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  1. #1
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    Quarry's Avatar
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    Default Postal Restrictions: Flammables/Perfume--do you comply?

    Member Coconut in Hong Kong, who is obviously a more conscientious citizen of Planet Earth than I, inspired me to look at global postal regulations online and consider the where, what, and why of them.

    I've been mailing across the Atlantic without regard to the combustible or explosive nature of our beloved, bottled juices and have had trouble only in completing a swap with someone who lives less than 200 miles away (the Naperville, Illinois, P.O. confiscates many of this gal's packages, and she finds out only when the recipient is left high and dry for weeks). Usually I mail from home and stick on the appropriate postage, but when I sent some perfume to Tennessee some weeks ago, I did so at the P.O., and told the clerk it was perfume when she inquired about the contents, but she had no trouble with it (maybe because it was such a small package?).

    Compliance and enforcement seem willy-nilly. So are we to ignore the rules up to a certain weight and not feel guilty? I see that the topic of mailing alcohol-based fragrances has been debated in an ebay community board (link). What are your thoughts?
    Last edited by Quarry; 26th November 2006 at 07:21 PM.
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  2. #2

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    Default Re: Postal Restrictions: Flammables/Perfume--do you comply?

    My thinking on it is that small packages aren't an issue. The last time I sent a package to Sweden, she asked about the contents, I told her a small decant of perfume, she pursed her lips, wrinkled her brow and said, "we'll call it cosmetics." I don't know if the laws have changed, but I know many companies in the past used the USPS but had to have a permit to do so. Yves Rocher, StrawberryNet and Jeanne Arthes still ship via the postal service. Of course, the only other option for the latter two would be by boat. So, if flammability is the issue, are certain precautions taken when they are aware of the contents? I guess I'll just depend on the discretion of the postal employees. They obviously know what's safe and, being federal, I think they pretty much walk a thin line. Good question, though.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Postal Restrictions: Flammables/Perfume--do you comply?

    How come there is no problem for me to order perfume from for example FragranceX? They send via air mail, and clearly declarate on the parcel what it contains (if I purchase for letīs say 40 bucks, they write half the value on the parcel, though. But I guess thatīs mainly for me not getting in trouble with the Norwegian costums).
    When I have sent perfume to US I have written anything from "perfume samples"
    to "kitchen utensils", but the recipient never got any troble with that.( Not that I know, anyway).
    Bit puzzling.

  4. #4

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    Default Re: Postal Restrictions: Flammables/Perfume--do you comply?

    Nope.

    And I was never here and I never wrote that.

    "The world is ruled by letting things take their course. It cannot be ruled by interfering." Lao Tze

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    Default Re: Postal Restrictions: Flammables/Perfume--do you comply?

    From shopping at Drugstore.com I have noticed that some volatile items (like nail polish remover) have to be shipped domestically via ground. I notice the Les Nez samples came marked as cosmetic samples.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Postal Restrictions: Flammables/Perfume--do you comply?

    Perfume Shoppe in Vancouver also ships as "cosmetic samples."

    Retailers have special permits to ship their items, or they use alternative outlets.

    I tried shipping a lotion to Germany (new, untested), which shouldn't have been an issue since it isn't liquid, and I was interrogated about the contents. I had written "lotion" on the form, was asked if it were perfume, and had to change it to "face cream," before the clerk was satisfied.

    I also had trouble shipping one of those lamp rings to the UK, without any fragrance oil. I was asked its purpose and if it had any flammable liquid with it.

  7. #7

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    Default Re: Postal Restrictions: Flammables/Perfume--do you comply?

    Seems the laws may be somewhat vague and shifty in this area. I suppose that may be so that individuals POs can have discretion and adapt as they see necessary? I have also heard that perfumes were never meant to be covered by the "flammable liquids" laws and that different regions/ POs interpret differently, as perfumes were not specifically excluded, but I've never seen these laws in writing. In fact, are they actual laws or guidelines??

