Monday, December 17, 2012

No More Scented Goodies From The Skies - Perfume Banned On Air Mail


Those of you who follow Andy Tauer's blog will be aware that on the 7th he wrote about worrying developments in the postal industry. In short, he's no longer able to send small parcels of perfume outside Switzerland using air mail. This prompted me to do a bit of digging and whilst I can't say that I've unearthed any hard facts on the subject - which is, in itself, rather telling - I have made a few discoveries.

From the 14th of January 2013, it will no longer be possible for UK-based individuals to use Royal Mail to send perfume abroad. Indeed, it would seem that anyone in the world who wishes to comply with the Civil Aviation Organization’s Technical Instructions For The Safe Transport Of Dangerous Goods By Air will be obliged to use sea/surface methods to transport perfume. No-one I've spoken to wishes to go on record about why these changes have been implemented.

Needless to say, all this raises countless questions not just about the future of online perfume retailers but also about relatively trivial practicalities. For instance, someone pointed out on Twitter (I'm fairly certain it was @nickrgilbert) that if it is now unsafe for perfume bottles to be aboard planes, then surely none of us should be allowed to pack any fragrances in our suitcases. And would this mean that airport shops would have to get rid of their perfume departments? I can't see that happening any time soon!

What's even more interesting is that apparently, at the moment, it is illegal for individuals to send perfume within the UK using Royal Mail. Tell that to the thousands of sellers on eBay. However, from the 15th of July, Royal Mail will permit individuals to post perfume within the UK.

Confused? Hopefully, the situation will become clearer after the 14th of January. But until then, it might be worth thinking about a bell jar or two from Uncle Serge...

Persolaise.



41 comments:

  1. My question would be - how easy and practical is it to send perfume by sea? Do you reckon etailers might resort to this method? It's a shame really - I wonder how much of a risk (I can't imagine any other reason) this really is to carriers? Probably boils down to insurance companies who won't cover this sort of thing..

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    Replies
    1. Michael, the only honest answer I can give you at the moment is: I don't know. And I'm not sure the retailers do either. Perhaps we're all going to have to get used to longer wait times if we wish to order from abroad.

      As for your point about insurance companies, at this stage, I genuinely don't know if they're behind all this.

      Delete
    2. I've never done it myself, but I know of people who've sought sea shipment before. Mostly professors/academics who are trying to move entire personal libraries back and forth between France and the US, and who are trying to avoid exorbitant airmail costs for heavy books. It's an odd process (they had to bag their books in specially-approved burlap bags!), and as I understand, fairly reliable and cheap, but verrrrrrrry, verrrrrrry slow.

      Now, that said, no idea if shipping perfume by sea would be similar to that process or not.

      Delete
    3. Susan, thanks for that. My limited experience of non-air mail hasn't been wonderful either. The middle of January is fast approaching. It'll be interesting to see what Luckyscent et al do as regards foreign orders.

      Delete
  2. The current perfume landscape makes me want to set up a floating perfume colony ship on international waters, from which messenger pigeons could ship perfumes to customers all over Europe.

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    Replies
    1. Nukapai, haven't you heard: only Brussels-approved pigeons are allowed to fly over EU air-space. On the other hand, sparrows don't have to follow such tight regulations, but they have much stronger union support and they charge hefty over-time. What to do?

      Delete
  3. UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Big Brother/Orwell and the Grinch are the only spirits liking this!! All us good-hearted perfumistas must overcome somehow!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Linda, we refuse to be Grinched, right? But it's getting harder and harder...

      Delete
  4. A couple of months ago, I was sending a package of decants overseas and went to the post office to get them mailed. The postmaster told me that I couldn't send perfume via the mail as it was considered dangerous and flammable. This made no sense to me as I had done this many times before and I order many a perfume online and receive via the mail. So I turned around and drove about a mile away to another post office and was able to successfully send my package without question or without hassle. I guess the lesson learned is that if you find a prickly postmaster, go to a different office! In all this is craziness. If perfume can't be mailed, then there are plenty of other liquids that would no longer be mailed either. I just don't see how they can truly regulate this. I guess the alternative would be to use carrier services like UPS, Federal Express, etc.

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    Replies
    1. ScentedHound, thanks for the anecdote. I agree that it all seems quite mad. But I think things are going to be tightened up. And I guess it's now going to be virtually impossible to use air mail for 'trackable' services, because when you use those, you usually have to specify the contents of your parcel.

      Let's see what happens after mid-Jan!

      Delete
  5. I usually just lie and say that it's a gift. Sending of perfumes or powdery cosmetics has been banned in Singapore for quite some time, so we just find ways to get around it.

    That said, WHY IS THIS HAPPENING!? I know you haven't got the answers but I just felt like ranting about it.

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    Replies
    1. Joshuaang, I really have no idea. A few people have dropped hints and made enigmatic suggestions, but no-one's given me any info that's concrete enough to write about here.

      Rant away! I think lots of people feel annoyed about it.

      Delete
  6. This is quite a worry.I presume I'll be able to order Roxanna's solid perfumes? I think lovingly of my Amouage travel sprays .I have visions of a film like scenario with guns pulled and air-port police shouting "put that Lyric down on the floor real slow ".The policeman then runs of with it to
    "test" for his wife .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Angie, I can't wait for the sequel!

