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View Full Version : Ukulele stuck in US Customs ??



kissing
03-23-2018, 02:47 AM
So on the same day, I bought two ukuleles online (to Australia).
One is a Risa Tenor from Germany, and the other is the Shima Ukulele shipping from Hawaii.

The Risa arrived today, safe and sound.
Tracking information constantly updated, giving me a predictable estimate of delivery.


However, the same can't be said about my Shima ukulele.
The status did not update from being posted by the seller. No sign of it having gone overseas or arrive at my local postal service in Australia.


And finally I got some updates:


Held in US Customs
Your item is being held in US Customs for further inspection.

March 23, 2018, 12:19 am
Departed USPS Regional Facility
HONOLULU HI DISTRIBUTION CENTER

March 22, 2018, 10:17 pm
Arrived at USPS Regional Facility
HONOLULU HI DISTRIBUTION CENTER

March 18, 2018
In Transit to Next Facility

March 17, 2018
In Transit to Next Facility

March 16, 2018
In Transit to Next Facility

March 15, 2018, 4:52 pm
Departed Post Office
HONOLULU, HI 96816

March 15, 2018, 3:26 pm
USPS in possession of item
HONOLULU, HI 96816

March 15, 2018, 11:05 am
Shipping Label Created, USPS Awaiting Item
HONOLULU, HI 96816


Never have I seen such a confusing set of tracking updates.

Firstly, why did it "Transit to Next Facility" THREE times??
It feels like my package has literally jumped from place to place, each facility handballing it along to the next in a confused manner. Wouldn't it normally just go from the first facility to the place that sends it overseas?
Normally I'm used to seeing an international package leave the country within a day of posting. This package appears to have been stuck in Hawaii for over a week.

And argh.. the worst is... why is an OUTBOUND package, which is an UKULELE (Nothing suspicious!!) being held by US Customs?

Am I doomed? Will my brand new Ukulele be opened up and handled by some unknown customs officers?

Is it worth contacting the seller?

This is pretty annoying since one of the ukes I ordered on the same day already arrived... but the other one hasn't even been able to leave the country and is stuck in customs.

Rllink
03-23-2018, 02:55 AM
Don't get too discouraged. I sent my telescope back to Iowa from Puerto Rico by USPS slow boat three weeks ago. It arrived yesterday. According to the tracking it has not left Puerto Rico.

Lacerta
03-23-2018, 03:03 AM
Does it have a rosewood fretboard? New CITES regulations from January 2017 mean that you cannot export/import rosewood without a certificate (in the US this would be issued by the Fish and Wildlife Service). If it does, customs can confiscate it.

kissing
03-23-2018, 03:09 AM
Does it have a rosewood fretboard? New CITES regulations from January 2017 mean that you cannot export/import rosewood without a certificate (in the US this would be issued by the Fish and Wildlife Service). If it does, customs can confiscate it.

According to Shima Ukulele website:


Jake Shimabukuro Wideneck Soprano Ukulele With Tenor Range
Body: Laminated Mahogany
Neck: Okoume wood
Fret board: Reconstituted Rosewood
Number of Frets: 18
Nut: Bone
Bridge: Reconstituted Rosewood with inset Bone saddle
Tuning Machines: Geared
Strings: D'Addario
Finished: Satin


Could the Rosewood really be the reason?
What exactly is "reconstituted" Rosewood? Some kind of recycled, environment friendly one?
Would that be exempt from this new rule? Hmm..

Jerryc41
03-23-2018, 03:40 AM
According to Shima Ukulele website:




What exactly is "reconstituted" Rosewood?

https://wisewoodveneer.com/product/reconstituted-rosewood-wood-veneer-quarter-cut/
https://wisewoodveneer.com/product-category/veneer-sheets/reconstituted-veneer/

Rllink
03-23-2018, 03:50 AM
Does it have a rosewood fretboard? New CITES regulations from January 2017 mean that you cannot export/import rosewood without a certificate (in the US this would be issued by the Fish and Wildlife Service). If it does, customs can confiscate it.

Could be, but one would think that if the company is shipping ukuleles all over the world, they would be aware of that. This can't be the first one that they have sent overseas.

SoloRule
03-23-2018, 04:17 AM
Welcome to our world. (CANADA)

Tracking an item is part of the fun and sometime causing anxiety. My custom built uke was shipped by the luthier in San Diego ,Calif. Tracking dropped out of sight from Sunday to Tuesday. Last tracking was Wednesday in transit to sorting centre. Suddenly it arrived at my door yesterday (Thursday) with no notification of being out for delivery . It was a pleasant surprise except my husband placed the box in my office and didn't tell me about it. I hit the roof when hours later I received an email that item has been delivered that's when he said oh yea I forgot to tell you. :-(

So no I don't think custom bother to unbox your item. They are just slow scanning and processing. If you need to pay custom, you should receive an email with the amount. Australian post seems to be very efficient comparing to Canada Post.

hoosierhiver
03-23-2018, 05:03 AM
When exporting wooden instruments out of the country, they need to be inspected by USDA-APHIS and proper CITES certificates are needed. The company also needs an export license. At this time, there is no good way to send a single instrument by USPS and still comply with the CITES rules. Typically you need to make an appointment with the USDA for an inspection prior to shipping. Depending on the locale and the agent, they might help you to hand off the instrument to a freight forwarder after inspection or they might not.

