Microsoft , FedEx & Local Contractor



Hello guys, Lonas here !

So, as the title probably hints, this article is about a personal experience/encounter with the above companies. First of all I would like to say a big thank you to Microsoft not only for the IoT (Internet of Things) Dev Kit but also for their stance during the whole process (read on, read on you’ll see).

Let’s go back a bit (a few months if I’m not mistaken). A program Microsoft had started fell into my attention. The program was named Windows Developer Program for IoT. So being interested in DIY electronics and with a few ideas for internet of things in mind I decided to sign up. The process was easy enough just filling some personal data (name, mail etc) programming knowledge and a field where you had to fill the applications you are interested in or that you have in mind . As soon as I submitted the form I got a (probably) automated mail from Microsoft IoT team saying that they had received my application and that if I was selected I would be contacted. One or two months passed and the whole thing had totally slipped my mind. So I’m opening my mail one morning to find a mail from Microsoft IoT team saying that my IoT Dev kit had been shipped via FedEx and giving me the tracking number. I was , to say the truth , a bit stunned since there was no prior communication informing me that I had been chosen for the program just this mail saying that the kit was shipped. But stunned in a very very good way. And a few days passed and I got an e-mail from FedEx’s local contractor informing me that a package for me had encountered customs delay and that action from my part was needed. I was a bit confused since it was the first time (after 4 years or so of ordering electronics from aboard) something I had ordered encountered customs. But nevertheless, I contacted them via a number they provided me with in the e-mail. They were very helpful and friendly and told me all I had to do is give them a rough description of what is in the package and they would then guide and help me through the process. I knew that since it had stopped at the customs there would be some kind of tax but I was ok with that since it’s usually a small percentage of the estimated value of the contents. Shortly after , I got an e-mail (from the local contractor) informing me what I had to pay to get the package out of the customs. And here is about the point it get serious. An the bill there was :

Customs’ cost : ~25 Euros (reasonable)

Airport cost: ~15 Euros (This is what they wanted for transporting the package from the airport to me but problem is the posting was already paid by the sender)

Their payment for the process : ~85 Euros

I don’t know if it’s only me but at the time I found it absurd that I had to pay triple the customs’ fee as a payment to them given the fact that posting was already paid and that they are supposed to be FedEx contractors. What I did was that I contacted them and informed them that given the charges I was not willing to receive the package since the contents were not worth 125 Euros and that they would have to return it (policy is that if you do not pay the customs’ fee within 5 days the package is then returned to the sender) which would cost them the posting back. Their reply was that they would try to reach the sender and try to reach an agreement. A few days after I receive an e-mail informing me that the customs’ fee along with the contractor’s payment were covered by the sender and once again I was amazed by Microsoft’s superiority. In a last stand to get some money out of me the contractor sent me over the document’s I had to sign in order for them to be able take the package out of the customs.  But instead of stating that I grant them permission to “import” (this is the term local customs use) this single package the document I was presented with stated that I grant them permission to undertake all of my imports for the next five years. This practically meant that the next time that a package of mine would reach customs they would go get it send it to me and charge me the full price without ever informing me and that even if I refused to receive the package  I would owe them the full price since they had done the process for me. All in all , I now have the Windows Dev Kit for IoT and I can’t wait to get started with some projects (oh you’ll be the first to know if I make something good !) and I deeply feel I owe a big big thank you to Microsoft for both sending me the kit and for ensuring that I reaches me.

That’s all for now, I hope I haven’t bored you.

See you all soon !

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