Saturday, February 03, 2007

La Poste, India Post, and Some Missing Shirts

Will foreign parcels sent to India be ripped apart and items stolen? Read along to find my experience.

I had accumulated several books by the time I was about to return to India from France after a three month stay. La Poste, the French postal service, had a mechanism called Colissimo which allowed me to pack my stuff in a standardized box and send to foreign destinations. The largest box could carry up to 7 kgs. La Poste charged 36 euros per box for delivery to India. This seemed to be a good option for a returning student who needed to send valuable books which cannot be carried along due to airline baggage weight restrictions.

I got four boxes and sent them during the last week of December 2006 from Paris to Bangalore. The first three carried books and documents and the last one carried some clothes. Colissimo tracking web site indicated that the baggages were within the Indian territory customs by the second week of January 2007. Beyond this point, tracking was not available.

I learnt from the local delivery post office that apparently foreign posts end up in a foreign post office. (In Bangalore the FPO is located in Museum Road.) Upon inquiries during January second week the FPO informed me that they have not received the parcels yet. After several inquiries and follow-up, I got the last three parcels delivered in the third week of January and the very first parcel in last week of January almost a month after posting. The FPO was not very clear in explaining the work-flow involving customs once a foreign parcel reaches Indian territory.

The cardboard box parcels were covered with dust and dirt, their sides opened, and tied with jute threads, and sealed. Upon opening, I found out that all the plastic bags within which I had packed the books were partly opened perhaps to see the contents. Fortunately, no books or documents were missing. However, I was shocked when I opened the box carrying clothes. All the plastic covers used to pack were missing and clothes were almost strewn around the box. To add to my disgust, two formal full sleeve shirts and a T-shirt (which carried my B-school logo) were missing. Incidentally, these were the only shirts within the box which were in a shrink wrap cover put by a dry cleaner which might have incorrectly signaled that they are perhaps new.

My hypothesis about the missing shirts is that they were likely stolen by the personnel who inspected the box: perhaps customs, perhaps India Post. If the hypothesis is true (which I would never know), it's quite bad and reflects badly on the professional image these organizations are trying to build in the recent years.


  1. This is sick behavior on the part of the customs/postoffice staff. Did you try to lodge a complaint? Was the procedure to lodge a complaint simple and hassle free?

  2. Hi,
    I had a similar experience yesterday, a parcel that I received had some items missing. If you did follow up on your parcel, please post it here so one knows what would be a good place to start complaining.

  3. Hi,
    I have sent a parcel from denmark to india in the last week of november and it hast still not reached india. Can anyone tell my how to find out abt. the parcel?

  4. God! i sent a parcel to bangalore from paris by la poste last week. it was supposed to take 6 to 8 days and it's already 10! Best is that the la poste tracking page has no updates and shows that it's still in paris..i went to la poste to figure it out, and was told that it's on the road!! road road.. which road in which country? i'm so damn apprehensive now!

  5. When it is international parcel, do not blame only post, just remember those hungry dogs called customs officers. Never try to send food and electronics, they never reach home.

  6. I am facing the same problem now. I had bought a shoe online through and the seller is from France. It is sent through Colissimo. the tracking website shows that the product is under customs since 1 week. Do u have an idea if the parcel will be delivered to me to my address or i need to collect it from FPO? and also did u hav to pay any custom duty on receiving the product? I am reallly worried now after reading your post..