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Collecting your items from the main Parcel Office when you buy from abroad
Many people have found it’s actually cheaper to buy a lot of things over the Internet and get it shipped to Mauritius or that they are able to get their hands on stuff which is not available in our country. Whatever the reason you may have to shop online, you will most likely have to go to the Parcel Office in Port-Louis.
How to get there
Everyone knows Caudan (if you don't, you need to get out more!) and after KiddyLand, there's the Postal Museum (the nice building made of stones) and right after this, you will see signs for the Parcel Office building. You actually have to walk up the slope and when you turn right, go all the way straight ahead. You can park in Caudan itself or there's another parking lot just behind the Postal Musuem. If unsuccessful, you can try the parking near Aapravasi Ghat.
Do you always have to go to the main Parcel Office in Port Louis?
No. You can request to have your packet delivered to a Post Office closer to your home but the custom officers will open your parcel to verify its content in your absense and make a judgement call about how much they believe the item retails here. So they might over estimate how much tax is due, that's why it's better to go there yourself and to bring with you proof of purchase along with your Identity Card. I always print off the order detail page which shows the exact amount I've paid along with the shipping costs.
I've ordered things from USA, China, Hong Kong, Israel, Bulgaria and other countries and most items have been delivered to the Post Office where I live. And since I was getting so many parcels in the local Post Office branch, they decided to text me (SMS) on my mobile instead of sending round the postman to inform me my parcel is ready to be picked up.
How to know when your parcel has reached Mauritius
There are two ways:
- Call them on 213 4813 / 208 2855 to find out
- You've received a card in your letter box telling you to come collect it
If customs have good reasons to believe your parcel is liable to tax, they will withhold it and the postman will put a yellow card in your letter box.
You usually have 14 days to collect your parcel but they can extend that to 28 days depending on the situation. After the grace period, you will pay Rs35 for each day it's sitting in the Post Office. Note that you may also be sent a pink or blue card and those have different restrictions on them.
For items requiring special clearance, you will need to go at set times:
Pharmaceutical Products Daily (except Saturdays) 12:00 - 12:30 Foodstuff Daily (except Saturdays) 10:30 - 11:15 Agricultural Products Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays 10:30 - 11:15
As soon as you enter the Parcel Office building, head straight up to the far right of the Cashier and show them your card. They will ask you to sit down and wait. A customs officer will then call you and a helper will open your package. If you require clearance, you would need to have obtained your permit prior to collection. Unsolicited items (gifts) up to a value of Rs2,000 are exempted from tax but if you've bought something for yourself, even for personal use, VAT can be applied on it. To be honest, it all depends on the customs officer, so be polite! If your item exceeds Rs30,000, you will need the services of a Customs Broker to get it released.
VAT and Postal Charges
Check out the following links:
- List of all products which you can cross reference to see how much Tax and VAT you're likely to pay
- A good reference for private imports
For most items, you would pay a flat rate of 15% VAT. Sometimes VAT, duty and a fixed value as well are imposed on a particular product, so make sure you know exactly which charges would be applicable to you. What they don't tell you though is that you need to pay Rs56 postal charges (an administration charge) as well for each parcel you're collecting. An example would be more appropriate, so let's consider the following:
Item A (Rs1,500) - 10 Necklaces VAT = 15% x 1500 = 225 Postal Charges = 56 Total to be paid = 225 + 56 = 281
Item B (Rs2,000) - 4 Watches VAT = 15% x 2000 = 300 Postal Charges = 56 Total to be paid = 300 + 56 = 356
If the customs officer is satisfied that your package is not liable to any tax, they will release it to you without you having to pay the postal charges (clearance fee).
Although shipment can vary considerably from one country to another, I've got much better value for money than if I was to buy similar products in Mauritius. The most I've had to wait for delivery has been 6 weeks and no parcels have been lost yet (let's hope it stays like that for me!).
Have you bought anything online yet and how was your experience of it all?
Thanks this is useful information. Unfortunately, my experience of parcels being sent to Mauritius is not good. We often use to send clothes parcels to family here from Europe and most of them never arrived. I have ordered books and recently special cable both of which never arrived. Subsequently, firms like Amazon.fr will no longer ship certain materials to Mauritius. I strongly suspect the probably of organised theft going on at that parcel office. This has been going on for many years now and nothing is ever done about it simply because internally they do nothing. I prefer to pay extra and use recognised courier services with tracking and delivery.
Thanks for your input.
I am aware of the problem of lost packages and I shudder at the thought of it happening to me. People are really careful and they scrutinise sellers before they make purchases from them. So while it's true the sellers have done their bit and shipped the parcel, it does, in my opinion, get to Mauritius subsequently but then gets stolen here because of a lack of policies which would render Mauritius Post accountable for non-delivered items.
