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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

My container left on a ship out of Long Beach (LA) on the 25th of May with arrival expected in Le Harve on 25 June.

Initially was pleased (thrilled)with shippers service.

The Bill of Lading was forwarded to me today and lists only the number of boxes sent. No mention of furniture.

At the time the container was loaded at my home I did a written draft of inventory in English (all boxes numbered and contents identified. All furniture listed with dollar values) with values.

I have not been asked to sign this or a statement that the items have been used by me for six months prior to shipping.

I spent quite some time on the phone with this company before I hired them.
I also forwarded him copies of three other companies detailed quotes. His he said would come in lower by $500. The fact that he was local (100 miles away) I felt had value.. he was also quite charming...(sigh)

The final bill was $2,500. higher than I was quoted. Received this two days before shipment left port (and after it was loaded on ship). Was very upset....got nowhere in multiple attempts to straighten things out. I do have his e-mails with his quotes.

Shipper then got very upset with me for questioning his bill and told me the other companies could not have delivered service at their quoted rates either.:mad:

At this point I am concerned regarding the paperwork accompanying the container.

1. Do I need to sign the inventory list and does it need to be translated to French with euro values along with dollar values? If so...when does this need to be done?

2. Does the Bill of Lading need to list everything in the container?

3. Are these documents to accompany the container or are they given to
the customs agent by shipper at the time the ship docks in Le Harve? I do know the name of the customs agents hired by Shipper.

I am feeling really stupid ... other than writing a letter of complaint to the Better Business Bureau (of which Shipper is a member) don't think there is much I can do at this point.

Would be wildly appreciative if any of you know the answers to my questions/concerns would let me know your thoughts.

Thank you so very much.

K
 

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Hello KM,

You have two major concerns here; recuperating any potential loss resulting from your move and clearing the customs hurdle.

When the shippers moved your household goods they should have given you a household goods inventory to sign. This is standard procedure with all reputable moving companies. What insurance arrangements did you make with the mover? For my move, insurance was mandatory while my HHGs were in transit. I took pictures of our HHGs in case I needed to file a claim. The inventory sheet and the pictures would be the basis of any monetary claim. As it turned out, I didn't need to file a claim.

For customs issues, you are paying for the service of having someone else worry about these matters. Find out who your overseas point of contact is and communicate with them directly. They are the subject matter experts. You have a right to know who your POC is, because you're paying for their service, so don't let the moving company stonewall you and they would undoubtedly be happy if your speaking with someone other than them.

Your moving company should have given you a declaration of values form for the French Customs. For duty free entry, they should have given you a copy of form letter from your Human Resources Office, if your move is job related. If you are permanently changing residence, as was our case, they should have given you a form letter for a Changement de Residence. As I recall, there was another French document stating that your HHGs are for your own personal use and not for resale.

Since thousands of containers come in daily and all cannot possibly be inspected, Customs randomly checks containers. Your chance of winning this lottery are slim. Hope this helps. Good luck.
 
G

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Hi,

My container left on a ship out of Long Beach (LA) on the 25th of May with arrival expected in Le Harve on 25 June.

Initially was pleased (thrilled)with shippers service.

The Bill of Lading was forwarded to me today and lists only the number of boxes sent. No mention of furniture.

At the time the container was loaded at my home I did a written draft of inventory in English (all boxes numbered and contents identified. All furniture listed with dollar values) with values.

I have not been asked to sign this or a statement that the items have been used by me for six months prior to shipping.

I spent quite some time on the phone with this company before I hired them.
I also forwarded him copies of three other companies detailed quotes. His he said would come in lower by $500. The fact that he was local (100 miles away) I felt had value.. he was also quite charming...(sigh)

The final bill was $2,500. higher than I was quoted. Received this two days before shipment left port (and after it was loaded on ship). Was very upset....got nowhere in multiple attempts to straighten things out. I do have his e-mails with his quotes.

Shipper then got very upset with me for questioning his bill and told me the other companies could not have delivered service at their quoted rates either.:mad:

At this point I am concerned regarding the paperwork accompanying the container.

