Abady Law Firm, P.C. – Customs and Import/Export Attorney Blog
Learn the Basics of Customs and International Trade Policy and Procedure
Posts Tagged "detention"
This past holiday season hoverboards have been one of the most popular items this past holiday season. As a result, we have received numerous phone calls regarding U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP” or “Customs”) intense examinations of these products. The reason being is that there have been cases where these hoverboards burst into flames due to counterfeit batteries being used to power them. See here http://nypost.com/2015/12/30/hoverboard-bursts-into-flames-inside-a-brooklyn-apartment/. This led to intervention by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”), the federal agency regulating the safety of consumer products nationwide.
Customs and CPSC work closely to ensure the safety of products that are imported in the U.S. Customs is the “enforcer at the border” and enforces not only their own regulations but the regulations of all third party federal agencies. Here, importers must ensure the quality of these hoverboards before importation. Make sure the factory you purchase from has a licensing agreement with the trademark holder of the battery inside. If you are dealing with an agent in a foreign country make sure you get a paper trail leading to the trademark holder. Once these goods arrive at the port of entry there is generally no turning back. The trademark holder is unlikely to offer any assistance if the batteries are counterfeit and Customs will detain, seize, forfeit and destroy these goods. Meaning the importer is out the money spent to their supplier for the purchase of the goods and Customs may come after the importer for penalties (if you receive a penalty contact a Customs and International Trade expert immediately).
How can this mistake be avoided? Make sure you get a full understanding of what you are buying, the components (and packaging) comprising a product are just as important as the product as a whole. A minor mistake will cost you, and seizure will not be remitted because of ignorance. Further, Customs will have you flagged as a potential violator and you may see an increase is examinations (and delays) at ports of entry. Thus, if there are any trademarks on the goods, seek documentation supporting their legitimacy. If you need help with identifying issues or verifying documentation contact an attorney experienced in Customs and International Trade law.
For more information about this blog post, please contact Abady Law Firm, P.C. and speak with our customs attorney at (800) 549-5099. Also visit www.customsesq.com to chat with a customs and international trade attorney — about your company’s import/export situation and to schedule a consultation. To chat with us, click the bottom right corner tab of our homepage.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP or Customs) works in conjunction with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure that products are in full compliance before they are imported or exported to and from the United States. At times, the FDA or Customs may deny the entry of a product if they determine that a good or product fails to meet strict import/export requirements. When this happens, the product is detained for further examination. Depending on the findings of the examination, the FDA may issue a Notice of Action.
FDA Notice of Action
Regulated products must comply with the FDA’s Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. Any products entering U.S. customs that are found to be or are suspected of being non-compliant are detained for further physical examination. The FDA district office then issues a “Notice of FDA Action.” This notice specifies the nature of the violation and gives the consignee or owner of the product an opportunity to respond and provide evidence as to the admissibility of the product.
Responding to The FDA Notice of Action
While you may feel like venting your frustrations or anger with the FDA or Customs officer who detained your product, it is wise to keep your cool and consult with a Customs law attorney who can advise you on your legal options and your next course of actions. You must act promptly when you receive a Notice of Action because it is time-sensitive.
- Gather all pertinent facts about the detention. Do not respond to the Notice of Action until you have all of the facts.
- Thoroughly review the Notice of Action. It would be a good idea to do this with a Customs attorney so he can explain the violation(s) for which your product was detained and address any questions and concerns you have.
- Note the “Response By” date by which you must submit your response. If you do not respond by the specified date, the FDA will issues another Notice of FDA Action that will refuse admission of the product. You will be ordered to export the product elsewhere or destroy the product within 90 days. Further, it is highly difficult to have the FDA rescind a refusal once one has been issued.
- You response should include a detailed explanation and and any evidence showing that you have taken the necessary measures to bring your product into compliance and have resolved the circumstances that lead to the violation (s). A Customs lawyer can assist you with this.
If you have a good or product that is detained in Customs, plan to import a product and need information on importing requirements and procedures, or you simply need assistance obtaining import documentation, contact a Customs law firm right away.
Don’t wait until your product is tied up in bureaucracy or sitting in an FDA detention center. An import and export attorney will work diligently to make sure your product is in full compliance with all FDA and international requirements to the mutual satisfaction of all parties involved.
For more information about an FDA notice of action or for assistance with any of the issues noted above, contact Abady Law Firm, P.C., at 800.549.5099, to speak with a customs law attorney.
Customs is given broad authority to inspect shipments entering into the country. When Customs questions the admissibility of goods into the United States, Customs has the authority to detain the shipment until satisfactory information is provided to enable release. Customs has five (5) business days from the date on which the merchandise is presented for examination to decide whether or not to detain the merchandise or to allow its release. If Customs decides to detain a shipment, they must provide the importer with a formal Notice of Detention within five (5) days of the determination to detain the shipment. During the detention phase the importer has the opportunity to resolve any issues as to admissibility in order to avoid a rejection or seizure.
A Notice of Detention must provide the following information under the law:
- That the goods have been placed under detention;
- The precise reason for their detention;
- The estimated length of time that they will be detained;
- A description of any inquiries being conducted or tests to be made (legally, test results also must be promptly provided to the importer) regarding the goods; and
- Any additional information that may assist in the prompt disposition of the detention.
Customs has thirty (30) days to render a decision regarding the detained shipment, unless a longer time period has been granted. If no final decision is reached at the end of this thirty day period, the merchandise is automatically considered excluded for purposes of protest. If the goods are seized, the importer will receive a notice of seizure. It will provide the reasons for the seizure and options available to the importer.
For more information about this blog post, please contact Abady Law Firm, P.C. and speak with our customs attorney at (800) 549-5099. Also visit www.customsesq.com to chat with a customs lawyer — who has insight into CBP Detentions — about your company’s import situation and to schedule a consultation. To chat with us, click the bottom right corner tab of our homepage.