FEDEX and TNT customers face extortion in Greece

FEDEX costing 150% more than the national post office due to sketchy local partners

In Greece, customers who receive parcels shipped with FEDEX and TNT are handed over to a local partner, skilled in extortion. Orbit Couriers in Greece have more than 130 reviews from foreigners in Greece who were subjected to this dis-service. In one example, government taxes of 58 Euros were levied on a small personal item, where Orbit Couriers immediately sent a quotation of 180Euros to the client in order to “act as the clearing agent” on a personal item – threatened with other charges if this quote is rejected.

The recent fallout between the EU and Greece over China, may have created the perfect opportunity for Orbit Couriers to exploit consumers in Greece.

Greece and China:

In the above case, the same item was received from Hong Kong previously, without any charge. However after the EU had fined Greece for being lenient on Chinese imports, it may be that Greek customs are now more inclined to levy taxes. This, however, is not the problem. It seems that companies like Orbit Couriers are jumping at this opportunity to extort recipients of goods.

Fedex and Orbit couriers:

When companies in China send packages with FEDEX, it is automatically handed to Orbit Couriers in Athens. Whereas ELTA, the national post office in Greece make their money from shipping fees, Orbit Couriers seems to double up on charges. ELTA, for example, charges the customer any import taxes which is payable at the post office during collection, whereas FEDEX/Orbit, first ad a range of bogus charges that far exceed the actual tax, thereby doubling the charge originally levied to the shipper.

The aggressive way in which Orbit Couriers deal with this, is to say to the client that either they need to pay for clearance, or to send the item back to it’s origin. The customer is informed that as per Greek legislation, they are unable to clear the parcel themselves and have to appoint an agent – even for personal goods that are not related to any business.

Fedex standard response:

With regards to your shipment/inquiry, we would like to inform you that:

1)        The customs clearance process we follow is the one that is provided by the EU directives that are in effect, along with the Greek legislation.

More specifically,

a)        All goods that derive from EU countries are delivered to the declared address of recipient; customs-free and without any additional surcharges.

b)        All goods that derive from countries outside the EU are distinguished in two categories. Firstly, to those that have a declared value of 22€ and secondly, to those that have a declared value over 22€.

FedEx receives the first category, of customs-free goods, from the Customs office if only the declared value has been accepted by customs clearance officers. Then, we deliver it, according to the AWB to the recipient, without any additional charge.

On the other hand, the second category of goods is handed to the Customs office, since duties and taxes need to be paid to the Greek government.

2)        The only additional charge from our company’s side for those goods, that have to be cleared by customs, is 31€ including VAT 24% for issuing a customs delivery order that is collected by the company we collaborate with for customs clearance, named Orbit Couriers SA. According to the international transportation contract of our company, the expenses that derive from packages that need customs clearance, and concern each destination country, cannot be included a priori in the transportation fees from origin country.

3)        On an international basis, FedEx handles both Business to Business and Business to Consumers. Therefore, we handle many transactions with individuals.

Once the individual recipients have decided where to clear the package, and with which means, the packages will be delivered by FedEx to the recipient at the airport office.

Additionally, the recipient needs to pay for storage fees because the package is stored upon its arrival in a customs warehouse contemporary, as per legislation. The warehouse is owned by company Skyserv Handling S.A.

When the package has been cleared, FedEx can continue its transportation and final delivery to declared value, which does not have any additional cost, in case the recipient has not requested other way of collection. Recipient can also get the package from the airport, when clearance has been completed.

4)        Once we receive refusal of package in written by the recipient, we contact the shipper since she is its owner. FedEx is entitled to either return the package to shipper or abandon it in favor of the Greek public sector, upon shipper’s request. In this case, the recipient in Greece will not be charged with any additional fee from our company.

In general, customs clearance is needed for imports that have declared value over 22€. It can be done in two ways. Firstly, by either your physical presence at the airport, if only the package contains personal items and it is not something you bought on line. In this case, you need to submit the paperwork that is needed to the customs clearance authorities by you in person. Secondly, and this is your case, you can authorize your personal broker to proceed with clearance and pay him for the procedure, in addition to the rest of the fees.

All in all, we would like to inform you that each shipper that wants to send something via FedEx may get informed, if he wants, about duties and taxes and other customs fees, by FedEx of destination country.

Any  individual in Greece can get informed about postal shipments before ordering them from abroad, with reference to the following post.

We remain at your disposal

Best Regards
Iro Raftopoulou
Customer Service Representative 
Customer Service Department

T : +30.210.8905900


*In case of non acceptance of our quotation, the customs paperwork of your shipments will remain in our AIRPORT OFFICE 
for a period of 5 (five) business days, before return to shipper.
**After the 3rd(third) calendar day from arrival, your shipment will be charged with storage fees.
***   In case of non-acceptance of our quotation, ORBIT COURIERS SA will charge you 25.00 euro (+ VAT), for the receipt of bills of lading.  

Currently, the only viable shipper to Greece seems to be the national post office. By handing over consumers to merciless operators like Orbit, FEDEX is showing consumers that opening up to Amazon or dealing with the national post office, are the only other viable options.

It is not that nations lose their competitive edge within the EU, but in the case of FEDEX/Greece, there are non-governmental players who seek to exploit the system and cripple the local economy.



Rita Monteiro

Rita – After graduating from NYU with a master degree in history, She was also a columnist for many local newspapers. Rita mostly covers business and Technology topics, but at times loves to write about reviews as well.
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