iPhone Update 9

This post could so easily be entitled Spanish Customs!

I went to the Post Office this evening to see what it was that they had tried to deliver last Thursday. As expected it wasn’t the iPhone and was a registered letter from Customs. It wasn’t though, a demand to pay tax. And actually that is pretty much all I know at this stage.

The ‘letter’ has no reply address but does have a phone number, which naturally isn’t staffed other than in the mornings it appears. I had a very vague idea what the form meant so I went to see my friend who is a Gestoria (solicitor) and he was pretty much as lost as I was. He had never seen a form/document like this, and couldn’t work out why it was from Malaga not Almeria.

The gist of the form seems to be that as the iPhone was sent to me (by mistake) at a company address rather than a private address i.e. had a company name on the address, then this seems to have caused a problem.

Officially I am being sent the iPhone from a company in the US to review here in Spain and will then return it, or as is the norm, buy it at a reviewers rate. As such at this stage I do not technically own the iPhone, so it is been sent purely as a review unit. I get on average of 1 item a week delivered under these terms so it isn’t anything out of the ordinary.

The form is certainly asking for proof of purchase, but it isn’t clear if that is proof from the US company or from me as an individual. If it is from me as an individual then they have missed the point totally of the above process. If it is the US company then that is fine, although I can see a huge problem with the fact that although this is been done for an official publication it has been purchased by an individual rather than through the company. Again in this ‘world’ that is very normal.

The slightly more worrying, but equally confusing, part is that it appears to be saying that this can only be sorted out in person in Malaga (3 hour drive away), although how I would be expected to find the office when they don’t give an address on the form is beyond me!

At the moment this is all ‘second guessing’ as we wont know for sure until my Gestoria friend manages to speak to them, hopefully in the morning.

So this could go a number of ways:

  • If I am really lucky they will accept the Gestorias explanation and send the phone to me
  • Not as good as above, but acceptable, would be if they wanted a copy of the US purchase receipt and then sent it to me
  • Certainly not good would be if they insisted that I paid for the phone now, then charged me tax, and said they would refund it when I sent the phone back
  • Nightmare will be if I have to go to Malaga to pick it up, especially if it is option 3 above!

This all seems to be the result of an error on the address mentioning a company name, even though the customs form clearly stated it was a review unit for return, and the letter enclosed confirmed that.

I have to say my mate in the US is bending over backwards to help and it is ‘just one of those things’ as there is always a risk with sending things through customs.

Hopefully will have some (good) news tomorrow but thought I would share this with you for now.

9 thoughts on “iPhone Update 9

  1. Danny

    Ouch, well at least you now know (sort of) the situation.
    Best of luck!

  2. Dunks

    So near yet so far!! Good luck. I remember when I had my powerbook on order watching the tracking site then finding out it was at the local depot – 10 minutes away. This was on a Friday night and the depot wasn’t open again until Monday. Agonising wait all weekend and then when I turned up at 6:00am Monday the guy said ‘Oh we’re all here on Saturday mornings. You should have pooped in for it!!!”

  3. Chris Marshall Post author

    That sounds frustrating!!!

    I have a feeling that this is just the start of the ‘fun’ though knowing the Spanish as I do 🙂

  4. Chris Marshall Post author

    The latest is that my friend has spoken to three different people this morning in Customs, none of whom know anything about this or what the form means!!!

    He has to speak to the person who appears to know tomorrow morning when he returns to work.

    In a perverse way this could be good news – dealing with an individual not a department.

    We shall see 🙂

  5. Chris Marshall Post author

    Well that is the theory 🙂 Thinking it through a bit more all the review stuff I get has an invoice in that says nothing to be paid as it is a review item, so I reckon they will need to see something like that.

  6. Chris Marshall Post author

    Just got this through from my friend who is trying to get this sorted for me. Says it all really 🙂

    Hi Chris,

    This is Spain! The people who works for the Goverment are always out of their desks. The guy who was suppose to be in his office until 14:00 left about 20 minutes ago so I hope to be able to find him tomorrow at 9:00. I will let you know as soos as I am able to speak to him. I cannot believe there is only one person in the hole of Malaga that can help me!!!

    This is ridiculous!!!

  7. Chris Marshall Post author

    Finally touched base with the customs guy. He was more than aware of the case in question as they haven’t seen an iPhone in the country yet!!!

    Seems like the concept of a review unit is a bit beyond these guys – they will release it to me as a review unit so long as I guarantee to return it to the US which would require legal papers and everything.

    Other option is to send them through a copy of the invoice so that they can calculate the IVA (tax) on it. They don’t know what that is as they haven’t seen an iPhone so it isn’t on their system – which is the route of the problem really.

    So have sent them the invoice, and they should calculate the tax and ship the iPhone to me along with the bill that will need to be paid to the post lady when she delivers it.

    All sounds easy and painless – no reason why it wont be here next week, apart from this is Spain and they could well change the rules at any time!!!

    Still all moving in the right direction 🙂

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