Have any of you ever had to deal with receiving a shipped package here in Oman? I'm talking about receiving packages with any of the big international couriers. In the last 3 months I've had the misfortune to have had to deal with DHL, UPS, TNT, Aramex and FedEx to receive packages here in Muscat and I'm just totally flabbergasted at how bad they are.
Now I must be a special case or a marked man or something. Why is it that Domino's Pizza can deliver to my house or office no problem, but for global corporate companies, who's primary business it is to actually deliver packages, they can't deliver to my house (or office)?
I actually have a theory on this, and perhaps I'm wrong, but from my experiences built up from half a decade of dealing with these couriers here in Oman, I am standing by my theory:
The delivery drivers are lazy asses.
There, I said it. Nationality doesn't come into it, I don't know who drives the trucks and vans around town, but I am pointing the finger squarely at them, the delivery drivers. And it doesn't matter which courier you use, they are all equally lazy. The one exception was a recent experience with TNT with a letter couriered to me from Dubai, that was apparently "out for delivery" in a van for 5 entire days before I started to investigate. Apparently the driver could not find my office in MSQ - despite being given the Way number and the Building number, as well as the building name (my employers own the entire building with a reception). The driver, clearly, couldn't be arsed to do his job. And worse than that, TNT didn't even call to inform that the letter had not been delivered for their given reason (couldn't find the address). It was only after the person that had sent the package called me to ask if I had received it - otherwise I would never have known!
The standard routine for delivery packages here in Oman with any of these couriers appears to be:
1. Call the number on the package (if your thoughtful enough to remind the sender to put it on there) and let it ring no more than five times.
2. If call is answered, finish conversation with your mate first, take up to half a minute to do this. Turning down your music is optional. If call is not answered, see step 6.
3. Say you can't deliver the package because you can't find the address.
4. Ignore any requests from the customer to deliver to the address written on the package.
5. Say you will call back later.
6. Never call back, ever, on pain of death.
All of this BS now means that I know exactly where each of the courier's offices are as I have to take time out of my day, after, in many cases, over $100 in shipping fee's have been paid, to go and collect my packages. I particularly don't like FedEx packages because I hate going anywhere near Ruwi, and there is never anywhere to park near their Hamriya office.
And as for fees - I recently had some exhaust parts for a car shipped over from the US via TNT. Now the Free Trade Agreement between Oman and the USA clearly states that no Duty will be levied on any Industrial or Consumer goods. I, as a consumer, purchased some goods from the US, and had it shipped from the USA to me, here in Oman.
I was charged a little under RO 25 in duty by TNT for these exhaust parts. They calculated the duty on the total amount of the purchase, including the shipping fees I paid to the seller. So they charged me Duty fees for the value of their own shipping services, as well as the fact that they charged me Duty fees for a private consumer goods purchase from the USA, which are supposed to be duty free. Naturally I argued against this in their office in Khuwair (on Dohat al Adab street, shared with GAC logistics).
Do you know what their answer to me was?
It's only duty free if it lands directly from the USA, your package landed in the UAE, and then came here, so it attracts duty fees.
Excuse me? What. The. F$@k? Why is it of my concern how a package gets here? It was sent from the USA, addressed to someone in Oman. I don't care how it gets here, and I don't see how that effects the need for charging duty on packages either. Perhaps I just misunderstand the FTA and thats totally fine, it wouldn't be the first time I've misunderstood something.
I was tired and late for something else so I just paid the money and took my package, but I would really like to know what the truth is with shipments from the USA and attracting Duty here in Oman. I remember I got fleeced by UPS when shipping something from the USA before as well, so it's not a situation solely with TNT.
It all smells like a scam to me. How about you lot? Have you had any good, or bad, experiences with local courier companies here? How about getting packages from the USA and not actually paying any duty? Have you ever even actually had a package successfully delivered to your address? Surely there should be a discount in the rates if we are only paying for pick-up and shipping (and not delivery)?