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"Customs Free" 22 euro limit to be abolished for packages that arrive in the EU


Yavianice

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From July 1, 2021, the EU will abolish the "Customs Free" Packages originating from outside the EU that are worth less than 22 euro, ending the era of cheap China import packages.

 

(German link below, however this applies to all EU countries)

https://www.paketda.de/news-zollfreigrenze-22-euro-abgeschafft.html

 

In Germany, private people will now be able to "pre-clear" their packages before they arrive and pay the customs fees up front to avoid the "Ransom" fee of 6 euro per package.

Edited by Yavianice
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Yavaris Forge

I import cheap electronics and other stuff from china quite frequently and, as most chinese stores ship their smaller items in seperate packages, I hope I won't have to declare every single 1€ item for itself😑

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@Yavaris Forge, you won‘t have to declare every parcel if you‘re okay with paying 6€ to the Post every time. If you‘re not, you can pre-declare the parcel; I‘m assuming you‘ll be able to fill out a form with the tracking ID and upload an invoice so the customs office can bill you directly and parcel can be processed at the airport without any big delays.

I‘ll 100% try this out, it seems like this service will be available from January 1st and I got a pre-order for the end of January.

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Yavaris Forge

Yeah and am totally okay with paying the Post 6€ for a 1€ product😂. Yes I suppose it won't be much more than a quick form. I'm interested if it works faster than nowadays.

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A really nightmare on my first (my GF / Xmass present) import of Japanese trains from Hobby Search. The package was send from Tokyo on Dec. 2 and Correos (Spain postal service) notified the arrival at inward office of exchange (Madrid Airport) on Jan. 15.

 

After sending an ordinary mail, all the customs period: present what is inside the package (bill), pay, and now wait for the revision, maybe pay more, and finnally here's your model train. Almost two months since the package was ordered.

 

What do you do in these cases? Do you buy from Japan even the risk? What other options are left?

Edited by Sr.Horn
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disturbman

Don't know about Spain specifically, but you have to consider a few things: depending on shipping option (DHL, EMS, Small Air Parcel, SAL, SAL surface) the package will take more or less time to arrive; COVID is having an impact on how fast things are shipped - cheaper options go slower than they used to as flight numbers have been dramatically reduced; December/January is a traditional difficult period due to the increase in overall shipments - post office and customs could have been overwhelmed, thus delaying your package even more. COVID made it worse as more people have been sending packages.

 

Before COVID, it was not unusual to have low priority packages sit at customs for a few weeks at Frankfurt. EMS used to be a week door to door. At the moment, I mostly ship through surface - 3 months door to door. It's slow but I don't mind. I like trains but I don't need them on the spot.

If you don't like waiting, pay the higher shipping fees for fast deliveries. If you don't like having to deal with customs, buy from Amazon.jp. Or buy from within the EU. On my last Amazon order, a few books and magazine, package took four days to reach me. Completely hassle free.

Edited by disturbman
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MeTheSwede

That sounds like the same "we are making a loss from these foreign parcels so lets do everything as slowly as possible to scare people away from having parcels sent in the first place" tactics used by Swedish-Danish state owned postal service Postnord.

 

I'm currently waiting for a parcel from Tenso that Postnord had lying around at the airport for a couple weeks. Then they sent me a snail mail letter that took 5 days to get to me asking me for information about what was in the parcel. A few days later I got a text message linking me to a page from which I could pay import dues. They kindly provided me photos of the parcel which... surprise surprise! had the same information I had sent them neatly printed on a custom declaration on the parcel. Who knows when it will get here, although it shold be pretty soon now.

 

I don't know how things work in Spain, but when I order from Hobbysearch I can chose DHL as a delivery option. Then it gets delivered in a week without any of the phoney stuff.

 

Amazon Japan is my prefered place to shop as then I know stuff will be quickly and fairly cheaply delievered and import dues are already included in the price and there will be no extra fees. No one dares to mess with Amazon, not even Postnord.

