Frequently Asked Questions
If you are looking for information about how our service works, what we offer, you are in the right place. We prepared for you a selection of the most frequently asked questions divided into categories by query type.
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Unfortunately we do not offer the import option at the moment and therefore cannot ship from overseas. If the international e-commerce site (or physical store) is located in South Africa, you can pay for your goods and choose the collect option and advise the shop that a courier will collect your items. Please get the following information from the merchant prior to booking the shipment:
1) weight and dimensions of the parcel(s). 2) contact name. 3) email address. 4) mobile number of the person handing over your parcel.
Please check in advance that the parcel doesn't exceed the maximum weight and dimensions. If the merchant refuses to hand over your items to the courier, you will be charged a collection fee - therefore it's always best to reach out to the merchant first before ordering a courier with Parcelspot.
Import duty is a tax imposed on the recipient by the destination country's government and does not form any part of what we charge you (which is the shipping fee, a separate service). We recommend contacting the customs office at the receiver's country directly to get this information prior to booking the shipping with Parcelspot.
Unlike domestic shipments (which are fully automated), international shipments are manually checked by the Parcelspot team prior to exporting the order to the courier. This is to ensure that all the items being sent are compliant with the destination country's import laws and that the commercial invoice is correctly filled in. This will avoid the hassle of, for example, your shipment being stopped at customs because you have an item or two in the parcel that is prohibited for import. We will also get in touch with you should we need any documents or forms to be filled in - part of our service is facilitating this process for you (taking the bulk of the admin work off your shoulders).
Please look out for our emails to you to facilitate this process so that we can export your order to the courier for collection as quickly as possible.
You are given the following options when creating your international order:
- Commercial Goods: Select this option if you are selling goods to the receiver.
- Gifts, Personal or Non-Commercial Goods: Any shipment with items being given as an unsolicited gift, from one private person to another private person, which isn’t shipped by a business. Also used when sending unaccompanied luggage and household items, especially when relocating or if you had visited South Africa and forgot some items behind when travelling back home. NB! Customs fees may still be charged for VAT and handling purposes - you may contact customs at the destination country for more information.
- Complaints/Returns: Use this when you are sending back an item to the seller overseas for repair or replacement. Also used for when your customer has returned a faulty item to you for replacement or repair.
- Samples: When sending items free of charge, and such items must be mutilated or marked as such, as to be made unusable for resale. The actual value for each item must still be entered into the declaration.
- Documents: Paperwork, letters, etc. Such documentation needs to be sent without, for example, a file or flip file - otherwise the file will need to be declared on the commercial invoice and the shipment then becomes a parcel shipment.
A commercial invoice is a customs document created by the sender of the parcel. This document lists a detailed description of each item, the quantities of each, the HS code and value of each item. Unlike a regular sales/tax invoice, a commercial invoice includes the necessary extra details for crossing the border (originating country, harmonised system [HS] code, freight terminology, etc.).
No. Imported packages are always checked by customs after entering the destination country. They will open any suspect parcel to avoid prohibited items from entering the country. If your shipment has an incorrect declaration, your parcel will be seized and destroyed. Breaking the law by falsifying the commercial invoice for international shipments leads to serious consequences and heavy penalties.
No. Putting in a lower value amount on your commercial invoice is fraud. Customs taxes are taxes imposed by the destination country’s government on the receiver and need to be paid. If customs suspects that you have under-declared your item’s value, the customs officers will then estimate the actual value of the product and charge higher fees - plus you’ll be fined for tax evasion. In the end, the receiver will end up paying a lot more than he or she otherwise would have, plus it adds unnecessary delays to the shipment.
When delivering parcels, most international couriers make two delivery attempts. If the recipient cannot be reached at the specified address, the shipment will be stored in the depot for up to 7 days while the courier awaits the recipient's feedback. The recipient can arrange another delivery day or, if necessary, personally pick up the shipment at the depot. If the recipient does not respond to the courier’s attempts at reaching a resolution, the shipment will be returned to the sender. The cost will be charged to the payer of the shipment. It is therefore extremely important that correct delivery details are provided on all orders.
You will notice that you haven’t yet received your waybill. You will also see the notification, “Shipment labels (under customer care review)” on your order. This is because, unlike the domestic shipments which are fully automated, international shipments need to be processed manually by our Customer Care Team. We will reach out to you with any documentation or information that we may require to have your parcel exported seamlessly. Forms might need to be filled in. Some items may be prohibited and will then have to be removed from your parcel. Therefore, please keep an eye on your inbox so that we can liaise with you as soon as possible. Once everything is in place and finalised, we will export your order to the courier and the system will email you the waybill and commercial invoice. We will book the earliest collection date for you (or a future date that is convenient for you), and the courier then collects the parcel from you together with the required printed paperwork as specified in your order as well as by the Parcelspot agent that is handing your shipment (commercial invoice, ID copy, waybill, etc.).
A commercial invoice is used for clearance purposes in customs offices and assists the official in determining and assessing the customs duties and taxes payable by the receiver. It serves as a legal document used for international shipping where customs clearance is required.
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