Orders and subscriptions to EU / Belgium: IOSS and custom taxes


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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I tried contacting Customer Service twice about this topic during the last two months (first mail was in March) but I did not get any other answer than the automated one, so I thought I would try my luck here and see if any other Paizo customer from Belgium (or maybe other EU countries) have the same problem and/or ideas to solve it.

A few months ago, Paizo started using the IOSS system and including VAT in the price of the orders (mine are mostly subscription orders). If I understand correctly, this process is supposed to allow the customers to pay the VAT along with the order instead of having to pay it later when the goods enter the EU (from this web page).

It's actually much more interesting than that for the customers, since most customs add special/administrative taxes when you pay the VAT later. So, it's not just a quality of life improvement allowing you to pay only once, it's also about having to pay less... much less in most cases, since the difference can be quite significant (e.g., my last subscription order, for Book of the Dead + Punks in a Powderkeg has books for $59.98, plus $35.66 shipping and $5.74 for the VAT paid to Paizo... and the customs demand that I pay €34.44 more in additional taxes!).

Even since Paizo started using the IOSS system, each time I get a package, BPost (Belgium Post) demands that I pay additional taxes, as if the IOSS system was not used at all. I contacted BPost but they said they couldn't do anything about it since "the IOSS webshop" - that is, Paizo - "did not provide all the information required".

Do other Belgian customers have the same problem? Any idea what needs to change to solve this problem? I would really appreciate any help on this topic!

Paizo Employee Director of Community

We made an update to post the IOSS number on the shipping labels to enable customs to see the paid duties faster. If anyone needs the IOSS number to provide it to their local customs, we will send it out.

Dalvyn, if you would post your ticket number, I will look and see what happened to it and why you didn't receive an answer. Thanks!


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Thank you for your answer!

My previous ticket numbers were #149279 (from March 9th) and #153350 (from April 17th). I also sent another mail earlier today about the same topic.

When was this update on shipping labels made exactly? Was it after sending the subscription orders for April?

If it was, I guess I'll pay those extra €34.44 to unlock my April order and see what happens when my May order ships... but it will be the third time I pay double VAT + additional taxes in the hope that "it will be fixed next month".


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pawns, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I have got the same problem here in germany, DeutschePost/DHL collects the tax a second time.
For me it looks like they don't even bother to open the packages, so they missed the nice letter from paizo in the January shipment and the tax-informations on the bill inside the package.

So far I have send a letter to the german custums office in Frankfurt every month and demand to get these double taxes back. Until now just automated answer "please wait - we have to much work" but no real results.

I hope the new system with the numbers on the shipping lable will work better


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I have the same problem in The Netherlands, but I have not contact the post office yet about it.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I've looked into it, and my postal service (PostNL) says I have to get a VAT refund from Paizo, because they have not received the correct information from you. The relevant text can be found here, under the "Have you already paid VAT during checkout?" header: https://www.postnl.nl/en/customer-service/international-shipments/objecting -customs-clearance-costs/


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I tried several times to find out exactly what the problem was, to look into why exactly the customs demanded extra fees, and it seems to be a problem with a missing information that Paizo should provide but does not. I could not get anything more precise than that, though...

Getting a VAT refund from Paizo is not really a good long term option... it would be much better to have a system that works, where all the required information is given, since that would also allow us to avoid the extra administrative tax.

BTW, a friend from France who got a package with the new label (with the IOSS number shown on it, package sent around April 19th) had similar troubles with the French Post... so I guess that means that it does not solve the problem, and that more information than that is required.


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I also messaged Paizo about this, from Austria here. I have not yet gotten a reply.
Our post office informed me that the payment of the tax should be registered digitally before the package arrives and is scanned here, and if the scan comes up empty on customs' information they just process it locally. So something seems to be up or too slow with the IOSS registration?
I would have liked to see this fixed before this month's subscription shipment, but I'll be going all digital after that anyway.