I only use websites/sellers where I have customer protection, that is, in the event of non delivery, I get my money reimbursed. So most parcels are sent with a tracking number but the frustrating part is that they are traceable up until they reach Mauritius. Once here, you do not know what's happening with your parcel unless you get the yellow card or the postman tells you to come collect it from the local Post Office branch. I'm talking about China Post/Hong Kong Post and not DHL which is super expensive for shipping but gives you peace of mind.
I've heard they are trying to get zip code up and running in Mauritius and the target is by the end of 2013. Let's see if on top of making their sorting more easy, it makes their delivery more efficient as well.
I have heard of problems with packages going missing but I have ordered around 30 since the beginning of the year and have received all of them. Its pretty annoying that most sellers on eBay and Amazon no longer ship to Mauritius because of items going missing.
I wanted to buy a mobile phone from Ebay, I don't know If they gonna block it at the custom office because of network and all. So, I am afraid to buy a mobile phone, does anybody had ever bought a mobile phone on ebay here?
My friend bought an iPhone from eBay but because it was very expensive he had to get a broker. You shouldn't have problems, what do you mean customs might block it because of network?
I don't know about it, a friend of mine told me they might blocked it at the customs about network stuff. Since, your friend bought the Iphone, I think it's not the case. Yeah we must use a custom broker if the value of the object extends over Rs 30,000. I am planning to buy a tablet but the seller is from US, I am just afraid that it might not arrive in Mauritius.
@Santosh : Any telecommunication equipment requires an import permit from the ICTA. So customs would only release your mobile phone upon seeing this document. Here's a link to the application form:
You should have obtained your permit prior to making your purchase from eBay (this can take several weeks). Otherwise you will end up paying a lot as postal charges for the number of days your mobile phone is in their custody.
Regarding your second comment, if you're buying a tablet, use a courier like DHL where you can easily track your parcel and in case of non-delivery, they will be liable for your loss.
Thank you gices, can I buy by using courier like Fedex? A lot of sellers on ebay propose this option. I rarely see DHL mentioned by the seller
@Santosh : Yep, Fedex is good too. On a side note, please click on the "Comment" button to reply messages to keep the comments organised.
Did anyone ever applied for the ICTA permit?
@Muzzammil : Why? You looking to get one?
What? I know that if an Item exceed Rs10,000.00 then you will need a custom broker are you sure its Rs30,000.00. I remember a bill was pass in oct 2012 by Xavier Duval concerning this limit, but not sure what happen next, Thanks God if this is real, and thank you gices for this article.
I bought some make up from the US. The postman came to deliver the packet to my house but unfortunatly i wasnt around. he left a note and on the same day, i went to the main parcel office and collected my packet. Luckily the officers didnt fuss. This article has been very helpful for me. Thanks
As a follow-up to the delivery problems experienced in Mauritius, I am now using the service Borderlinx.com. Their service works very well. I can order in Europe and USA and have the goods forwarded to Mauritius via DHL who handle clearance and delivery to your door. All taxes are included in the shipping costs so nothing to pay at delivery. I realize this might be an expensive solution for most people. However, this service has solved my problems of loss and delivery of goods.
Thanks for the info Mike, really helpful. Would you be able to tell how much a parcel of 1kg costs using this service and how long it takes to get delivered here?
1kg is around Rs.576 but you need to add duty (if any) + taxes + fuel surcharge approx. Rs.69. They do the calculation of all required MUR taxes/duty depending on the articles. These you prepay with the shipping cost. Nothing to pay when delivered to your door. They have a calculator available on their website and all you need is the value of the item(s).
WHat if the parcels exceed Rs 30000? Can DHL clear it for you without the need of a custom broker?
I've bought a battery for DELL laptop on ebay since Febuary 2013 and still I haven't received it. The seller says that the item already reached Mauritius, so why it is delaying?
Was is tracked? If it was in February then you may have missed your chance for a refund, you have 45 days to open a dispute with Paypal, they would refund your money. Where was the item coming from? Depending where it was coming from it takes up to 60 to reach here.
I bought the battery from China, it was not tracked and the seller told me that delivery will be very slow to Mauritius may be about 40 working days.
If it was eBay you should have opened a dispute, you would have been fully refunded. Delivery from China is slow but I have gotten packages in two weeks so its gamble.
Do you think I should enquire at our main parcel office first before taking any action?
You could phone them up and see if they can help but like I said you are most probably going to lose your money because it has passed 45 days so you won't be able to get a refund or replacement.
Im about to purchase some bodybuilding supplements.do you know if ill get any problem at customs.
