Wednesday, 25 May 2011

The Battery Hazard

This is strange.

Did you know that you can't send batteries in the post?

I intended to send the shaver that I bought my father by EMS from Japan to Australia. They ALWAYS ask at the post office if there are any batteries. I feigned ignorance and persuaded them to accept the package. Time was tight and I had to get to work. I didn't want to waste time.

I checked the tracking and my heart stopped when I saw "Return To Sender". I immediately thought I'd wasted all this money on a shaver that was un-sendable, or somehow unscrewing it to remove an non user-serviceable internal battery.

Strangely though, the problem they had was just the cleaning alcohol. I removed it and it was magically back on its way. Originally posted Tuesday the 10th (and resent on the 12th), arrived a whole week later on the 17th!

Now that I'm using my GH1 as my main camera, I decided to send my old Nikon back home. I thought if the shaver got through, I'd try not only the camera, but my iPhone 3G as well.

Again I checked the tracking and BAM! Return to Sender again..

I got the call on Saturday that it was in Shinjuku, so I diverted my drinking plans to make an emergency rendezvous with my package. Of course this time it HAD to be the battery.

Again strangely it was ONLY the iPhone that was red-marked as undeliverable. Looks like with their x-rays they could tell. With a crossing of his hands to say no, the post clerk told me "Smartphone". Once again removing the iPhone, the camera was allowed through. I was relieved that at least the camera could go. May 19th arrived May 25th - Not too bad but it would've got there quicker without this debacle.

I don't get it. Why can you fly on a plane up to your eyeballs with mobile phones, laptops, and bottles of intoxicating, yet flammable alcohol, yet with the post they make you jump through hoops trying to send them?

My guess is a curbing of overseas parallel imports, and international internet auctions. Sure, there was a case of exploding laptop batteries in a Sony laptop years ago that might have prompted this, but what doesn't have a battery these days?

Crazy. Seems like it's not just Japan though. In Australia lithium batteries can only be send by road with Australia Post.

What a headache.


Adam Smith Lieberfarb said...

Same thing happened to me when I bought a defective replacement battery for my Powerbook in the States. When trying to send it back to the US, the post office sent it to the return address by mistake. The entire staff of my local post office all bowed in apology when I went round to sort it out. Of course they offered to resend it, but when they asked was it was, I was told they CAN'T ship it. Ditto for FedEx and UPS. Solution: write "computer parts" on the description instead of battery! Stick a needle in my eye...

Jimmy In Japan said...

I've heard of that solution.They got me to write "no battery", but if they want to send it back they will. Bit of hit and miss by the sound of things.