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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Sorry for bumping this thread but... since I've just had to pay, once again, around 30€ in taxes that could have been avoided (otherwise, I wouldn't get my subscription package), I thought I would post again and ask for an update?

Did you manage to get a hold of the previous mails I sent on this topic (on March 9th and April 17th) and seem to have been ignored? (Looks like Mimski had the same problem with the mails they sent.)

Could you determine exactly what missing steps are required for the IOSS process to work (digital registration, as Mimski suggested)?

Thank you in advance for any information and help you will be able to provide!

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

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I'm not Paizo but this thread was interesting to see because, over the last year, quite a few packages we've sent to backers from Legendary Games in Belgium and the Netherlands specifically have been flagged and returned without notice due to some weirdness with the customs and VAT reporting that our shipping company was doing. I'd be curious as well to see if anyone has found a solution, but I guess in a strange way it's nice to know that it's not just us that's been having issues getting stuff sent there.


I wrote Paizo to cancel subscriptions and ask about an ETA on a reply for my previous message, about the IOSS.
Today I got the automated confirmation that the subscriptions were cancelled, but no reply on my ticket(s). Guess this must be difficult for them behind the scenes.


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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I hear you.

My first mail about this particular topic was sent on March 9th (so, 2 months and 2 weeks ago).

I was already kind of disappointed (polite euphemism) that, after seeing my first two mails being ignored, I had to come and post publicly on the forums in order to finally get some feedback. Then again, the feedback was mostly to ask me for more information so they could find out what went wrong. I provided the information (my ticket numbers) 12 minutes after it was required.

And since then, more than two weeks later, still no other answer.

I guess that many people at Paizo are busy with the PaizoCon preparations for this week-end (which might explain the current lack of answer but not really why there had been no answer before). I really hope that this topic will finally get some attention and that the IOSS problem can be solved very soon.

Also, thank you Cyria, Tomeric, Mimski and Jason Nelson for sharing your experiences in this thread and breaking the otherwise deafening silence. It really helps to know that other people too have been confronted with the same problem. :)

Liberty's Edge

I saw a recent post from Tonya IIRC mentioning they had some turnover in the staff doing this work and it seems it wrecked the treatment of tickets' backlog.

That is sad, given how they had greatly improved the treatment of Customer Service tickets a few months ago.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I cancelled my 4 subscriptions too because of this. Time spend claiming packages and paying double taxes was too much for me in the end. Paizo makes awesome product but the operations side seems to be lacking behind quite a bit.


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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

So... PaizoCon has come and gone. And another week has passed. But still no significant answer.

Soon, it will be 3 months since the first mail I sent about this topic (on March 9th).

I want to continue to believe in Paizo, given how good they used to be with their customers, but it's becoming increasingly harder to justify this position. I understand that this is not a simple problem and I do not blame in any way the customer service representatives (who continue to be efficient, fast and friendly), but the lack of communication and consideration for EU customers is really disappointing and depressing.

Had I not come to the public forum, I guess my three mails would have remained unanswered (much like other people's mails). And even here on the forum, after the initial answer, there's nothing but silence. Is it necessary to take the problem to Twitter and other social media to finally get some feedback? That's really not the Paizo I've known for the last 14 or 15 years!

Really disappointing and depressing.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Some good news from my end. I just picked up the box with my May shipments from the local pickup point and for the first time in a long while I did not have to pay anything extra. No VAT or administration costs!


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Good to hear, tomeric!

I've just got the mail requesting that I pay €36.71 in additional taxes in order to get my May subscription package. And still zero assurance or even mere feedback from Paizo that it will not happen again for the next package.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Hi there,

I have had the same issue in France, ever since VAT is prepaid, although the extra costs seem to be much lower here (around 10 €). I had earlier asked for IOSS and transaction numbers to be printed on the posting label. I now wonder if the issue is not that USPS add their own label on top of Paizo's. This maskes the VAT as USPS only prints the VAT included price with no particular precision.

