Radha checked her emails. She received an email from her friend who needed advice about custom clearance. She called James to find out the details.
He said he had purchased a toy online with spare part from America and that had been held by customs in India. He asked her to draft a letter for him.
She wrote the letter.
He submitted the letter to the customs but got to know after two days that the courier service had refused to get the item cleared as it was a restricted item.
He also forwarded the email of the courier service which mentioned that this item shall be handed over in cargo mode to the cha agent and you need to appoint the cha. She read about cha and got to know that it stands for customs house agent.
She understood that the cha would be responsible for getting the item cleared. She hunted for a cha on internet. She found one and asked whether he could get it cleared.
The cha said “Yes it can be done. It involves paper work. We will get it changed on paper and then the courier service will get it cleared.” Radha was happy.
She paid the fees of the cha online and waited. The cha after few days asked for waybill and photo of the toy with the manual. She got all from her friend and sent it.
Then she kept tracking for the consignment and wished with all her heart that it would reach the destination. She also had a friend at income tax whom she contacted.
Her friend spoke to her counterpart at customs but to Radha’s disappointment the result was negative. She was informed that this is restricted and needs a license from civil aviation and lot of formalities. She didn’t lose hope.
James also tried from his end but couldn’t get it done at all. In fact he had also tried through another cha who tried to get it cleared under the category of electronic item. But after a week he informed Radha that the toy still lay at the customs.
Ii was almost a month and she consulted the cha who asked to write an email to courier service to get it cleared and that we would be ready to pay custom duty. The courier service refused.
Radha asked the courier service as to why had they picked up the consignment if they were unable to deliver? Also the courier service operated around the world and would be aware more than the common man who had purchased it without any knowledge.
After a month the courier service indicated that the item would be abandoned. On asking the cha, she was more disappointed as he said “You can go to another cha and I am ready to pay”.
Radha was lost amidst the courier service, customs and cha. She didn’t know what to do and how to get the toy released which had been purchased by her friend for kids of the family with so much of love and affection.
She still wonders that some miracle will bring the toy home and hopes for the same everyday.
The whole process of custom clearance has been an adventure indeed.