BERLIN // When you buy a plant on Etsy… What happened?


I think it’s about time I created a page dedicated to plants, my blog is all about plants these days, but I’ll note this again.

At the moment the plant shop is closed due to Corona, so I really do all my basic shopping online.

This is the first time I’ve bought plants from Indonesia. Here are some notes and impressions.

Buy plants from Indonesia on Etsy!

Plants sold in Europe are often the same or very expensive, but on Etsy you can actually buy plants from all over the world for cheap. For some reason, I’ve noticed that many people sell plants from Indonesia, while in Thailand and other countries there are already many people selling plants from their own websites or Instagram.

So, what is Etsy anyway?

If so, here’s a good place to start: the Etsy website.
Etsy is a global marketplace for unique and creative products. From unique handmade pieces to vintage treasures, there is a world of special and exclusive items.

Etsy is the global marketplace for unique and creative goods. It’s home to a universe of special, extraordinary items, from unique handcrafted pieces to vintage treasures.

Etsy website

I didn’t think they even sold plants, but actually you can buy plants too.

We then find a shop that sells the plants we like and buy them. The shipping cost is usually around $55-$80 from Indonesia to Germany by DHL Express. It depends on the quantity and the shop you buy from.

Once you have made your purchase, the dealer will start to prepare your plants for obtaining a Phytosanitary Certificate (PC) in Indonesia. I wasn’t sure how long it would take, but most shops on the Etsy site will give you an idea of when it will be ready.

By the way, in my case it was exactly two weeks.

Two weeks later, they left for Germany with DHL Express.

You can see all the steps on the Etsy screen, which is quite reassuring.

They need to be tested in Germany!

Now, here was the big problem.

It was cold when I bought it in the first place, but I didn’t know that it would take 2 weeks for the Phytosanitary Certificate (PC) to arrive, so I expected it to arrive in around 10 days, but during the 2 weeks of getting the Phytosanitary Certificate (PC), it was shipped in the coldest week I have ever lived in Germany.

And what a day it was when we arrived in Germany, the coldest Friday of them all. Unlike in Japan, we were sure that we wouldn’t be open on weekends, and we spent the weekend chilling and wondering if our plants would be ruined already.

On Monday, and even on Tuesday, there was no sign of anything being sent out, and as it was still cold in Germany, we expected that the plants would be out of the warehouse for a long time.

I called DHL on Tuesday, where I managed to get through to them and they explained to me…

Even if you have a Phytosanitary Certificate (PC), you still need to have your plants inspected in Germany.
The German side also charges a flat rate of €150 + VAT for the inspection, and they were not sure if they would pay it properly, so they couldn’t inspect it and it wasn’t shipped… Oh dear…

If you look closely, you’ll see that my phone number is a UK number, but because I had it shipped to Germany, they added an extra country code of +49, which is why I couldn’t call. (Just a guess)

I then received an email from DHL Express to the email address I had given them, either agreeing that they would inspect and receive the goods = pay for them, or that they would send them back to Indonesia as they were no longer needed, and I agreed to pay for them and sent them back.

That was on Wednesday evening, it was checked on Thursday and arrived in Berlin, where I live, on Friday morning.

Don’t buy plants in the middle of winter

Of course I knew I was taking a risk when I bought it, but even though it was my first import, I regretted very much that I had bought it in the middle of winter.

After being stored in a cold warehouse for a week, the plant was somehow wet when it arrived and the leaves were melted and gone. We are currently trying to see if we can bring the roots back to life, but it will be very difficult.

If it had been spring, perhaps the story would have been a little different.

Also on the German side, we have not paid for the tests as we have not received an invoice yet, but we expect to receive one at home later.

When we bought plants from Etsy in Indonesia to Germany. How do I import and how long does it take?
When I bought plants from Indonesia Etsy to Germany. How to import and how long does it to take time?

Choosing an Etsy shop is important

This time, when I informed the shop that the plants had been wiped out, they unexpectedly replied that they would refund me in full. I was asked to pay only the $28 for the Phytosanitary Certificate (PC) which the shop paid in Indonesia, which I paid separately.

I actually bought it from another shop at the same time as this one, but that shop didn’t contact me at all and didn’t reply when I asked when they would send it out, so I told them I wanted to cancel and they finally contacted me to wait a bit longer. I’m really not sure when it will arrive.

Each shop is completely different, so please take care when buying and read the reviews.

Click here to receive an email from DHL Express

Dear customer,

We have received a DHL Express shipment for you, which must be presented to the veterinary inspection office or plant inspection authority prior to customs clearance.

For this service we will charge you general € 150 plus VAT per shipment.
This includes the official fees for the border control office providing clearance, the registration and sending of the shipping documents, transport of the shipment from and to the border control office and monitoring the inspection.

[ ] In addition, for opening the shipment and for removing goods that are not permitted for import we will charge you € 35 plus VAT per hour or part thereof and per shipment.

Yours faithfully
Your DHL Express Customs Clearance team

Please return the documents to:
DHL Hub Leipzig GmbH, Zollabfertigung, Postfach 11 11, 04435 Schkeuditz

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