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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
  2. A Smug Dill

    End of sharing ink samples by post economically

    Today is 大年初一 , and this is one way to start the Year of the Ox on the wrong note. Australia Post has just, or finally, announced that international Economy Air Letters containing Merchandise service is permanently discontinued, in a very loose interpretation of what constitutes an announcement. Not as a notice, not as an entry in the list of general or notable updates, but as a new FAQ entry sandwiched between piles of older FAQ entries, on its web site where there is no dedicated FAQ page or section. Furthermore, those FAQ entries are tacked onto the end of a page of international delivery updates that is subordinate to the list of general service updates, and if you searched for “faq”, “economy air letter” or “merchandise” using the site's search bar you wouldn't find it. Prior to April 2020, it was possible to send an up-to-50g article with thickness of 20mm all up, containing such items as a fountain pen, sample vials of ink and/or other paraphernalia, using that service, at a cost of A$2.30 to our closest neighbour internationally or A$3.20 to far-flung places including Uganda, Ukraine and the US. Considering that it'd cost me A$2.20 to send the same thing to someone in Western Australia, or even just inside the greater metropolitan Sydney area, I think the postage charges were better than fair, and the cost burden trivial to make no-obligation giveaways the default. Using a 21g cardboard mailer/‘envelope’, of which I have a big pile for the purpose, I could pack up to six 2ml ink samples (including vials with screw-caps, and absorbent void fill material between them) — or more if I'm using smaller centrifuge tubes with hinged lids, to hold the equivalent volume of ink cartridges — then slap on a CN22 customs declaration form, and squeeze in under 50g in total weight. Or send a resin-bodied pen and a converter, in a slab of polystyrene foam to protect it, with a fraction of a millimetre to spare in the allowed total thickness. It wasn't just a dodgy consumer hack, either; it was how staff at the local post office advised me to send small items for which I didn't require tracking, and there was little need or point in tracking the delivery of no-strings-attached giveaways to strangers who didn't incur any costs of their own. (So far, none of the packages have failed to be delivered, anyway.) But, today, that literally won't fly any more. Furthermore, notwithstanding what the FAQ entry recommends as an alternative, Economy Air parcel service to everywhere continues to be either ‘suspended’ not ‘not available’ to all countries except New Zealand and China, and the pricing of (tracked) International Standard parcel service dictates the minimum spend: A$15.20 for NZ, and A$21.00 for the US, for the lightest weight class of up-to-250g. That's roughly 6.6 times what it would have cost a year ago to share surplus inks or items with foreign hobbyists in the name of fun. Australia Post attributed the change to the new Electronic Advance Data requirements for international postal traffic. However, not all countries require it (and New Zealand is conspicuously absent from the list of countries that do). Moreover, Australia Post stated, ”EAD applies to any item requiring a customs form to be completed. This means all articles and express letters sent to the destination countries above will need EAD”, so it isn't a case of letter service being infeasible in the face of the new requirements, but just the conjunction of ‘economy’ and ‘letter’ service. Oh well. 😡
  3. From the album: Odds and ends

    I guess I won't be needing the remainder of my stack of these any more, now that Australia Post has announced the permanent end to its international Economy Air Letters containing Merchandise service, purportedly due to new Electronic Advance Data requirements for international post.
  4. From the album: Nothing to see here, move along

    This is Australia Post's way of sneakily ‘announcing’ the end of its Economy Air Letters containing Merchandise service — not as a notice, not as an entry in the list of ‘latest updates’, but as a FAQ buried in the middle of a pile of other FAQs.

    © Australia Post

  5. A Smug Dill

    Australia Post Economy Air Letters pricing

    From the album: Nothing to see here, move along

    Australia Post Economy Air Letters pricing, as of February 2021. Source: Post charges guide (dated 28 September 2020) published by Australia Post, page 30.

