Sunday, September 6, 2009

My blog is read by people planning to move to Ireland and people who have recently moved here, so I thought I would give this little tip for those shipping items/having items shipped to them.

Always mark the contents as "Used Goods" or something to that effect. I did this for all the items I shipped to myself, and I furthermore put my own name as both the sender and recipient. I forgot to tell this to my sister when she sent me something I'd been storing at her place in the US since I moved here. She asked the postman at the US post office if she should indicate that it was my own belonging that she was sending to me, but he said no. So that probably explains why I received a notice in my mailbox that I had a package in a post office in Killbarack (nowhere near my house), and in order to get it, I'd have to pay over 46 euro customs. I called the post office who told me to call customs, who told me to go to the post with my immigration card and I could sort out. No such luck. When I got there, they said that was impossible, and they weren't in any position to change customs fees. Basically, if I wanted my package, I needed to pay the money, case closed. So, that's what I did. HOWEVER, when I got home I called customs again, and got a name and address of a person to whom I could mail my receipt along with proof that the item had been my own and proof that I was a permanent resident of Ireland. A couple weeks later, I received a check in the mail for 36 euro. I don't know why they couldn't have refunded the entire amount, but whatever. Still, between train and taxi fairs (the item was too big to walk with) and the ten euro I didn't get back, my mistake cost me well over twenty euro.

So, consider this a cautionary tale!


  1. Very good tip! I am an expat living in Switzerland, and we had the same problem when family or friends would send us stuff from the US.

    We tell everyone to mark the package "gift" and we do the same when mailing boxes of chocolate home. As long as it is marked as a gift, and is under 100 Francs, we don't have to pay.

    I was so bummed to have to pay about $30 to get some CDs that my mom sent me as a Christmas present last year!