Travel Incidents



FANCY FEET


Boston, United States
Member: May 2015
Gender: Male
Age: 32 years
Madrid/Barcelona, Spain
GOOGLE TRANSLATION The Spanish Post Office

"Loss of Packages in Spain PO"

SENDING PACKAGES TO SPAIN FROM OTHER COUNTRIES


I'd like to preface this travel warning by thanking www.blackbooktraveler.com for providing this service as a way to inform people about hazards in some countries and places. In this day and age when organizations, companies, and governments view any criticism or feedback as a mortal threat, it's important to have an established system of honest feedback.


The Spanish Post Office (Correos) and customs makes in difficult and unpleasant to receive packages from outside the country. You can expect to spend up to a month getting your package through customs and the post office in addition to the seven to ten days it takes to arrive from another country. It's also quite possible that you won't receive the parcel at all. When interacting with the Correos and Customs you have the feeling that you are dealing with a huge amorphous bureaucracy that exists solely for the purpose of continuing its own existance—certainly not to serv its customers. And you feel as if you are locked out of the loop—whatever takes place with your package, you are not informed. Be prepared for a completely frustrating and draining experience.
The first problem you encounter is that the post office does not notify you that they are holding your package or that it has arrived in the country. If you are new at this "game" and waiting for the package you could wait a month, and it still might not have arrived. Therefore you'll need to visit the post office with the tracking number from the shipping company.
The first time you talk to a clerk at the Correos, he or she will look up the tracking number on the computer system and tell you that the packet is being held in Customs in Madrid. After you have done this several times, usually for a week or two,the clerks recognize you and then finally make a call to Madrid asking about the item.
If the employees at the Madrid post office find your package, they sends you a one page letter with instructions on how to obtain it and clear it through customs. You must then upload a copy of your passport or ID and the letter with an email address, telephone number, and other information. Of course, if you don't speak Spanish you are not likely to understand the clerks at the post office (because they don't speak other languages) or the letter from Madrid.
If everything complies, Madrid will then email you the Custom's fee information levied on your package and instructions on how to pay it. You must then go to the post office or a specified bank to remit the charge. Only then will Madrid send you your shipment.
The ruse is that if Madrid does not respond, you have no recourse. There is an email address that you can send further requests to, but the answer will be a form email. The form email lists only legal resources you can take. If Madrid doesn't respond, then you can assume that you won't get your parcel. You could, of course, travel to Madrid from whatever Spanish town you are holed up in, rant and rave and threaten or even hire a lawyer. However, my advise is: go to another country and start over.
I never received my packet from Amazon.com and so flew to London where a duplicate parcel was sent that arrived without hassle or bureaucratic entanglement. Next time I spend my tourist dollars in England or another European country, not Spain.
* * *
I would suggest to the Spanish Correos and Customs that they could better serve their customers (the ones paying their salaries and costs I might add) in the following ways.
First, when you receive a package from another country and hold it, immediately send the notification letter. This will let the recipient know where the package is and relieve his or her concern regarding its wear abouts. More importantly, it will lighten the stress and strain on your postal clerks in the local post offices who must endure continual questioning about the whereabouts of parcels. This only makes sense: why tax an already strained system with three or four inquiries from each customer, when they could be eliminated? In addition, reducing the stress and heavy load on postal clerks will help reduce employee turn over.
Second, keep the customer in the loop; if you continue to hold the package for whatever reason, let the customer know with an email the reason it is being held, and what he or she must do to get it, or whether it will not be delivered at all.
Third, when communicating with foreigner customers, use several languages to make sure you are understood. Even most Spanish tourist attractions and landmarks have signs and descriptions that are in Spanish, English, and French.
Finally, remember that no matter how big and strong and powerful you are, that the customers are the ones paying your bills and are human beings. Therefore, treat them with care, respect, and consideration.


Traveled February 2015

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