1. Do I need to sign the inventory list and does it need to be translated to French with euro values along with dollar values? If so...when does this need to be done?

2. Does the Bill of Lading need to list everything in the container?

3. Are these documents to accompany the container or are they given to
the customs agent by shipper at the time the ship docks in Le Harve? I do know the name of the customs agents hired by Shipper.

I am feeling really stupid ... other than writing a letter of complaint to the Better Business Bureau (of which Shipper is a member) don't think there is much I can do at this point.

Would be wildly appreciative if any of you know the answers to my questions/concerns would let me know your thoughts.

Thank you so very much.

K
I just recently had all my belongings shipped from Singapore to the port of Marseille. I can give you my experiences but can't offer any definitive answers.

1. Do I need to sign the inventory list and does it need to be translated to French with euro values along with dollar values? If so...when does this need to be done?

At Marseille the customs were quite international and didn't request everything in French. I submitted an inventory in English and Singapore Dollars. But they did want to see the inventory and did question what some of the things meant.

2. Does the Bill of Lading need to list everything in the container?

Mine just said something like "personal effects"

3. Are these documents to accompany the container or are they given to
the customs agent by shipper at the time the ship docks in Le Harve? I do know the name of the customs agents hired by Shipper.

I had copies of everything and I brought all my documents to the customs. Customs are customs. It doesn't matter what shipper you use.

The problem I had was this. You have to prove you are moving from one main residence to a new main residence. Otherwise they assume it is a commercial shipment and levy huge taxes. I had to submit all sorts of documents to the French customs including work contracts, rental agreements, ID cards, etc. It took me two goes and a briefcase full of documents to get all my stuff.

Bonne chance!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hello KM,

You have two major concerns here; recuperating any potential loss resulting from your move and clearing the customs hurdle.

When the shippers moved your household goods they should have given you a household goods inventory to sign. This is standard procedure with all reputable moving companies. What insurance arrangements did you make with the mover? For my move, insurance was mandatory while my HHGs were in transit. I took pictures of our HHGs in case I needed to file a claim. The inventory sheet and the pictures would be the basis of any monetary claim. As it turned out, I didn't need to file a claim.

For customs issues, you are paying for the service of having someone else worry about these matters. Find out who your overseas point of contact is and communicate with them directly. They are the subject matter experts. You have a right to know who your POC is, because you're paying for their service, so don't let the moving company stonewall you and they would undoubtedly be happy if your speaking with someone other than them.

Your moving company should have given you a declaration of values form for the French Customs. For duty free entry, they should have given you a copy of form letter from your Human Resources Office, if your move is job related. If you are permanently changing residence, as was our case, they should have given you a form letter for a Changement de Residence. As I recall, there was another French document stating that your HHGs are for your own personal use and not for resale.

Since thousands of containers come in daily and all cannot possibly be inspected, Customs randomly checks containers. Your chance of winning this lottery are slim. Hope this helps. Good luck.

Hi Coton,

Thank you so much for your reply..

On my own I applied for and received from the French Counsulate in LA the Changement du Residence. I gave this to the shipping company.

They did provide me a declaration of value form for French customs.

I have just left a message for shipper asking for a return phone call. If I do not get the assistance and forms I need I will contact the Company in Le Harve that
is responsible for customs clearance.

Thank you again....helps very much.

My best,

Karin
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I just recently had all my belongings shipped from Singapore to the port of Marseille. I can give you my experiences but can't offer any definitive answers.

1. Do I need to sign the inventory list and does it need to be translated to French with euro values along with dollar values? If so...when does this need to be done?

At Marseille the customs were quite international and didn't request everything in French. I submitted an inventory in English and Singapore Dollars. But they did want to see the inventory and did question what some of the things meant.

2. Does the Bill of Lading need to list everything in the container?

Mine just said something like "personal effects"

3. Are these documents to accompany the container or are they given to
the customs agent by shipper at the time the ship docks in Le Harve? I do know the name of the customs agents hired by Shipper.

I had copies of everything and I brought all my documents to the customs. Customs are customs. It doesn't matter what shipper you use.

