Common Mistakes in Customs Documentation and How to Avoid Them

A person’s hands holding a blue wooden block that reads “CUSTOMS” and brown blocks with custom images in El Paso.

When it comes to importing and exporting goods, customs regulations can be the toughest aspect involved. Seemingly, every country has different customs, rules, and regulations, which often leads to documentation errors and mistakes. Unfortunately, even the smallest mistake can lead to lost dollars, costly delays, and other issues. To avoid these mistakes, it’s important to understand what the most common customs documentation errors are and how to avoid them. 

If you require the assistance of an El Paso customs broker to avoid mistakes in customs documentation, RM Customhouse Brokers, Inc. can help. Contact us online or call (915) 564-0582 to learn more.

Not Knowing the Local Regulations 

As we said before, every country is allowed to have its own rules and regulations when it comes to importing and exporting goods. Therefore, the documents and information you fill out when exporting something to Germany will be different than when exporting something to India or China. Many documentation mistakes come from not knowing these differences and entering incorrect information. 

The only way to avoid this mistake is to educate yourself on the specific importing and exporting regulations pertaining to each country you deal with. Unfortunately, this can take a ton of time, that you probably don’t have, and cost your business in other areas. Luckily, a qualified El Paso customs broker makes this process easier for you.

Incomplete Paperwork 

Aside from not knowing country-specific regulations, the second most common customs mistake is incomplete paperwork. Incomplete paperwork can happen for any number of reasons and is when you forget to ship important information with whatever you’re shipping. This can include the commercial invoice, the air waybill, or skipping a section on the documentation. 

When this happens, your shipment will be held in customs until the problem is remedied. This often means that your customer or client won’t get their goods on schedule, resulting in customer complaints and a damaged reputation. 

Incomplete paperwork can happen because you didn’t understand the shipping requirements or because you simply skipped a step. This is often because, in addition to importing and exporting, you have a business to run and not enough time for everything. It is important to consult with a customs broker in El Paso to ensure all required paperwork is completed correctly.

Incorrect Packaging and Labeling 

Along with incomplete paperwork, it’s also possible to label or package things incorrectly. As with incomplete paperwork, this often happens because you’re distracted, you don’t understand the local shipping requirements, or you attached the wrong label to the wrong package. Regardless of why packaging and labeling issues happen, they result in costly delays. 

Pricing Issues

Finally, it’s all too easy to run into money or pricing-related problems when importing and exporting goods. Pricing issues can happen because you sent incorrect payment or forgot to include taxes, duties, and other fees. As with other documentation mistakes, this will result in delays and shipping problems that hurt your reputation. 

These mistakes can also happen because you included incorrect tariff information, which is similar to not being acclimated to the rules and requirements for each individual country. Consult with a customs broker to ensure correct information.

Avoid Customs Documentation Mistakes by Hiring a Customs Broker 

The best way to avoid costly and time-sensitive customs documentation mistakes is by hiring a customs broker. Customs brokers are dedicated to understanding the importing and exporting regulations for any country you deal with. RM Customhouse Brokers, Inc. is here to help get your goods delivered on time and intact. Call (915) 564-0582 today.