Plants destroyed in customs! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-27-2011, 12:35 AM Thread Starter
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Plants destroyed in customs!

I ordered some plants from Aquaticmagic two weeks ago for delivery to Costa Mesa, CA and I just got them... sort of.

"U.S. Department of Agriculture - Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service -Plant Protection and Quarantine

...

Prohibited Material Removed and Destroyed"

What'd doubly annoying is that on a recent trip out for supplies, I saw the same plants for sale except in poor condition and considerably more expensive.

Edit: Er... AquaticMagic, not AquaMagic. Whoops.
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-27-2011, 12:37 AM
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Dang! I have ordered from them several times and always get mine. its kind of the luck of the draw I guess. What did you lose?

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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-27-2011, 12:48 AM Thread Starter
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A small pile of pellia and a few mosses. Nothing too hard to replace, but I was looking forward to giving my shrimpies somewhere to hide in their new home. Didn't have any problems shipping to Michigan... I guess California is just super sensitive about this stuff.
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-27-2011, 01:00 AM
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This is old news here and been discussed many times. It is illegal for anyone in the USA to have plants shipped to them from outside this country unless you have an importers license. The person exporting plants into this country also has to have legal documentation and whats called a phyto sanitary certificate. This certifies that the plants have been sterilized and do not contain any parasites. Aquamagic does not do any of these things.

You can be held legally responsible to a point. One person here got a letter from Homeland security after having their plants intercepted stating they would be put on a watch list if it happened again.

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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-27-2011, 01:31 AM
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You should be able to get much higher quality plants, shipped at a similar price, in 2-3 days, if you simply order through the Swap n Shop forum here.

P.S. Asian shippers are notoriously bad (possibly intentionally) at labeling certain plants, especially mosses, correctly.
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-27-2011, 01:45 AM
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Same thing happend to me once and i got a refund as soon as I faxed the customs letter company. Would never hurt to ask them.


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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-27-2011, 02:14 AM
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Here's another furom that discuss about this incidents with Aquaticmagic.

The link does not work if you are not a member, so I cut and past the first post only..

http://scapeclub.org/forum/showthrea...ht=confiscated


"WARNING: Aquaticmagic and other out of country sellers
Just wanted to share my experience with Aquaticmagic, who sells plants on eBay and Aquabid. You may want to think twice before making a purchase.

Back in August I ordered 2 portions of Flame Moss from them on eBay. The package arrived in early September. Instead of my flame moss there was a notice from the USDA saying my shipment had been confiscated due to the import of illegal plant materials, and that I may face further criminal charges.

Yesterday, the USDA sent an officer from "Smuggling Interdiction and Trade Compliance" to my office to interview me (The Flame Moss was originally sent to my office). He quizzed me about my online purchases, had I ordered other plants online, where those plants came from, did Aquaticmagic has a representative in the US, had I ever purchased seeds online, etc etc. At this time it doesn't look like I'll be subject to any fines, although they made it clear it was my responsibility to comply with import regulations and to make sure I had the proper import permits. They seemed much more interested though in trying to figure out how to shut down Aquaticmagic.

Aquatic magic did offer me a full refund after I scanned the notice from the USDA saying the shipment had been confiscated. They responded to my messages quickly. I have no complaints in that regard. They did however mention that a lot of their shipments are being caught at the border and the USDA seems to be cracking down.

So this is just a cautionary tale. If you're buying plants online that might be shipping from out of the country (Aquaticmagic lists their location as Malaysia, but the plants actually shipped out of Singapore), there's a chance the USDA will snag them and they might come and pay you a visit. Just something to keep in mind."
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-27-2011, 02:19 AM
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I wonder if PayPal would help? I've only had one problem on Ebay that the seller dragged his feet on. It was an After market LED tail light for my Scion XB '10. Keep tring to blame the LED fail on me. One side worked perfectly one would not light. AllI wanted was a swap for true bad one.

Notified PayPal they gave me my choice replacement or my money back. At that point I didn't trust the seller. Bought the same ones different seller, no problems a year + later.
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-27-2011, 02:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Venthus View Post
I ordered some plants from Aquaticmagic two weeks ago for delivery to Costa Mesa, CA and I just got them... sort of.

"U.S. Department of Agriculture - Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service -Plant Protection and Quarantine

...

Prohibited Material Removed and Destroyed"

What'd doubly annoying is that on a recent trip out for supplies, I saw the same plants for sale except in poor condition and considerably more expensive.

Edit: Er... AquaticMagic, not AquaMagic. Whoops.
It isn't that the are PROHIBITED in the US. They are prohibited from being shipped into the USA without proper documentation and declarations.

