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Smitty

US Dept. Homeland Security Destroys Shrink-wrapped Games

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I once filed a claim for USPS damaging a camera I shipped and even though I bought $300 in insurance (I sold the camera for $300 on ebay), USPS only paid me $25 for the total loss due to depreciation of an $1100 camera after 10 years. They didn't care I sold it for $300 right before they broke it. Strangest thing was the camera was in padded bag, wrapped in bubble wrap, and in a box with newspaper, so I have no clue how they could have even broken it and the shipping cost me $35 to send it the buyer. I never did cash their $25 check. So long story short, I wonder what the government thinks an old game is worth. So $50 game bought 30 years ago, after depreciation that's 25 cents.

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I might as well throw in my horror story here, but it's not game related. I ordered a Yamaha KX-5 keytar from Guitar Center in Louisville Kentucky. I paid 'em $500 for this keytar that was made in 1984 and to have them ship it. They shipped it via UPS.

 

UPS lost it at the Oklahoma City sort facility. It was supposed to arrive in time for a gig, but obviously it didn't. The counter agents were rude when I went to pick it up the first two times. When I finally did get my instrument, it was in a guitar shaped shipping box. That's to be expected, I suppose, however, the shipping box had a hole where UPS had punched a forklift through it. Due to the keytar's shape, the fork missed it, but if that had been a guitar instead it would have been impaled.

 

I will NEVER ship via UPS again.

Edited by shadow460

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If two members here have had this happen with packages coming from Venezuela, it must be a somewhat common practice.

..Al

 

Make it three members.

I also had sealed Ikari Warriors & Motorodeo games sliced open by US Customs. Same deal, shipment from Venezuela.

Also had this happen to me with another game that came from Italy.

 

The worse part is, the time your package sits and goes through customs causes a time delay as well. So basically, if you paid for a sealed game, not only is your seal broken, it is done so violently with no regard for the packaging, and it causes a delay in shipping. So you get screwed multiple ways. Plus lastly, as was said, you have no recourse whatsoever. It really sucks.

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If two members here have had this happen with packages coming from Venezuela, it must be a somewhat common practice. IntellivionDude, I watched your video and you said something to the effect that the customs agents were sloppy. I'm guessing they intentionally opened the box to see the contents, otherwise there's really no point in them opening packages. It is disgusting that this is done, and that they can do so without any repercussions, all in the name of the "War on Drugs". I'd be very hesitant to purchase any expensive boxed items from Venezuela, that's for damn sure!

 

..Al

 

If you do that then the government wins.

 

If someone plans on opening a sealed box then I would recommend having the seller carefully open it, separate the contents, and include a letter explaining to customs that all nuclear materials were removed from this 30 year old Atari game before shipping.

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i got a few pal atari 2600 games. funny thing was first open by us customs then when it arived to australian customs reopen it to make 100% postive that the us customs did miss eanthing. at less my games were not box. and im happy thay boath did not deside to drill a hole in one to see if it had drugs in it. how i know australian customs did that thay gave me a note exsplaning why thay reopen it. at less thay trying to find drugs.

Edited by quetch

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when my Compumate arrived from Venezuela I received a letter from the German PO stating that the item is sitting at the customs office for me to be picked up (and obviously import charges needed to be paid).

When I arrive at customs, me, the customs officer and the parcel meet up in a room, where I personally have to open the parcel myself(stanley knife supplied). They are totally hands-off in that matter.

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I just got 8 NIB from llwer2006, and they arrived in perfect condition with no tampering. Guess I got lucky.

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Not too get too political, but the US government keeps getting bigger and stupider as time goes by.

  • Like 8

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when my Compumate arrived from Venezuela I received a letter from the German PO stating that the item is sitting at the customs office for me to be picked up (and obviously import charges needed to be paid).

When I arrive at customs, me, the customs officer and the parcel meet up in a room, where I personally have to open the parcel myself(stanley knife supplied). They are totally hands-off in that matter.

Not always, e.g. they opened a sealed game I bought from Venezuela once, but at least they did it carefully. Most packages are handled exactly as described by you, though. They let me unpack the package after I handed over the PayPal invoice and a printout of the eBay item description (most stuff that I get from outside the EU is bought via eBay).

 

Then I proceed paying VAT (only on items with a value exceeding 22 Euros, but then calculated on the total value including shipping costs) and leave.

