Friday, January 20, 2006

I'm going to chalk this one up as a win

Recently I bought a (one, single, satu) used golf club online to complete a set of clubs I've been putting together. Given that the price of the very same item new in Jakarta golf shops is $300, I did my sums and decided that buying used for $80, adding $20 for shipping and taking into account the 50% import duty on golf equipment, for around $150 all up I'd be doing ok.

Imagine my surprise and consternation (actually, I was rather pissed off) when the customs invoice I received was for $430. Yes, import duty and taxes on a used item that cost $80 were calculated at $430. WTF?

On contacting the customs broker I was informed that when they opened the package he assessed that the golf club was in "almost new" condition, so decided to classify it as "luxury goods" and slapped an arbitrary $500 value on it (which in itself doesn't fully explain the astronomical demand for import duty, but let's not try and second guess the method of calculation, as that would be pointless).

Anyway, I contacted the customs broker, however my repeated statement that the item is not new, and besides, I can buy a new one at Plaza Senayan or Mal Pondok Indah at list price for less than the import duty they're charging, fell on deaf ears. So, I told them they can keep the golf club (I was tempted to be more direct) and do what they want with it, because I'm not paying over $500 (purchase price + duty) for a used item that I could buy new locally for $300.

If the customs guy doesn't play golf he's up excrement river without an outboard. Serves him right for trying to win the jackpot instead of settling for his normal steady percentage take from the freight company. Now that the initial frustration has worn off, I'm feeling contented with this result. It's almost worth the hundred I ate on the deal, just for the satisfaction of knowing that one corrupt government official didn't get what he wanted this time.


Blogger Jakartass said...

And here's a reciprocal comment, enthused by a bit (a lot?) of duty free.

Good on you for saying what you did!
The more we tell these corrupt b**tards to get stuffed, the more they might lay off their extortionate practices.


9:28 PM  
Anonymous Cory said...

My husband and I just spent the last hour reading your posts (inbetween watching Roddick get broken on the telly)...and had the best laughs this week. After two years in Singapore (now in Seattle) your stories made us miss SE Asia, except, of course, for standing in the queue at the post office.

12:11 PM  
Anonymous The Anonymous said...

I'm not going to any wedding part where there is no alcohol and the wedding party looks very close to funeral party. This pretty much means every wedding in Indonesia, so I guess this is the reason why receiving 5 invitations last year I haven't attended a single wedding here. Screw the sick system!

12:32 AM  
Blogger Avi said...

last year i ordered a therepudic bicycle for my nephew with CP. It cost about $1000. It should have been duty free but I ended up paying $700 to clear it. I got screwed and there was not a damn thing I could do about it because I needed the bike. Ce la vie.

4:52 PM  

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