Essentially, they are breaking the law as they do not follow it in their shipping. It is also relatively expensive to legally import plants and thus why not normally done on a very small scale(1-2 plants).
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-27-2011, 02:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by herns View Post
Here's another furom that discuss about this incidents with Aquaticmagic.

The link does not work if you are not a member, so I cut and past the first post only..

http://scapeclub.org/forum/showthrea...ht=confiscated


"WARNING: Aquaticmagic and other out of country sellers
Just wanted to share my experience with Aquaticmagic, who sells plants on eBay and Aquabid. You may want to think twice before making a purchase.

Back in August I ordered 2 portions of Flame Moss from them on eBay. The package arrived in early September. Instead of my flame moss there was a notice from the USDA saying my shipment had been confiscated due to the import of illegal plant materials, and that I may face further criminal charges.

Yesterday, the USDA sent an officer from "Smuggling Interdiction and Trade Compliance" to my office to interview me (The Flame Moss was originally sent to my office). He quizzed me about my online purchases, had I ordered other plants online, where those plants came from, did Aquaticmagic has a representative in the US, had I ever purchased seeds online, etc etc. At this time it doesn't look like I'll be subject to any fines, although they made it clear it was my responsibility to comply with import regulations and to make sure I had the proper import permits. They seemed much more interested though in trying to figure out how to shut down Aquaticmagic.

Aquatic magic did offer me a full refund after I scanned the notice from the USDA saying the shipment had been confiscated. They responded to my messages quickly. I have no complaints in that regard. They did however mention that a lot of their shipments are being caught at the border and the USDA seems to be cracking down.

So this is just a cautionary tale. If you're buying plants online that might be shipping from out of the country (Aquaticmagic lists their location as Malaysia, but the plants actually shipped out of Singapore), there's a chance the USDA will snag them and they might come and pay you a visit. Just something to keep in mind."
There goal is to shut them down. However, since they are knowingly breaking the law, all the US customs/USDA can do is chase them. They aren't in the US and thus not a lot they can do until the packages arrive. The number of packages that make it through, unchecked actually makes me a little nervous.
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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-27-2011, 02:26 AM
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It is also relatively expensive to legally import plants and thus why not normally done on a very small scale(1-2 plants).
I don't understand what you are saying exactly, its illegal plain and simple. The Federal government, (not the state of California) considers it smuggling and makes no distinction between cocaine and Java moss

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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-27-2011, 02:27 AM
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There's no way everything can be screened. Just like the ports, less than 10% of the cargo are even checked because there's not enough man power.

I would think the package appears to be leaking. I'm just curious, what did the seller write on the custom label as what's in the package?
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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-27-2011, 02:30 AM
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I wonder if PayPal would help?
Help how? He broke the law buying plants without an import permit. If the only thing that happens is he is out a few bucks, he should feel lucky

Quote:
what did the seller write on the custom label as what's in the package
No, if they did that the box would be immediately intercepted. Aquaticmagic declares it as a gift, sometimes wrapping the plants in a blanket and declaring the gift as a blanket. It has happened so many times that the US customs has them on their watch list.

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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-27-2011, 02:33 AM
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I don't understand
obviously
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what you are saying exactly, its illegal plain and simple. The Federal government, (not the state of California) considers it smuggling and makes no distinction between cocaine and Java moss
What I said is that it is relatively expensive to follow the appropriate laws and regulations for importation of plants and this is the reason why people don't normally do it on a small scale(for a few plants). As obviously you lose the savings that likely persuaded you to buy plants from around the world. You CAN legally import plants. Documentation, phytosanitary certificate, etc.

I never once suggested that it wasn't against the law(to illegally import plants), nor did I mention the state of california.

I'm not even sure what your response was in to, as I clearly stated:

The plants themselves are not prohibited inside the United States. Illegally importing them is.

The federal government does however make all kinds of distinctions between things like cocaine and things like illegal fruit. You will get your fruit confiscated at the airport and likely a fine when you fly in to JFK. If you bring a brick of cocaine you'll end up in the pokey or deported quicker than you can sneeze. Ship a few plants and they will destroy them and consider prosecution. Ship a kilo of marijane and they'll certainly do more than that if they know where you are and who you are.

So I I'm not really sure what it is exactly you're saying.
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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-27-2011, 02:41 AM
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Originally Posted by mach_six View Post
There's no way everything can be screened. Just like the ports, less than 10% of the cargo are even checked because there's not enough man power.

I would think the package appears to be leaking. I'm just curious, what did the seller write on the custom label as what's in the package?
Every commercial container I import gets held in customs for a friggin week at minimum. I hope they are doing something while it sits in port...
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