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In a legal system you can always ask your government for refund when they damage your property. Everything else would be despotism.

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I have a few packages in transit, so now I'm worried.

 

I guess I should stop smuggling shrink-wrapped Atari VCS games into the country from Venezuela.

 

Why do there seem to be so many shrink-wrapped VCS games in Venezuela, by the way?

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That sucks people. Only thing i ever ordered from Venezuela was a Famicom / NES adapter in bright green plastic. The rare kind that plays Famicom games on an NES, not the cheap common kind that works the other way. Got two of them wrapped in bubble wrap. It spent over a month in holding but customs did not tamper with my package. Drugs are a really huge problem for Venezuela as well as Columbia. IMO, if they really want to find contraband without wasting everybody's time, just keep a K-9 unit stationed at the customs office. Drug dog sniffs the package; if the dog goes berserk, tear it open and confiscate the contraband; if not, nothing to see here, so send the package on to it's intended recipient...

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Maybe there's a way to mitigate it by including a note on the bubblewrapped package that asks for consideration for the rarity and value of the item and offering to come down to the local customs office to open it in their presence if necessary. It probably wouldn't work, but it'd be with a try, if you can get your seller to include such a note.

 

It is utterly frustrating that there is no way for people to get compensated when they destroy property like this.

Edited by Lendorien

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In a legal system you can always ask your government for refund when they damage your property. Everything else would be despotism.

 

There is no private property. Everything belongs to Uncle Sam including you and you are on the other side of the world.

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There is no private property. Everything belongs to Uncle Sam including you and you are on the other side of the world.

...and Uncle Sam belongs to China. :)

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I bought several Avalon Hill games on disk/cassette from a seller in Venezuela last summer and was surprised how quickly they arrived in NY; about three and a half weeks IIRC. No tampering with the box by Homeland Security either.

 

On the other hand, my wife sends packages to her family in Argentina and Chile every couple of months and it's a crap shoot whether or not they ever arrive in one piece, if at all.

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This is interesting from a "game theory" perspective.

 

Assuming one wants to acquire a large quantity of shrinkwrapped games from a single seller in Venezuela, but an unknowable X% of packages will be destroyed by CBP, which is the winning strategy:

 

A. Put in one huge order for the year, betting on that one package making it through ok (but risking that the entire shipment will be destroyed).

B. Order one game at a time, spread out over a year, accepting that a certain percentage of the games will be destroyed, but that most will arrive safely.

 

Which is the best move??

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when my Compumate arrived from Venezuela I received a letter from the German PO stating that the item is sitting at the customs office for me to be picked up (and obviously import charges needed to be paid).

When I arrive at customs, me, the customs officer and the parcel meet up in a room, where I personally have to open the parcel myself(stanley knife supplied). They are totally hands-off in that matter.

 

That's a pretty scary proposition if you ask me. You have no idea what the shipper might have dropped in the box. And sitting in jail for 10 years is a hell of a prank.

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You are terribly misjudging Germany's laws - "innocent until proven guilty" is a well established principle, and if you have a law summonable address and do not have a specific criminal record, I can hardly come up with anything inside any package that will get you into a remand prison, much less straight to jail.

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Well I do not live in Germany so I guess I am misjudging. I wasn't trying to set a concrete example just pulling something out of my head that I thought wouldn't be too far fetched.

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In my experience the damage done to my packages are the Venezuelan customs that rip open the packages. Australian customs (since I am I Australia) include a certificate of authority notifying you of a customs inspection.

 

The problem is hit and miss, but out of the volume of trades, it's around 50%. They usually target the larger consignment. I've now started to double up on items I need, to improved the odds of getting through Venezuelan customs intact. In the past I've had carts ripped open, boxes shredded, and the manuals torn. Since I'm only interested in sealed boxes, the value of the consignments is significantly reduced. The total number of damages is 4 to 5 boxes per consignment. I usually order between 20 to 30 boxes (note:I'm a collector, not a reseller)

 

I put all the risks of Venezuelan custom searches down to the risks in our hobby. I don't like it, but the products coming out of Venezuela makes the risk worth while.

 

Dom

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I'll add that the Venezuelan resellers, in particular in my experience Liwer2006, has been outstandingly reasonable. They have always replaced the damaged boxes in my next consignment. They have also been responsive to suggestions I.e placing a note to customs in Spanish asking them to be more carefull when inspecting etc.

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