Himalaya Studios - Adventure Games Forum

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length

Author Topic: Customs Offices and Physical Awards Arriving Damaged  (Read 4298 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Nipples

  • Mage's Initiation Backer
  • Hiker
  • *
  • Posts: 92
    • View Profile
    • Excitement-building adventure theme
Customs Offices and Physical Awards Arriving Damaged
« on: September 16, 2013, 11:12:58 PM »

Check out some issues that Replay Games, who has done a good job on their Kickstarter, has had with customs office frustrations and backer disappointment over how some physical rewards arrived:

https://forums.replaygamesinc.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1286&start=20

Maybe Himalaya can learn from their experience and do things in a way that would hopefully avoid some of those problems.
Logged

Intendant S

  • Mage's Initiation Beta Tester
  • Hiker
  • *
  • Posts: 67
  • Hero of the Adventure Game Revival Movement
    • View Profile
    • Kickstart Ventures
Re: Customs Offices and Physical Awards Arriving Damaged
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2013, 11:52:30 PM »

I'll admit it.  I'm a bit surprised, myself, with what's happening with customs.  I didn't expect to see so much hassle with it.  I've never had any problems with getting things from overseas, but apparently other countries (particularly Germany) are a lot more harder to deal with.  I sure hope that when I start seeing physical goodies from my UK projects I don't have to jump through as many hoops as those people.

And it got to the point where I had to make an announcement on the forums to contact Replay directly about issues regarding international shipping.  The ones with the answers aren't actually frequenting the boards.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2013, 11:54:13 PM by Intendant S »
Logged
"Then you fear yourself. I don't want your fear; I want your love. If you can't love me, who can?"

RogerXY

  • Mage's Initiation Beta Tester
  • Explorer
  • *
  • Posts: 28
  • Save early, save often
    • View Profile
Re: Customs Offices and Physical Awards Arriving Damaged
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2013, 04:08:04 AM »

Replay Games did nothing wrong. They wrote the packages as gift and a low value (i.e. NOT the pledge sum). I live in Sweden and the package arrived safe and sound to me.

It's not Replay Games fault that some countries (Germany seems to be the most common case) have strange custom fees handlings.
Logged
Brimhall of Fame

FamousAdventurer77

  • Royal Treasurer
  • Active Development Team
  • Climber
  • *
  • Posts: 255
  • Two wrongs don't make a right, but three lefts do
    • View Profile
Re: Customs Offices and Physical Awards Arriving Damaged
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2013, 06:46:13 AM »

Er, by marking items as gifts at low value they DID do something wrong-- it's illegal!

If a largish package turns up at the customs office with a suspiciously low value attached ($5 as I read in the thread)...customs is SO going to tear it apart.

http://voices.yahoo.com/the-dangers-falsifying-international-customs-forms-6958706.html

I know this from several years of selling on ebay, both as a private and business seller, in addition to being on a first-name basis with most of my local post office's workers (and our Fedex reps also let us in on some nasty surprises that could be in store duty-wise.) Basically, if you send out a huge batch of overseas shipments just once, as would be the case for many Kickstarters that don't plan to continually merchandise, it puts the sender on a watchlist. (Opposed to if you have a personal account and get one or two auctions with an overseas winner.) Neeeeever try to screw a governmental authority out of money they're due; it's going to bite you hard. Because not only is the buyer going to have to pay duty anyway after going through some significant hassle (and possibly a fine, depending on the agent you get), but guess who gets a big fat fine for abetting duty evasion? The seller does. It doesn't happen immediately like a parking ticket. But when it does happen, it's not pretty. And in most cases...the feds can and WILL shut your business down until the fines are paid. Since businesses typically have 30 days to appeal a customs fraud allegation and it's a daunting process to fight, unless you got the resources of Wal-Mart you're likely to get shut down due to being unable to pay those fines.

Some countries are also just worse at this than others. I'm honestly surprised to hear about Germany though, I've sent several items there over the years both as gifts and merchandise and never had issues.

Paying duty isn't fun, but it's the law and merchants have no control over it. No one here wants to go to jail and/or pay mortgage-sized fines! (And we did tell our backers from the outset that we wouldn't be marking items as gifts.)

