Here at the Law Office of Vincent Miletti, Esq. and the home of the #UnusuallyMotivated movement, we take pride as a resilient and dependable legal services firm, providing such services in both a traditional and online, web-based environment. With mastered specialization in areas such as Employment and Labor Law, Intellectual Property (IP) (trademark, copyright, patent), Entertainment Law, and e-Commerce (Supply Chain, Distribution, Fulfillment, Standard Legal & Regulatory), we provide a range of legal services including, but not limited to traditional legal representation (litigation, mediation, arbitration, opinion letters and advisory), non-litigated business legal representation and legal counsel, and unique, online legal services such as smart forms, mobile training, legal marketing and development. Still, we feel obligated to enlighten, educate, and create awareness, free of charge, about how these issues and many others affect our unusually motivated® readers and/or their businesses. Accordingly, in order to achieve this goal, and as part of our continued commitment to you, we have committed ourselves to creating authoritative, trustworthy & distinctive content, which is featured as videos that are posted on our YouTube Channel and blogs that are published on our website WWW.MILETTILAW.COM. With that, the ball is in your court and you have an effortless obligation to subscribe to the channel and sign up for the Newsletter on the website, which encompasses the best way to ensure that you stay in the loop and feel the positive impact of the knowledge bombs that we drop here!

In that spirit, we introduce you to a new video bearing the same title as this blog and accessible through the link provided at the end. As usual, the video has been prepared by Mr. Vinny, the most #UnusuallyMotivated lawyer and adroit attorney at Miletti Law®. By way of backdrop we found it necessary to create this video following the rise in problems and issues with customs at the border of late. If you are in the field of e-commerce, you have probably experienced extended delays with your shipments and cargo following persistent hold-ups at the customs. As a result, these things end up sitting at warehouses and ports and airports and no one knows how to go about it. In a way, we dissect and disentangle these issues in order to enhance your understanding of customs delays and customs notifications, we also aim to provide you with hints and tips of how to avoid the same.

With that in mind, let us dive right in.

Customs delays are bad for business. When your cargo or shipment sits at the port or airport forever, you fail to meet your delivery deadlines and customer expectations. The situation gets worse especially when you get scary and unusual letters and messages from customs or various freight companies such as FedEx, UPS, and DHL. While some notify you about delays or seizure of goods, others inform that your delivery process could not be completed because of a delay with this or that stuff.

As a starting point to disentangling these matters, let us start with what happens at the port. Especially when you are importing, your package must go through the customs at the port or airport for inspection – well, if you do it the legal way. However, inspection of cargo or freight is usually long & intricate, and involves a process known as HTS (Harmonized Tariff Schedule), which provides a uniformed framework under which statistical categories and tariff rates for all merchandise entering the United States are set.

  • Some common reasons why your merchandise get stuck with the customs longer than expected include, but not limited to the following:
  • You might not have relevant or appropriate shipping documents or a part of the documentation might be missing.
  • You might have an incomplete and/or incorrect shipper (the shipping company) and consignee (the receiver) information.
  • You might lack a proper description of merchandise (customs requires individual and specific goods to be adequately and individually described).
  • If the client master file data (a database where individual shipper’s information, your POA (power of attorneys), and/or bond information is stored) is missing some information or not up-to-date.
  • If the shipper has not used company letterhead on documents (such as a logo) or uses some kind of discreet company brand, the merchandise will be delayed as customs try to establish its ingenuity.
  • For failing to discuss the “incoterms” (a set of 11 internationally recognized rules), which define the responsibilities of buyers and sellers when it comes to taking the risk of delivery, insurance, and other associated costs. Popular incoterms include FOB (free on board) and CIF (cost, insurance, and freight).
  • Having an incorrect currency code for the designated countries.
  • Failing to fill out the type of shipment or freight (whether it is an import or export).
  • Indicating an incorrect country of origin.
  • Missing or failing to provide the appropriate broker information.
  • Failure to provide accurate HTS (Harmonized Tariff Schedule) information.

In a nutshell, each of these items are reasons why your merchandise get delayed at customs. Thus, in order to avoid the delays and save yourself the headache of scary letters and notifications, you need to address each of the items, particularly if it concerns you and where you have a role to play. It is your obligation to provide the correct and relevant information and documentation where needed. Remember, thousands of items are being shipped through the same customs channels and while it is understandable that to err is human, the computerized systems are not programmed to understand that you made a mistake in this or that part and, therefore, let you walk somehow scot-free. Rather, when the alarm is raised, your merchandise exits the inspection and clearance list and is replaced by the next one in line. By the time they reach you with a notification, it is probably past deadline and you or your business has to take a mandatory hit.

We invite you to review our video at

Stay tuned for more guidance and counsel and, as always, strive to be #UnusuallyMotivated. In the interim, reach us out at the Contact Us page for answers to your questions and comments or to seek our legal services.

Always rising above the bar,

Isaac T.,

Legal Writer & Author.