Thursday, March 17, 2016

Ordered something using USPS - India Post? You should:

India Post's FPO near ITO, Delhi

1. Not expect timely delivery even though the package might reach India within three days.

2.  Not expect to find the helpline easily. The India Post website has reams on whom one can complain to -- but no details of customer care to get answers. For Delhi one may try 011-23233325. It took me 15-25 minutes just to connect. Their internet might be slow. If they say that there is no update on your package beyond a certain date -- request them to check if the page on their computer has loaded fully!

3. Most likely, expect delay at Customs. Do not try and contact them. No one will pick the phone. The India Post helpline will share their contact numbers, if asked. I got this email id from India Post for Customs in Delhi: fpocustoms[attherate] Did not get any response.

4. Track shipment on India Post site also. This might give some more details. My package was stuck at Customs and released after quite a delay. The reason posted on the website was "Others".

5. Know that, once the package is cleared from Customs, it will be sent to local post office corresponding to the pin code. If the package is bigger than what can be accommodated on the Postman's bicycle -- do not wait for them to deliver it. Just go and collect. Remember to carry the item tracking id, and sufficient money to pay the applicable customs duty. It might be useful to also carry a copy of invoice. I was not asked for this but then who knows. Here is one link you can use to estimate the customs duty.

6. Be able to locate the phone number of local post office. This will most likely be the number where they take bookings and not handle delivery. So one may skip this step and save time.

7. At the first point when one realises that things are getting delayed, ask the seller to initiate an inquiry from the international shipping agency like the USPS. Later, one could use the same process to initiate insurance claim process, if needed.  No point in being irritated with the seller as (in most cases) the problem is Indian Customs and India Post.