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Customs - Bad Experience


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#1 Dan Coplan

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Posted 20 May 2007 - 02:41 AM

Just did a job in Mexico. My gear was shipped through a trusted cargo company. By the time I received the gear someone had dumped one of my cases out on a table and dumped the items back in, not taking any care to put the parts back into the obvious and specific cutouts designed for each item. One of my cases had a bad word in Spanish inked into the inside of the lid. And other minor but disturbing annoyances.

Anyone else ever have problems like this shipping gear? Any solutions? I can't lock my cases because they have to be available to customs.

Dan
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#2 Erwin Landau

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Posted 20 May 2007 - 03:28 AM

Hey Dan,

I was asked to be present at the customs inspection in the past at what point I was allowed to lock my cases after everybody was satisfied. I'm not sure if that still applies. I was at the end of my nerves as i was not allowed to touch anything but had to explain to the TSA agent how exactly to repack my cases... and what that black long gun like thing was (Antlers)... be early at the airport that can take easily an hour or more on top of the 3 that they say you have to be earlier...

On the last flight I actually found more of these TSA fliers in my cases AFTER they had screened it with me present... i had to tape a key on the outside of the cases... de-feeds the purpose of a lock doesn't it...

Also my contact cleaner, canned air and the Goof-off as well as my Arri oil where all gone!


Erwin
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#3 Michael Stumpf

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Posted 20 May 2007 - 08:15 AM

Anyone else ever have problems like this shipping gear?



Never. That sucks Dan, but isn't too surprising considering where you traveled too.

Any solutions?



Yeah, don't travel to Mexico.
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#4 Louis Puli SOC

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Posted 20 May 2007 - 07:58 PM

Anyone else ever have problems like this shipping gear?



Hi Everyone
I was doing a job several years ago for inter Continental hotels in Bali when customs asked to talk to the producers as there was a problem with clearance of my equipment . I did have all the ATA Carnet papers were in order .
The producers talked to the customs staff handed over some cash and the problem just disappeared.
In some countries there own people taking advantage of there power and position for there own gain . :ph34r:
Having said I will never go back there again .
Louis from down under B)
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#5 David A. Wolf

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Posted 20 May 2007 - 08:02 PM

Many companies now make TSA accessible locks which can be found at just about any airport shop, luggage store etc... These are usually small combination locks with a keyslot on the bottom that TSA has master keys for. Keep in mind, though, that these are small locks that will only act as a deterrent and can easily be broken with a little bit of force and persuasion. TSA is also not always the best at putting them back on luggage after an inspection. I have "lost" two over the past year this way. I truly believe that locks are for honest people and if somebody else wants your stuff they're not going to let a lock, no matter how big or small, stop them.

David Wolf
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#6 Erwin Landau

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Posted 20 May 2007 - 08:31 PM

I found over the years that locks are just designed to delay the crook not to keep him or her out of your stuff... just delay them until they are afraid to be caught or the amount of time it takes to get in, is not worth there time and effort...

Just on Locks,

Erwin
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#7 RobVanGelder

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Posted 20 May 2007 - 10:18 PM

I did have all the ATA Carnet papers were in order .
The producers talked to the customs staff handed over some cash and the problem just disappeared.

Louis from down under B)



Louis, that might have been the problem: Indonesia (Bali) is , to my knowledge, not on the ATA-carnet list, so the only way to get in and out is pay "handling fee" ...............
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#8 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 20 May 2007 - 10:28 PM

Louis, that might have been the problem: Indonesia (Bali) is , to my knowledge, not on the ATA-carnet list, so the only way to get in and out is pay "handling fee" ...............



Don't EVER use a Carnet in Mexico, it's a tax declaration and they will "Tax" you


In cash
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#9 Ramon Engle

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Posted 20 May 2007 - 11:14 PM

Traveling with gear is always a crap shoot especially international. Over the past 5 years I've worked throughout Mexico with all my gear in tow. With the exception of the first year we've used FilmLogic as the equipment broker and had no problems getting through customs. Coming home is a little different. They know you'll be stateside after the outgoing inspection so thats when little things come up missing. I lost a casio hand held monitor that way.
Customs was the least of our worries. Our first year there we had to fend off a couple of motorcycle cops with $500 to keep our vehicles from being impounded. We hired security after that. In 2005 we had a PA get held up at gun point after withdrawing $3000 in petty cash from the bank. The holdup took place on the sidewalk outside the bank by two guys on a motorcycle. Inside job! A teller made the call as soon as the PA was leaving. Both of these incidents took place in Mexico City(D.F.). Not too surprising since the #1 cottage industry in Mexico City is kidnapping.
The rest of the country is way less threatening with the exception of the Cancun region. Blatant graft and outright extortion is prevelent by the local peace officers. Be warry!
The Drug Gangs have taken over Acapulco as well. They are leaving the heads of rival gang members on Pikes to establish thier presence. The tourist are fleeing. OK OK so maybe the rest of the country is a little threatening. It's too bad because the majority of the people there a warm and friendly and the country is beautiful.
I travel back to Mexico in the fall. I let you know how it goes.

Ramon
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#10 RobVanGelder

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 02:22 AM

Don't EVER use a Carnet in Mexico, it's a tax declaration and they will "Tax" you


In cash



Well, officially it is a declaration that you will return the equipment un-altered to the country of origin, within an exact time, only after that, when you fail to return everything or something, they are allowed to tax you.

Not that some countries and their Customs officers really care about the original and official status of a Carnet , they make their own laws.......
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#11 Rob Vuona SOC

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 02:18 PM

Hey Dan,

I was asked to be present at the customs inspection in the past at what point I was allowed to lock my cases after everybody was satisfied. I'm not sure if that still applies. I was at the end of my nerves as i was not allowed to touch anything but had to explain to the TSA agent how exactly to repack my cases... and what that black long gun like thing was (Antlers)... be early at the airport that can take easily an hour or more on top of the 3 that they say you have to be earlier...

On the last flight I actually found more of these TSA fliers in my cases AFTER they had screened it with me present... i had to tape a key on the outside of the cases... de-feeds the purpose of a lock doesn't it...

Also my contact cleaner, canned air and the Goof-off as well as my Arri oil where all gone!


Erwin

Hey Dan,
That sucks bro, sorry to hear that . . . . .I travel internationally alot with the gear and I always do as Erwin does, I get to airport early and have the TSA agents search through and then lock them, If they won't lock them then at least zip tie them as a slight but inefective deterent. I also have a picture taped to the inside lid of what the rig looks like built and how it's packed for the civilians that don't have any idea of what this contraption could possibly be . . .

Good luck in the future

Edited by Rob Vuona, 21 May 2007 - 02:18 PM.

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#12 Dan Coplan

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 06:02 PM

I did zip-tie my gear and included extra zip-ties in all the cases but they weren't replaced. And I understand Customs needing to go through the gear so it didn't surprise me that they were opened, just how they were handled.

In this particular case, my gear was shipped ahead of me along with camera gear from a rental house so I didn't have the luxury of meeting Customs for the inspection, but that's something to note for the future. It was soooo nice leaving my gear to be shipped for me and not having to haul it to the airport myself, but based on this experience, some things are more important.

Thanks for the comments!

Dan
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