Handling Fees

So, the other day I received a letter from the customs department, telling me that I had a package with them and I needed to pay taxes for it before I could get it. Initially I responded to their letter, saying I was okay with Pos Malaysia handling it for me like they had in the past. All I would have to do was head to the local post office, pay them and collect my item. However, days went by and I didn’t get a call or email telling me to collect my package. I figured something was wrong, so I gave the customs department a call.

At this point it had almost been a week since I had told them to go ahead with Pos Malaysia as my handler, so imagine my surprise when I learned that the package was still at the customs office in KLIA. I decided, fuck it – I’ll go pick up the package myself. I get to save on the RM50 handling fees, and bring it home with me on the same day.

It’s been a while since my last drive to KLiA, and man that place is far as balls. Driving there was close to an hour, with tolls on the MEX highway. The hot weather didn’t make it any more pleasant. At least when I go there, parking was free and there was plenty of it.

That made me think there weren’t many people that day. I was wrong. The waiting area was packed. It was going to be a long day.

There were many steps involved in the whole process, here’s what I did:

  1. You sign in by showing your customs letter and giving your identity card to the guards at the entrance. They hand you a pass and tell you to enter the building and look for counter 1.
  2. At counter 1, you pass them the letter – they head to the back, dig out your package and pass it to you. They then tell you to proceed to counter 2.
  3. At counter 2, one of the staff will ask you to open up the package and you have to tell them how much it costs (show them an official receipt).
  4. They will then fill up some paperwork and ask you to bring it to counter 3, while you leave your parcel at counter 2.
  5. So on you head to counter 3, and pass your documents to the person behind the glass. They tell you to wait, so this part depends on on how many people were there before you.
  6. After a while, they’ll call your name and give you back the documents, which you have to bring to counter 2. At counter 2, you pass the documents to them, and they ask you to wait again. I’m not sure what goes on at this stage, but the end result is them giving you a document which states how much you have to pay for the item.
  7. You then head back to counter 3 and pass the documents to the person behind the glass. You wait again, until your name is called. You then go to the counter to pay the fee. You collect the documents and head back to counter 2.
  8. At counter 2, they verify that you’ve made the purchase, then give you the green light to leave with your parcel.
  9. You head to the guard house to return the pass and to collect your identity card again.
  10. Get in your car and drive home.

The above process took me about 3 hours at the customs office alone. So if you factor in the traveling time, that was about 5 hours of my day gone. Just like that. A huge fucking waste of time.

I probably should have paid the RM50 handling fees in the first place, but I guess now I know for sure. Also, they were being lazy and my parcel hadn’t moved in days. So I felt compelled to do something about it.

TL;DR, is it worth paying handling fees? If you have an afternoon to spare, and you live close by to the customs office, sure. If not, just give Pos Malaysia the handling fees, it’s worth not going through the hassle.

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