Problems with DHL in Latin America
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?
…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.
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.