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Dealing with Thai customs, anyone?


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I've got stuff shipped from the US to Thailand pretty often. They all got here quite reliably even during  Covid time, once arriving in Thailand they went through Customs and then dispatched to the main local post office. From there, the post either delivered the package to me directly or sent me a notice to come pick it up (which means custom tax is due, or a couple of times because there was damage to the package itself.) This time however, Bangkok customs house sent me a notice to come to their office in Chaeng wattana to pick up my package. On the notice it doesn't cite any reason, nor any amount concerning customs duty and tax. One of the (two) red stamps on the notice says that I have 7 days to pick it up, or pay a fine (that's pretty harsh considering I live outside Bangkok.) The post office on the hand would hold packages for one month!

Does anyone have experience dealing with Customs house in this regard? There is nothing particular in my package: some skin cream jars from Walmart, a graphic card for my laptop, a history book, a couple of covers for my ipad, and the last item : a second hand half century old swiss mantle clock which I'm wondering is the cause for all this trouble, even though it isn't worth much? Might Custom consider that it is an antique object and want to scrutinize it somehow? 

Thank you in advance for any input anyone might come up with.

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I've had to go to a Customs Office (in Laem Chabang and at Suvarnabhumi) to deal with shipments in the past. In each case, it had to do with them suspecting that an item (or items) was undervalued

my experience is that they make you physically come to Customs House if there’s something like a paper permit, license or other formality that the Thai Post can’t handle.    I had a shipment

I had to go recently to the place on chaeng wattana 5. I had some medication posted. They want to check contents. And send you to the FDA desk if there is any medication. The FDA w

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4 minutes ago, teacherclaire said:

Don't forget to carry a few envelopes with different amounts in it. 

Does this mean they would pass me from one desk to another, a la immigration?

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4 minutes ago, jojothai said:

The FDA want a prescription / thai doctors certificate. Regardless whether it is not a prescription or controlled product. Silly, why would i need a prescription when not necessary. Law is the law, TIT.

+1. You mention skin cream. If it's not Thai-FDA approved they'll likely confiscate it. With the clock I'd suggest looking up something similar on the internet, with a value showing, and printing that off to take with you. You can look up the HS tariff rate for clocks to get an idea of what you might be charged. 

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In my experience, if the value of the package is above 10,000 baht or the duty to be collected is above 10,00 baht (can't remember which), they ask you to come to customs. I've had to do this several times with watches I occasionally buy. In my case, though, it has always been to the customs office nearest to me, not Chaeng Wattana. Time consuming but not particularly painful. Take your invoices and proof of payment with you.

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you probably imported too much and tax will be due

 

sucks, did it once, was for Iherb over 100$ many years ago

 

why oh why they cannot ask / trust to postman to do the delivery + paid tax on it

 

or pay online

 

2020, but not in thailand

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After reading all these problems I wonder if governments everywhere (not only in Thailand) exist to make life more difficult and miserable for the people.

It just seem to be so. When I went to buy my air ticket to go home I was told by the travel agent I need to get a letter from my embassy to permit me to buy the ticket. At my embassy I was told to download a form fill it up then I can get the letter.

So what do you think? Is this the idea of some big Ar..hole in the embassy of my country(not Thailand) ? Being a visitor do I carry a printer with me ? I had to look for an internet cafe to down load the form and pay to get it print. So the government of my country with its representative at the embassy never use its brain at all. And who is going to read the form that I filled up? The lady took the form I filled up and just drop it in a tray and I am sure it serves no purpose whatsoever other than making me lost money for the MRT journey and payment for printing the form.

There are ways to make things simple and easy for everybody.

If a group of stupid people form a government they will make life more troublesome, difficult and miserable for you.

When I was in my puberty my dad asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up. I said I wanted to be in the police force and he said, "I didn't know I have a stupid son".  The worse part was when he walked away without saying anything further.  I had this sunken feeling.

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Thank you everybody for very helpful comments/input. It's great to hear from different angles of the same experience, from where to go, how long the wait, what might be the gist of the affair and even whether to "tip" or not to "tip". So 3 possibilities:
1) My graphic board for the laptop might have aroused some weapon/arm-related suspicion. (Also, as suggested, the cirscumtancial combo of old mechanical clock + circuit board).
2) however it's the clock that I fear would get the most "bang for the bucks." It's got the brand (Imhof/Bucherer), probably manufactured in the 60's/70's, still in decent working condition. I got it on ebay for under 150 bucks (the shipping fee for the whole package was 130 however). 
3) Regarding the skin cream, it's over the counter item, I would let them discard it if they press for prescription.
I will try to call them today and hear what they say, will report back definitely.
Again, big thanks to all for chipping in with advice. Especially to Kerryd for a detailed and insightful report which is a big help!

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4 hours ago, Kerryd said:

(if possible - I usually bring up the Amazon/AliExpress order invoice on my phone)

Especially with AliExpress you don't get an invoice, how can you proof the value?

I ask this because I order a camera at Ali, it stays for sinds 18 August on hold at 'customs clearance'

But not any message.

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