Local December 8, 2014 | 4:38 pm

US$135.0M online shopping row pits Dominican Republic Customs, couriers

Santo Domingo.- Courier companies are facing backlogs as long as one month in delivering online purchases on the demand of a receipt for each package from the Customs Agency, which claims losses of as much as US$135.0 million in unpaid import duties.

Thousands of customers complain that their packages are being held back in Miami during weeks as couriers blame Customs for the delays in shipments.

Many customers post their complaint that of delays in social networks, including the courier BM Cargo, whose backlog is several weeks.

When those cases occur, the customer has to email a copy of the bill, which although is supposed to solve the problem, it’s not taking place in Customs where their phone calls go unanswered. Emails or tweets to retrieve packages have also often proven fruitless.

Normally merchandise takes just two days in reaching the country, after arriving in Miami.

Customs

Customs director Fernando Fernández on Monday said they’ve had to take measures to prevent fraud he attributes to the couriers, which he affirms declare 80% of goods with a value of just 10 to 12 dollars.

He said two companies, which he didn’t name were fined RD$22 million for smuggling and failing to produce invoices. "They’re claiming 80% of items with a value of 10 and 15 dollars, which is impossible."

Fernandez added that the couriers’ undervaluing will cost the country RD$6.0 billion (US$136.0 million) in unpaid taxes this year.

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