Our Fight With Customs

The compressor in our refrigerator went up a few weeks ago, and it’s been a hard go ever since, trying to get a replacement. We’d heard from several sources that having things sent into Mexico can be a nightmare. Still, we need the parts, and so the process began. We started with the “West Marine” in Cancun, Servimar. The man there said that he thought it was possible to get it through his rep. Delivery would be ten business days, and he’d get back to us to confirm…we’re still waiting.

With little faith in that avenue, we were told to order through Defender, (a company that we used extensively throughout our refit, and offer fantastic customer service), mark it for a “yacht in transit” and have the parts shipped directly to the Fed Ex office in Cancun. The package arrived in Merida, Mexico (three hours from Cancun) three days later! Unfortunately, it’s been there for the last two weeks.

We received an email from both Defender and Fed Ex that the shipment was being held in customs, and awaiting further information. Several phone numbers were provided, but no information needed for shipment. We went to an internet cafe in town to make the call. Thankfully, the owner phoned on our behalf. After some arguing, he was told that there would be an email sent, with the required information. Scott returned in the afternoon, and Adrian phoned again. After more arguing, and some hang-ups on the customs end, it was determined that they would only proceed through email. O-KAAY.

After several emails, Scott was told that he needed an agent to proceed, but there was no information provided. Scott replied, asking for some help, and was provided with a list of agents. He emailed all of them. Only one replied, asking for details and information that Scott had already included in his original email to all of the agents.

Things went quiet on Thursday and Friday, as everything here shut down for the Easter holiday. On Monday, Scott sent an email asking for an update. He got a reply that without a commercial invoice, they could not proceed, and that they could not help him.  ???????  We ordered the parts from a commercial company, and are willing to do or provide whatever they need to get these things shipped! Scott then asked what he needed to do to proceed, what more information did they want? We’ve had no reply.

We have now contacted Defender. Scott explained that unless they have a way to help us, we’ll need to have the items returned for a refund. We’ll start again fresh in Honduras, with an agent. Defender has contacted Fed Ex and Mexican Fed Ex, but we are still waiting for a response. The winds don’t look good for us to head for Honduras for another week to ten days, so we are willing to give it that long.

In the meantime, we are fortunate that our refrigerator and freezer also have a 120 volt powered holding plate system as well. However, that means we have to run the generator every day for a few hours, as opposed to every two to three days. Generators like to run with a full “load” of things drawing power, so we’ve been making water like crazy, and using the ice machine as well. We end up with extra power, as the solar panels put out a ton during the day, so I am also washing clothes, towels and sheets like mad. Silver lining??

Scott can’t stand this process, so we’ve shifted things a bit. We defrosted the freezer, and that will act as our refrigerator until we get this settled. Howard was very intrigued with the process.

I purchased an Engel eight years ago, for our winter cruise to Florida, and it has been acting as our beverage fridge. For those who don’t know, the Engel can act as a cooler, fridge or freezer. It has a compressor, and works on either 12 volts or 120. Things stay incredibly crazy cold, and it freezes things into a hard block; it’s worth it’s weight in gold.

It’s now loaded with almost all of the contents from our freezer.

The contents of our refrigerator went into a cooler out in the cockpit, until we got the freezer defrosted and dried out a bit. I have one less shelf in there, so things are a bit piled up, but it’s doing the job.

So that’s our customs saga. We continue to wait, but aren’t holding our breath.

“Shells Sink, Dreams Float. Life’s Good On Our Boat!”


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