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  1. #1
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    Default US Customs damage

    In the last week I shipped a Titan oil pump from the UK to the US. It was described correctly on the documentation including the appropriate tariff code.

    On delivery, the recipient noted the package had been opened and resealed by US Customs. What was completely unexpected - and a shocking discovery - was that they had drilled through the unit, right into one of the scavenge stages and damaging it beyond use or repair...
    Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    Contributing Member Joefisherff's Avatar
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    Default Insurance or Damages?

    Man that stinks Tim, are they going to cover the damages or was it insured to cover things like that? What explanation did they provide?

  3. #3
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    Default Welcome to America, the land of tort law

    Tim,

    Hey, they were just looking for drugs.

    Unfortunately you do have recourse...

    https://help.cbp.gov/s/article/Artic...language=en_US

    Steve

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  5. #4
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Joefisherff View Post
    Man that stinks Tim, are they going to cover the damages or was it insured to cover things like that? What explanation did they provide?
    No explanation...seems they just repacked it, taped the box and handed it back to DHL for delivery!

    The stupid this is, all they needed to do was remove the clamp nuts and the whole unit would open up...

  6. #5
    Contributing Member Rick Kirchner's Avatar
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    Default

    Stupidity is not the exclusive realm of the government.

    Years ago I shipped a bearing carrier assembly to one of the gearbox guys. I very carefully packed the thing into the smallest box I could fit it into. When I submitted it to FED-X I listed the contacts as "transmission".

    I guess the moron manager there had only one concept of what a transmission was, and so thought I must be doing something nefarious, so they opened it up to inspect. My guess is they thought it was gun s or something like that.

    They couldn't put humpty dumpty back together again, so they called me to come back and pick it up. Needless to say, I was pissed - and of course that stretched the shipping time by a couple of days.

  7. #6
    Member jcolley's Avatar
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    Default

    About 15 years ago, I flew on a trip with my dive gear. I had two small pony bottles (3L) with the valves completely removed.

    TSA would not let me check the cylinders and I had to carry them on for some reason. Then, TSA would not let me carry them on because they didn't have a sticker saying they had been inerted.

    I asked him to shine his flashlight into the cylinder and he did. Still wouldn't let it pass.

  8. #7
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    Default Customs

    Picture it - fresh restored 333SP ferrari arrives in shipping container. Boot prints over the rear wing and down to the nose where they left a DHS Customs sticker. Zero accountability for any physical inspection and they can keep the stuff without any questions for 30 days. Luckiy he wasnt wearing boots as it all polished out eventually. Never heard of anyone drilling into a part though.
    Phil

  9. #8
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    Default

    What carrier was used? I have personally had very good experience with DHL but I have had a number of issues with customs when using FedEx.

  10. #9
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    Default Carriers

    We have found UPS to be the most reliable with customs - they have customs based in their building I believe in Louisville.
    We just had a 27 day physical hold and examination at DHL customs and we try not to use fedex for a variety of mishaps.
    Never heard of customs drilling into anything
    Phil

  11. #10
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    Default

    We use DHL most often for UK-US shipping in both directions and this was with them. Generally they are fine, with fast transit times. We have had a small number of issues, mainly due to wrong tariff codes being input (even though we always supply the correct ones), then there can be delays.

    If DHL do open a package, they always reseal with bright yellow marked tape. In this case the box had nothing other than our original tape and the marked Customs piece.

  12. #11
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    Default

    I was the recipient of the compromised Titan pump. I was delighted to purchase the pump from Tim for my Vintage Reynard FC. Since Titan no longer supports the model, I desired a spare.

    You can imagine my disappointment when I first open the package and found a compromised pump. Aside from the customs tape on the box, there was no note inside referencing the damage they had caused or any contact info for remediation or questions. My initial reaction was, is it possible the seller was so mechanically uninformed that he didn't recognize this hole made the pump unusable or was I scammed? Tim responded immediately and constructively to my question about the damage and provided pictures of the pump prior to shipping without damage. With fresh metal shavings on the pump, it was apparent this had occurred through Customs. Tim has been diligent with following up with DHL and, at least initially, we are following their procedures.