The problem I had was this. You have to prove you are moving from one main residence to a new main residence. Otherwise they assume it is a commercial shipment and levy huge taxes. I had to submit all sorts of documents to the French customs including work contracts, rental agreements, ID cards, etc. It took me two goes and a briefcase full of documents to get all my stuff.

Bonne chance!
Hi

Thank you for letting me know your experience with customs on your move.
Did the customs agents speak English? If so do you think this is typical.

It's very helpful to hear of others experience with this process.

Thank you again for writing.

My best,

Karin
 
G

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Hi

Thank you for letting me know your experience with customs on your move.
Did the customs agents speak English? If so do you think this is typical.

It's very helpful to hear of others experience with this process.

Thank you again for writing.

My best,

Karin
The customs at Marseille were able to muddle through in English but were much happier when I started to muddle though in French.

Customs officials will be having to deal with documents in English and shippers, companies, etc that don't speak French. So I imagine a reasonable level of English is one of the requirements for the job.
 

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The customs at Marseille were able to muddle through in English but were much happier when I started to muddle though in French.

Customs officials will be having to deal with documents in English and shippers, companies, etc that don't speak French. So I imagine a reasonable level of English is one of the requirements for the job.
Keep in mind, most French people learn English to read, write and translate, but not to speak. It's fairly common in most government offices that you'll get far better reception speaking even broken French, but that those same officials can probably read any documents you give them in English and make enough sense of them to process you through.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Keep in mind, most French people learn English to read, write and translate, but not to speak. It's fairly common in most government offices that you'll get far better reception speaking even broken French, but that those same officials can probably read any documents you give them in English and make enough sense of them to process you through.
Cheers,
Bev
Bev,

Thank you. Will muddle in French if necessary.

Karin
 

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Keep in mind, most French people learn English to read, write and translate, but not to speak. It's fairly common in most government offices that you'll get far better reception speaking even broken French, but that those same officials can probably read any documents you give them in English and make enough sense of them to process you through.
Cheers,
Bev
This has been my experience as well. In a recent example, I had to buy an Ethernet adapter from a local computer store. The store is run by a husband and wife. He speaks very good English but she doesn't speak a word. I sent them several emails regarding whether the adapter, which had to be ordered, had arrived. She responded to my emails each time in absolutely perfect English.

I'm at a loss to explain why the French curriculum doesn't include more time in learning to actually speak English. I thought the goal of learning a foreign language is to be able to communicate? :confused:
 

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I'm at a loss to explain why the French curriculum doesn't include more time in learning to actually speak English. I thought the goal of learning a foreign language is to be able to communicate? :confused:
You are obviously not yet fully assimilated into the system. :D

Foreign languages have always been taught like this in France. The teachers are privileged civil servants - and some English teachers speak abysmal English to boot. A few attempts I've heard of to get native speakers into the classrooms have been vetoed by the teachers.

The purpose of teaching English is not to communicate, but rather to fulfill the requirements of the bac - which are primarily reading, writing and translating.

And I've had this discussion with my sister-in-law who was a Spanish teacher in the French schools. She speaks excellent Spanish (well, to my ear) and she agrees with me that the whole area of actually speaking a foreign language is pretty much ignored in the schools.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Thanks for enlightening me. I knew there had to be some plausible explanation. Could it also be that they place learning English pronunciation in the "too hard to do box"? It must be murder for some having to deal with those nasty "th" or "h" sounds or knowing which syllables to stress.:loco:
 

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Thanks for enlightening me. I knew there had to be some plausible explanation. Could it also be that they place learning English pronunciation in the "too hard to do box"? It must be murder for some having to deal with those nasty "th" or "h" sounds or knowing which syllables to stress.:loco:
I should introduce you to my friend who is a retired English teacher here. Her English is incredible - I thought for the longest time that she was a Brit who had married a Frenchman, but no, she's native born.

Her theory is that she was born and raised in the Languedoc area, where the local language has dipthongs that are very similar to English. Thus, she was far better prepared for the English dipthongs when she learned the language.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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I should introduce you to my friend who is a retired English teacher here. Her English is incredible - I thought for the longest time that she was a Brit who had married a Frenchman, but no, she's native born.

