An Open Letter to DHL
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.