I would get a different contact each time, so I would add them into the next email. however, all that happened is that I would get the same invoice sent over and over again, much in the same way that Internet scams work. After 2 weeks of this commotion they finally caved and adjusted the amount, I paid, and the item was on its way.

When the item finally arrived, the weight, value and description of the item were clearly marked on the package.

This seems like a scam to me, and the lack of response from TNT staff only provides support to the premise. It makes me wonder if this sort of thing just goes unnoticed by most importers and someone at TNT happily pockets the proceeds.
Comments:1 Replies - Latest reply on 2013-08-27
Posted by onlooker on 2013-08-27:
I've used TNT, DHL, Fed Ex, and other courier / shipping services. I've seen mistakes and I've seen stupid.
Some one might be playing a game - but it could just have easily been a mistake.
And a mistake especially at such a service company is hard and time consuming to correct. Congrats, and thank you for the heads up.

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