travel thoughts and experiences
… OR how much do you need to pay for a “free” shoe replacement …
I have always fancied Teva, especially their great outdoor sandals. I have worn them since ever, gone through mud, rocky terrain, wet and dry, carrying heavy weight. They have always been a sturdy companion withstanding the worse conditions I had put them through. All the greater was my surprise to find out the sole has broken after just a few months of use of my new pair – Terra FI 3. Never mind have I told myself, not a big deal. The same thing happened to my previous pair – after couple of years that is – while not preventing me to wear them.
They had one more surprise hidden away, though. Just a little while longer did it take for the sole to begin sticking apart. I could not help myself but wonder about the quality of today’s merchandise being sold to us. How did we come to the point when we can no longer put our trust in quality control of companies we had only the best experiences with in the past. Had it really change that much or is this just a bad luck.
In any case, my frustration was too high to keep silent and accept the faith, I had to complain to Teva.com about my experience. Upon filing the report an automated response came in – they make their best to get back to us within 24 hours. Being skeptical I thought I would be lucky If I ever gotten a response, however, basically in no time, they have come back to me with request for further details and offer of warranty replacement. I was sincerely surprised and genuinely happy – my resentment towards the company had disappeared in that instant.
It took only couple of days, the delivery came in and was signed of by a friend of mine in China. I could not be present due to my travel plans. He did mention one unsettling fact within the good news, though – you would be better off sending the shoes to Hong Kong, they have zero tax. Not a big deal have I thought for the second time, how much could the tax be, right?
Well, it could be much higher than I have ever thought possible. In fact, It was higher than the actual value of a new pair! After a day long of phone calls I have gotten to know the secret. The taxes are deducted not only from the value of the product but also from the value of the freight. From my layman point of view I should not have paid any taxes whatsoever, considering the shoes were just a fully discounted replacement shipped for free. How can you deduct a tax from zero.
I was expensively wrong. They can deduct, and they had done so. Total shoes value, as stated on the taxable invoice which is different to the one I have received, is 50 USD, while the freight by UPS was valued for 206 USD. How did they calculate the shipping remains a mystery, as according to an estimate made online on ups.com the shipping of such item should have not exceeded 130 USD. Long story short, I had to pay roundabout 93 USD to the Chinese authorities. And of course, once you pay in China the money is lost, non-claimable.
Maybe I was too exited about the “free” pair, maybe I did not deserve it. It could have just been a bad luck or a lack of preparation. I could have investigated the import regulations of China beforehand, I could have told the friend of mine about the value of the shipment – he would never have paid that much had he known the shoes cost 85 USD.
Whatever it was, the truth in the old saying – nothing is for free – is undeniable. I only hope this article will serve those of you guys being as naive as I was and believing in free replacements 🙂
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