Nearly 10 days after the charge known as despacho postal was put in place by the Brazilian national postal service, Correios, there are still many doubts and misinformation everywhere. In order to shed some light on this matter both for merchants struggling with increased complaints from their consumers, and buyers who were caught by surprise when the charge started being applied to their international purchases on August 27th, we took it upon ourselves to reach out to Correios representatives and gather some answers.
First and foremost, it is important to highlight that despacho postal is not another import tax or shipping fee. Even though the most common headline in the past few days was “the end of free shipping”, Correios has remarked that the charge is a handling fee, meaning they are charging for a service they provide, which other couriers such as DLH and Fedex do as well. Additionally, the despacho postal has already been applied to all parcels that are charged import duties since 2014 and, according to Correios, it was extended to all parcels due to the increased number of international parcels arriving in Brazil on a daily basis.
Below, we have prepared a list of Q&A based on our talk with Correios representatives. Check it out:
1. Is it true that parcels originated from China with tracking codes starting in CP, LZ, EA, and LX are being released without the charge of despacho postal?
These codes are associated with the shipping modality known as EMS (with ePacket being the most popular service). Correios’ official position is that all parcels arriving under this modality are subject to the charge. However, our contact highlighted that due to the priority nature this type of parcel receives, it is possible that they could be released without the charge, at least for now.
We have dug deeper into this as we noticed a lot of buzz on Facebook groups, such as this Shopify group, and on Twitter, particularly on the Muambator profile, the popular parcel tracking system for Brazilians purchasing from abroad. According to a Muambator post, dated September 3rd, the information regarding ePacket/EMS parcels being released without charge was verified on their systems. Additionally, it seems that other EMS parcels coming from different countries are not being charged either. Under the hashtag #naoehsopelos15, we can find the testimonies of many users who had their parcels released without the charge.
Furthermore, on the Facebook group mentioned above, it was noted that, according to an international agreement signed by several postal services around the world, EMS parcels need to be released within 24 hours after being received by the countries’ custom. As users are given 30 days to pay the despacho postal, it seems to make sense that these parcels are not being charged. Merchants on the group mention that, in their experience, all parcels sent under this modality have not been charged, unlike those sent as Pequena Encomenda Registrada. Therefore, their recommendation is to choose EMS shipping service providers, such as ePacket, to avoid despacho postal, regardless of Correios official position about the charge.
2. Are recipients notified of the charge so that they can pay it?
No notification is sent to recipients by Correios (except in the case listed under question 11). The merchants need to send the tracking code to the buyers so that they can check the status by tracking their parcels online.
3. Is there any step by step guide on how to pay the despacho postal?
4. When does the delivery time of 40 days given by Correios start?
The delivery time starts after the payment of despacho postal is confirmed. Therefore, it is not 40 days from the date of shipment nor from the arrival of the parcel in Brazil.
5. Can senders pre-pay the despacho postal?
Correios’ first priority is to universalize the charge. However, our contact noted they are studying options that could make the pre-payment possible. Once we hear more on this, the answer will be updated.
6. Is it possible to bulk pay for several parcels?
Correios are studying this option. At the moment, however, the payment has to be done individually for each tracking number.
7. What are the criteria determining which parcels are charged the despacho postal after August 27th?
Every parcel inspected by Correios on behalf of Brazilian customs from August 27th onwards is subject to the charge, regardless of the shipping or arrival date.
8. Can payment be done in person in one of Correios agency?
No, the payment can only be done online. Users can pay with credit card, with instant payment confirmation, or with boleto bancário, which can take up to three days to be confirmed.
9. Is it possible to change the payment method after choosing one (for instance, after generating a boleto bancário, can users pay with credit card)?
No, at the moment, this change is not possible as in the past it has generated discrepancies in the Correios system. For instance, buyers would generate a boleto, pay with credit card and later pay the boleto as well. Correios would then have duplicated payments and would need to deal with refunds. To avoid this problem, users cannot go back and change their choice of payment method.
10. Will users registered with ID Correios be notified by email when they have a parcel with pending payment of despacho postal?
At the moment, the despacho postal can only be checked by tracking the parcel. Correios recommend users to access this area using their CPF in order to avoid any problems logging in.
11. Many parcels arrive in Brazil in the modality known as Pequena Encomenda Simples. These parcels do not have a tracking number. Are they subject to despacho postal?
As Correios stated in their initial communication, Pequenas Encomendas Simples are subject to the charge of despacho postal. Initially, the person receiving this type of parcel will be notified via SMS or ordinary letter. Correios is working on a different alternative that would allow users to track the parcel once it arrives in Brazil. However, our contact did not have full details of the operational side. We will make sure to extend this answer once we have more detailed information.
We hope this helps clear merchants and consumers doubts about the despacho postal. If you have more questions, contact the Correios support channels.