US Customs issue - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-21-2008, 06:29 AM Thread Starter
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US Customs issue

So I ordered 3 bags of eco complete from Big Al's, along with 2 90 degree elbows, a pair of the long sleeve aqua gloves, and 6 feet of the grey tubing that goes to fluval filters last thursday morning... First package arrived crazy fast Friday afternoon... Second package had a "billing information recieved" status all throughout the weekend. Today when I tracked the item before leaveing for work it says "the package is being held for required U.S. customs inspection". When I called UPS to inquire about this, they tell me that the bill of shipping did not add up to the ammount of items in the package. The best I can come up with is since big al's marked each foot of the tubing as being an individual item, thats why customs tore it apart. Now after opening the package, I got a bag of eco complete with a hole in the bottom of it, and no black water solution left in the third bag, and some of the smaller grains leaked all around inside the package... Is it just me or is that screwed up, the item came from New York, which last time I checked is in the borders of the united states, what business did the U.S. Customs have opening my mail???

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-21-2008, 06:32 AM Thread Starter
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BTW im super pi%%ed off while typing this, I guess my question is, when UPS says "its not our fault" and then big al's says "its not our fault either" will my Eco complete that has no black water solution left in it still be ok for use?

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-21-2008, 06:43 AM
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that's weird...I ordered some eheim tubing from them last week and got it as expected; no package holding because of my tubing, but I do not what you mean about them billing each foot individually. Too bad about your eco - I'm surprised Big Al's didn't do something to appease you, like offer you at least a coupon or something, but oh well. I've ordered from them a bunch and they seem to do me well each time...sometimes things happen - perhaps you should write the federal government and ask them for a refund, tell them the US Customs agents, in an attempt to thwart dangerous weapons transport from up North (always a major threat), damaged your very-pricey bag of planted aquarium substrate, for which you are requesting a full refund. It's a last resort if no one else will help, eh? Or write your local congressman? I'm sure someone will give you a refund...
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-21-2008, 06:52 AM Thread Starter
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I havent called anyone, no one to call at 2 am... My question is, since I'm not planning on setting up my tank for a few more weeks, if the eco, is left in the bag, w/o the water... Will it still be OK for use? The hole in the bag was tiny, and only a miniscule ammount of the very fine grain got out of the bag, but the bacteria rich black water did get out.

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-21-2008, 07:08 AM
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I had some left over and I poured it into a 5 gallon bucket. It dried up. Then about two years later, I decided to set up another aquarium using the dried E-C and it worked fine.

I'm not sure about the bacteria part with E-C anyway. The only bacterial additive that helps to cycle aquariums is BioSpira by Marineland and it's kept refrigerated. I know that ADA markets a product with bacteria in it, but I'm not familiar with it.

I'm never read of any US Customs problems and Big Al's. I'm sorry.

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-21-2008, 10:13 AM
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FWIW, I live in Canada, I ordered a bag of Eco-complete from aquariumplants dot com for "future" testing purposes and I got it all intact(liquid and all). It also looks like the good stuff, not the the cr**py stuff with all the big rocks and seashells mixed in.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-21-2008, 10:56 AM
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I think this stuff will be just fine to use, anyway it's probably not worth your lost time (and possibly $$$) to try and return it.

Big Al's has always done alright by me. They do have very good customer service, so you should at least call them about it.

They ship most of their items from a warehouse in Niagara Falls, NY but occasionally have to bring in stock from their Canadian warehouses.


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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-21-2008, 11:13 AM
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Customs?!? For interstate mail? That can't be right. The bill of shipping didn't add up to what was in the package? How would they know whats packaged without opening it?? Something is not adding up here.

Call Big Al's and they should send you another bag free of charge. Beneficial bcteria or not, that is just fishy.


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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-21-2008, 11:53 AM
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I doubt if Big Als will do anything nor do I feel they are obligated to. It's part of the hazards when bringing stuff in from outside the Country. US Customs and the Dept. of F&W are not bound by any postal or privacy acts. They can and will open any package and/or refuse packages as they wish and there's not a lot that can be done about it. The concern of F&W is they don't want any invasive or threatened species of plants or animals to cross the borders. The Dept. of Agriculture is also involved because they don't want anything coming in that could pose a threat to crops. Thus, animals, plants, and even substrate is more likely to get held up. If you push the issue with them they can easily refuse to let specific products pass or require an import permit along with a $50 F&W inspection fee.

There are only two things that have more power than Border Patrol/US Customs........... a Game Warden and God.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-21-2008, 11:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmccreedy View Post
Customs?!? For interstate mail?
I'm guessing that it was shipped direct from one of their Canadian warehouses, thereby making it international...

...but that still doesn't make it right


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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-21-2008, 03:53 PM
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I think you've got to be right about it being shipped from their Canadian Warehouse, but it seems my orders always originate in Buffalo, NY (do they have a dist. center here or something). Like I said earlier, I wouldn't think that it's necessarily either UPS' or Big Al's fault, though either one of them could very easily offer you a refund. Like I said, I've only heard/experienced good things with Big Al's, but oh well - you contacted your state senator yet?
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-21-2008, 04:03 PM
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I don't see why its worth getting so upset about a ripped bag of substrate. It's not like it negatively affects its functioning, and you need to open it anyways. I could see being justifiably upset if something arrived damaged that aversely effected its functionality, such as a broken glass diffuser, but this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CLEVEsports420 View Post
will my Eco complete that has no black water solution left in it still be ok for use?
Yes. If there are any positive effects to the black water (which I doubt), they would be extremely short lived. Besides, the other bags are fine, right? This stuff is advertised as 'bacteriologically active' to help with cycling, so as long as it is still damp, the bacteria should still be alive.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-21-2008, 06:46 PM
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The first thing I do when I add eco to a tank is drain out the water in the bag.

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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-21-2008, 06:58 PM
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Since when are domestic packages routed through customs?

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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-21-2008, 07:31 PM
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i didnt read all the posts but i would blame big als for not properly documenting the package, make them pay for it, put a hold on your credit card. tell them you didn't get the product as advertised, deceptive trade practices!

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