Her theory is that she was born and raised in the Languedoc area, where the local language has dipthongs that are very similar to English. Thus, she was far better prepared for the English dipthongs when she learned the language.
Cheers,
Bev
She may have something there. Here in Languedoc they're always adding extra syllables to the end of words so words like eye or boy would be easier for them.

My French sister-in-law asked me how she could improve her English accent. I told her 1. position your tongue all the way in the back of your mouth (French people often position their tongue behind their teeth). 2. Draw out every syllable slowly. Her accent improved tremendously.

Cheers;)
 

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"The teachers are privileged civil servants - and some English teachers speak abysmal English to boot" quote


With a 1400 euro salary a teacher is privileged indeed. This is pasta and bread everyday. Maybe we meant about the 90 something days holidays? I assume that with this huge salary he will be able to go enjoy rest in a derelict camping site in southern France for a week-or so?

or the rest , I fully agree
 

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Will try to answer sequentially

1. Do I need to sign the inventory list and does it need to be translated to French with euro values along with dollar values? If so...when does this need to be done?
You'd need to provide a translated inventory list (home made) with price (not purchase value, insurance replacement value in euros, be careful this can go very fast and your insurance cost as well if you take any) for French customs. This is done prior to departure and given to your shipping agent. Declaration of use for 6 months or more (in French) attached as well (you will be tax free). Always keep copies.

2. Does the Bill of Lading need to list everything in the container?
If only your load is in the container (the consignment is not grouped with an other shipment) of course, all items must be listed. The bill of lading does not list the items but describes number of cartons, volume and weight, description of goods (personal effects), destination and origin, ... A copy of the BOL should be given to you (it is standard practise and legally the BOL is your property)

3. Are these documents to accompany the container or are they given to
the customs agent by shipper at the time the ship docks in Le Harve? I do know the name of the customs agents hired by Shipper.

Again you need to know what and who is in charge in the US and in Le Havre. They usually tell you, it is 'our correspondent in France" who are they? are there fees included in the quotation (does this include harbour costs, storage, some elements of taxes, delivery, unpacking, is it a door to door shipment, or only Franco on Board?), has your shipping agent worked with them before? When, and how many times? You need to contact the clearing agentand transport/shipping in France (they are somerimes different) before the departure of consignment to find out how, where and how things are going to happen, delays, as you do not wish any surprise for this end.

I am feeling really stupid ... other than writing a letter of complaint to the Better Business Bureau (of which Shipper is a member) don't think there is much I can do at this point.

Shipper are crooks (sorry, most of them are). Inflated quotation, hidden costs, supplements,. forced procedures (such as storage at departure harbour and upon arrival that often are claimed to be compulsory, which it is a lie), overcharged costs, transports costs or other costs not included in the initial quote, correspondent agent in destination country with poor record or no experience (most time they just use free lancers to bring down costs to minimum, but your service is minimum, you can even discover that the agent is not licensed with customs or does not have a company on its own).
In your case, you have to refuse to pay the 2500 extra, if I may. What I usually do with unaccommodating shippers, I pay 20-30% of the quotation as a first term, and upon arrival and complete check of missing/broken item, I pay the balance (with deductions in case of broken or missing items). But I always make sure it is a door to door shipping. My last shipping from Switzerland to Middle East went wrong, missing carton and broken items. In order to avoid insurance hassle, I just deducted 500 USD to the final payment.

You can contact me in Private message if need be.

best
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Will try to answer sequentially

1. Do I need to sign the inventory list and does it need to be translated to French with euro values along with dollar values? If so...when does this need to be done?
You'd need to provide a translated inventory list (home made) with price (not purchase value, insurance replacement value in euros, be careful this can go very fast and your insurance cost as well if you take any) for French customs. This is done prior to departure and given to your shipping agent. Declaration of use for 6 months or more (in French) attached as well (you will be tax free). Always keep copies.