    © Australia Post

  6. Dear All, This is my first post in FPN. Being a fountain pen lover, I have tried to buy pens from different sources. I found that ebay is a good place to get a fair deal on pens. I use credit card for payment via paypal account. Till now I've got around 8-10 pens from abroad as of now. These costs upto maximum upto 25 USD. In order to buy premium pens, I checked the govt portal for customs. Which says customs duty is applicable for fountain pens above 100$. I would like to know your experience while importing a premium pen from abroad. 1. Did you have to pay any customs duty for any pen? 2. How did you pay such customs duty 3. Please mention the original price of pen and customs duty so that they can be compared. 4. Please share if any bad experience happened. This will help newbies like me to add some romance to the love for FP. Thanks, Aniruddha
  7. Whenever I order from UK, like Cult Pens, I have to pay a ton of duties, around 40-60% in fact on my recent order I paid more than 50% taxes ? [both on DHL courier and normal post, so its not a local post corruption issue]. But when I order from the US [FedEx courier], or other parts of Asian continents like Japan, Singapore I hardly have to pay customs even for an Expensive item ? Can anyone please explain what is going on here ? I was not able to find any clue online ? Thanks and Regards, GS Gill
  8. Hi everybody! I'm new here, and am on my way to becoming a proper fountain pen nerd. Although I do have a long way to go. I'm looking to buy some Chinese pens, and need some help with how to choose sellers and which delivery options to choose. I'd also like to know which e-commerce sites to go for. I only know of ebay and banggood. Here's the pen that I'm smitten with right now: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Full-Brass-Iraurita-Fountain-Pen-Metal-Retro-Travel-Pocket-Short-Ink-Pens/263592406528?hash=item3d5f54ee00:m:mo1axuQgxTBa7SO5_qmBFOg The seller has close to 99% rating, and ships to India free through "economy international shipping". Should I go for it? Would love to hear from experienced Indian members. There's another listing: https://www.banggood.com/Vintage-Brass-Iraurita-Fountain-Pen-0_51mm-Fine-Nib-Travel-Pocket-Writing-Pen-Office-School-Supplie-p-1323856.html?rmmds=search#customerQA and another pen: https://www.banggood.com/LANBITOU-3059-Piston-Transparent-Fountain-Pen-0_38mm0_5mm-Fine-Nib-Smooth-Writing-Pen-p-1273824.html?gmcCountry=IN&currency=INR&createTmp=1&cur_warehouse=CN&ID=533752&utm_source=googleshopping&utm_medium=cpc_elc&utm_content=2zou&utm_campaign=pla-all2-in-pc&gclid=Cj0KCQjwn4ncBRCaARIsAFD5-gUqSDuR3CyJRy-nwHMcz9KZqgOn9kJTpMHV5j4c_syJa-_vjfTMG2YaAq5eEALw_wcB#jsReviewsWrap Would love to have your ideas.
  9. FPAppreciatorOfBengal

    Visconti India

    Does anyone know where one can order Visconti pens in India and who carries them? Trying to import them personally seems like a massive gamble.
  10. My first post here, and Im asking for help. Kinda shameful, but cant help it. Apparently Tokyo quill shop, the one that sells Pilot Custom 823 with FA nibs doesnt ship to India because japan post has received instructions from Indian customs that fountain pens imports are prohibited. Im hoping that this isnt true, but I could use some help from you guys.
  11. I am from Bangalore and am a FP enthusiast and have managed to put up a tiny collection of FPs. I am interested in beefing up my collection little by little with some Pilots, Sailor, Platinum, Pelikan, Visconti, Omas, Edison etc. I have bought most of my collection during my travel abroad from ebay, gouletpens, iguana_sell etc. Wanted to know the experiences of other's who have tried shipping their products to India from online retailers especially with respect to the "Customs Duty" they have had to pay for the fountain pen. Is there an extra duty for pens with gold/palladium nibs etc? Also experiences of buying ink from international retailers? I know this questions would have been addressed many times but wanted to know from everyone's recent experiences.
  12. Deep_Adhikary

