Online shopping hassle - Cheats causing Customs to demand in-person office visits to verify invoices

Jamaica Gleaner
Monday | July 30, 2018 
Carlene Davis/Gleaner Writer


The Jamaica Customs Agency is standing behind its decision to demand that persons come into its offices to provide electronic verification of the amount that they have paid for goods they order online.

Several persons have complained about the hassle of going into a customs office to log into whatever account they used to purchase the goods to prove the legitimacy of their online receipts.

But acting deputy commissioner of the Jamaica Customs Agency, Kirk Benjamin, in an interview with The Gleaner, said they instituted the check because persons have been trying to beat the system by producing fictitious receipts.

According to Benjamin, until they start receiving the receipts electronically, from the sellers overseas, that is the best option.

"You might get an item, and this item would normally sell for US$100, but you got it for US$30, now you might not have an invoice that's in the shipment, because from time to time, persons say it's a gift. So we ask that you come, and open the account to prove.

"There are times when we find that persons submit false invoices. It's something we grapple with every day, people trying to beat the system," said Benjamin.

Among the persons who complained to our newsroom was Dmitri Dawkins, who describe this process as "a grand waste of time".

He told The Gleaner that he got a 70 per cent deal on a tent, which made the item less than US$50, which is the limit that you can purchase an item for online without attracting customs duty.

According to Dawkins, he was surprised when the courier service he used called him to say that the item was flagged at Customs for additional processing.

"Customs said despite my providing an invoice, that it couldn't verify that price online anywhere. The courier service attempted to clear it multiple times and then advised me that I would have to go to Customs to provide proof of legitimacy by logging into my Amazon account. I found this ridiculous," said Dawkins.



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