The Secret Diary of a Global Mobility Manager – Time is money

by Gina Tonic

Expat Academy The Secret Diary of a Global Mobility Manager - Time is money Dear Diary,

In the midst of my mad weeks I have to say that there are moments where the vendors we use are my saving grace. Without their expertise and ‘thinking outside the box’ ideas, I know I would have kissed goodbye to my sanity a long time ago!

Last month I had a call from one such vendor to let me know that in packing one of our VIP’s belongings they had ‘discovered’ almost £750,000 worth of watches in his house. They were uninsured and paid for by cash. Brilliant!

This presented itself with two issues – not only should anything happen to the watches they couldn’t be claimed on insurance (as there wasn’t any) but, by paying in cash for them there was no proof that duty had been paid in the place they were purchased. This gave the shippers quite a conundrum to liaise with the assignee about, as it would be inevitable that when the shipment arrived in the US it would be subject to customs charges which could work out in excess of $50,000. Marvellous! Thankfully I had quiet confidence in our policy which had a suitable clause in it that meant we would not be liable to ship such items or be liable for any customs due.

The account manager very kindly offered to take it upon himself to explain the issue to the assignee and highlight the company policy when it came to items of this value…… that were uninsured………… and had no proof of purchase!

I heard no more about it and carried on with the multitude of items requiring ‘urgent’ attention in my inbox. It wasn’t until this week when I was chatting to the account manager about another particularly tricky move that I asked, ‘So what did happen with those watches that were due to go back to the US?’

It transpired that the assignee (perhaps understandably) did not wish to run the risk of incurring the customs charges but was fortunately doing a number of business trips back and forth at the end of his assignment. He had taken the personal decision to fly the watches back to the US in batches, keeping them on him, to avoid the charges!

I think I’m glad I didn’t know about that until after the watches were all successfully back in the US.

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