As for the items turning up in bad shape...did they turn up damaged because of customs riffling, or because they weren't packed well?
« Last Edit: September 17, 2013, 07:03:54 AM by FamousAdventurer77 »
Logged
"When I think of what could have been, makes it hard to start again"-- Downlow NYHC

RogerXY

  • Mage's Initiation Beta Tester
  • Explorer
  • *
  • Posts: 28
  • Save early, save often
    • View Profile
Re: Customs Offices and Physical Awards Arriving Damaged
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2013, 07:17:27 AM »

I think it depends on how you see it. When you pledge to a KS you pay for the development of a product. And for doing so you get some gifts as thanks. So while I understand your point I don't think it's wrong to mark as "Gift"

So how are you going to solve it? What values are you going to put on the packages? The amount of $ one pledged? Or how's the swags value going to be estimated?
« Last Edit: September 17, 2013, 07:25:24 AM by RogerXY »
Logged
Brimhall of Fame

FamousAdventurer77

  • Royal Treasurer
  • Active Development Team
  • Climber
  • *
  • Posts: 255
  • Two wrongs don't make a right, but three lefts do
    • View Profile
Re: Customs Offices and Physical Awards Arriving Damaged
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2013, 07:32:13 AM »

Even though many of us view rewards/swag as gifts for pledging to a product's development-- and not the sale of a finished good-- unfortunately that's not how customs sees it because while the *game* itself is done, you're still receiving a different type of finished good. Unless formal legislation otherwise says it's okay to mark these items as gifts like if some kind of landmark case makes it happen, we can't risk losing our permission to do business (or else it's going to be very hard to get the game released, if not impossible!)

I think the best method is to value the items apportioned to how much the pledge was-- which would definitely be lesser than what they'd be on our store page. Invoices are a must to avoid customs riffling through the packages, so I'd have a preset invoice made for each tier to differentiate how much money went to the physical swag and how much went to digital goods/money given to us out of the goodness of your hearts. We'll do our best to keep agents' snooping hands out of packages and for some countries, legally below the low-value clearance depending on the tier.
Logged
"When I think of what could have been, makes it hard to start again"-- Downlow NYHC

Nipples

  • Mage's Initiation Backer
  • Hiker
  • *
  • Posts: 92
    • View Profile
    • Excitement-building adventure theme
Re: Customs Offices and Physical Awards Arriving Damaged
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2013, 07:41:09 AM »

Good to see you guys have a plan in place to deal with these issues. It would be terrible to see you people end up behind bars. That wouldn't make for good headlines.

It seems Replay is offering a $30 packing slip regardless of the reward tier:
https://forums.replaygamesinc.com/viewtopic.php?f=29&t=1311

Or maybe that thread is referring to another issue. Hope everything works out ok for them.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2013, 07:43:04 AM by Nipples »
Logged

Intendant S

  • Mage's Initiation Beta Tester
  • Hiker
  • *
  • Posts: 67
  • Hero of the Adventure Game Revival Movement
    • View Profile
    • Kickstart Ventures
Re: Customs Offices and Physical Awards Arriving Damaged
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2013, 08:55:09 AM »

In regards to damaged goods, it is possible that it was due to the packaging.  I was at a tier that got a LOT of stuff and the box that they came in didn't have any "filler" (bubble wrap, packing peanuts, etc) which meant that there was some extra unused space for the stuff to move around in.  Thankfully, my package didn't have very far to go in relation to a lot of backers and everything came undamaged.
Logged
"Then you fear yourself. I don't want your fear; I want your love. If you can't love me, who can?"

FamousAdventurer77

  • Royal Treasurer
  • Active Development Team
  • Climber
  • *
  • Posts: 255
  • Two wrongs don't make a right, but three lefts do
    • View Profile
Re: Customs Offices and Physical Awards Arriving Damaged
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2013, 01:54:30 PM »

Eek, that's not good! Fortunately we're squared away with a couple packing goods suppliers, why, if that post robot from Deponia were here, he'd be squeeing til he broke if he saw how much bubble wrap we got!

There are some things that just don't need it (like t-shirts and the maps for instance), but we're being careful with our higher tiers since they got a lot of resin figures coming to them.
Logged
"When I think of what could have been, makes it hard to start again"-- Downlow NYHC

Intendant S

  • Mage's Initiation Beta Tester
  • Hiker
  • *
  • Posts: 67
  • Hero of the Adventure Game Revival Movement
    • View Profile
    • Kickstart Ventures
Re: Customs Offices and Physical Awards Arriving Damaged
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2013, 03:00:19 PM »

Screw the swag!  Just send me bubblewrap!   :hehe:
Logged
"Then you fear yourself. I don't want your fear; I want your love. If you can't love me, who can?"

thehawk

  • Mage's Initiation Backer
  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 2
    • View Profile
Re: Customs Offices and Physical Awards Arriving Damaged
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2013, 08:40:26 PM »

Screw the swag!  Just send me bubblewrap!   :hehe:

I will trade you your swag for my bubblewrap, how's that?
Logged