Email sent to to Ryan Golembeski regarding the incident, which provides some details. The company attempted to strong arm me by citing laws, regulations, and internal policies that are never made public and completely unverified. Currently awaiting response.
Attn: Ryan Golembeski
Director of US operations
Dear Mr. Golembeski,
This email is in response to several exchanges between representatives of Bongo International that took place between the dates of 22/2/13 - 12/3/13. The exchange is regarding the shipping of an outdoor camping knife to Hong Kong.
I was expecting a high level response from someone at a management level, someone that can provide actual legal basis for your internal policies, which are not made public. So far my experience with dealing with your customer service can best be described as playing monopoly with someone that decides to amend or make new rules whenever they see fit.
First, I was told that the issue was with your courier. I spoke to DHL and they said that they were under no such restriction when shipping to Hong Kong. Then, I was told that your company cannot ship anything that might be construed as a weapon, but that shipping culinary knives would be no issue. This makes absolutely no sense - as my item is an outdoor camping tool. Then, I was told that your legal terms and conditions prohibit the shipping of the item under the blanket of 'hazardous and dangerous materials'. A term that is legally applied to chemical or other hazmat materials. Now, your company is citing a so-called esoteric US military regulation that governs the shipping of goods that can be used against the US military.
According to your own website (US to HK transit page), the HK government department, and your courier's website and a representative at DHL Hong Kong - there is no restriction on shipping such an item to Hong Kong.
Bongo International has failed in it's duty as a freight forwarder. A company cannot simply invent regulations when it suits them, in order to justify internal policies that are not made public.
I had agreed with one your account managers to pay the entire shipping cost for all my items to be shipped within the state (CT), in exchange for this so-called regulation that your company is claiming it is governed by - which apparently does not permit the shipping of 'any item that can be used against the US military in any way.'
If such regulation cannot be produced, then it is the company's duty to bear the cost of shipping domestically because Bongo International does not expressly or impliedly state that the shipping of such items would be in contravention of any regulations. A company cannot simply cite internal policy, if such policy is not made transparent to a consumer on it's website, or anywhere or that matter.
I would have sought other means of shipping had this restriction been made clear to me. I reviewed all the terms and conditions and checked the company's restricted items list before making my order. Therefore, the minor cost of shipping all my items within the state, to my agent, is a cost that must be borne by Bongo International.
Furthermore, Bongo International has no legal right to retain my property on site. You are legally obligated to turn over my property to any agent, so appointed. I do not accept that it is a 'closed facility' - which means that my agent cannot access my property, to which you are currently holding. There is no legal basis for this argument.
I find it very troubling the treatment of your customers, simply because they are based overseas. I would suggest Bongo International treat this complaint with the level of seriousness it merits. Otherwise, I will be left with no choice but to exercise my consumer rights in this matter.