December 18, 2007

Problems with DHL in Latin America
Lima, Peru

I'm furious with DHL, and I want answers.

I would never recommend sending parcels to Latin America with DHL. I've received five packages while abroad: three with FedEx (in Puerto Rico, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Malaysia), and two with DHL (in Guatemala, and now Peru). And out of those five deliveries, I've never experienced problems or payoffs with FedEx, but have now twice been burned with DHL. I don't know if this company is corrupt, dishonest, or simply incompetent on a global level, but I've yet to have a positive experience with them.

A year and a half ago I posted an open letter to DHL, recounting how I was overcharged an excessive amount to accept a package in Guatemala, with delivery and acceptance charges far outweighing the cost of the contents of the package. This letter was also mailed to the company, though it never initiated an inquiry, apology, or any acknowledgment of acceptance.

Today, a Christmas package lovingly sent by my father in Oregon, was finally delivered to the Boza home in Lima. Although the tracking record for the package shows that it arrived in Lima on the 13th, and was available for pickup on the 14th, the Boza home was never contacted by DHL.

It was not until today, the 17th, that the office called to inform the household that a US$34 (101.20 Peruvian nuevos soles) levy had been imposed on the parcel, and if it was going to be delivered this exact amount would be required to be paid upon receipt of the package (as the driver carries no change).

Naturally, paying taxes of US$34 on a package with a stated value of US$55 really gets to me. That's a taxation of over 60% of the stated value for a box with some chocolates and a Christmas ornament. Factor in the cost of the shipping on my father's end (US$46), and these gifts for the Boza family cost more to send and receive (US$80) than the gifts themselves—sound familiar?

DHL opened these sealed letters looking for cash

…But that's only part of the problem. The Boza family and I are in an uproar over the opening of two sealed letters inside the package. These letters weren't opened skillfully, they were torn open to inspect their contents—presumably looking for money.

Let me say that one more time: Two sealed envelopes (letters), inside the package, were torn open in haste.

I believe a direct connection was made between the gifts and the cards, and the staff at the Peruvian DHL facility knowingly opened these items to look for cash. You've got gifts coming from the United States, you've got cards, so it's possible there's going to be money inside the cards.

Is it the policy of DHL to open letters of private correspondence contained within packages?

The packages of chocolate weren't opened, so it's obvious that security wasn't an issue. What possible contents could be inside the letters that would warrant additional taxes, if that's what they were inspecting them for?

I want an answers. The Boza family wants answers. And with the legal and media (television and radio) connections this family have, I've no doubt that it wouldn't take much for a television crew to descend on the management of the DHL facility here in Lima. Stealing and letter slashing inside DHL, yeah, that's a decent enough story.

DHL delivery payoff

And those taxes and surcharges—they're an absolute joke. They charged US$4 to print the bill, and US$8 for "storage".

This is the itemized US$34 acceptance bill on the Peruvian side:

  • Document: $4
  • Operational Expenses: $16.30
  • Storage: $8
  • Sales Tax: $5.38
  • Rounding (to the next dollar): $0.32

Tatiana has sent packages to Lima with other carriers (including the United States Postal Service), and has never seen her family billed for taxes or delivery. We're calling the DHL facility tomorrow, and if we don't get the right answers, we're going to push this further, from both hemispheres.



December 18th, 2007

I shipped a ATM card from Thailand to India. There was an extra charge, and Mr. Joe comes later to try to collect. I send a package from somewhere and my parents got a bill for 50 dollars and paid it. I was furious, then never told me. Then they try to extort money when I ship from Cusco. I now guess I will try UPS. I think DHL, a German Company is doing some very tricky and corrupt practices.

DHL Corruption


December 18th, 2007

"I think DHL, a German Company is doing some very tricky and corrupt practices."

Damn, good-for-nothing Germans…


December 19th, 2007

I had issues with DHL while IN Germany. They wanted more than $100 US to deliver a package with two sweatshirts and two pairs of khakis. That was after the company I was with had already paid to ship the items. Good luck.


