T Nation

Customs/Fedex Rant


I order myself a nice package of Biotest goodies. Surge, MD, SWF.. All that good stuff.

A month after projected arrival time (typical occurence in this country), I get a note saying that I need a medical history and doctor's recommendations to get my sh*t out of customs. Now, it'll be sent back to Biotest in about a month (hurray for bureaucratic limbo!)

I get a bit frustrated.

OK, so I order a reduced version of my order via FedEx instead of USPS (?). Even though the total is under 150 USD - legal limit on imports via FedEx - the package gets pulled over en-route in England and sent back to Biotest.

Now, I'm pretty damn angry.

So, I make a stand-alone order of one tub of Surge Workout Fuel, because that's the one thing I'm running out of. It gets to Moscow.. And the f***ing customs people decide that the declared price of the shipment was "understated," so now it's getting sent back too, albeit in like a month. Why? Because it's f***ing Russia, and unlike England, parcels can't be rejected and sent back immediately, but have to be stuck in limbo for a MONTH.

Fuck. I'm pretty furious at both FedEx and the local omnipotent bureaucracy for fucking me over. Not only that, but FedEx has refused to refund me for their failure to deliver. The only way parcels get through here is if they don't get searched on their way in, AND for that you have to be using "regular" delivery, using which guarantees your goods will be stuck for a month at the post office before you get a notice.

And the thing that really gets to me is, they check any parcel above 270 USD in value AUTOMATICALLY. This means I have to waste money on multiple orders, all under 270 USD, AND take a chance of them getting stopped.

Just wanted to know if anyone knows how to get around customs in their own country? It's not like I'm ordering crystal meth and steeeeroids, god, just some perfectly legal substances. They could at least look at the label and check if it's all good or not!

What makes it worse is that 2 other website orders (Poliquin and Bodybuilding.com) got stopped and sent back, too.. Damn. Oh, for the record, it IS cheaper to get any supps online and have them shipped here. A kilo tub of crappy whey will run ya a good 50 USD here. PWO formulas, fish oils, and basically everything else is unavailable, PERIOD.


Get a plane ticket to colorado and some latex balloons.


Wow - & you're a level 4 too - sorry to hear that.

Where I work I also go the same runaround by RUS Customs when I tried to ship some samples to this guy - turns out Russian Customs rejected it since I sent it to the person instead of a company - WTF? Had to send it BACK after Fedex returned it to me THEN they charged me 3X to get it to him at about $300 a pop. Good thing it wasn't on my budget lol.

Anyhow, not su much circumventing Customs here in Canada I have my stuff shipped to my cousins in California when possible then they bring it down when they visit. Worst case scenario I have it sent USPS & after 3+ weeks it usually shows up at work with no Customs charges :slightly_smiling:


Russia eh?

I can tell you what works in Austria.

First, do not use Fed-Ex. They bend over backwards to please local authorities, they even fucking opened my package and faxed the ingredients to an insitute specialicing in toxic substances.

So, fuck them.

The USPS just does not care and Austrian customs usually do not care either.

If however they suspect that you want to import drugs or medicinal supplies they tell you that you cannot do so unless you have proper authorization.

Usually all I do then is permitting them to open it (yes, they don´t, Fed-Ex does) and find out for themselves that it is fucking fishoil and resvaterol.

Most of the time.

Then again that might not work for you because Russia is like, big, and you hardly have the time to go to them and yell at them in person and maybe it is not wise to yell at Russian officials.

However, everything that comes from another EU member does not even go through customs so you can import everything, including steroids.

To sum it up my advice would be this:

A) Fuck Fed-Ex

B) Find out whether there is a country that has a customs union with Russia and has less strict rules when it comes to importing American supplements.

Then pay someone to repackage it and send it to you.

That may cost slightly more, but having a package returned to Biotest costs much more.

I must say though that Biotest has returned my money minus shipping costs when my package was returned, which is exactly what they promise when you order from outside the US.

edited to make sense.


In Soviet Russia...