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Yavianice
52 minutes ago, MeTheSwede said:

They kindly provided me photos of the parcel which... surprise surprise! had the same information I had sent them neatly printed on a custom declaration on the parcel. Who knows when it will get here, although it shold be pretty soon now.

 

 

Standard procedure. Customs finds out a parcel is above the 22 euro (or suspects it is if they open it/check its contents/don't trust you or the sender). Says to the delivery organization: Tax is due on this. Delivery organization says, sure, we will charge an extra fee and ship it to the seller. Sometimes however, the customs says: Prove that this declaration is correct. Delivery organization says, sure, and asks the recipient (you) for proof what is in the parcel and what the value is (aka: show your receipt and proof of purchase/wiring money, with date). Administrative fees are paid anyway.

 

45 minutes ago, MeTheSwede said:

Amazon Japan is my prefered place to shop as then I know stuff will be quickly and fairly cheaply delievered and import dues are already included in the price and there will be no extra fees. No one dares to mess with Amazon, not even Postnord.

 

Postnord has nothing to do with it. They don't care who the sender is. Customs is just doing their job and they don't care if it's amazon who sends stuff.

 

Amazon does pre-clearing. It's an option for DHL parcels, but it creates more paperwork because the seller needs to collect and then pay the import duty/tax to the country of destination (which is why smaller shops don't do it. It doesn't just apply to parcels from outside the EU to inside the EU, for example: it is also a problem for UK people, because as it turns out, EU sellers are not very keen on doing the pre-clearing for parcels to get stuff at people quickly because it takes a lot of administrative work, but UK customers get angry when they have to wait a week or month before they get their package and then have to pay duty on top of it).

 

The reason you have to pay these large administrative charges is because the customs asks the postal service to declare the package for you.

 

As written in the first post of this thread, from July 2021 this will all change and then you will have 3 options:

  1. Pre-clear the parcel (which means the seller needs to do all the paperwork and pay the fees ahead of shipping and then pay the duty  back to the importing country customs authorities). You pay the taxes and import duty, but don't pay an administrative fee and get the parcel at your door directly.
  2. Pre-clear the parcel yourself (which means you have to hand over the tracking code, pre-register your parcel before arrival into the country, declare and pay the duty) You don't pay an administrative fee and get the parcel at your door directly.
  3. Do nothing/ship untracked (which means you have to pay tax/duty + the usual administrative ransom money from the delivery organization, and packages will be slow.
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MeTheSwede
6 hours ago, Yavianice said:

 

 

Standard procedure.

 

I have been buying a lot of stuff from Japan during the last half a year and can tell you this never happened before.

 

Might be standard procedure in Germany, but not here.

 

 

6 hours ago, Yavianice said:

(aka: show your receipt and proof of purchase/wiring money, with date).

 

Actually I didn't provide any proof of anything. I just sent the same information I sent Tenso so that they could print a custom declaration.

 

Amazon, hobby goods 4000 yen

Asmart, book, 1500 yen

and so on...

 

6 shipments that the proxy service combined into one. I literally copied from the email from Tenso where they confirmed what I asked them to put on the customs declaration. That is, I sent them the same information that was printed on the customs declaration and I could have chosen to put any non-zero value on it.

 

Receipts are inside the parcel though. 

 

6 hours ago, Yavianice said:

 

Postnord has nothing to do with it. They don't care who the sender is. Customs is just doing their job and they don't care if it's amazon who sends stuff.

 

Actually they have everything to do with it as they are the ones that collect import taxes on anything that goes through them. Swedish customs have delegated them (and DHL and others) the authority.

 

The changes that took place in July 2020 for Germans buying stuff from outside the EU happened in Sweden already back in early 2018, after Postnord complained that all those cheap imports from China ruined them, as delivering the stuff was much more expensive than the tiny amount of money per parcel they were paid by the Chinese in accordance with decades old international agreements. Postnord was granted the right to charge a 75 SEK (about 1000 yen) fee on cheap imports in return for collecting the import taxes, a fee that not only cover the costs of collecting the import taxes but also covers some of their delivery costs and prevents a lot of international shipments from being sent in the first place.