2. Does the Bill of Lading need to list everything in the container?
If only your load is in the container (the consignment is not grouped with an other shipment) of course, all items must be listed. The bill of lading does not list the items but describes number of cartons, volume and weight, description of goods (personal effects), destination and origin, ... A copy of the BOL should be given to you (it is standard practise and legally the BOL is your property)

3. Are these documents to accompany the container or are they given to
the customs agent by shipper at the time the ship docks in Le Harve? I do know the name of the customs agents hired by Shipper.

Again you need to know what and who is in charge in the US and in Le Havre. They usually tell you, it is 'our correspondent in France" who are they? are there fees included in the quotation (does this include harbour costs, storage, some elements of taxes, delivery, unpacking, is it a door to door shipment, or only Franco on Board?), has your shipping agent worked with them before? When, and how many times? You need to contact the clearing agentand transport/shipping in France (they are somerimes different) before the departure of consignment to find out how, where and how things are going to happen, delays, as you do not wish any surprise for this end.

I am feeling really stupid ... other than writing a letter of complaint to the Better Business Bureau (of which Shipper is a member) don't think there is much I can do at this point.

Shipper are crooks (sorry, most of them are). Inflated quotation, hidden costs, supplements,. forced procedures (such as storage at departure harbour and upon arrival that often are claimed to be compulsory, which it is a lie), overcharged costs, transports costs or other costs not included in the initial quote, correspondent agent in destination country with poor record or no experience (most time they just use free lancers to bring down costs to minimum, but your service is minimum, you can even discover that the agent is not licensed with customs or does not have a company on its own).
In your case, you have to refuse to pay the 2500 extra, if I may. What I usually do with unaccommodating shippers, I pay 20-30% of the quotation as a first term, and upon arrival and complete check of missing/broken item, I pay the balance (with deductions in case of broken or missing items). But I always make sure it is a door to door shipping. My last shipping from Switzerland to Middle East went wrong, missing carton and broken items. In order to avoid insurance hassle, I just deducted 500 USD to the final payment.

You can contact me in Private message if need be.

best

Hi Gallus,

I have been away. I returned to find your message.

THANK YOU!!! For taking the time and making the effort to respond.

I have made contact with the French agency. My shipped has not forwarded my "changement du residense" or my inventory list to them. I have just sent these by
fax. My items are schedule to arrive in La Harve Friday.

I am going to reread your post several more times......I will PM you if I need hel;.

Thank you again...so very much.

My best,

Karin
 

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I have made contact with the French agency. My shipped has not forwarded my "changement du residense" or my inventory list to them. I have just sent these by
fax. My items are schedule to arrive in La Harve Friday.
Karin
Hi Karin,

So how did it all work out - you should be there and settled now I believe.

Hope all is well

David
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Hi Karin,

So how did it all work out - you should be there and settled now I believe.

Hope all is well

David

Hi David,

Thank you for asking....

I returned to the US last week after spending a week in Brittany. This was the first of two trips...the second will be next Tuesday and I will stay at that time....

I went over to take the cat and meet the container. ..was assured that ship was on schedule (it was) and was (also) assured by shipping company at the time I made my reservation that my arrival time was perfect. Three or four days to clear customs would put the container at my house the day after I arrived.... did not happen....spent the first four days being (very) frustrated at unreturned calls... no container..no communication...

The container arrived the day I left. I have the most wonderful landlord... I hired two men and with landlords help they off loaded the container and put everything in my house...

The cat did really well....LAX to SFO to CDG to Rennes. 18 hours. Cat is in a nice
boarding facility until I arrive. She was so tired that she slept through customs in Paris.... no one noticed her... no review of her records...no reading her chip... just passed through customs and went on to my connecting flight...

The dog and I leave Tuesday....very much looking forward to life in France...

Hope all well with you.

My best,

Karin
 

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.... did not happen....spent the first four days being (very) frustrated at unreturned calls... no container..no communication...


The dog and I leave Tuesday....very much looking forward to life in France...

Karin
Sounds like the usual mixed bag of events, some good some not so good. Good luck on the next trip and I hope you settle in well

Best regards


David
 
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