Returning goods to Australia – not as easy as getting here!
Prior to Christmas we returned to Australia and wanted to return personal goods of the family home, as they were re-locating back. What is an easy and relatively painless process in Australia is not as simple to do so here. A few challenges and bizarre situations and circumstances occurred during this activity!
Firstly finding a company to fulfil this process took a bit of time and effort.It was like no one leaves here, or if they do they don’t take their personal effects. In the end, we chose air freight as this would be the quickest method to get these items sent (and we air shipped a few boxes over when we came here). The cost of this was very reasonable with a quoted door to door service (Lahore home to Canberra home) of 500-550Rs per kg (about $AUD6-7kg). The removal company required the normal stuff for international shipping – packing lists, passports, tickets of family return, declarations etc.
The second challenge came in finding shipping boxes…no one seemed to know what I was talking about! A cardboard ‘tea chest’ size box, was what I was looking for. I explained, showed pictures, searched and even outsourced searches, but struggled. Luckily I had a few boxes in reasonable condition left from the trip here, so I used these and was eventually able to secure so smaller boxes, used for removal. Everything was boxed and ready for out 10am pick up…..which occurred about 9pm that night (welcome to Pakistan, where time means little). And the size of the ‘removal truck’ was a bit of a concern, but we fitted the 9 boxes in.
No details on when, how or where the good were going was furnished, no mention of insurance so good faith was at play that we would see these again! The day after the goods were collected, we left for Oz. The boxes were to be cleared by customs then apparently on their way. After several follow ups, we were told customs and the freight company were concerned about the box quality. Based on how they were packed I said they would be fine and left it at that. They only had to loaded onto a plane, and a truck so not a lot of manual handling needed.
As my trip was about to end in Australia (nearly 2 weeks later), we still had no news of our boxes. Eventually a tracking number was supplied and it appeared that they sat at Pakistani Customs for over a week before heading on their way via Abu Dhabi.
They finally arrive!
Two days before I left Canberra we came home to find this pile of boxes at our front door. First impressions showed that these were in totally different boxes and there were 8, not 9 like we had sent. This seemed weird, especially as the boxes used were in worse condition to the ones we had packed them in!
Upon opening the boxes and from the obvious fact that all boxes were new, everything had been searched, and re-packed into new boxes. I use the word ‘re-packed’ very loosely as in fact everything had simply been ‘stuffed’ into boxes, and we had breakables within the boxes. Surprisingly, only one item was chipped, but even though there was no packing list to compare against, it was discovered a few things missing, mainly from Madi with a make up case containing make up and jewellery…a problem to investigate upon my return!
Upon contacting the removal company they advised they would investigate, and to their credit they came back to us and said some items had been ‘held’ by customs, along with some photos of the ‘contraband’. It was Madi’s make up bag, which we are not sure yet as to why this was refused shipment, considering it came over here.
The learnings here, of which I don’t have any solution for yet, when I decide to send my own belongings home are obvious.
Customs will go through absolutely everything…! Their level of care or respect for personal belongings is nil and it is all at your own risk!
They also appear to have no interest in advising that they have any items they have confiscated, if we hadn’t asked, would we in fact have ever had these goods returned?
The process with the removal company is still pending, as there is the broken item and still some missing clothing to deal with, but on a positive note (and another strange thing that occurs here), is I haven’t paid a cent (or a Rupee) for any of their services yet, so we will be waiting until we get some sort of outcome on the questions still to be answered!
The fun continues in Pakistan….
Aussie In Lahore….