Well it comes under consumables I would check with customs first, you might need a permit, check before you order
For everyone who wish to import something, please check The Mauritius Chamber of commerce and industry web site
For your information please follow the link below the HSCode "food supplements for general health and well being"
HSCode 21069030 or 22051010
I notice that you will need a Food and Drug permit for you supplements
I dunno about the icta permit but I've never needed one, I bought phones including cameras webcam headsets I never needed a permit, at the customs you may even say a fake price and they can believe you as don't always need a receipt
i faced the same problem - whereby i ordered something on ebay and it never came through! lost in transit! luckily, the supplier refunded for it!
Most people trading on ebay do not want their feedback tarnished as that affects their business badly and will either refund or send the item again but then they blacklist Mauritius. This is why there's just a few sellers who are ready to ship here.
Hi, I ordered on Dresslily.com based in china on the 8 of sept 2013. Dresslily gave me a tracking number and informed me that my article arrived to mauritius on the 3rd oct 2013. How will the mauritius post proceed now?
You will either be sent a card to pick it up at your local post office or you may have to go to the central one in Port Louis. Either way bring your invoice with you just in case. You may want to call the Post Office every few days because they are a little slow when a package arrives into the country.
Hi, i recently bought a tablet from ebay. Do i need to fill the ICTA form. Please help. Thank you.
yes I ordered one from Alibaba .It has been blocked at the main Post Office.Now I have to furnish full specifications + a certificate of conformity which I am waiting from the supplier but I think it does not have one with items to be certified as required by ICTA.What a hassle .Retrogressing'my Dear Mauritius.
hello everybody , i have a few question about buying online .
1. what do i need to buy a laptop online new or refurbished less than 30,000.
2.i want to buy 50 rings for women to resell after but its less than 2000.
please help !!!
You need to have a bank card which you can use online, credit cards are usually fine but not all debit cards work even if they have the Visa sign on.
Used items require an import permit from the Ministry of Commerce and you'll need a customs broker for items over Rs30K.
For the 50 rings, you'll definitely have to pay VAT.
50 rings cost Rs 910 !!!!
i have another questions:
1. can i buy rings,necklace,chain,bracelet and sell again,for example 100 pieces????
vat is only 15%
You don't pay custom charges when it's unsolicited, when you're making purchases it's different. However some items I bought were delivered directly to my house, so I didn't pay any charges for them. So it's half and half but you should always take into account the worst case scenario.
VAT is 15% fixed but some items also carry a custom duty fee. Please check the link in the article above to find out more.
Do they open your packages at the central parcels office? Because i wanted to ask the seller to undervalue the item to do not pay vat
All packages are opened at the Parcel Office and they call you there so that they can do it in front of you. If they think the value of an item is more than what is stated, they can make you pay what they believe it's worth, ignoring completely your purchase receipt.
Hi, i currently purchased a headphone from Ebay, the price is above Rs. 2,000 but definitely under Rs 30,000. I Would like to know where shall i collect it; at port-louis or at the post office in my locality. Since the box is quite big and, i provided my home address as shipping address.
i'm asking it because i already bought some stuffs on Ebay and they were delivered to my house by the postman (since they are small in size and cost less than Rs 2,000 i think)
Can someone help me please ?
I want to buy a laptop on ebay and I noticed some interesting prices, but most were refurbished or used. All items are less than Rs 30 000 btw.
What are the procedures when ordering these types of items ?
I know an import permit is required. Right ?
Now, can i order the item and while it is being shipped, I can try to get the permit ? or should i wait for the item to be shipped to MRU and then make the necessary arrangements for the permit ?
Please feel free to correct me and advice me since I'm new to this.
Ps : have anyone of you seen the permit ? how is it ? what details are required ? Should the seller of the item provide other documents to support the permit ?
I wish to have my parcel delivered to my local post office.
Do you know where to send that paper after i selected that option?
I wanted to order some dresses from eBay so as to resell them here in mauritius.. Will i pay tax if all the dresses altogether cost less than rs 2000 ?
And Where should i collect my parcel?
Hello sir,I just want to know if I need to pay custom duty on a new mobile phone bought from china worth Rs 4000?
hello i brought a small parts for my motorcycle weight 1.6 kg and they block it asking me to bring a permit things i don't know where to get this help please (price of the parts 40$)
my friend sent me a parcel from US, its a used laptop worth (250 usd =8 800 mauritian rupees) but they told me i need get a permit and get a broker in order to take my parcel, additionally they asked me to pay around 1050 as custom fees although upon tracking my parcel it's been mentioned that the customs have been cleared already. Is it the correct procedure ? please advice
The permit is probably the ICTA type approval, for this you need to know the make/model of the laptop, see the explanation on http://www.yashvinblogs.com/icta-import-permit/
If the parcel is being sent by a known courier service like DHL, UPS, TNT then they have their own custom broker service and they will clear your parcel. As you mention a tax on electronic equipment is charged by customs. Note, they will still need the ICTA permit from you to clear the parcel.
If not the case, then you will have to find/pay a customs broker, see list on http://www.customshousebrokers.com/en/members.html