 

Now the way Postnord handles this, is by having shipments from outside the EU held in storage for a couple of weeks or more before processing them. (The explanation goes something like "there is currently a high volume of shipments", a state of affairs that seem to never cease). Then they send a letter with the snail mail with information about paying import fees. After payment has been made, the actual delivery process is started (which also includes sending me a snail mail about having to pick up the shipment at my delivery point, because they like snail mails, that's what they do.

 

DHL on the other hand they just send the stuff to me and then I get an email or a text message about how to pay import fees after they have delivered it to my pick up point. And when buying from Amazon Japan I pay import fees when paying Amazon for the stuff, so no import fees are added later.

 

Postnord do have a special deal with Wish and whatever other companies I don't know, that collect import taxes at the point of sale and thus their deliveres are fast tracked through the system. On second thought maybe all my Amazon Japan stuff has come via DHL, atleast lately, it's hard to remember. Shipments from European Amazons usually goes through Postnord and lots of things I buy from other Japanese stores end up through Postnord.

 

Now Postnord do have one redeeming factor and that is that shipments do eventually arrive (although I'm currently worried about one I haven't heard about for 24 days). Once I choose "Fedex" as a shipment method without thinking about what that meant, and learned that for people like me who have a day job it means you either have to ask them to put it outside your front door where anyone can nick it, or not have it delievered at all. Eventually I did find my shipment outside my apartment door, two days after they said they had delivered it outside the front door.

 

By the way, Fedex also charged import duties after their "delivery".

 

 

 

Anyway, if anyone bothered to read all my rambling all the way down here about things that should be of no interest to non-Swedish readers, here's one piece of advice that might be of more general use anywhere: If one shipment method/company turned out to be crappy try another option if there is one.

 

 

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Swede,

 

The details are interesting as they vary so much around the world and seem to always be changing these days with e-commerce shaking up import/export so much. We only hear good info on countries from those folks in them from their experiences. 

 

I think Amazon relies heavily on DHL for long haul stuff, it’s pretty much exclusively DHL from Amazon.co.jp to the us.
 

Thanks

 

jeff

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disturbman
48 minutes ago, MeTheSwede said:

Might be standard procedure in Germany, but not here.


It is. If you get called to the Custom office you have to show a proof of purchase (invoice or bill).

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Yavianice
4 hours ago, MeTheSwede said:

I have been buying a lot of stuff from Japan during the last half a year and can tell you this never happened before.

Then your previous packages were not suspicious and were just treated in the first option I wrote in my reply. Apparently this package was chosen for special treatment.

 

4 hours ago, MeTheSwede said:

6 shipments that the proxy service combined into one. I literally copied from the email from Tenso where they confirmed what I asked them to put on the customs declaration. That is, I sent them the same information that was printed on the customs declaration and I could have chosen to put any non-zero value on it.

Then this is sufficient proof. Germany also asks for this. They usually ask for payment proof if they are more suspicious (though generally they always ask nowadays in my experience). So a very rough approximation (the clear procedure is internal only otherwise it opens up routes for fraud):

 

E.g.: I received a parcel from family outside of the EU and (back then) it was sent to the customs office where I had to declare each and every item separately in person. I did not know the value. The customs guy just said, just guess. I guessed a number that seemed reasonable, and they added it.

 

4 hours ago, MeTheSwede said:

Receipts are inside the parcel though. 

It takes time to open a parcel. Customs usually has a practice of when they check which parcels, if they are suspicious in their declaration etc.

 

E.g. using the above example, if I would have said a ridiculously low number for something that clearly is much more in value, FLAG: Hand over receipts! Are the receipts not trustworthy or is their suspicion of fraud? FLAG: A customs officer will check online for the true value of the item and then uses that as a guideline, and you get in severe trouble if it turns out you tried to cover it up.