December 20th, 2007

Yeap… they screw me sending something from the US to Canada… so you should change the name from problems With DHL in latin america to just "DHL SUCKS BIG TIME AROUND THE GLOBE"… i payed the shipping and deliver from here (in the person that got the present (because it was a present) had to pay for getting it!!!!


October 28th, 2008

This is interesting. Since I received a used beatup old dell laptop from my employer from the US to Mazatlan Sinaloa Mexico with a declared value of $100 USD, and had to pay $80 dollars in taxes to retrieve it. I have received parts, equipment, electronics and similiar items in "new" condition with 10 times the value of this laptop through FedEx and have many times paid no taxes or very little taxes. It makes me think that DHL agents are intentionally overcharging tariffs which it claims are customs charges in an all out robbery of money from the users of its service. Now it all makes sense. Its not the customs that screwed up, its DHL rigging the system.



December 23rd, 2010

They are corrupt.
I had a box come to China and it showed on DHL tracking that it was in Canton ready to come to me then DHL sent the box back to DHL Shenzhen office were they then said customs is holding and the value stated was too low. They then told me if I wanted the box I must write out a new higher total which they taxed me on (100usd). Their office told me one total and the dilivery guy calls and says it is 50 more! They also said they can not provide an invoice for all this as well. My sender in the US says he spoke to DHL office there and they said for sending the box back it could take 3 months. They are unbelievable! Do yourself a favor and never use DHL, they are racketeering.

The Netherlands

Someone who knows a bit more

August 28th, 2011

Dear poster, you are an idiot.

I'm sorry for those harsh words…matter of fact, I am not.

You are outraged that your sealed envelopes were opened. Maybe you should ask a customs employee some time what people try to send through sealed envelopes. (Mostly money, sometimes worse)

The reason courier companies do not want to transport money is because then couriers become walking targets for robbers, but you probably never thought of that.

Envelopes should be open (any logistics company will tell you!) so customs and courier company can check that there's not money (or worse) in there.

If the envelopes are sealed then they get opened because of customs rules. Blaming the courier/logistics company for this is incorrect and unfair.

Why are people so ignorant? You complain about customs rules but instead you should have checked what you are talking about.

If I order something at Amazon for you to receive in another country then you receive it with Customs Costs Unpaid. The receiver has to pay taxes as set by the receiving country's customs department.

Please check the facts before you complain on the internet.



December 6th, 2013

Glad I found this post, I had the same problems!

Twice now I had small packages sent to Mexico and twice I got a phone call from Mexican DHL rep saying that it was held up at customs and that I'd have to have them investigate it and then most likely charge me.

Get this, the problem in the second package was a $10 tea which she said they would charge something like $200 tax for!

I don't know if the problem is the corrupt Mexican customs or DHL or both.

I told them to screw off and send the package back to origin.

Never use DHL. And never ship anything valuable to Mexico!



June 7th, 2014

UPS and Guatemala isn't a good mix either. After package arrived they sent papers to be signed for 'customs clearance purposes' that then used them to mark the shipment as delivered in the system (tracked package). I then spent the next month and a few hundred dollars more in phone calls to non-existent customer service outside the country, to keep the package from being 'defaulted (i.e. gifted/robbed) to customs after 30 days'. The local representative gave their fax machine number as their contact number so they knew who was calling and would never answer after being asked 'why the package was marked as delivered when it was not'. When UPS outside of Guatemala gave the correct number they withheld information required to complete the process with local customs. I have since heard that UPS should be avoided and that Fedex, although not perfect either, is the best shipment method to Guatemala.

The United States


March 25th, 2015

My wife is having the same problem now with DHL Ecuador. She sent 10 personally designed Christmas cards to her 80-year old mother in December (for distribution to other family members in Quito). Her mother received the cards before the end of the year. Two-and-a-half months later her mother received a call from DHL Quito indicating she owed $60 on the shipment as the package contained a 'musical' card that had to be taxed. So far, DHL America as been less than helpful regarding this issue. We will be escalating to their executive officers and the media if this continues.

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