You have no idea, young buck. When I was in uni, telling people in my seminars about how things are in this country, I was surprised at how shocking it all was to your average Westerner. e.g. I paid a pair of cops 600 USD the other week to let me off the hook after I went into a one-way street through a stop sign (honest mistake, it used to be 2-way). They were nice enough to come to an ATM with me to receive their bribe. All in all, I probably have a few days' worth of tales that would keep most people's wheels spinning all through the night.

Orion, thanks. That really helps.. Yeah, Biotest returned me the money too, but it blows that I wasted so much money on botched delivery fees. Funniest shit is, turns out it's not even FedEx proper but a Russian-owned Franchise. (Common occurence, Russians are loathe to let foreigners make proper entries into their country). Worst of all, I'm about to run out of workout fuel and I still have dick as of today! Damn!

Your idea is a good one, but I fear the only country we have that kind of agreement with is Belorussia (hoo-fucking-ray. US and Canada get each other, Europeans get the EU, and we get.. Belorussia. Oh, the agony). Which is basically like Russia, but worse in every way you could think of. Another option is to get a US forwarder who will mark my parcels as gifts so I can order more than 300 USD's worth at a time.

Anyone ever used the services of a forwarder?


Yeah, I think it's USPS all the way from now on. :frowning: at you living in civilisation. As I alluded to in my other recent thread, the money here is good for someone with my background & education, but a lot of things one takes for granted in other countries are prohibitively expensive or unavailable.

But, all in all, Russian bureaucracy is very random and antiquated. Basically, a remnant from soviet times, like a lot of other things around here. It took me an entire day to pick up a few boxes of belongings I had airlifted from overseas when moving. An entire day of hellish running around, ridiculous forms, and standing in queues. The forms are literally so complex that you can't fill them in without professional help. Luckily, there are customs employees on hand who will help you out for a mere 30$ (rolls eyes).


If it is so bad for you as a citizen to obatin legal overseas supps. I wonder how much of a free ride Russian athletes get in terms of supplementation (besides steroids)

A solution can be found - maybe another T-Nation member in Russia can help out that does not experience such red tape when it comes to getting hooked up on Biotest products? (pun not intentional)

Good luck & hope it works out in the end...


Thanks for reminding me, I did and it went through customs without any problems, it was a small package though.

I´ll PM the person who sent me stuff from the US, maybe you two can work something out.


OP- it won't let me PM you. Try PMing me and I'll help you out


That's because he has to order everything twice.


That sucks, I brought my Flameout, Low-Carb Metabolic Drive, and some Poliquin supplements with me when I went to Europe 5 months ago. 4 countries and no problems, sorry to hear of your dilemma, hope it works out for you man.


That's really shitty, especially for trying to purchase items to improve your health and well being. I've never had any problems with customs, I guess the UK isn't that bad after all.



MaximusB, it's not a problem in the EU. It's not even a problem to bring stuff in through customs in the airport. It's just that if you're not there in person to defend and explain, laziness and knuckle-dragging prevail and you get f*cked.

Jjaybvee - We have contacts at local customs ourselves, but there's two problems.. First of all, the packages are quite big so an employee of FedEx can't exactly sneak them out without being noticed. Second, it just wouldn't be cost effective to pull that sort of thing unless it were a huge shipment :(. I am, however, laterally considering contacting Biotest to see if they're interested in setting up distribution here. That would make this more comercially viable, and I could get supps with ease :D.

As for Russian athletes, the common levels of knowledge with regards to supps are dismal. Hell, not many people are well-informed with regards to working out, period. Ironically, western sources (e.g. men's health) are far more popular and accessible than proven old-time methods.


Go to Laapenranta?


You're in Russia. You can get just about any "supplement" in the gyms over there.


$150 for nothing but shattered dreams and broken promises??

No thanks...

In mother russia you do not spend money, money spends you.


I'm not looking into those kinds of supplements :). And availability/pricing/knowledge of legal supps is very poor in this country.


Did my original message get moderated? Just wanted to say, I obviously don't blame Biotest in the least. They've been pretty cool about everything thus far.


And yet, somehow, Mikhail Koklyaev, living in the same country, managed to become one of the greatest strength athletes of all time, despite the lack of easy access to Biotest supps. Strange...