No issue with Legendary Games shipments here (I received print items for the Boricubos kickstarter with no similar issue).

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

I've had (and have at least until the most recent received order) the exactly same problem.
My customs office (in Germany, customs is responsible for both customs duty and import VAT) was for all orders since Paizo started using IOSS not able to find any payment from Paizo to customs. The information on the invoice doesn't help, because it is a general information on the Paizo IOSS account, and they'd need some kind of transaction number or something that is directly linked to this specific order / package.
For all received packages so far, I had to pay VAT twice - once to Paizo, once to my customs office.
The first IOSS package even vanished completely (either lost or sent back to Paizo, don't really know yet), and I assume it had to do something with the new IOSS process.

For me, it would be very helpful if I could receive the IOSS numbers related to the individual packages from the past, so I can send them to my customs office (and possibly get back part of what I paid twice on VAT), and if it also could be sent out to the customer as general rule on future packages that use IOSS.
If I receive the numbers for my past orders, I will also ask my customs office what went wrong and what should be done differently in the future.
As far as they could tell me with what they have at the moment, there are two things:
- the VAT payment from Paizo for IOSS has to be made before the package reaches the customs office in Germany, this has to be ensured by sender
- the VAT payment has to be keyed to the individual package ID, otherwise (with only the general IOSS information) package and payment can't be matched.
But these are only general statements, without further information, they can't tell what went wrong for these individual shipments.

I also tried to send some mails about this to Paizo, but (as I wrote in another post) emails from customer service don't seem to reach me (besides the order confirmations and the "Thanks for contacting Paizo" mails). Or nobody is working on the tickets.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

Anyone else here having the feeling that Paizo simply ignores their European customers and the increasing problems with shipments and IOSS? I've not heard back for months, as well as seemingly a lot of other customers e.g. in this thread. Even in this thread, last word from Paizo comes from Tonya and is over a month old.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

There have been quite a lot of posts asking about updates on support requests in the last few weeks, so I don't think it's limited to European customers...


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, PF Special Edition Subscriber

I've gotten in touch with our local (Dutch) mailprovider, and provided Paizo with a direct contact email to the team responsible for assisting with IOSS on the fifth of May - aside from the automated response e-mail, I haven't heard back from customer support either.

I also believe the VAT rated charged is wrong: Paizo charges 21%, but books qualify for a lower 9% rate, at least in the Netherlands: https://business.gov.nl/regulation/vat-rates-exemptions/


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I am sorry this us happening to European fans and customers. You are owed the respect and decency afforded any other paying customer is.


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I do not think that there is an excuse for customers to have to wait this long. Isn't the Community Director doing anything about this?

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

They had time to remove the spam post about hacking ... but nobody had the time to answer our questions here?

Paizo Employee Software Architect

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Hello, everyone.

First off, my sincere apologies for the radio silence you all have endured over the past month and a half or longer. That's completely unacceptable, and I will be stepping in to work with Finance, CS, Technology, and other departments to determine precisely how our current reporting practices are deficient, and to correct them as quickly as possible. We'll also determine what, if anything, we can do to resolve the already extant issues reported in this thread and elsewhere.

I currently plan to cross-reference anyone who has posted in this thread against our ticketing system and put together a package of examples for Finance to review. If anyone would like to assist me, please feel free to PM me any ticket numbers you have been sent for tickets opened about this issue. Once we have a good selection of cases, we'll dig in and figure out what has been going wrong.

I'll try to update this thread at least once a business day, even if no additional progress has been made since the day before.


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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Hi Brian, and thank you for taking the time to answer and for actively stepping in to help fix this problem!

I posted the ticket numbers I got above in this tread, right after Tonya's request. If I can assist in any way, feel free to let me know.

The regular updates will also be very appreciated!

Liberty's Edge

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Updating so often likely means this issue has escalated to Crisis status within Paizo. Meaning it's considered an extremely important topic for the company.

