I recently made couple of fountain pen purchases on the Japanese website Rakuten. I bought the following pens from the vendor Pen House:
TWSBI (twice by) fountain pen diamond 580 AL brand (9400); Nib size : F; Price JPY 9,400
Pilot Fountain pen Custom Heritage 92 FKVH-15SRS-TB Transparent Black; Nib size : FM; Price JPY 11,248
The prices of these pens on Amazon.in are as follows:
TWSBI: INR 9,000
Pilot: INR 12,000
The communication was prompt - I had made a special request asking the vendor to mark this as gift but the vendor refused. I think it was right on the vendor's part. The vendor did charge me an overseas correspondence fee of JPY 1,651 - this is something that others on this forum have also mentioned. I was charged an additional JPY 1,540 as shipping fee. The total amount I had to pay was JPY 23,839 (INR 14,105) that I paid using paypal website.
The package was shipped the very next day after I made the payment, and it reached Indian customs office (Mumbai) within 3 days. I was impressed with the speed of shipping. I received a letter from the Customs office a day later informing me that the shipment exceeds the maximum import quota (INR 2,000 including shipping fee) for personal items and I need to report to Customs office with the bill receipt.
I reached the customs office the next day - I was made to wait for around 45 minutes before they called for me. I met a junior officer who told me that the package will attract a duty @41.49%, along with a redemption fee and penalty. The penalty is charged for importing items more than INR 2,000 without having an import license. This was all new to me since many people in this forum seem to have mentioned only the duty charges. The duty worked out to INR 6,117, and the additional charges were to the tune of INR 3,000. A postal fee of INR 100 was also charged. I ended up paying INR 9,217 additional for ordering the items from Japan. The total payout turned out to be more than INR 23,000, which is higher than what I would have paid on Amazon.in. I do not think I will be making any purchases from Rakuten again.
While arguing with customs officer, he told me that we should not use EMS as the shipping option as it attracts the highest duty and additional penalties. For using EMS, the maximum penalty free allowance is INR 2,000 for all items, except electronics, which has a maximum limit of INR 50,000. If you need to order from outside India, we should use courier services like Fedex or DHL - somehow they attract less penalty and import duties.
I just thought of sharing this for the benefit of everyone who is planning to import pens from outside India. Please avoid EMS shipping if you can.
Edited by gkgk, 27 January 2017 - 10:20.