At last the time has come. I've been dreading for this day to come when I could pour out my emotions. My last two post were visible evidences how I was so into Snail Mail. But no matter how perfect a thing is, sometimes there are hindrances that can never be avoided.
Before I start, please brace yourself. As much as I wanted to let this pass, I couldn't because I know actions should be taken at least, on the least thing that I can do and that is to turn on my blog for help. This is a long story
February 9, 2011, Thursday, the landlady knocked on my door to give me another notice from the post office. I'm already expecting it and I was so happy because this time the parcel arrived immediately. The said notice includes the days and time you can claim your parcel (Monday and Wednesday, 8:00 am - 12:00 p.m.) and the amount you have to pay for the custom fee which is Php40. Though there was another print on the notice which states M-W instead of M and W only, so I assume I can still claim it on Tuesday because the schedule wasn't clear. If you're wondering why I have to claim it on the post office instead of it being delivered directly, well that is because every parcel should be inspected in the presence of the customs representative, which is I think a good point to avoid illegal products.
Came Monday I wasn't able to claim it because the rain poured so hard. On Valentines Day I immediately went to the post office. The post office personnel assigned on window 5 of Alabang psot office informed me that the customs representative wasn't there. I told her that I took my chances because of the two schedules printed on the notice. Afterwards she told me to wait for a while and she will call the customs representative if she can release the parcel. She made the call and then she described the product I received to the customs representative and before that, she handed me the card that comes with the gadget case and told me to handle it.
Post Office personnel: Maam Happy Valentines, someone is claiming a parcel here. May I give it to her? (She had to describe the parcel so the rep can decide) It's from the United Kingdom, it's a Gadget case, Cath Kidston ltd, London. It's beautiful. A gadget case which looks fit for a Samsung Galaxy Y cellphone, the trending phone today. There's 16.96 British Pound on the outside.
After that she put down the phone. And she told me:
Post Office personnel: she said you have to pay a tax because the product was from the United Kingdom and it's expensive. She will call again (which I think by that time the rep was doing her calculations) and if she told you the amount you have to pay, for example she told you it's Php700, tell her you only had Php 300 in your pocket. (Nice advice from a public servant).
Right there and then, my guts told me there was something going on. The customs representative called again and she talked to me saying I have to pay the taxes and duties for the product which is Php1361.00. Below is the picture of the notice they gave me where the post office personnel wrote the amount I have to pay. I asked her why it's so expensive and she explained that is due to the fact that the product I received is expensive (OMG, insert deep breath here, when I breathe deeply that means I am already losing my temper and my patience).
I told her that I'll just go back because I don't bring that much money knowing that I just have to pay Php40 for the customs fee. Then she asked me to hand the phone to the post office personnel. They talked for like 5 minutes and as long as the post office personnel put down the phone, this is what she told me:
Post Office Personnel: Maam said she can lower down the cost to Php700.00 (OMG again) If you will not claim your parcel they will send it for auction. You should claim it, it's beautiful.
Needless to say I decided not to claim my parcel. First I would like to talk to the customs representative and make my research before paying the amount. While walking outside the office, I sent a message to Mommy Razz and I asked her if she was required to pay a certain amount of tax. At night I sent a DM to Kris which I was so hesitant to do at first. I asked her if the other recipient of the gift paid too, but unfortunately one is from Spain. It's clearer than water that I was the only one obliged by the customs representative to pay. I also did my research.
I went back to the post office and I was glad that the customs representative, Ms. Carlota C. Caberto was there. I approached the post office personnel again and this time she's not friendly as the other day. She said that I took the card and didn't returned it when in fact she's the one who gave it to me. I said I came back to claim my parcel and that the sender told me that wasn't very expensive like what they're telling me. They almost yelled at me telling me that they cannot take my word and I have to present them the receipt of the gift. Ms. Carlota Caberto asked for the parcel and she told me if I want to, she'll value the product (that is to compute for the tax I have to pay) and I agreed. When the post office personnel hand her down the gadget case, she was somehow shocked that the product she wants me to pay an expensive amount is a piece of gadget case even marked as gift.
Without computing for the value, she handed me the case and didn't made me pay for Php1361.00 she mentioned on the phone the other day.
Why am I telling this?
Eventhough I didn't paid for the said taxes and duties in the end, there is somehow an anomaly and conspiracy going on. It's not a problem to pay for what is due. No matter how high the tax was if they were able to present me with the computation and didn't offered me for a discounted tax, I might have paid for it. But the moment they did it, I had second thoughts.
To the customs representative and post office personnel
I don't know if it's legal for you to offer a discount on air parcel taxes. If yes, I guess you should explain to the claimant why and how did you arrive to that computation.
Instead of showing and explaining to us why and how did you compute for the tax and what is it for, you always serve us with burning head, ( i take it you don't want to answer our questions.)
You should also refrain from computing the tax via phone when you haven't seen the product yet and don't know the real value of the item. It's prone to mistakes like what had happened to me. I almost gave you an amount which is more worthy to be spent on street children.
You as public servants chose to be on that position should always serve with kindness but instead whenever we approach your office, you always have that grin face.
When I said I take it seriously, I did. That is the reason why I've written the whole story. By now, you already guess what I am intending to do. I don't want other people to be trap on that kind of situation again.
For additional reference you can read Taxes sa Air Parcels na Kinukuha sa Post Office written by Ms. Ruth Floresca only it was written in Filipino.
Please be careful not to be carried away with the wrong doings of this society. We should serve and protect our country from the corrupt and malpractices. As Mahatma Gandhi said, "Be the change you want to see in the world". Let's all be vigilant.