  8. #8

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    Default Re: Postal Restrictions: Flammables/Perfume--do you comply?

    There's a big poster on the wall of my local post office, with the big red circle and slash. It has pictures of what not to send, and there is a picture of an average looking bottle of perfume. My postlady said it wasn't the USPS but the airlines that were concerned, for anything going on a plane. She suggested I put my samples in double ziplock bags so that if they cracked in a hot, non-pressurized cargo hold the liquid would be contained.

    I've always told her the truth about what I'm mailing, since I would hope lying to the federal postal service is some kind of crime, and some kind of federal crime at that. I asked her before hand what to do when I had some full bottles to ship -- that's when she suggested two ziplock bags.

    I mailed bottles to kewart, though, from US to UK, and I forgot to do it.

  9. #9
    Lightninrod's Avatar
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    Default Re: Postal Restrictions: Flammables/Perfume--do you comply?

    My answer: "Used cosmetics worth less than $20."

    You want to get really nervous; order a box of Cuban cigars from Europe............................................ ....


    Dan
    [SIZE=3][SIZE=2]"We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force." Ayn Rand...[/SIZE][/SIZE]

    "The essence of fascism is to make laws forbidding everything and then enforce them selectively against your enemies."
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Postal Restrictions: Flammables/Perfume--do you comply?

    Call your local Post Office before-hand and ask what their policy is on shipping the type of stuff you want to ship. This way, you can get the information "annonymously" and you will have an idea how to handle an interrogation at the counter.

    The US Postal Service has a standard set of regulations (Domestic Mail Manual (DMM), International Mail Manual (IMM)) that it is supposed to adhere to but each local post master is basically king of his castle. One Post Office may enforce a certain rule very strictly while the one 5 miles away couldn't care less. Some Post Offices add their own rules.

    Here's another link that might be helpful Hazardous, Restricted, and Perishable Mail
    Last edited by MadScientist; 26th November 2006 at 10:28 PM.

  11. #11

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    Default Re: Postal Restrictions: Flammables/Perfume--do you comply?

    Thank you Mad, my postlady is on the money. Liquid (obnoxious odor?? well, that a matter of opinion for sure!) that is less than 4oz, glass container subject to damage extreme temperature or low pressure, the guide says put it in a plastic bag.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Postal Restrictions: Flammables/Perfume--do you comply?

    To put it plainly Strawberrynet BREAKS THE LAW with their shipping practices. See, there is this thijng call IATA and they have DG regulations about how Dangerous Goods are supposed to be documented and marked? Ever get a "two day" service from Philosophy or similar professional outfit. See that little ORMD sticker on it? That means they are abiding by air cargo laws both national and international. Why do you think most perfume distributors on line ship via UPS ground in the USofA?? because CFR49 rules governing domestic carriage by road are less stringent. Dont like it and get caught sending perfumes by air because the TSA does a random inspection of your box? Just be prepared to write a nice little 25K check. It is the LAW and whether you like it or not, it is being enforced.

    Strawberry net could get slammed six ways from Sunday if IATA found out that they were playing sending stuff international air unmarked and undocumented. And that is just the plain honest truth from someone who is certified by IATA to perpare the paperwork for and handle the shipment of dangerous goods. Try to tender a shipment of perfume samples or bottle for me to airfreight and I AM going to make sure that all paperwork is in order and all DG fees are paid or it will be a no go. Simple as that.
    We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give - W. Churchill

  13. #13

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    Default Re: Postal Restrictions: Flammables/Perfume--do you comply?

    Jaelynn I'm so glad you are on this board, because you sound like you have actually read these laws! Are they laws or guidelines? What exactly do they say? In layman's terms, of course, for us non-lawyer types. And why were the laws/guidelines enacted? I have asked 10 postmen about this and each has given me a substantially different answer. Please let us know more. As a frequent air traveler, I wouldn't want to travel with undocumented dangerous stuff in cargo under my (or my kids') seats. Are we talking just the alcohol-based perfume, perfumes under pressure, oil based or solids?

