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.