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Customs Rules Stymie Russian Package Deliveries

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January 25, 2014

New customs rules mean that most packages in Russia are not getting delivered.

The rules states that couriers must prove that the contents of a package are not more than 150 euros, the duty-free limit. (That's about $200.) Most packages are not set up to be so examined, so this has resulted in most packages not being delivered in Russia. Confirming this delivery stoppage have been Federal Express, UPS, and DHL.

Customs officials said that they target was products bought online. Russia has recently surpassed Germany as the European country with the most Internet users. Smaller courier companies have benefited, although the usual delivery model of those is a bit different, in that customers go to a distribution center to pick up their goods, rather than waiting for home delivery.

A similar system is in place in Argentina, where customers are allowed two customs-free purchases each year, provided that the contents of each package is less than $25. This restriction applies only to internal purchases, however; all overseas purchases are accompanied by a customs fee, which the customer must pay when picking up the package in person.

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