 

But if all is well and not suspicious and seems to be filled in correctly, and there is no random sampling occurring, then it passes customs without issue (some vendors include the receipt of the item outside of the parcel which greatly speeds up the process in most cases).

 

In the end, customs for parcels is kinda similar to going by the customs in the airport. Some people are selected for special treatment, some aren't, and if everything seems reasonable, off you go. If something is not reasonable for whatever reason... this requires more investigation. Same for parcels, luggage, containers etc. I am certain that this method of flagging is the case everywhere in the EU customs union (EUCU), as they all have to abide to the same rules and regulations.

 

4 hours ago, MeTheSwede said:

Actually they have everything to do with it as they are the ones that collect import taxes on anything that goes through them. Swedish customs have delegated them (and DHL and others) the authority.

Postnord is a bi-national 100% state owned organization, so I guess it's more efficient that way while still being trustworthy enough. All companies and incoming mail are subject to EUCU regulations, and in that aspect, it does not matter who the sender is (see more below on this matter regarding the Wish agreement).

 

4 hours ago, MeTheSwede said:

DHL on the other hand they just send the stuff to me and then I get an email or a text message about how to pay import fees after they have delivered it to my pick up point. 

Each delivery company has their own networks and agreements with customs on how to levy custom administration charges. Still interesting though; I guess DHL Sweden is much more trustworthy than DHL Express Germany 😃

 

EDIT: Sorry I misread that, so you pay at the pickup point? This is usually standard procedure if a customs slip on a parcel is considered to be filled in correctly and the parcel is not flagged. Usually they come at the door or forward it to a post office. But if someone who ships it with DHL were to mess up the customs slip, then it will be flagged and you will also be asked about it directly by DHL because customs will not allow formal entry until the parcel contents are declared correctly. If a pre-clearing service is used, delivery organizations (such as DHL Express) who offer this pre-clearing service, require that when you ship it at a DHL Express pickup point that you show them what is in the parcel before you close it, so they know for sure that there are no difficulties with customs later.

 

4 hours ago, MeTheSwede said:

And when buying from Amazon Japan I pay import fees when paying Amazon for the stuff, so no import fees are added later.

As I wrote in my original reply, same for all the EUCU. Amazon is a large enough company to do all this declaration up front with their delivery partners, same as Amazon strikes discount deals with delivery partners (DHL mostly for intercustomunion or long-distance postage) for special rates and streamlined shipping (faster than ordinary UPU mail other vendors use). Amazon prefers to do this up front so they don't get "my parcel didn't arrive" stuff from customers. Some politicians in the U.S. have a big issue with these separate agreements because of government interference and costs etc. but that's a story for another time 😄

 

Actually big companies such as Amazon and Ali-Express are currently planning massive "fulfillment centers" in Europe to streamline shipping and pay customs in 'bulk' (see below).

 

4 hours ago, MeTheSwede said:

Postnord do have a special deal with Wish and whatever other companies I don't know, that collect import taxes at the point of sale and thus their deliveres are fast tracked through the system. On second thought maybe all my Amazon Japan stuff has come via DHL, atleast lately, it's hard to remember. Shipments from European Amazons usually goes through Postnord and lots of things I buy from other Japanese stores end up through Postnord.

Cheap chinese vendors overflowing UPU members with a tsunami of cheap packages, not collecting taxes and outcompeting domestic manufacturers have been a major concern for many years now, in the EU, U.S. etc., which has put a lot of pressure on the UPU to do something about it and change it (1 for the "reduced shipping rates from 3rd world countries as measured with super outdated information", and 2 for an overhaul of customs regulations regarding parcels). The Trump administration was a major catalyst for this as they threatened to leave the UPU unless something would change fast, as I wrote earlier in the forum.

