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Shipping Problem, Possible Disaster

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explosivebeer

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I shipped a package for a friend that had some "collectibles" in it. Unfortunately, it never arrived. I called the shipping company and a guy angrily informed me that he had the package and I should know why.

When I told him I shipped it for a friend and didn't know the exact contents, he told me that it was beer and that it's illegal to ship alcohol, but that he has the package and I can come get it. I have no idea how they determined there was beer inside.

Anyway, I wanted to see if anyone knew what the possible repercussions from this could be. Is there a chance cops could be waiting for me if I go get it? Or worse - the ATF? Or do you think it's harmless and the guy was just pissed off?

I know it's illegal to send alcohol through the USPS but this was through a secondary shipping company that was using DHL and I was not aware of any regulations with them.

I never lied about the contents but I don't want to put myself in a compromising position either. Should I just give up on it?
 

brewt00l

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Tell him your friend is quite a sad panda with out his care package! ;)

I'd walk in and just say you weren't aware it was a problem...apologize, take your package back and go. Repack and visit your friendly UPS store to ship your "yeast samples in media"

Leaving beer with the shipper isn't an option if you I can get it back. No amount of dirty looks from the clerk would matter.
 

the_bird

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It's only illegal to ship via the USPS. It's against UPS and FedEx's policies, but that's a separate issue.

If he knows it's beer, though, you've probably got a leaker or a broken bottle - so if you go to collect it, know that you've got at least one fallen soldier. Depending on how many you shipped (and how many you have left, if it's homebrew), you might decide to forgo it.
 

Professor Frink

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Like Bird said, if it's against their policy, that's one thing, but that's completely different than illegal, the law can't do anything. Pick 'em up and send 'em UPS.
 

DUCCCC

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explosivebeer said:
I shipped a package for a friend that had some "collectibles" in it...
I'm sorry, but with a forum name like that you were just asking for trouble:D ( I kid, but it is funny.)
 
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explosivebeer

explosivebeer

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brewt00l said:
Tell him your friend is quite a sad panda with out his care package! ;)

I'd walk in and just say you weren't aware it was a problem...apologize, take your package back and go. Repack and visit your friendly UPS store to ship your "yeast samples in media"

Leaving beer with the shipper isn't an option if you I can get it back. No amount of dirty looks from the clerk would matter.
Yeah man, I'm sure he's a very sad panda indeed! ;) But the panda will definitely be getting his care package, one way or another. I just wanted to see if there were any potentially severe repercussions before waltzing in and reclaiming the goods. I'd much rather put together a new care package than get arrested.
 
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explosivebeer

explosivebeer

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ma2brew said:
I'm sorry, but with a forum name like that you were just asking for trouble:D ( I kid, but it is funny.)
Ha, I didn't even think about that. I assure you my screen name is unrelated to anything I ship!
 

brewt00l

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explosivebeer said:
Yeah man, I'm sure he's a very sad panda indeed! ;) But the panda will definitely be getting his care package, one way or another. I just wanted to see if there were any potentially severe repercussions before waltzing in and reclaiming the goods. I'd much rather put together a new care package than get arrested.

LOL I hear ya, it's all good!

I pack all my shipments and tell the clerk glassware/craft glass..never had a question or problem. I have shipped plenty of junk from online sales/ebay via UPS and they never bat an eye. I'll bet you either had a leaker or give-away clanking bottles.
 

Evan!

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FYI for the future: wrap each bottle individually with bubble wrap, then tape them together and wrap more bubble wrap around the whole mass. Put that in a plastic trashbag and tie it very tight. Full a box with a couple inches of packing peanuts, put the bag on top, then fill the rest with peanuts or newspaper. I've shipped probably 8 or 10 boxes via USPS and never had a break or an instance of anyone finding out what it is. I call them "collectibles", which is technically true.
 

Jesse17

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I'd be careful with DHL. They have a partnership with the USPS, and sometimes as here in my little town, DHL ships to the post office, and the post office delivers the package.
 

the_bird

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DHL's a bunch of idiots, near as I can tell. Takes them three days to "overnight" a package to some of our clients in Vermont. I mean, they live in the boonies, but not THAT FAR out there.
 
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explosivebeer

explosivebeer

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So I went over to the shipping place and got the package back. Nothing was broken or leaking. Somehow someone heard some liquid splooshing around inside so they opened it up to see.

The angry guy I'd talked to before wasn't there but the clerks were saying something about a $10,000 fine. They didn't seem that well-informed though.

Anyway, I'll know now to avoid both the USPS and DHL, or just stick to UPS. Thanks for everyone's thoughts. I was obviously thinking the worst for a second and it was good to hear some reason.
 

McKBrew

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I'm suprised they opened your package. Is it a total violation to ship liquid products through them, or did they go overboard in investigation your package?
 