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Postal Restrictions: Flammables/Perfume--do you comply?

    I went to the US postal system's website, typed in "perfume," and was STUNNED to see an article bragging up how the USPS got Parfum1.com to contract with the Post Office to send all their orders by Priority Mail. Is this one of those instances where a company earned that ORMD sticker jaelyn mentions? What does the shipper need to do to make their packages kosher? Is the key here ground travel?

    Each mailpiece must be plainly and durably marked on the address side with "Surface Only" or "Surface Mail Only" and "Consumer Commodity ORM-D."

    http://www.usps.com/news/online/03_0114_1.htm
    Last edited by Quarry; 27th November 2006 at 03:08 PM.
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  15. #15

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    Default Re: Postal Restrictions: Flammables/Perfume--do you comply?

    Apparently it is O.K. to mail perfume domestically via Priority Mail. The article about Perfume1.com is proof of that, published on the USPS's own website.
    I have been told it is a violation to send perfume internationally via regular mail. It may be stopped at customs. (Technically, we are supposed to be paying duty on that perfume, too.)
    I called FedEx to see what it would cost to get a bottle of parfum shipped from Canada in compliance with regulations for "hazardous materials," and the cost was an exhorbitant $50 for one bottle.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Postal Restrictions: Flammables/Perfume--do you comply?

    Hello All, thanks for the clarification...
    I went to the post office today, and I was told that flammable goods is prohibited
    I am a bit lost. I will probably won't be able to swap with anybody overseas

  17. #17

    Default Re: Postal Restrictions: Flammables/Perfume--do you comply?

    Elf, they are international laws and not mere suggestions. Signatories to the Dangerous Goods conventions enforce the laws in their countries. There are very thick books that tell one all about how to and what one can send by air, tons of regulations. It applies to air cargo in the main so packign a bottle of fragrance in your checked baggage is exempt...for what reason I do not know. As for what is regulated? contents under pressure have certain regulations and classifications (explosivity if exposed to extreme heat being a prime concern as well as regulated gas propellants in such mixtures), alcohol based fragrances are flammable liquids, fragrance oils are often regulated by flash point. Solids perfumes are generallyh considered inert and in a class with lipsticks or eyeshadows and not regulated insofar as I know.

    If Perfume1 is authorized by the USPS to ship via air it means that they have taken the wise step of having someone certified by IATA in dangerous goods (like me) working in their shipping department; and this person is responsible for packing, marking, and making sure all DG paperwork is in perfect order. No one ever said nobody can send perfumes through the mail or by airfreight. It is just tightly regulated. Be sure that if you order priority from Perfume1 that they are in compliance with all domestic and international DG regulations. Thumbs up to them for stepping up and being a professional operation.

    It is all am matter of having everything properly documented, marked, and labeled. I've shipped batteries filled with acid before - no problem if done in accordance with all regulations. And the regulations also cover what may be shipped as cargo in the belly of a passenger aircraft and how much as well as what and how much may be shipped in an all cargo aircraft (more).

    IATA DG schools are soemwhere around $300 foir the 3 day course and you have to pass a test with a score above 80% I believe. Me? My last recertification I got a 95%.
    We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give - W. Churchill

  18. #18

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    Default Re: Postal Restrictions: Flammables/Perfume--do you comply?

    Thank you Jaelynn! That was helpful, and important for all perfumistas, I think. APOs are a little confusing in that it is US mail, but sent (presumably) by air. Alaska and Hawaii would be in the same position. I'm sure some of the military post people are IATA-certified, though, so it would be a good idea to ask and seek them out when necessary.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Postal Restrictions: Flammables/Perfume--do you comply?

    Thank you, everyone and especially jaelyn, for focusing on this important topic. I don't know why this hasn't been discussed thoroughly here before. I'll take a second look at solid scents now just because there more mail-worthy.

    Moderators, Tig, LL--does this subject appear "sticky" worthy?
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