Pitfalls in delivering quadrocopters to Ukraine - experience with DHL

    It all started with the fact that I decided to buy a quadrocopter for shooting on a camping trip. In the Dronk.ru ranking, the Cheerson CX-20 turned out to be the best for flights with an action camera . I ordered a copter on GearBest and asked the seller to send it as quickly as possible, because before the trip there were only two weeks left, and I still had to learn how to pilot it. In principle, in a fairly short time, parcels arrive in Ukraine by regular mail, but I was safe and ordered by DHL.

    Three days later, the tracking showed that the parcel was at customs in Kiev (the standard procedure for all imported goods). The next day, the status of the package did not change, and I began to worry that something had happened. But even more it was not clear why they didn’t get in touch with me. After a couple of days, an email finally arrived in which GearBest informed me that DHL could not contact me and the package could be sent back.

    I immediately called the Ukrainian representative office of DHL to clarify the situation. It turned out that there was a mistake in the phone number, and they could not reach me. I left the correct number and began to wait for a new call with details.

    Soon they called me and informed me that I need permission from the SBU to import a drone . I was covered in cold sweat from this news. Surely everyone was reading a story about a man who was prosecuted for a Chinese pen with a camera. I started googling on the illegality of importing copters into Ukraine, but I did not find anything. But about the problems associated with DHL, information was in abundance. It turns out that they very often require all kinds of certificates and permissions from the recipients. Regarding possible problems with the law, I began to calm down, but the situation continued to remain unclear.

    A little google, I found out about the procedure for obtaining permission from the SBU. There is nothing complicated in it, but this red tape lasts 7-10 days. I did not have so much time, so I called DHL again to find out why they suddenly needed permission from the security service, because nowadays you can buy a quadcopter without any permissions in almost any online store in Ukraine. The dialogue with the delivery representative turned out to be rather strange. The man on the other end of the wire argued that a quadrocopter is not a toy, that it can be used for terrorist purposes.and there are only two ways to get a package: either get a piece of paper from a military unit, confirming that I volunteered and ordered an unmanned, remotely piloted aircraft for army needs, or go to the SBU and get a piece of paper there. I was already thinking of dropping the phone and putting up with the loss of the quadrocopter and money, when suddenly the word “camera” slipped through the conversation. “Wait, but he's without a camera!” I objected. In the end, the representative agreed to open the parcel and check again.

    An hour later they called me and said that there really was no camera, which means that separate import permits were not needed.

    In general, I was lucky that I ordered a model without a camera, otherwise the story would have been completely different.

    The charge of terrorism was dropped, but ...

    But the customs officer did not give up and said that the indicated value of the goods does not correspond to reality, and the parcel will be sent to me only after I write a statement to raise the estimated value. Somewhere on the Internet, they found a price of $ 350 and offered to issue it at that price instead of the stated 49.90. And, of course, add to this about 20% of the cost for customs clearance and services.

    Further correspondence with the broker by e-mail took place. I sent a link to the product with a price of $ 207 and a request to allow me to indicate exactly this amount in the application. As a result, the parcel was issued at the right price.

    Application and contract with a customs broker

    On Friday evening, a letter came from the broker about the completion of the package, and on Monday they sent me an invoice for 896.59 UAH (~ 41 $), which I immediately paid. Of the above amount, 416.59 UAH (~ 19 $) amounted to duties, and 480 UAH (~ 22 $) - the cost of the "services" of the broker. The next morning, the courier called me and asked to meet him at one o’clock at the bus station (I remind you that this is an expensive and fast DHL delivery service). In the middle of the working day, I rushed to the bus station, where, having signed, I finally received my package.


    If you decide to order a quadrocopter from China to Ukraine, then there are several important points to remember:

    1. Do not use DHL services.
    2. If you can buy a quadrocopter without a camera, then it is better to buy a quadrocopter without a camera, so as not to go for permission in the SBU.
    3. If you decide to buy it all the same with a camera, then it is better to prepare for the issues indicated in the article in advance.

    My case ended peacefully enough, and, of course, this does not mean that this will happen to everyone. I recommend that you use only the trusted state-owned fast delivery services EMS and Ukrposhta, which are slightly inferior to DHL, and the latter has recently been pleased with the speed of delivery.

    That's all, successful flying service wishes you to choose a quadrocopter Dronk.Ru

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