Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Microsoft Windows 7 house party kit arrives

Update: Kiran says he got a reply from DHL that shipper (Houseparty) has paid the custom duty. Read his comment
. More on my party: http://uk.houseparty.com/party/182548

As I’d written earlier in my posts, DHL had screwed up the delivery of my Windows 7 house party kit, by issuing an invoice of an exorbitant amount as custom duty and other charges. (Refer image)

While the consignment was delivered promptly to modhl-invoice st of the hosts worldwide, including many in India in the cities of Mumbai and Pune, hosts in Chennai were in for a surprise as DHL demanded INR 1064 from each of them in the disguise of reimbursement of custom duty. Lots of things appeared out of order in this-since the consignment was a gift item with no commercial value, it shouldn’t have been subject to custom duty in first place. Second, even if a duty is to be levied, non-uniformity of the amount payable (various hosts got invoice for amount ranging from INR 600 to INR 1600) and no reasoning why only Chennai recipients had to pay while it was cleared by customs elsewhere rose suspicions. Some hosts refused to pay the amount and abandoned their plans for the party, while few unfortunate house party hosts paid the custom duty and collected their package, thinking Windows7 OS is much more valuable than the amount they had to pay.

In my case, after I learnt that hosts elsewhere got it without having to cough up any custom duty decided not to pay the amount. When I briefed house-party help centre on the matter they promptly said I am not supposed to be paying anything and promised to check with DHL. Local DHL office was clueless about this and wanted me to visit their head office, which I didn’t. One week later someone from DHL office called me to remind me that I’ve not paid yet, for which I replied explaining the scenario and said that it should be delivered free as it was done in other cities.

After that I went to my hometown for Deepavali and earlier this week I got a communication from my room-mate in Chennai that DHL has delivered the consignment. Apparently the delivery guy was still trying to convince my roommate to make the payment, but after outright refusal to do so, he gave up and handed it over.

I returned to Chennai today and got to see the kit. Images below. I was expecting a very light shipment. But the 1.8kg consignment has set really huge expectations from party hosts. It includes a puzzle game, some tissue papers, a poster, Win7 32 and 64bit version OS media etc. The DHL induced 2 week delay in delivery has kind of jeopardised the party plans which were almost abandoned after custom duty drama. Short time gap and other tasks at hand have made matters worse. I’ve a genuine vista home basic OEM, from which I can’t directly upgrade to Windows7. The only option for me is to do a clean install, which is going to be a time consuming process. My 4+ years of association with Mahindra Satyam (formerly Satyam computers) has ended and I’ll be reporting to my new employer shortly. I’d some free time and got myself busy with several assignments. I just can’t prioritize installation of a new OS right now but will certainly do justice to my responsibilities as a host. Gatecrashers are welcome. Let me know if you need an invite.windows7-party-kit

While I got my kit and do not have a reason to complain anymore, lots of questions are still to be answered as to what exactly happened behind the scene.

Why did a supposed to be reputed company like DHL screw up like this? Did they really pay the said custom duty or were they hand-in-glove with custom officials to make some money from unsuspecting recipients? Invoice quotes Rs 300 as handling fee-what handling fee? Didn’t Microsoft pay them to ship it? If they’d genuinely paid, why did they hand it over for free? In all probability this looks like a fraud attempt from DHL Chennai officials, hoping to make some extra money by issuing fake invoices. (else how do they explain the policy of “let us see if they pay-else we’ll deliver free”. If the custom duty was genuine, DHL would have well anticipated it in advance and communicated to Microsoft. Since they’ve to give proof of delivery and can’t quote the non existent custom duty to the sender, I assume they eventually gave up their hopes of making some extra money and delivered it off.

Did Microsoft reimburse DHL on these expenses? Unlikely, because while delivering, DHL guy was still trying to convince my roommate into paying some money. What about other hosts who paid the amount from their pockets? Can they now seek the money back from DHL? or will MS reimburse them? I’ll make an attempt to get some answer from DHL/house party as to what happened. What’s your take? What do you think is the most appropriate possibility?

Windows7 will be officially launched tomorrow worldwide. General reviews of this new OS from Microsoft are good. Windows 7 has a huge responsibility to neutralize the damage Vista has caused. Let us hope it succeeds.

14 comments:

Mohan said...

Windows 7 has pretty good reviews so far. There was an article in TOI today by Sadagopan of IIIT, Bangalore. Even that reflected the positive things about Windows 7.

It is really sad that the package was delayed and they demanded so much of money in terms of custom duties. I am not sure why this variance across cities with in India! Some govt officials need to take a deep dig at this whole saga.

Rajasekar Nonburaj said...

As you said the reviews where pretty good,Good to see atlast you got windows7 pack.when are you planning to have the launch party.

Mridula said...

Congratulations on your job move and good wishes for the party.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Mohan,

Agree. But Win 7 has strong DRM features which many may not like.

All's well that ends well. Nothing sad about the delay. I guess it is an attempt by local DHL officials to make some money.

Raj, Launch party has very few participants so far. It will be held this Saturday mostly, else next week.

Mridula,
Thanks

Radhika Ganesan said...

Hi...Srinidhi...who's your new employer ? Just Inquisitive :) :) !

Chennai mein kuch bhi ho sakta hai...“let us see if they pay-else we’ll deliver free” must have been abs true !

wolverine said...

Hi, I am Kiran from Chennai and I am also in same situation as yours. I also refused to accept the delivery. Can you please let me know your dhl tracking number so that I can haggle with dhl guys and try my luck on getting the house party package ?

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Radhika,

Pls check my Linkedin profile for the answer.

Thanks

Kiran,
Waybill no is available in the first photo- pls enlarge and see

Thanks

wolverine said...

Thanks ShirNidhi. I followed up with DHL and got email from dhl customer care which told that "Your friends shipment also attracted duty however, the shipper agreed to pay the duty amount."

This shows that Houseparty agreed to your duty amount and so only it was shipped to you. But now the confusing part is why did the DHL delivery guy asked you to pay custom duty while delivering the package.

Poor me :(

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Kiran,

Thanks for giving that major update. Did you escalate your case to houseparty? Did they give you a ticket number? Try following up-it might get resolved for you as well.

wolverine said...

I have raised the issue with houseparty and got a ticket number. Wait and watch policy now.

wolverine said...

Things are getting really interesting. Even though I haven't received my first package, HouseParty now sends a second package to me. Weight is same 4 lbs. I got an email just now.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

That is great to know. The second package will have same content or different? Tell us what's in it after you get it. All the best.

I think Microsoft is really serious about the houseparty thing

wolverine said...

Finally party kit is delivered to me today. Houseparty send me the second package on confusion that, they felt my package was caught with customs. I updated them about the scenario and they paid the customs duty for me too as they have paid for you. Happy finally.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

better late than never. Enjoy your party.

I read somewhere that entire windows7 shipment to India was held up at customs due to some taxing confusions, because of which even the retail launch was delayed

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