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CITES Rosewood Issues

Discussion in 'Other Guitar Discussion' started by slpfrsly, Feb 8, 2019.

  1. slpfrsly

    slpfrsly Strat-Talk Member

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    Apologies, absolutely no idea where to post this but really looking for some help!

    I bought 2 guitars from USA fairly recently - one in late 2016, the other in early 2017. Both Rosewood boards, both 90s made offsets. No issues with either - both came through customs on both sides of the Atlantic and was delivered in around a week. One was even eligible for an import discount which cut the price significantly which was great.

    I recently purchased another guitar from the USA via Reverb.com. Quite expensive, ended up paying over the odds for it (and way over the odds for postage - seller was reluctant to post and ended up paying £320 for insured postage), but was willing to do this as I'd made a fair bit of money buying and selling recently, and have had my eye on this rare guitar for years. It's nearly 30 years old and practically pristine so I thought it an acceptable decision to part with the extra money, particularly as I subsequently sold another guitar and a few pedals to compensate for this new addition.

    However, I hadn't got a clue about the CITES and rosewood issue. Not a clue - I completely checked out of playing from early 2017 until last Summer and hadn't come across it until searching for issues with guitars going through customs. I now understand that the guitar I bought in 2017 would have been subjected to the rosewood checks however as I bought it directly from Chicago Music Exchange, presumably they sorted everything out as I saw no paperwork or anything on the parcel relating to the rosewood/CITES issue.

    I doubt the private seller I bought it from had any idea about the CITES thing by the looks of it and may even have checked that there was rosewood on the guitar if he had that option when posting. I purchased it mid January and the tracking information shows it has been stuck in customs in the West Coast of the USA since a day after payment. It says it is 'processing' but not processed - no update, no hint of it being moved on, or even that it's been seized. Nothing - radio silence. He's been given a number to phone to find out more but is dragging his heels.

    I am desperately hoping that a combinatin of Xmas backlog, the snow, and the govt strikes may have delayed things, and that it might somehow end up coming through unscathed and unchecked, however this has been 'hanging around' without an update a good while before the last two things even became an issue. It's now nearly a month since purchase, just over 3 weeks since no update to tracking info.

    Having read a thread elsewhere online about CITES sizures, and educating myself briefly on what's changed in terms of international postage, I'm now obviously feeling pretty sick. The far more likely scenario is that this guitar has been seized/stopped due to the rosewood board. My concerns/queries are:

    1. If it has been seized, and depending on where it has been seized, who is responsible/liable? I am now primarily more concerned about reclaiming a significant amount of money than I am about the guitar itself - Reverb Support has been less than useless, and I'm seriously worried at the repeated lack of response (1 response in 2 weeks - 6 unanswered replies from me despite them saying get back 1 week after their first message). Can the seller claim any money back from whoever has seized the guitar? Would I be able to claim a direct refund against the buyer with Reverb's 'help'? Or if it has been seized are we both jointly responsible - in which case Reverb are unlikely to step in, and I'm left without the guitar and the money!?!? Really would like some help on this.

    2. If there is the chance of filing the paperwork retrospectively to get it out of customs, how does that work? Someone mentioned it can takes months and is expensive - this whole thing sounds like an absolute nightmare, but if there is the option of actually getting the right paperwork, I'd want to take it. The seller seems really unreliable and even a bit dishonest as a result of the messaging process so I'm reluctant to put any trust in them.

    3. Anyone got any other general advice!?

    Thank you.
     
  2. felis

    felis Senior Stratmaster

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    I can't advise you on procedures to follow.

    All I know is, I'm waiting for a 'new factory direct' guitar from Japan to arrive.
    Despite CITES and other paperwork in order, it's now 2 months and counting (because of CITES procedures o_O) just to be put on the vessel!

    It will probably find its way here eventually.
    Just makes me think that if it is already such a hassle for the original manufacturer to get a new build guitar shipped properly, chances are it won't be a breeze 'private/second hand'?
     