 

As a result of the new agreements and other negotiations, from July 2021 in the whole EUCU (including Sweden) there will be new rules regarding import, which I have listed in the first post of this thread. The abolishment of the 22 euro "no tax" limit (which was subject to a lot of fraud) is meant as a discouragement for people to buy cheap chinese stuff (because they now have to also pay taxes on it, as you mentioned Wish already does for Postnord). Another is the addition of the "ICS2" electronic communication standard to let the recipient EUCU UPU member and customs office (this will only be applicable for air parcels for now, sea freight in 2024), to mandate (rather than request, which has been the case until now) from the sender UPU organization (or partners) what package is arriving from whom and what is in it etc. This is to facilitate the "pre-clear your package" system thing that you mentioned Sweden already has (as you mentioned) and pre-screening of suspicious packages so Customs can pick them out easily, but now it will be a coordinated effort throughout the EUCU. But for express and more expensive shipping methods, the sender will have the opportunity to pre-clear packages similar to what Wish (in Sweden) and Amazon (through DHL all over the EU) already have. This is of course pending international agreements with partners, companies etc. and of course if the seller wants to participate in it due to the added paperwork (which is why I wrote about how some EU small businesses that no longer want to deal with UK customers because they can't afford the time it takes to deal with the paperwork)

 

Coming back to the tsunami of cheap parcels coming from Asia, there are now talks between the UPU, PostEurop (union of UPU members in many countries, including all of the EUCU/EEA), Wholesale companies, private shipment services and the EU to come to an agreement which part of cheap parcels are being sent over from Asia that will be processed by UPU, and which part will be used for the "fulfillment centers". Because those fulfillment centers usually use their own networks between hubs, but then dumps the individual parcels at the UPU partners in bulk which costs the UPU partners (and taxpayers usually) a lot of money. No agreement has been reached yet afaik however, to be continued.

 

3 hours ago, cteno4 said:

We only hear good info on countries from those folks in them from their experiences. 

 

For all intents and purposes, all members within the EUCU are subject to the same rules and regulations. There were some minor differences before which we have learned from MeTheSwede (specifically the separate Wish agreement), however, those differences will be mostly ironed out starting July 2021 as much as possible to avoid loopholes and simplify red tape.

 

 

Edited by Yavianice
Added here and there.
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1 hour ago, Yavianice said:

For all intents and purposes, all members within the EUCU are subject to the same rules and regulations. There were some minor differences before which we have learned from MeTheSwede (specifically the separate Wish agreement), however, those differences will be mostly ironed out starting July 2021 as much as possible to avoid loopholes and simplify red tape.


even then it always seems each country has its own spin on their process, behaviors, systems which will have keep them probably behaving not exactly the same. 
 

jeff

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Yavianice
25 minutes ago, cteno4 said:

even then it always seems each country has its own spin on their process, behaviors, systems which will have keep them probably behaving not exactly the same. 

 

Sure. There is some room flexibility. But regarding custom declarations, fees, charges/duty, forms etc., the EUCU has the final say about all of it. In the first post of this thread I discuss these upcoming changes that will be applied to the whole EUCU, and in my replies I discuss the various differences and procedures at length. I'm not saying MeTheSwede is incorrect; in fact in some spots we are in agreement but I think there is some misinterpretation with some and we actually mean the same. And sure some procedural differences may occur depending on country, e.g. PostNord claiming customs rather than Swedish Customs. Both are government institutions so that doesn't matter in the end. And I gave some more helpful background information about how postage works in the EUCU as a whole. I find it a very interesting topic, personally.

 

Edited by Yavianice
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Well, I've spoken with a friend who works at the Post Office. Apparently there is an "external" company (owned by the State) that is responsible for "facilitating" the procedures for packages stopped at customs. Especially with the coronavirus, all packages arriving from outside the European Union are stopped to "analyze" (and collect).

 

In brief: Use Amazon (within EU countries: .es / .de / .fr / .it, etc) or pray for a quick recovery of the international travels and make a visit to Japan.

