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Cigarettes, customs charges and allowances

Kettering UK
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286 posts
5 reviews
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Cigarettes, customs charges and allowances

recently returned from Bahia Principe and when we went from the UK we purchased some cigarettes (1200) as they were cheap on the plane for presents, when we got to customs we were stopped and old we were only allowed 200 per adult, luckily 4 adults in our party, but that meant we were 400 over the limit, we tried to forfeit them (this would be allowed in the UK) but this was not acceptable to the customs people, they wanted us to pay a $500 dollar fine, we argued that this was extortionate and they then reduced this to allowing us to re-fill in the declaration form, but we still got hit for about £90, so not good.

i understand it was our fault we should have read all of the form and checked what the allowances were, but the way they dealt with it was not good, our 8 year old son was in tears and really distraught after a 10 hour flight, once we agreed to pay which was quickly after being stopped, then it took them about an hour to process the payment, there were at least 3 others of our flight caught by this and many others at the hotel.

We made a mistake so please don't get caught, it is not a pleasant or happy memory of Mexico, and will make us look at other holiday destinations in the future

Thorold
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787 posts
7 reviews
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1. Re: Cigarettes, customs charges and allowances

just another reason to book a private transfer...as I'm sure the bus waited for you and it happens all the time for all kinds of different reasons

Cozumel, Mexico
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5,314 posts
13 reviews
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2. Re: Cigarettes, customs charges and allowances

When you sign your Customs declaration in any country that you fly into, You are responsible for the items that you are bring in to that said country. You will be treated no differently than someone who willfully tries to smuggle Cigarettes, alcohol, prohibited items, Knowingly and not paying duty. It states right where you sign

"I declare that I have examined the information of this form" The form also states

"Passengers older than 18 years may transport up to 20 cigarette packets, 25 cigars or 200 grams of tobacco, as well as up to 3 liters of alcoholic drinks and six liters of wine.

And you did not see the Bolded area just above the signature line that states:

"To transport merchandises without complying with the applicable declarations, permits, or tax payments is a violation of Mexican Law and such violation is sanctioned with administrative and even criminal penalties"

The custom agents were just doing their job. The see thousands of people daily. And some very bad people also pass through those halls. So yes, it can get a little rough at times. That's life. Deal with it and take your lumps It has happened to me before, and I learn from these life's experiences.

I worked in the Immigration/Customs department in my former life. It is not any easy job to take away belonging from people, but you take the job to uphold the laws of that country. I am sorry you had a bad experience. I strongly suggest reading carefully before you sign any customs declaration, as that's the only legal proof you have to justify your items that you are importing.

Queretaro City...
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14,503 posts
10 reviews
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3. Re: Cigarettes, customs charges and allowances

Dan - the allowance has just been reduced from 20 packets to 10 packets which is catching people out because a lot of information on the internet is still saying 20. To make things worse, some airlines are giving out the old forms which state that 20 packets are allowed whereas in fact only 10 are!

Cozumel, Mexico
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5,314 posts
13 reviews
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4. Re: Cigarettes, customs charges and allowances

Correct Steve. However, depending on the form they were given on the plane used to enter. if it was the old form, then no Duty should have been imposed. That is what I would have done. Or is it the Airlines responsibility to give out the new corrected forms. The old forms should be destroyed by the Airlines. The duty free exemption did rise to 500USD from 300USD which will help many brining in articles not having to pay duty.

Queretaro City...
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10 reviews
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5. Re: Cigarettes, customs charges and allowances

Generally speaking ignorance is no excuse under the law. If you were genuinely mistaken and advised incorrectly by your airline, travel agent or even given an out-of-date form then that isn't going to cut any ice with a customs official in Mexico. This must be at least the tenth report on these forums of people being fined for too many cigarettes so hopefully the message is getting out!

Kettering UK
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286 posts
5 reviews
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6. Re: Cigarettes, customs charges and allowances

I agree with what you say we made the mistake, what i am trying to say is that i hope no one else gets caught, and they could have been abit more civil and efficient with taking the payment

Edited: 03 June 2014, 07:49
Fresno, California
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3,357 posts
43 reviews
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7. Re: Cigarettes, customs charges and allowances

Thanks for posting. I was always under the impression if you were over your allotment you were just taxed on those items.

Kettering UK
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286 posts
5 reviews
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8. Re: Cigarettes, customs charges and allowances

we were just taxed on the 400 we were over but the tax was over 500% which equates to about $7.20 per packet of 20 cigarettes, just be careful and don't get caught

Edited: 03 June 2014, 16:08
Thorold
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787 posts
7 reviews
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9. Re: Cigarettes, customs charges and allowances

it's not a matter of getting caught....don't break the law and you have nothing to worry about

Kettering UK
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286 posts
5 reviews
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10. Re: Cigarettes, customs charges and allowances

thats what i meant by dont get caught