Posted by : Ruby Escalona Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I am so pissed. I just need to post this blog out to share to the world how sucky DHL Express Philippines is!

Let me tell you the WHOLE story point by point:

- This March, I won a book giveaway sponsored by a publishing company in the USA.
- I have no clue when the package will be sent as the blog who hosted the giveaway was the one who got my details.
- Last March 26th, said publishing company sent over the book via DHL US.
- Yesterday, March 30th, the book arrived at my home, but guess what? They levied taxes on me. Not just any tax, but a HUGE amount of tax. So huge in fact, that the amount that was supposed to be paid was even larger than the amount of the book that I was to receive.
- Since I was not around to receive the package, our maid was, she was afraid to not pay the customs levy because she thought I might not receive the package.
- When I got home that night, I scoured the bill and lo and behold, I got billed for the following:

Informal Entry Declaration - 30  PHP
VAT for Informal Entry Declaration - 3.60
Import Processing Fee - 250 PHP [What the hell is this? Books aren't supposed to be taxed, right?]
Customs Documentary Stamps - 265 PHP

Now, I am against this taxing of books. Hello? If the Philippine Government doesn't tax me on books, then why should DHL? I received other books from other couriers and no, they don't tax the books either. I got them safe and sound with no extra charges.

So why did DHL Express Philippines tax these books? Are they not aware of the 2009 decree that Arroyo stated?

Calling their call centre, someone tried to explain that every package that is handled by DHL Express Philippines is billed an Import Processing Fee. Come on! Don't give me that BULL! What if I'm a receiver of some important packages, does that mean I have to pay my share of fees too when clearly, the sender has managed to pay them out before you send them???

I am annoyed. I've been contacting their call centres for an hour now and I've received the following feedback:
- Let me forward your phone call to so-and-so. Okay. But then again they are not in the office!
- They put me on hold but then the line was dropped. Hello? Talk about customer service?? You are making me more irate here! I just want an explanation on why these charges are levied, and how did they come to that! I want also a refund if needed if I could prove my point that the package should not have been taxed in the first place!
- I tried calling for the fourth time and they automatically transferred me to the contact person who was out of the office again. Don't they have another manager they could escalate the issue to?

Also, it is clearly stated that the book's unit value price was at $1 from the commercial invoice. So how did their personnel get those computations from above?

It's the Holy Week starting tomorrow and when shall I get a feedback on this case? On Monday? Come on!
I thought that DHL was supposed to be customer oriented and blah blah blah. NOT!

Use other couriers instead. This is definitely not worth your time, effort, money and hassle.

Yes, I am fuming about paying the P500+ thing to this company. Yes, I want a refund if they could score me a refund. If not, then let that be a lesson to me and the maid [will have a LONG chat with her about this later]. If such a thing arises again, I'll refuse to pay them. Hell, I'll let them return the book to the sender. I don't care! This is not right!

Gah. I hate this country's system sometimes!

See more articles below.

This issue has been already discussed in the Great Book Blockade of 2009 and this was already lifted late 2010 as well! Why in the world is DHL not informed that books for personal consumption are supposed to be tax-free? See article dated as of  May 25, 2009 from the Philippine Star:

“President Arroyo ordered the immediate lifting of the customs duty on book importation,” Remonde said in a text message to The STAR.

“The President wants books to be within reach of the common man. She believes reading as an important value for intellectual formation, which is the foundation of a healthy public opinion necessary for a vibrant democracy,” he said.

Remonde said Mrs. Arroyo directed Finance Secretary Margarito Teves to revoke Finance Department Order 17-09 which imposes duty on book importation.

10 Responses so far.

  1. blooey says:

    On the last run-in I had at the post office on this matter, customs told me that the decree canceling the taxation has been suspended (

    But if the book was declared $1, it shouldn't have been taxed anyway.

    Hay I hate customs talaga.

    Here are some numbers you can call on Monday:
    Intelligence and Enforcement Group
    2nd Flr., IEG Bldg. BOC, Port Area, Manila City
    Telephone: (632) 527-9861 / 527-9758

    Office of the Commissioner
    G/F OCOM Bldg., BOC, Port Area, Manila City
    Telephone: (632) 527-4537 / 527-4573

  2. oh man. grabe naman yan. you would've been better off just buying the book in the philippines :( i hope this gets solved soon rubs.

  3. @blooey - annoying! super duper annoying! thanks for the contact numbers - i started my calls yesterday to complain to DHL. Hah! Customer service oriented daw but as I said, they kept transferring me to a person that's out of office and I left a multitude of irate messages on his answering machine to call me back! haha. Magulat sya sa Monday! =P

    @Aloi - annoying tlaga! Considering na DHL yan, dapat alam nila na hindi nitax yung $1 book! I received other packages from them rin pero hindi naman pinabayad!

    Thanks for the support guys =)

  4. Anonymous says:

    Oh, that is horrible! I will definitely not use them ever. I've had to ship a book to the Philippines before but I used the United States Postal Service so I am hoping the receiver never got taxed.

  5. Hi Stephanie - Never had a problem with books sent over by US Postal Service, UPS, JohnnyAir and FedEx. This instance only happened with DHL in my experience! Gah! Thanks for your support :)

  6. hey man. i just encountered this as well. i didn't know! i mean, i'm fine with paying duty taxes if necessary. but apparently it is not! and also they are taxing us somewhere around 100% of the cost of the books! i am so angry as well and made a blogpost myself. i hope something is done about this.

  7. DHL - Manila, Philippines SUX!!!!! Their delivery very slow, Thats why I choose DHL for more faster transactions, Now it takes too long....and their costumer services doesn't even care for god sake... They are annoying! Stupid DHL Philippines...

  8. Maldita says:

    Stupid DHL. My husband gave me a wallet and you know what DHL did? They want me to pay 2500+ because they said its from customs computation for taxes. Kaya wag na tlaga kayong magpa loko sa DHL na yan. Just for wallet pababayarin ako ng 2500+ d nila irelease. Stupid people tlga

  9. @Maldita - I feel for you. My yaya was the one who paid for it cos she didn't know at the time the value of the book (which to be honest, I would've let go of the book anyway cos it was a "free" book from the publisher and I could've bought 3 new books from National bookstore at the time)

    Vigilance is key - I never even send packages back home anymore, not even balikbayan boxes because of the way customs treats people. It's insane.

  10. I have also faced such situations, where a delivery service charged me unnecessarily for my package. It’s troubling that many courier companies just try to milk out money from customers. However, I have sent and received many packaged through same day courier service since the past few months and they have been doing an impressive job so far.

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