  3. slpfrsly

    slpfrsly Strat-Talk Member

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    Wow, that's crazy. Thanks for the reply!
     
  4. felis

    felis Senior Stratmaster

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    I wish I could have been more of help, hope it works out well.
     
  5. Mr C

    Mr C Senior Stratmaster

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    I feel your pain - not guitars but we’ve had shipments of restricted goods get lost in customs hell at work more than once (medicines) and it can be difficult to resolve even with professional support.

    Who is responsible and liable for what in an export/import process is usually governed by the contract terms and the INCOTERM agreed on. This determines at what point in the shipping chain ownership transfers for insurance purposes and who is liable for what elements of paperwork. Your correspondwnce with the seller prior to the trade might help with clarification if it’s not been made explicit. For example if they have said they’re happy to ship at buyers risk and cost then liability for customs licences and insurance etc would be with you.

    If it’s been stopped because it doesn’t have the correct export licence you can usually get the items cleared with the correct paperwork unless it’s considered contraband.

    I’m not familiar with the cites process but typically you would require to show both an export
    Licence from the country of origin and an import licence for the destination country for any restricted goods.

    If you can show that you now own the goods then customs services should talk to you about what is required
    And any remedies available and/or penalties payable.

    If you can get the goods
    Released by customs it could be possible to go and collect yourself - obviously that’s a cost though.

    This whole area is really not something for amateurs anymore which is why almost everyone has just said no to international sales. The manufacturers use specialised firms for this sort of process mostly now.
     
    felis and Thrup'ny Bit like this.
  6. rolandson

    rolandson Still Breathing Strat-Talk Supporter

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    You bought it through Reverb.com? Take it up with them.
     
  7. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I'm pretty sure the seller has to complete the CITES paperwork, it wouldn't make any sense for the customer to do it. It seems to be becoming too much hassle for most sellers to bother with for single guitars.
     
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  8. ryunker

    ryunker Senior Stratmaster

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    Chicago music exchange is a real place, store. I would have zero worries. They are professionals. Congratulations on the future NGD!
     
  9. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I don't know but I'm joining the thread to find out whats happening now. I feel for you, having a guitar stuck in transit.
     
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  10. jvin248

    jvin248 Senior Stratmaster

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    .

    I feel for your situation.

    Should it have been held up exiting a country or entering? I'd think if Rosewood were the problem then it would be sitting at UK customs. Could be a scam going on.

    This is one of the reasons I marvel at famous players designing signature guitar models to sell with Rosewood or even Rosewood-looking lumber because a customs agent won't know how to tell one from the other -- it's dark fingerboard wood just like these pictures they gave me to compare to along with these other pictures of weird fruit and chickens.




    .
     
  11. slpfrsly

    slpfrsly Strat-Talk Member

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    Thank you, very very useful information. I suppose with that in mind the next thing is to find out where parcel is to discover who is liable/responsible for it should it be missing. Not sure how to do this - seller says the postal service gave nothing more than the tracking info we have already have, and can see nothing since 'processing through customs'. Could be in USA customs (not processed, but processing - not sure if that's relevant), could be stuck in UK customs...no idea which UK carrier it would pass to after USPS so don't know what to check. Hopefully phoning someone might prove fruitful but, again, at this stage this feels very much like the seller's responsibility.
     
  12. slpfrsly

    slpfrsly Strat-Talk Member

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    Yes, but from a private seller. Reverb.com have been useless in their correspondence and from reading around, some buyers have had some horror stories from buying on their site (sellers too to be fair). It's nothing like ebay with their buyer's protection - it sounds more like a glorified gumtree or craigslist that takes commission but is willing to wash their hands of giving any security to either party, asking them to sort it out themselves. I can see this being a case of both of us being wrong, with ignorance not a viable defence, and therefore losing the guitar. It's then down to claiming against the seller without Reverb's help...which will be a complete and utter nightmare. I thought I was getting a great guitar, even if at an inflated price - claiming against someone overseas via some legal process is not exactly what I anticipated...!
     
