Invoices needed for Christmas packages

| 09/12/2013

(CNS): In the face of the anticipated Christmas parcel snarl up, the Cayman Islands Postal Service (CIPS) is urging customers to submit invoices for their own holiday parcels as well as ‘Watch for Requests’ for traceable items or parcels not addressed properly. CIPS said that without an invoice, customs cannot assess the duty people are required to pay before they can have their packages and they will have to queue to collect them during the now restricted hours at the customs counter at the Airport post office, where packages can be opened. Officials said customers can submit invoices via email to: or by fax to 345-945-6876. 

They should also include the following information:  The item’s tracking number (13 character number in the format of XX000 000 000 XX). The tracking number is essential to match the invoice to the package. The addressee’s name and postal address, the addressee’s email address (if available) and the invoice

“Without an invoice, the duty cannot be assessed,” Deputy Postmaster General of Operations, Melissa Martinez-Ebanks, explained. “This means the customer will have to go to the Customs counter at the Airport Post Office, which is only open between 11:00am and 2:00pm Monday through Friday, and 9:00am to 12:00 noon on Saturdays, to clear the package.”

The Watch For Request was intended for customers who realize their package did not have all the addressing elements required for delivery; namely, a post office box number and postcode.  However, the process can be used by any customer with a tracking number and, if the customer wishes, it offers the added benefit of receiving the notice via email within seconds of the item being processed.

“Our normal process is to send the notice to the customer’s mail box. In cases where the delivery address does not include a valid post office box number, this is not possible—often what we see is street addresses. However, we recognise that our normal process includes the time necessary to sort and deliver the hard copy of the notice. If customers wish, they may submit a Watch For Request for any item with a tracking number. If the request includes a valid email address, the notice will be emailed to the customer as soon as the item is ready for collection, thus allowing the customer to receive the notice quicker,” Martinez-Ebanks added. 

She said the “Watch For Request” is also useful for customers who share a post office box and may not have access at their own discretion. It is the only alternative for receiving the notice for items that do not include a post office box.

The Watch for Request forms are available at any post office and can also be downloaded from  Alternatively, customers can telephone 945-6875 and provide the necessary information.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Is it just me, or do all public services suck on island?

  2. Gut Check says:

    The joy is even more festive on the Sister Islands;    my relative on the Brac received a package sent from the U.S.  — a GIFT — and it was opened by Customs in Grand Cayman.  

    I thought the law mandated that packages be opened in the recipient's presence.   Apparently there is no recourse for breaking those laws, and, in fact, in these difficult times, my relative was glad to get the package at all.  

    God bless us, everyone!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Blame the ones smuggling in items that are not gifts, money laundering, or just trying to not pay duty, it is not the Post Office workers/customs workers fault that they have to do this it is thier job. You could not pay me enough to have their job this time of year. On the down size when I went to pick up my package it was frustrating that at 9am I couldnt pick it up until 11pm by which time the line was horrendos! take a snack and a good book to read, also I found it easier by mailing the parels mid November to beat the rush and rude customers that just upset the worker who now has an attitue with me!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes it is my fault.  I did not know that having some dirty new clothes in suitcase after a Miami weekend was the cause of the Cayman Islands having an abysmal postal "service".

    • Anonymous says:

      "Blame the ones smuggling in items that are not gifts, money laundering, or just trying to not pay duty,"
      Presumably you mean the locals who lug 42' TVs past their friends on the customs desk at Owen Roberts without paying any duty?

  4. Anonymous says:

    all mail in cayman are bloody slow as they only work from 0900 till 1600 meanwhile rest of world work round the clock for 365 days! it is a joke. we are living 21st century not 18th century where mail more likely go faster than cayman post!!

    • Anonymous says:

      You are using "work" in the loosest possible sense.

    • Anonymous says:
  5. Anonymous says:

    Dear Santa, for Christmas I would like nothing at all so that I don't have to go to the God-forsaken Airport Post Office to waste half a day dealingwith morons then watch them open my gifts in front of me and pay for the privilege. You can also cancel delivery of the 2012 Christmas presents that haven't arrived yet.

    • Anonymous says:
      By the way you come across as the real moron here.
  6. Anonymous says:

    We are lucky to have one of the world's greatest postal services, remember JuJu got a medal.  CIPS managed this by doing away with things that other postal services did, like delivering post, dealing with post promptly, looking after post in transit and most of all completely doing away with customer services.  Heck, CIPS is so good you get to pay them to go to them to pick up your parcels which had full post paid. 

    • Anonymous says:

      You are confusing postage paid and duty paid.If you have to pay to collect your parcel, it would be for Customs Duty and not postage.

  7. Anonymous says:

    One would think they might refer to the name if the post box is not valid, just like Benjamin Franklin used to do it, or have a "general delivery." How can the mail be so difficult to get right?

  8. Anonymous says:

    I am abroad and sent a Christmas parcel to an elderly and hard-of-hearing couple who do not have email. Even though the P.O. box is identified, I now hope it doesn't arrive. It will cause unnecessary worry and confusion if I try to explain the retrieval process over the 'phone.

  9. Anonymous says:

    On Christmas Day do the staff from APO have their family line up at the dining table so that the customs person opens each family member's gift in front of them?  Just so they can experience the same festive joy as us.

    • Anonymous says:

      To be authentic, the present giving ceremony would need to happen in April and at least half the parcels would need to be damaged beyond repair.

    • Bear Baiter says:

      I clicked on LOL but it's really NOT funny. For Customs to reduce it's opening hours at the APO to only 3 per day is just plain ridiculous! Ridiculous at ANY time, but to do so during hte Christmas season should be considered a CRIMINAL OFFENSE! Come on Government – let's have some proper service. (Never was very good but now?)

    • Postman Pat says:

      And ask the time honoured question, "is this something you ordered"!

  10. Anonymous says:

    But if there is not an invoice they usually assess value at a fraction of cost.