Edited by Sr.Horn
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Back again. On my daily postal checking, yesterday I was surprised because the package from Hobby Train was send to Japan AFTER the "liberation" of custom office in Madrid Airport (this is after paid taxes from Spain). So, the Spanish postal service, instead send to my house my trains, they give back to Japan with no more information.

 

Customs in Madrid Airport is managed by the Police who can not do nothing in terms of collect. For these reason, the Spanish postal service (Correos) created a parallel company called ADTPostales to manage customs and collect money.

 

Apparently who returned the package to Japan was Correos. ADTPostales says that the package has been returned, and that it cannot be claimed. Correos says it never received the package to deliver it.

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roadstar_na6
34 minutes ago, Sr.Horn said:

ADTPostales says that the package has been returned, and that it cannot be claimed.

If they can't give you a proper reason for that I'd try to at least get the 2nd shipping costs back from them somehow.

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disturbman

Ugh... That sucks. Happened a couple of time to me, where the post forgot to give me the slip telling me to come pick up my parcel. One time, DHL sent the package back after only trying ice to deliver it only. Never thought the post would agree to reimburse me as I couldn’t prove the missing slip.

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Ugh really sucks! what really sucks is you paid the taxes! 
 

luckily I think one of the big things that always holds back doing duties here is what it would take to set up the collection system...
 

I had one preorder EMS show up here once a bit unplanned while we were on vacation and had the postal hold on. But out local postmaster made up his own rule all express packages are returned if not picked up in 5 days. His logic was they are express packages so they needed to get there fast and if they couldn’t be delivered the fast they should be returned! I asked him why it’s not up to the customer to decide how fast they will pick something up, and his response was the customer has nothing to do with it! Great attitude! I checked with USPS and it was not not their policy to return and that a mail hold holds all your mail, but he insisted he would do what he wanted and was really rude. I found out from our postman the local postmaster had tried to push this limit to a couple of days but staff just ignored him, and understandably he was loathed by all the employees...

 

jeff

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roadstar_na6
1 hour ago, disturbman said:

Happened a couple of time to me, where the post forgot to give me the slip telling me to come pick up my parcel.

 

This is always my biggest fear 😄 Luckily tracking usually shows where the stuff is and I guess if it went out for delivery and no slip (or letter from the customs office) shows up within a few days I'd call the Post and ask to look into it.

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fpav_2125
4 hours ago, disturbman said:

Ugh... That sucks. Happened a couple of time to me, where the post forgot to give me the slip telling me to come pick up my parcel. One time, DHL sent the package back after only trying ice to deliver it only. Never thought the post would agree to reimburse me as I couldn’t prove the missing slip.

 

Slip or SMS to picking up a parcel in my country? No chance, Correos de Chile is very slow to deliver packages before pandemic and now, always so slow even to collect custom taxes with all documents  and invoices presented in their website. I remember during last year that they were holding an Amazon UK order with a Robbie Williams CD one month when the deliver process from UK to Chile was two weeks. I don't want to live that experience again, Japan Post from today are delivering and accepting packages to Argentina, Colombia and Chile with EMS and Airmail again. My hope is that the package in Zenmarket will be so small that I could access to a special price for that kind of packages (two cds in my package)

 

UPS: 2408 yen

EMS: 2400 yen

 

Fingers crossed, Japan Post is very good but not my local postal service.

Edited by fpav_2125
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disturbman

@Sr.HornBy the way, when was your package sent back? I remember, once, my partner had packaged that was marked as sent back but we received the "please pick-up your package" slip the next day or two. The online trackers are not always right, and people also can make mistakes.

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Sr.Horn

Folks, three months later... the package arrived at the Asakusa Post Office that collect the package from Hobby Search. I send an e-mail to the seller to ask you to resend the package. Cross fingers.

 

Meanwhile, I am going to proceed with a claim to the consumer office and a complaint to Correos y Telégrafos S.A. (Spanish Postal Service) for scam.

Edited by Sr.Horn
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