EDW
03-23-2018, 06:20 AM
The customs guys took it out to play it and once word got out, they started sending to their friends in other locations to try. Don't be alarmed if it has lots of strum marks!

;)

Good luck, hope you get it soon.

SoloRule
03-23-2018, 10:15 AM
The customs guys took it out to play it and once word got out, they started sending to their friends in other locations to try. Don't be alarmed if it has lots of strum marks!

;)

Good luck, hope you get it soon.

Hmmm we may even see a post here on NUD. ;)

tomthebaptist
03-23-2018, 10:24 AM
This SUCKS!

pritch
03-23-2018, 02:56 PM
Only recently I purchased an instrument off another member here who is resident in the USA. When the package arrived it bore tape proclaiming that it had been opened by the warehouse in the USA. The seller had described the package as a musical instrument, I had described it as a musical instrument, and it was in a box marked HMS with a picture of a ukulele. So why it was opened in the USA I have no idea.

Ummm contacting US Customs and enquiring about rosewood might not be a good idea. Just cross yer fingers and hope, or pray, as appropriate.

Good luck

kissing
03-23-2018, 06:36 PM
Thanks for the valuable info and support everyone!

Bruce from Shima ukes kindly replied to me saying that it's likely to be a random audit, so hopefully it will be released from customs. He'll be contacted if any further issues.

I dont like the idea of an ukulele being in unpredictable shipping conditions for longer than necessary.. and most of all I sure don't want some Border protection meathead opening up my package and handling my brand new uke.

Online reading on customs practices in general seems to indicate that customs officers opening up packages is not well regulated. They just open anything if they feel like it.. hmm.

What bugs me even more is that it's not even Australian customs, but US customs holding an outbound parcel. Why can't they just let it go and let Australian customs deal with it on the destination's border security?

Rllink
03-24-2018, 06:32 AM
Only recently I purchased an instrument off another member here who is resident in the USA. When the package arrived it bore tape proclaiming that it had been opened by the warehouse in the USA. The seller had described the package as a musical instrument, I had described it as a musical instrument, and it was in a box marked HMS with a picture of a ukulele. So why it was opened in the USA I have no idea.

Ummm contacting US Customs and enquiring about rosewood might not be a good idea. Just cross yer fingers and hope, or pray, as appropriate.

Good luck
Maybe they thought that with all that description, someone was trying to throw them off track and shipping out drugs under the guise of it being a ukulele. I mean, people do that, say that the drugs are something else.

EDW
03-24-2018, 05:33 PM
If the box is opened and then sealed up and you get the instrument in one piece, be thankful that they did not find something wrong........

You mean like bad intonation and string height?

EDW
03-24-2018, 06:00 PM
They would probably fit new strings first, before adjusting the intonation.

Full set up or expedited?

Ukulele Eddie
03-27-2018, 08:51 AM
I ordered one of these (Shima) ukes as well. It just arrived. Must say, I was surprised to find it is concert scale which was not mentioned anywhere in the description.

Setting aside that I would not have ordered had I known it was concert scale, it's a reasonable sounding uke for the price point. Fit and finish are decent for a uke in this price range.

EDW
03-27-2018, 09:07 AM
I think that is what them meant when they said soprano with tenor range. Typically I have seen descriptions which list long neck soprano or 14 frets to the body or other, which might have been clearer.

Ukulele Eddie
03-27-2018, 02:23 PM
It is listed as having "Concert-Quality Sound", what are your thoughts Eddie?

Probably in Jake's hands. But not even my finest uke sounds "concert-quality" in my own hands. LOL!

Honestly, it sounds pretty good for the price point. It has D'addario strings, which I'm generally not wild about. However, I liked them more than other D'Addario strings I've tried. I need to compensate the saddle a bit as the C string was off, but the G, E and A were pretty spot-on.

I let my 10 year-old daughter take it to her grandparent's for spring break. She LOVES it, so it may become hers (she figured out the entire melody line to Desposito by ear all by herself!).

I will do some sound samples next week when she is back. One with the stock strings and then with something else.

Ukulele Eddie
03-27-2018, 02:29 PM
I think that is what them meant when they said soprano with tenor range. Typically I have seen descriptions which list long neck soprano or 14 frets to the body or other, which might have been clearer.

I agree, that's probably what they meant. But "tenor range" has nothing to do with scale length, it's simply the number of frets. I reached out to Bruce to suggest some clarifications, which he seemed to appreciate.

I like what they are trying to do -- make an affordable quality instrument that fits in a less crowded spot in an already crowded market. And I was pleased with the overall quality. Setup was actually quite good. The C string intonation was off, so I'll need to adjust the saddle. But relative to a lot of what I've seen in the under $300 range, it was very well executed.

Inksplosive AL
03-29-2018, 06:39 AM
IIRC I bought a used Risa tenor from a member in Australia or NZ and it got stuck in customs in NY for around 2 or 3 weeks. The postal service states that once its in customs its now customs responsibility, customs tells you its ultimately the USPS is responsible if the package never shows. Two or three weeks later when they found the tiny box apparently misplaced it was shipped off to me and arrived the next day. This was a year or two ago now.

Maybe there is a terror cell they are watching in Australia because I thought it quite odd my ukulele was held up I was worried about loss the most. A Risa stick in a box isn't much of anything. Box was unopened.

Good Luck