June 24, 2006

An Open Letter to DHL
Gracias, Honduras

Dear DHL, an error made by the Guatemalan branch of your organization resulted in import fee charges that were nearly double what they should have been.

On June 16, 2006, a package containing a piece of photography equipment was mailed from Portland, Oregon (tracking number 8882047716), for delivery in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. The waybill invoice for this package listed the total value of the parcel at US$150.00, but was incorrectly taxed at approximately US$263.

Curious as to why the package seemed to be delayed in Guatemala City, I stopped by the DHL office in Quetzaltenango. The parcel was scheduled to arrive the following morning, but I was absolutely flabbergasted when I was told about the excessively high import fees that were being levied against it. Payment of $631 quetzals (approximately US$83) was to be paid before I could claim my parcel.

As I don't speak enough of the local language to debate the matter, I reluctantly paid the fee, and claimed my package. On a long bus ride from Guatemala towards Honduras, I had time to study DHL's breakdown of the Q$631 import penalty (given to me by the office in Quetzaltenango).

It would seem that a DHL employee erred, and listed the value of the package at Q$2,000.00 (approximately US$263)—US$116 more than the parcel's declared value! This excessive valuation (in the local currency) resulted in nearly double the import costs.

The amount paid in taxes just to receive this package cost me more than I spent to live, eat, and travel around Quetzaltenango for over 10 days. I find it very unfortunate that the total cost to ship the parcel actually outweighed the value of the contents.

I felt it necessary to inform you of this mistake, and to express my displeasure over the incident. A response would be greatly appreciated.

Your customer,
Craig Heimburger



June 25th, 2006


My thoughts and wishes are with you today. Good wishes for a spectacular time with new friends.

Looking forward to hearing all about it.


Andy HoboTraveler.com

July 3rd, 2006

Hello Craig,

Andy of HoboTraveler.com here. I have used DHL on many occasions. Now, I am not too happy. Example: I sent a package to my parents in Indiana, in my father name. He then received a bill for 50 Dollars later, like a surcharge. He paid it… aagh. He is afraid of being turned over to a collection agency and did not understand I paid the complete amount.

Then I sent a package from Peru, and they get a call saying they need to pay again. I was lucky this time and talked to them. DO NOT PAY… A week goes by and they received the package. I am not sure, but it seems they are trying to collect extra fees.

I am not sure of the solution. DHL has a bigger presence in the world and I can see their trucks. However, I am going to use Fed Ex or UPS from now on, this means I can only send from the biggest cities where they have offices. However, I am not happy with DHL. Sadly, I have recommended them many times in blogs, and now I should go back and un-recommend. This is the sad part of every saying something good. A hotel can change, a place can change.

Note, you seem to want to have packages sent to you in other countries. I would guess this work good about 5 percent of the time. I do not recommend people sending anything but something you do not want anyway. Sending home is different, you are sending to a person you trust.


Craig | travelvice.com

July 3rd, 2006

Hey there Andy,

Yeah, DHL has been on my naughty list for a long time now, and such experiences aren't helping the situation any.

Indeed, my second package in so many months. A necessary evil, as the cost to mail is significantly less than the local price tag. :|

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