  13. Fender Fool

    Fender Fool Strat-Talker

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    Not that it's a big help to you now but I heard they my remove musical instruments from the CITES restrictions this year.
     
  14. slpfrsly

    slpfrsly Strat-Talk Member

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    Thanks. I've posted this elsewhere and someone seems to think that we are both jointly responsible for not sorting out paperwork.

    That's true to a point. I bought a guitar from them, on Reverb, post-CITES but didn't file any paperwork. As I said, it arrived in around 7-10 days with no import details to fill in from me. Seamless and easy. That said, they were the seller - the seller here is a private individual, not a business. Reverb.com is the host site, and whilst they're attached to CME, they are not the seller. They're not even ebay, as I said - they're not an auction site at all and by the sounds of it do not offer anywhere near the same buyer's protection as people (who get burned) expect when buying from them. Only my third purchase from Reverb (CME guitar; Marshall earbuds; this guitar) and I think it will be my last, certainly from overseas. Just want this sorted one way or the other - money or guitar, I don't mind, but I am very worried it's going to be a messy and painful ending for me...
     
  15. slpfrsly

    slpfrsly Strat-Talk Member

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    Interesting, what do you mean by scam?

    The tracking info has gone silent since 'your item is being processed through a facility' a day after collection. It could be anywhere - confiscated in customs, in a warehouse of restricted items...who knows? And that could be either side of the Atlantic. It's with USPS but I have no idea which UK carrier it would transfer to - the previous guitar was UPS.

    I would have thought that, if it was sitting in customs, there would have been contact to either me or the seller. That is why I am partly hopeful that it's just being slow getting here. Some anecdotal searching has suggested it can take anything from 3 days to 3 months to get from UK customs to Canada/Europe. Which...yeah, no idea how to take that. But no contact from customs is good news...right? Or will they simply not bother getting in touch with buyer and seller, consider them effectively trying to illegally import/export something and let them suffer the consequences?

    One major concern is that tracking info shows it was scheduled to be delivered i.e. through US to UK customs and on to my door 5 days after it entered the US customs facility. That has been a gone a long, long time ago - but it would suggest that the paid for delivery date has been completely ignored/been made irrelevant. Which, to me, suggests something has gone wrong - so all the hope built up from not receiving a letter telling me about trying to buy illegal goods or whatever disappears when I consider that.

    Honestly, I feel like this is such a set of circumstances that have all conspired to mean I'm looking at getting absolutely nothing out of this if it doesn't miraculously just turn up one day, having taken its time to get through customs without being flagged as having a rosewood board. That's what I'm hoping for but at this stage I would happily take the money and run far, far away from Reverb.com and buying guitars from overseas again...
     
  16. rolandson

    rolandson Still Breathing Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Oh...I failed to notice this.
    Chill. These people are reputable.
    Unless you make life miserable for them. Then I imagine that they are like everyone else on the planet. Hold off on asking questions in a manner that suggests you are a victim until it is abundantly evident that you are indeed a victim. You are talking about CITES after all, it's gonna take time.
     
  17. slpfrsly

    slpfrsly Strat-Talk Member

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    Sorry - just to confirm. This guitar has not been bought from Chicago Music Exchange. I bought one from them nearly 2 years ago.

    The guitar in question has been bought from a private individual elsewhere in the USA. Nothing to do with CME - merely that the purchase happened on Reverb.com.
     
  18. Robins

    Robins Dr. von Loudster Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I am pretty sure they are still checking the guitar for rosewood in the US customs.
    Is there any chance the guitar does not have a rosewood fretboard?

    All the best,
    Robin
     
  19. slpfrsly

    slpfrsly Strat-Talk Member

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    Unfortunately not Robin, it's definitely rosewood. Thank you for the reply and wishes.
     
  20. slpfrsly

    slpfrsly Strat-Talk Member

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    Quick update: I found that ParcelForce is the UK handler and could track the item. It shows that the guitar is still in the US - hasn't got past the first stage of the posting process. Still 'in origin country'.
     
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