    Buying Twsbi From India

    HI Team I have bought a TWSBI Classic from there website. The Cost is $50+$30.22(Shipping). They shipping is Fedex Prority Pak. Any body have any Idea how long it will take. and what will be custom duty. And are there any problem on this pen?
  13. Fellow Desi FPN'ers, I am looking for experience with Indian customs handling of pen orders from ebay (Japan, Germany, USA, Israel) I am looking to take the plunge on a $100+ pen and want to make sure it is safe to order on ebay.com Have any of you ordered from Japan? Assuming I choose the cheapest shipping option via regular sarkari post, will our fraternal comrades in the customs and post office look for these "luxury" items and hold them back for customs duty and/or other "fees" Do pens in the $100-$150 range fall under the category of dutiable goods? Last time I ordered some stuff from mainland china, it took more than a month and port of entry was Kolkata - package was sent via China Post/India Post and came through clean (then again it was cheap stuff like 616 and some Jinhao's)
  14. Hi FPN people! Here's just a warning about any seller using TNT Express for customs handling. Quite often international sellers like to offer "free global shipping." If the shipper uses TNT, the actual charges you'll receive via delayed invoice will include shipping/handling charges by this firm plus the usual import and resident duties. While I have no problem paying duties, I do have a problem paying a firm that has actually already been compensated for shipping/handling charges. Yes they did it. The shipper, who is a significant pen manufacturer, took the time to pay this firm, who has been confirmed to have received these funds, only to turn around and bill for services already received. As if this were not low enough, TNT pocketed the funds on a pen purchased for a global donation fund to help needy children. I've taken this up with TNT and all they want is to collect their money. I am hereby asking all of you to NOT use this vendor that collects "double" handling on a donation pen. Thanks and end of my rant; I'll go back to dipping my toes in Kon-Peki update: Messages sent via Twitter and LinkedIn; their receptionist invited me to leave a message for collections. No replies for two days.
  15. I just noticed this myself and thought it might be helpful to other people buying antique (>100 year old) pens from outside the EU. Although most imports over £15 are charged at 20% VAT when passing through UK customs, antiques are eligible for a lower rate of 5%. Details here (scroll down to paragraph 11). There are some hoops to jump through, though. Details here (paragraph 2). The package must be labelled ‘Antiques - Relief claimed’. You will be sent a Notice of Arrival (C160). Fill this in and return it to the postal depot with the required documents (a declaration of age of the item and evidence of its age). For items sent with customs prepaid (e.g. through the eBay Global Shipping Program), the only way to take advantage of this reduced VAT would be to claim repayment of overpaid import VAT. Details here (paragraph 2.6).
  16. Gasquolet

    Importing Thoughts...

    I've not long been a member of FPN and not posted a lot but I have been busy in one respect: I've been buying things... In the last few months I started buying pens again; I bought my Pilot Capless and then shortly afterwards a Platinum #3776 Century SF on the strength of reviews and having a strong appreciation of my old pocket size Platinum. I then bought another #3776 as a present for my Mum and most recently a Pilot Custom 823 for myself as a sort of Birthday present (do I need to use these excuses here?) Along the way I was reminded about VAT and import duty. Mainly because I had not fallen foul of this with the earlier purchases, including several during the last few years unrelated to fountain pens including some from the USA, I was disappointed but not surprised when the Pilot was stopped and a demand for VAT appeared on my door step instead. Since this happened I have had two more packages stopped for VAT payments too, the only others delivered to date. Then today, another one. This time I thought it had gone too far and was going to challenge it but having read up on the HMRC website, it is correct. About 3 weeks ago I found that Iroshizuku ink was much cheaper on Amazon from Japanese retailers than if bought locally. I decided to buy some and made a mistake. On thinking it was such good value that I could afford to buy two bottles (at £13 each including delivery from the same seller), I put myself over the VAT free threshold of £15. So I now have a bill for £12 to pay the post office... Word of advice; only buy one bottle of Ink from Japan at a time if you can get it for under £15. Does anyone know if HMRC marks specific addresses as worthy of special attention ? I've never tried to evade VAT and rarely buy high value items but though I have bought from outside the EU a few times/ year for years it's only been since getting several pens from Japan in the last 3 months that suddenly every package to me at the same address has been intercepted. On another note, I am really enjoying using the current line up of pens, having banished ballpoints to emergency use only.
  17. How often do people get charged on ordering from Japan to a UK address? I've just bought my first Japanese pens, to a total of around $630. How likely is it that I'll have to pay customs/excise, import VAT?
  18. Has anyone had an issue with carrying a fountain pen through airport security? I haven't bothered trying, I don't want to lose an expensive pen, let alone my favourite writing instrument because someone in security decides that my metal pen constitutes a dangerous weapon on par with knitting needles! Also, has anyone had an issue coming back into the country and being accused of trying to smuggle a high end fountain pen in without paying duties? I do know a couple of people who faced that with their camera and now carry around a little green card with the serial number on it, stamped by customs officials, that proves the camera/lens was bought in Canada. Maybe I'm being excessively cautious, but I don't' want to risk it. I have to admit, though, that when I'm sitting in a meeting taking notes I miss my pen.





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