Monday, August 9, 2010

What Do You Mean...It's Not OK to Ship That?

What Do You Mean...It's Not OK to Ship That?
Almost everyone knows there are some items you are not allowed to ship. A couple of examples: Illegal things (obviously and which will not apply to this group); Gasoline (even in an approved container) or other hazardous items - and, well, you get the idea. For other items it can be much less obvious. For example, the PACT (Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking) Act means cigarettes, including roll-your-own tobacco and smokeless tobacco cannot be shipped using the Post Office, FedEx or UPS. Cigars? No problem. Cigarette shipments from authorized companies for testing, health or regulatory purposes? OK.

Let's look at other items. Chickens and snakes in the mail? That's OK. Hamsters? Not so much. Bees? Sure, but only a queen bee can go by air, even though she can be accompanied by up to 8 honeybees. And even though there are no federal restrictions against sending that nice bottle of wine to someone, the carriers do not accept those shipments, except in some situations involving licensed dealers. But there may still be state-to-state restrictions. Get the idea that shipping regulations can be complicated? Yes!

For shipments originating and delivered in the US, there are regulations that most shippers are aware of. If you have items you are not sure about, you should definitely ask about the carriers' rules as well as check federal and state law. Domestic restrictions are interesting enough, but the real adventure starts with international shipping.

Want to use the post office to send a package to someone in the United Kingdom with items in the box to be distributed to others? Not allowed. How about sending playing cards to Germany? Not unless they are brand new in the box, unopened with the wrapper intact. Or sending a feeding bottle to France? Nope. These are samples of items that are completely prohibited.

We would like to say that we made up these examples, but these are real. If you have any doubt about if it's OK to ship a particular item, be sure to check with the proper authorities to stay out of hot water. But playing cards to Germany? Maybe you better check anyway.

Good luck and good shipping!

Related Links

Summary of the US Government PACT Act - S. 1147: PACT Act

UPS Wine Shipping Guidelines

UPS Restricted and Prohibited International Items

USPS Shipping Restrictions

USPS Aviation Mail Security & Hazardous Materials

USPS Military Mailing Restrictions

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