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explosivebeer

explosivebeer

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McKBrew said:
I'm suprised they opened your package. Is it a total violation to ship liquid products through them, or did they go overboard in investigation your package?
It's at least against their policy. The manager wasn't there though so I didn't get the complete story but he was pretty pissed when I talked to him. I'm guessing they'd get a big fine.

To be fair, they did ask if there were any liquids in the box and I just responded with "I think they're collectibles" and left it at that. So I guess opening it up upon hearing the liquid may have been warranted.
 

HBDrinker008

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I might have a similar problem that may arise for me. I just shipped a sixer to a friend in WA via UPS and although it may not be illeagal via UPS in general it is illeagal in MN to ship alcohol at all..according to the girl at the 1st UPS store I went to....so I went to the other store and told them I was sending glassware, hence the "Fragile"... and that there was some soda in glass bottles. The guy asked if it was fermented "soda" and I said no, end of story....I hope
 

Yooper

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In some states it's illegal to even brew homebrew, let alone ship it. But it most places it's fine.

However, when you send care packages overseas, that's a whole different ball game. Shipping alcohol internationally, particularly to countries where alcohol is illegal, will get you every time.
 

fermenator

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I have a friend who got busted the same by labeling the box "yeast samples" and sending via FedEx. I think it all depends on the assclowns behind the counter and the mood they are in that day I think! If your worried about the splashing noise (which is odd for a well packaged "beverage") just label it "olive oil" or something similar. I always take mine to Staples UPS drop off center, the Staples people never question the contents and no questions are ever asked of me other than "whats in the box" to which I always answer with the following:

glassware
lamp
vase
olive oil

It is illegal to ship alcohol over state lines no matter what courier you use, its just that the big boys like Fedex, UPS, DHL dont want to lose any business so there is a "policy" against it. For example, a friends package busted open once and UPS just repacked it and sent it back to him no questions asked. So I do really think its the individual that "finds" your care package that determines how the situation is handled!
 

dataz722

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I just found this and wanted to bring it up again. It is obviously illegal to ship it but it seems like even if you get caught nothing happens. But if it was reported to whichever authority would handle that (local, state police, atf, whatever) does anyone what the repurcusions would be?
 

fermenator

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Found this policy layout/agreement for FedEx:

http://www.wineinstitute.org/files/fedex-alcohol_shipping_agreement.pdf

I know that Mail-order sales of alcohol in Pennsylvania are prohibited under the so-called three-tier system of distribution in which beer must be sold through licensed, locally owned wholesalers. The system, designed in the post-Prohibition years, is intended to give the state greater control of alcohol sales and aid in the collection of taxes. Under state law, it is a misdemeanor to possess untaxed alcohol. Violators risk confiscation of their beer, a fine of up to $500 and up to three months in prison. This obviously varies from state to state.
 

LibertyBrewer

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If you check, there are a couple of liquor stores that you can order over the internet and they will ship to you. If they can do it, so can I.

I have a friend that sends me a bottle of good bourbon every year for christmas. It always comes USPS and we never have a problem.

If it were me, I would just keep trying.
 

ChshreCat

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To be fair, they did ask if there were any liquids in the box and I just responded with "I think they're collectibles" and left it at that.
To be honest, if someone dropped of a package and they acted like they weren't sure what was in it, then I heard it sloshing around inside... I'd probably get suspicious enough to have it checked out.
 

dataz722

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If you check, there are a couple of liquor stores that you can order over the internet and they will ship to you. If they can do it, so can I.

I have a friend that sends me a bottle of good bourbon every year for christmas. It always comes USPS and we never have a problem.

If it were me, I would just keep trying.
They cant ship to all the states though because many states it is illegal to have alcohol shipped to you.
 
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Essentially, it's not legal, but it boils down to which agency of the government you want to run afoul of and what is the liklihood of enforcement, siezure, or civil or criminal fines.

1) It is against Federal law to ship alcohol via the USPS.
2) It's against policy to ship alcohol via Fed Ex, DHL, UPS unless you are a valid shipper of alcohol. If your package breaks, they may turn your package to your state's alcohol control board or they may return it to you, or they may dispose of it, or they may re-pack it and ship it. You are at the mercy of that employee.
3) It's undoubtedly against state law (UT inparticular) to ship beer. I read on realbeer that UT's ACB has siezed likely alcohol shipments. Google it.
4) It's against the law to ship alcohol to minors.
5) It's against the law to ship alcohol to another country without using a customs approved shipper. See beertown.org for information about their world beer contest.

So don't do #1 or #4 or #5. If you do #2, make sure your package is bulletproof. Don't identify the contents as alcohol. Don't get insurance, etc.

#3.... just move.

Deny everything.
 
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