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My parents, who are both pensioners, received a foreign parcel slip to collect goods at the Pimville post office, which were sent by my sister-in-law who is based in Kansas.

Apparently, the goods included clothing and other stuff. But before we can collect, my mom, as the recipient, has to pay an amount of R1 861.24.

When we raised our reservation about this, the post office told us there was nothing they could do.

We then contacted my sister-in-law for her to clarify the said amount. To our amazement, she also does not understand why we are supposed to pay any money to have the goods released to us.

We then agreed that since we do not have that money, the post office should rather send the parcel to the sender and give us proof of that. The clerks at the Pimville post office then told us that SA Post Office and OR Tambo International Airport will take the matter up with their counterparts in the US.

Now, with all the crime that is happening in South Africa, we feel cheated and are not sure if there is any fraud being committed here (regarding the R1 861.24) or if the parcel will ever be sent back to the original sender.

Please advise us on what to do to ensure we are not being defrauded or if the parcel will reach its destination.

Tshepo Vana

Georgie: I’ve had similar complaints before. I agree with you that they shouldn’t be charging for gifts but that is a customs matter. The Post Office told me they don’t determine customs duties - that’s up to Sars. You could submit a letter asking Sars to re-assess the parcel for customs duties - the SA Post Office can also do that for you.