Saturday, July 17, 2010

Carnet de Passages en Douanes

So what is this document about? Well .......

"It offers a guarantee to a foreign government that the vehicle identified in the Carnet, if granted temporary importation status, will be removed from the country within the time limit imposed by the respective jurisdiction. In the event that the vehicle is not removed within the imposed time frame, the country may claim from CAA all duties and taxes that would be required to permanently import the vehicle to that country. Using the Carnet is an alternative to leaving a cash security deposit with a foreign government. It allows free movement and unencumbered access between foreign countries. Most countries, but not all, allow this option. A Carnet is valid for one year from the date of issue..." Canadian Automobile Association

There are 2 basic ways of obtaining this:
1 - Indemnity policy
2 - cash guarantee or irrevocable letter of credit

Rob and I opted for the letter of credit because it was cheaper in the long run and our cash would have been tied up in a GIC or something that would gain us interest. Cool.

Well ....... turned out not so cool. The process was started May 10th for me at the local CIBC where the Bank Manager stated,

"sure, no problem. We can do that and it wont cost you a thing. Matter of fact, I'll look into securing the funds a different way so as not to lay out any cash at all"

I then sent all the required info that CAA required, to the Bank Manager. Week went by. Nothing. I called. "Oh ya, still looking into it." Another week. Called again. I asked about securing the cash differently. "Oh ya, can't do that. It'll have to be a GIC or something". Fine. Another week. "Still having issues. Getting conflicting info from the main office". By this time the Bank Manager had moved north to a different branch and in the process neglected to forward any info (which I only found out much later ) to the person who was taking care of my letter of credit. Nice. Next, they needed me to set up a business account as they don't just issue letters of credit to individuals. There was also a fee. Thankfully, the person I was dealing with now was going to waive the fee and set up a dummy business account. Cool. More waiting as she was dealing with different people within CIBC now. Great. Several weeks went by as she had to modify the letter of credit, change this, move that, etc, etc. I had also told her about the 5 year expiry date required, "Yes, "they" know that." Finally, 2 months and 2 days after this whole process commenced I received the letter of credit via Purolator. YES!

..... No. The date was wrong. I scanned it and sent it off to CAA to verify its contents and they confirmed the date was not correct. Back to the bank explaining what was wrong. Week and a half of going back and forth with the end result being they can do it by renewing the L of C every year at a cost of $300 per year. Ya, I don't think so. I'd like my money back please. "We can do that but need a letter from you and CAA stating the that you want to cancel the issued letter of credit" What? Apparently, it was issued and even though CAA didn't receive it they need to void the requirement. Wow.

Well, in the meantime CIBC DID charge my back account (which I had to open for all this to happen) $270 dollars and there was an additional charge of $100 for .... WTF!?!? Found out this by a letter I received from the bank stating my account was in arrears. WHAT? Turns out they charged me for business name searches and the like so the phony business account can be set up. There was never any hint to the possibilities of charges being incurred!!, after 2 months and 10 days I finally received my money back in the form of a money order which I requested so I could issue the money directly to CAA. Closed the savings account i was required to open as well as a VISA (canceled), a phony business account and closed out the GIC i had to acquire. My ties are officially cut with that bank. whew.

Sent the guarantee to CAA on a Wed and received the Carnet that Friday before noon! Now why didn't I do that before?!?!? read the friggin small print! DUH!

After all that, this is what it looks like, 25 pages ........

Along with the Carnet came instructions on how to use it, a separate document on clearing customs through South Africa and a list of countries that have travel warnings posted by the Canadian Government.

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