    If no satisfaction from DHL, I am prepared to reach out, as others have recommended, with my congressman, Dan Crenshaw. Although, the monetary amount is relatively minor and that makes me doubtful it would gather much of my congressman's attention.

    This is unfortunately a no win in this case. These Titan Series 1 pumps are relatively rare with few replacement parts available and it is a loss to those of us trying to maintain vintage racecars. I'd rather have a functioning pump then my funds returned.

    I suspect there are a few on this list who may be intimate with the Titan Series 1 pump. To those who are, I have a question. The Titan Series 1 pump that I had hoped to replace with Tim's also has a damaged center scavenge section. (As bad luck would have it) The possibility may exist to make one functioning pump from the parts of two if the third and second scavenge sections could be substituted for one another. Does anyone know if this would work?

    As the picture I attached shows, there are aluminum shavings or residue evidencing the unit was drilled and not punctured.
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  13. #12
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    Default

    Is welding up the hole an option?

  14. #13
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lastminuteracin View Post
    Is welding up the hole an option?
    just curious what other options - how about tapping and a threaded plug? No heat involved. Depends what is on the other sideā€¦.and how thick the casting is there.

    ChrisZ

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  16. #14
    Contributing Member Rick Kirchner's Avatar
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    Your congressman is not always motivated by the monetary aspect. I suspect Mr. Crenshaw would be interested in why they saw fit to drill into a metal part that was obviously properly marked (looking for what, fentanyl? What could you smuggle inside a pump housing that wouldn't be much easier to get in in larger quantities otherwise?)

    He'd be interested in the bureaucracy of it - as not only to why but the methodology they put in place to make it difficult to file a claim and get restitution. You might also explain the rarity of it and the difficulty and cost involved in getting a suitable fix - which is why you went to the UK for it in the first place.

    I'm guessing you could weld that up. try to find a piece of copper pipe that matches the inside radius - the aluminum won't stick to it and you might get a pretty clean patch.

  17. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtaphorn View Post
    I suspect there are a few on this list who may be intimate with the Titan Series 1 pump. To those who are, I have a question. The Titan Series 1 pump that I had hoped to replace with Tim's also has a damaged center scavenge section. (As bad luck would have it) The possibility may exist to make one functioning pump from the parts of two if the third and second scavenge sections could be substituted for one another. Does anyone know if this would work?
    If I recall correctly from 25 odd years ago when I ran a Reynard 2L with the same pump, the 2 scavenge rotors sets are the same. I think (this becomes a memory problem) all 3 rotors are the same.
    At the time I had a spare motor and a pump with a scored outer rotor and purchased a replacement from Pegasus which was thicker by maybe .015". Pegasus said that all of the rotors they had were the too thick version so I had the replacement surface ground to the needed thickness.
    So, take the pump apart, whip out your micrometer and measure the diameter and thickness of the outer pieces of the rotors and that should tell you all you need to know.

    Steve

  18. #16
    Contributing Member TimH's Avatar
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    Default

    FWIW when you file your Customs claim your damages are more than the funds spent. Replacement cost could well be documented as significantly higher, not to mention loss of use meanwhile.

    What a shameful act.
    Caldwell D9B - Sold
    Crossle' 30/32/45 Mongrel - Sold
    RF94 Monoshock - here goes nothin'

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  20. #17
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    Default

    Gents - before the discussion about using this as a potential 'parts donor' goes too far:

    1) The damaged item is still pending requests for inspection, so any evidence of dismantling will immediately void the whole claim
    2) In the event of a full-value payment being made, the item will become the property of the insurer making the payment and will need to be sent to them untouched

    Thanks!

  21. #18
    Classifieds Super License Jerry Kehoe's Avatar
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    Default Customs

    I would take them to small claims Court, it would be fun just to make them squirm and I would contact any of the local TV stations as they love this kind of coverage!

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