My Linksys Router and Indian Government Officials
One month back, I have bought a Linksys WRT54GP2-NA (Wireless-G Broadband Router with 2 Phone Ports) from VeriLAN store. I have decided to buy this from US because, there was no equivalent model available for India. The product itself costs just $159 and the shipping charge was $32 which made the toal as $191 which come approximately INR. 8404.
I thought that I will get this product as peaceful as my Linksys PAP2 from iConnectHere. But this time, the Indian Customs' Postal Appraisal Department(PAD) played the villian role in the delivery of the product. Tracking the product online showed me that this product landed in India on 11th of September. But I didn't receive any notification from the customs so far. Waiting till 1st of October, I lost my peace of mind and went to the Postal Appraising Departmet of Indian Customs at Museum Road, Bangalore. I gave my address and the USPS tracking number. One of the attender there was kind enough (for INR. 50) searched the files and told me that the product was lying with them only. He added that there was a memo sent to me regarding that before a couple of weeks. Thank the sincerity of Indian Postal Service, I didn't receive it at all. I got the parcel number of the router from the attender. I wrote a letter to the Superintended of PAD stating that I bought it for personal use and I attached the invoice along with that letter. For my shock, the PAD Superintended asked me to get the Importer-Exporter Code(IEC) for getting it cleared.
After discussing with my uncle who does a lot of customs transactions, I came to know that IEC is exempted for "Actual User", a person who imports a product for personal use. I again went to the PAD office and told the Superintended that the IEC was not needed for personal use, he gave me a shock again. He said that he will charge a fine of INR. 5000 for not producing the IEC and a duty of INR. 3400 will be charge against the product. He added that if I am ready to pay a bribe of INR. 3000 to him, he will rule out the fine and also reduce the duty to INR. 1400. I really got too much of anger and shouted at him about his wrong expectation and also asked him to do as per law. I said I will pay whatever is charged as per law. My uncle later assured me that he can't levy any fine and also the actual duty would come only around INR. 1400. I am just eagarly waiting for the parcel to be cleared.
As long as lazy bastards like this Superintended are there in the Indian Government Offices, it is almost impossible to rule out bribe of any sort in India.