When you live so far away from your family and friends you miss a lot of the important dates such as birthdays, Christmas, etc. Of course, you can call them, organise Skype sessions, text and email but you will most likely want to send a parcel per post with gifts, Australian delicacies (such as Tim Tam!), etc.
Sending a parcel overseas is quite expensive and you end up spending around $100 so you only do it for special people and special occasions. Sometimes the postage can be more than the full cost of the things you’re sending 😉
Well, this Christmas season I sent a parcel to some very special friends and was mortified to find out that they were asked to pay around 90 Euros for custom fees! I called Australia Post and the spoke to a very nice girl who explained that since it is an international parcel, customs at the receiving country can choose to randomly check any parcel and charge a fee. The post offices in both countries have no control over that and cannot stop or avoid it.
It was definitely a nasty surprise and it has definitely put me off sending parcels again. Can you imagine having to pay to get a gift? I can’t believe that the fee was actually more expensive than the postage which I already find expensive!
There was nothing in the parcel that would cause customs to suspect anything, nothing that was tax exempt and not one item that exceed $150 in value.
So be warned, when you are sending a parcel overseas you never know when the receiver will be asked to pay an absurd amount to customs!