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 mo 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.
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.