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Aug 8th, '17, 18:08
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On Tea shipments direct from India to USA

by tencats_tea » Aug 8th, '17, 18:08

As I'm always searching out new sources for teas, mainly Assam varieties, I've for the last several years have been sourcing direct from India. My experience has been mostly good with the vendors and the shipping carriers have been mostly excellent . I've been ordering tea shipped from India 6 or 7 times a year on average. Now with the new seasons teas becoming available I experienced problems with the last two shipments. The problem has not been with the tea merchant but with the shipping carrier, one was DHL Express and now FedEx Express. Or is it a customs inspection? Twice within a weeks time I received two shipments of tea shipped from Kolkata India and both packages have been crudely torn open at some point when in possession of the air express carrier. The first one had both the outer bag torn open and the foil tea pouch cut open at both ends. The tea was spilled and then most of the packaging was re-taped closed with tape labeled "DHL Repacked". My feeling was that some one got access to DHL's shipment and was pilfering the packages. Seemed like the 500 grams of tea leaf within the bag had been probed and then left partly open at one end. DHL re closed the package without including all the inner bubble wrap and delivered it. Now today I received another 500 gram shipment of tea, this time FedEx Express was the carrier and again the package was crudely torn open and then taped closed. This time though the foil tea pouch was not opened and the inner bubble wrap had been opened but remained within the packaging. With this latest package the sealing tape is labeled "Opened For Customs". Another sticker on top of that reads "Security Checked, CELEBI Security - Delhi, X-Ray/ETD/Physical Check". After having likely received twenty plus tea shipments from India I have never had one arrive opened or damaged and resealed until now. The tea merchant here has been very quick to respond to my reporting the damage and shipped another package of tea in less than a days time. The tea merchant has advised me"This is the first time were also hearing about this problem" and "we have many shipments which go to the USA and this never occurs".
Both of these soft packed tea packages were fairly beat down too, like compressed flat.

Has anyone here had the happen with their teas shipped from India?
Last edited by tencats_tea on Aug 9th, '17, 07:03, edited 1 time in total.

Aug 8th, '17, 22:41
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Re: On Tea shipments direct from India to USA

by Aya » Aug 8th, '17, 22:41

Not tea or from India, but as I often purchase things from foreign countries (mostly yarn), I have experience my packages opened by custom for inspection, whether at the departure country or destination country (Japan), and re-sealed. In all cases they put "Opened for Customs" kind of label. Sometimes gift wrappings were broken crudely by non-Japanese customs but the items inside were never damaged. Japanese custom is really doing great job re-packaging, as expected to Japan :P

The first case sounds dubious, without customs label and rather brute way of handling the items. Did you check up with DHL?

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Aug 8th, '17, 22:44
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Re: On Tea shipments direct from India to USA

by jayinhk » Aug 8th, '17, 22:44

tencats_tea wrote: As I'm always searching out new sources for teas, mainly Assam varieties, I've for the last several years have been sourcing direct from India. My experience has been mostly good with the vendors and the shipping carriers have been mostly excellent . I've been ordering tea shipped from India 6 or 7 times a year on average. Now with the new seasons teas becoming available I experienced problems with the last two shipments. The problem has not been with the tea merchant but with the shipping carrier, one was DHL Express and now FedEx Express. Or it a customs inspection now? Twice within a weeks time I received two shipments of tea shipped from Kolkata India and both packages have been crudely torn open at some point when in possession of the air express carrier. The first one had both the outer bag torn open and the foil tea pouch cut open at both ends. The tea was spilled and then most of the packaging was re-taped closed with tape labeled "DHL Repacked". My feeling was that some one got access to DHL's shipment and was pilfering the packages. Seemed like the 500 grams of tea leaf within the bag had been probed and then left. DHL re closed the package without including all the inner bubble wrap and delivered it. Now today I received another 500 gram shipment of tea, this time FedEx Express was the carrier and again the package was crudely torn open and then taped closed. This time though the foil tea pouch was not opened and the inner bubble wrap had been opened but remained within the packaging. With this latest package the sealing tape is labeled "Opened For Customs". Another sticker on top of that reads "Security Checked, CELEBI Security - Delhi, X-Ray/ETD/Physical Check". After having likely received twenty plus tea shipments from India I have never had one arrive opened or damaged and resealed until now. The tea merchant here has been very quick to respond to my reporting the damage and shipped another package of tea in less than a days time. The tea merchant has adviced me"This is the first time were also hearing about this problem" and "we have many shipments which go to the USA and this never occurs".
Both of these soft packed tea packages were fairly beat down too, like compressed flat.

Has anyone here had the happen with their teas shipped from India?
India, like China, is a major source country for drugs. They're just making sure nobody is smuggling out opiates/hashish/ketamine/whatever by courier, which is a very common method of smuggling today.

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Aug 9th, '17, 15:53
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Re: On Tea shipments direct from India to USA

by tencats_tea » Aug 9th, '17, 15:53

Aya wrote: The first case sounds dubious, without customs label and rather brute way of handling the items. Did you check up with DHL?
No, I did not have to contact DHL because the tea merchant very quickly replied after I notified them of the damaged tea package that I received and they offered to resend another full measure tea. BTW this was not a smallest pack of tea, it totaled 500 + 100 grams of tea. I had contacted the merchant within minutes with photos after I received the damaged package and they replied back within minutes although it was near midnight in Kolkata. I was very impressed with the customer service I received from this tea vendor in India. As I had never had any problem like this over years of having received shipments of tea, flat art, and biological specimens that required permits beforehand from Europe and Asia, I was thinking I would just have to accept the loss. Never before had an international package opened for inspection that I knew of although I would think that scanning packages would be selectively done at either the departure point or at receiving terminal in USA. The merchant replied that they would be contacting DHL on their end but I likely will not know what if any reply they get from DHL.

What I find surprising is that the outer packing was so crudely torn which was not easy because it was one of those tear resistant bags. Could have been so much more easily partially cut open at one end to examine contents. Then taped closed and I would likely have never taken notice of it.

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Aug 9th, '17, 17:06
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Re: On Tea shipments direct from India to USA

by joelbct » Aug 9th, '17, 17:06

Hasn't happened to me yet, with 7 orders from Vahdam and 3 from Jayshree this year. Everything does arrive in multiple layers of clear bags and fedex/dhl packaging, and very taped up.

I do sometimes get auto-emails that packages have been held in customs, but they always release within 24 hours, nothing has appeared torn, no notices from customs, and everything has arrived in 2-4 business days, through both Fedex and DHL International.

I have ordered from China and Japan since 2007, and I do seem to remember having one or two packages opened by customs over the years. It happens, maybe you are just having bad luck.

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