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  1. Are fountain pens now considered "contraband" in India? Does one need an import licence to order FPs for personal use? I recently had a very singular experience. I ordered a Pilot 823 and a couple of bottles of Iroshizuku ink from a Japanese online retailer, paid through PayPal and the package was shipped. As the package seemed stuck at the Japanese end beyond a reasonable time, I contacted the retailer again and was shocked with this response: "I confirm your parcel and found that the parcel is on hold in Japan. The reason is that a fountain pen is a contraband in India. However, a fountain pen is conditional contraband. I heard that if you can get the import permit from "Chief Controller of Imports and Exports New Delhi", you can import it. We are sorry we did not know that a fountain pen is a contraband in India. Would it be possible to get the import permit?" I replied as below: "I was not aware that a fountain pen is "conditional contraband" in India. I have ordered online from several retailers including one other retailer in Japan; but I have never had this issue before. As far as I understand, an import permit is required only when items are being imported for commercial use and sale - and not required when ordered for personal use. So, I request you to please check if the pen can be shipped without the licence." And the response was as below: "I confirmed details to the post office, but it is not allowed without distinction of the commercial or personal use. So the license is needed in both cases. They told me that they are obeying with the contraband list of customs of India. And Regarding the past case that you purchased the fountain pen from Japan, the clerk of the post office is guessing it was by chance. In addition, even if the parcel can pass through the departure process in Japan like in that way, it has a risk of confiscation at Indian customs. We really regret to say that we cannot help you. We are sorry." Thereafter, on my request, the retailer canceled the transaction and issued an immediate refund through PayPal. So I have to clarify that the entire transaction was very smooth and the interaction with the retailer was very pleasant, with frequent mail updates about the order. My question is to FPNers from India and even other countries: I have heard of parcels being held up in customs - even experienced it myself. But never has the office of origin held back a package. Has anyone had a similar experience while ordering from Japan - or any other country - for that matter? Would love to hear your thoughts/comments/opinions as this will have a big impact on me ordering from other countries. Thanks and appreciate your patience in reading this somewhat long post. Cheers Sudhir

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