I reproduce a recent email to a Citibox customer.
A few points on shipping luggage (I went through this with my UPS rep on Monday).
1) The label pouches are designed to stick onto cardboard boxes and there is always a danger with suitcases (hard ones have a textured surface and soft ones are worse) that the entire label / air waybill might fall off. Although this has never happened to us, and we must have sent thousands, it is something to consider. If you are sending a suitcase you may wish to put the air waybill that we send you into a tough freezer bag (a clear plastic bag and with the address and barcodes showing) and tape this really securely (too much wide tape is better than too little) to your suitcase plus having a second address label attached.
2) Spanish and US customs are getting tougher and there is also the question of insurance. A description of just “clothes” is not really good enough. We prefer something along the lines of 5 blouses, 3 jerseys, 4 skirts, 2 pairs trousers / pants, x books, y CDs, personal toiletries etc. A recent shipment to the Dominican Republic sat in customs for 2 weeks because the invoice (which we have to produce for all shipments outside the EU) specified shoes and the customs could not find any shoes in the boxes! Our rep also reminded me that aerosols are forbidden from all air freight as dangerous goods. Between ourselves, I have never known an aerosol to explode in a ‘plane but I have had to pay a FedEx dangerous goods premium for shipping an asthma inhaler! Bizarrely, the premium varies depending on how close to the pilot the goods are but does not differ between an aerosol or an artillery shell.
3) We have the choice of shipping in our own name or in yours. If we ship in your name, Spanish customs need to give you an export number and open a file for you. This is a one-off event and you will not have to do it in future but you will have to provide us with a scan of your passport and / or put a photocopy of your passport with the luggage to be shipped. A gentleman’s case of books actually got returned to our office last week through having no passport copy and we had to ship them to Florida in our own name. I have never had a customs problem in the USA through exporting in our name.
I am so sorry to raise so many obstacles but it is far better that you should be informed. Please therefore give us a better list of the goods contained; let us know whether you wish to export in your own name or ours and please take note on the labelling of suitcases rather than cardboard boxes.
Many thanks for your order.