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Rickard Liljeberg

Customs, your friend

When I went to Lebanon i brought a very old laptop because I was waiting for a shiny new one to get released. However the one I brought started bluescreening and really break down so I had to ask my friend Erik to send me another one. He did, and quickly too... on 16th of September he shipped my new laptop to me. I could track it out of Sweden but then nothing. About 8 days later I emailed LibanPost and they helpfully got back to me saying that it had arrived, got a new tracking number and was handed over to customs. When it had been in customs for 10 days (6 working days) without a peep I was told by friends from Libanon that means you have to go to the airport to try and get it released. So we went to the airport, asked around where to go. After some 20 minutes wandering the heat we found the main LibanPost building that we had been pointed to. we go there, get directed to the right department. They photocopy my id and some other things I cant quite remember... then they went to get the laptop. Opened the box and confirmed its content. After this a lot of signatures is needed (by many different people) on different papers, forms are created and well things looked good. I was hopeful, I got to hold the laptop and things seemed smooth. However then they wanted customs tax on it to the tune of €200. But if I presented my passport I could it with no fees because of being in the country for less than 3 months. Sadly my passport was not with me, it was in fact at that time handled by the Lebanese state for a visa extension (something that takes 2 weeks). They refused to budge and we had to give up for the day. We went back to the city and tried to get our passport back early but no, the passports were not stored where we had handed them in. This was a Tuesday.... no choice but to be computerless until the monday after when we went to get our passports. We immidately caught a ride to the airport, triumphantly walked up with the passport in hand, hoping to have the laptop in no time.... I got to hold the package again... they torment you like that. Well some more documents were generated then they told us that we have to go to the dhl building with these documents... after getting some less than great directions to the dhl building we were told that they close at two (and it was 13.39) at LibanPost so if we are not back by then..... So we R-U-N in the heat, after a few mistakes we find the right place, we still have 15 minutes... this could work right.... We are pointed to office one get a signature, we are pointed to next office we get a stamp, we are pointed to the third offce and a lady creates a new form. We tell her that we now have 8 minutes left so please hurry.... she does... with 5 minutes left she hands us the papers and say go pay 10000 libanese pounds (€8). And we say, sure, where? Then she says... well the cashier is closed for the day (this was 13.55) After having run around, getting forms, getting signatures, getting stamps we finally had to give up. The walk back to where you can catch a minibus was one of few words. Both me and Laura had the facial expression of utter defeat. At this time we had probably spent in total 4-5 hours running around spread over two visits. We thought we would have it... but no, no dice. Another morning another try. This time I went alone... and early... I go to the dhl building with a huge detour because the guard would not let me through. I am pointed to the cashier (which was a hole in the wall where we were yesterday btw... like they could have opened it yesterday but nooooo). I pay the man and and am pointed back to office 3 from yesterday. Another signature and stamp later I have a new paper. They say go back to LibanPost. I go back again... I get to go to more office where the impending package delivery is jotted down meticolusly in a hug log book that looked like it would be from before computers where invented. Another signature from me and get to bring the package one step closer to freedom. Now however they needed to also enter in the delivery into a computer and they needed a phone number... had to be lebanese otherwise I could not get the package. I don't have a lebanese number.... I gave the a friends number.... they drew up some random extra charges to the tune of about €15 and then after paying that.... I was... The laptop was.... FREEEEEE The moral of the story is.... no matter what... dont send stuff to lebanon.

2015-10-14 16:16:10
Mohamed said

Poor you!

2015-10-14 18:07:04
Rickard Liljeberg said

Hihi well now it's over, so now it's just a good story over some drinks :-)