      But seriously... I hope we get some clarity on this soon. I wonder if Parcelforce will send perfumes?

      Delete
  7. To quote Charlie Brown - ``AAAARRRRRGGGGHHHHHHH~~~~~~~~!!!!!!!``

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  8. Help,

    Does anyone know of any land based services to send a bottle of eau de toilette 240ml to Madeira, Portugal ?

    I have asked the Post Office and they won't even take it by Surface mail :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lostinspace, are you trying to send this bottle from the UK? I'm surprised they didn't take it by surface mail. Perhaps that's a case of someone applying the new rules a bit too punctiliously...

      Delete
    2. Hi,

      Yes, from London to Madeira, Portugal.
      I went to a large Post Office branch in Golders Green, North London and they said 'no international, including surface'.

      I really need some help to get it to Madeira by Valentine's Day :-(

      Delete
    3. Well, I can tell you that you won't get anywhere with ParcelForce either. Have you contacted FedEx or DHL?

      Delete
    4. FedUp with both FedEx and DHL as they both said NO to well secured, triple bubble wrapped and double box packaged glass bottle with approx 240ml of Eau de Toilette.

      Running out of options, please can anyone help with any details of any tracked and insured service, from London to Madeira.

      I have ruled out a one day return air fare of approx £400, to deliver it in person.

      My shipping budget is approx £20-£25 otherwise it will be more than the bottle of Eau de Toilette is worth.

      Royal mail surface, International Signed for with extra compensation would have been £14.56 if the Post Office would have accepted it. Even if they had accepted it, they are scanning at Heathrow airport prior to shipping and returning or destroying what they consider to be dangerous goods.

      Delete
    5. UPS said 'yes' :)
      UPS said £88 :(

      Baggage couriers said 'yes' :)
      Baggage couriers said £60+VAT :(

      Search for Spock continues, getting closer though.

      Delete
    6. Wow, £88?? That's pretty hefty.

      If you'd sent it by surface mail, why would your parcel have been scanned at Heathrow Airport?

      I'm still trying to get official info on this situation, but so far, no-one seems to know much... or at least, they're not saying anything.

      Delete
    7. Persolaise, I am really looking forward to any official info that you can glean.

      Hopefully, I would like official confirmation whether or not International signed for SURFACE (not Airmail) can carry my 240ml glass bottle of Eau de Toilette to Madeira, Portugal.

      Kind Regards and Best Wishes

      Delete
  9. Unfortunately, I think this is to do with Royal Mail rules that came into effect in January about the transport of Fragrances and dangerous goods policies (Linda Pilkington was telling me about it, I'm not 100% but know it's a problem)

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    Replies
    1. Thom, yes, I've no doubt you're right.

      Delete
  10. Don't worry! Another point of view is that you could be urged to travel a lot more!
    But it's pitty...

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    Replies
    1. Lyubov, yes, I suppose that's true... or maybe someone should set up a travelling perfumery...?

      Delete
  11. Can anyone publish the long list of aircraft crashes, train and road accidents, due to fires from a perfume bottle? Once this list is published, it will prove to us dumb and ignorant citizens the philosofy behind the prohibition rule. THE LAW IS AN ASS and it appears that the ASSES behind these laws are multiplying to stiffle living in a 'progressive' society. This is discrimination to citizens living on an island like us. Anthony Spiteri - Malta.

    Anthony Spiteri - Malta

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anthony, thanks for taking the time to get in touch. Yes, the list to which you refer doesn't seem to be forthcoming, does it? I'm all for preventative measures, so if something has been discovered about the potential dangers of perfume bottles on planes, then fine, let's ban them.

      But of course, the presence of perfume on planes can't be that dangerous, because if it were, then every single bottle would have been cleared off the shelves of the duty free shops. Something doesn't quite add up, eh?

      Delete
    2. Are the airlines still wheeling trolley loads of the stuff, whilst still in flight and cabins pressurised ?

      Delete
    3. Lostinspace, they certainly were the last time I was on a plane, which was about 4 weeks ago.

      Delete
  12. just got a letter from the royal mail
    they have disposed my bottle of perfume approx 60 days after posting.
    :-(
    they will not even refund the 17.06 in postage for an undelivered item
    :-( :-( :-(

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    Replies
    1. My perfume was sent airsure and insured up to £100 on 23rd jan 2013, can i get anywhere with the insurance ?

      Does anyone know how to claim on the postal insurance for a bottle of perfume they 'disposed' ?

      Delete
    2. Lostinspace, I'm afraid I really don't know enough about how these things work to comment on your question about insurance.

      I'm sorry that your parcel didn't make it.

      If you get a response from Royal Mail, please do come back and let us know.

      Delete
  13. My pleasure, wish me luck.
    If anyone knows of anything that will help me to strengthen my case, will be much appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lostinspace, I'll certainly report back if I get any new info.

      Delete
  14. Letters to Royal Mail Customer Services have resulted in them telling me to get lost.

    Letters to Escalated royal Mail Customer Services have resulted in them telling me to get lost.

    :-(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lostinspace, I wish I could do something to help you. I'm afraid that, at the moment, all I can do is keep gathering info about the situation, a process which is turning out to be quite difficult.

      Delete

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