Paizo Employee Software Architect

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The Raven Black wrote:
Updating so often likely means this issue has escalated to Crisis status within Paizo. Meaning it's considered an extremely important topic for the company.

It means that I want Paizo's customers to see that someone is looking out for them. It's a personal commitment to help resolve this issue and to keep the people in this thread as well-informed as I can in the meantime.

I respectfully request that you not engage in speculation regarding some deeper meaning or impetus underpinning my actions.

That said, you are correct that the ability of Paizo's customers to receive the products they order hassle-free is most certainly an "extremely important topic for the company".


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Thanks Brian, I appreciate it quite a lot, especially the commitment to keep us informed. I think I hated the lack of acknowledgment or any reply to my support request more than the actual issue (which is also bad). Knowing that someone at Paizo is at least aware and working, makes me feel a lot less bitter about the whole ordeal.

Paizo Employee Software Architect

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Hello, all,

I finished up my initial collation of issues raised in this thread and elsewhere, and turned it over to other departments, including Finance. Finance will be reaching out to Paizo's tax service to compare our current procedures against the issues raised to figure out where the disparity lies.

Paizo Employee Software Architect

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Hello, all,

We're currently hoping to hear back from our tax service early next week. Sorry we don't currently have any more information. I do appreciate those of you who reached out to confirm order information with me.


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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Thank you for the regular updates!

Even knowing "Nothing new yet, but we're still on it!" helps.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

If your finance / tax guys need some information about what the problems were so far, there already were some users here in the forum that offered to try and ask their customs offices about it.
I know my customs office (after I paid there a second time and at the same time filed a request to try and find the IOSS payment) is still trying to identify these payments and what went wrong.
So, if you can tell us what is needed, maybe we and the customs offices we're in contact with can help.


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Would it be more cost effective to order through England's Amazon site?

Paizo Employee Software Architect

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Hello, all,

Unfortunately, I have nothing new to report today - we're still waiting on information back from our tax service. From the different reports we've gotten from customers affected by this issue, we have a pretty good indication of where the issue is. What we're currently trying to do is get positive confirmation from our tax service that our initial assessment is correct.


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Terevalis Unctio of House Mysti wrote:
Would it be more cost effective to order through England's Amazon site?

The non English sites actually make more sense like amazon.de or .nl. Also UK is no longer part of the EU so may still have to pay taxes….


Berhagen wrote:
Terevalis Unctio of House Mysti wrote:
Would it be more cost effective to order through England's Amazon site?
The non English sites actually make more sense like amazon.de or .nl. Also UK is no longer part of the EU so may still have to pay taxes….

That makes sense. Back in the early 2000's I would use the British Amazon to get things sent to my address at the Holy See.

Paizo Employee Software Architect

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Hello, all,

I still have nothing new to report after today. Tomorrow I will prod more firmly to ensure things keep moving.

Paizo Employee Software Architect

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Hello, all,

My continued prodding has yielded no fruits.


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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Welp… I've just got a mail requesting that I pay additional taxes if I want to get my June subscription package (with Outlaws of Alkenstar 3, the Smoking Gun).

Just to give you an idea of the extra costs that result from this tax problem.. that has been ignored for several months by customer service higher-ups (I do not blame in any way regular customer service employees who deal with day-to-day problems):

- The book itself: $17.49
- Shipping fees: $17.75
- Taxes paid to Paizo: $2.12

- Additional taxes due to lacking information : €21.88 ($22.76)

I'm not sure whether I should refuse the package and wait till the problem is fixed, or once again pay those additional taxes, or simply buy the book again from another cheaper source.

So, once again, thank you Brian for your continued prodding! I'm incredibly glad to see that someone at Paizo is finally considering that this problem affecting several EU customers is worth investigating!

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber
Dalvyn wrote:
I'm not sure whether I should refuse the package and wait till the problem is fixed, or once again pay those additional taxes, or simply buy the book again from another cheaper source.

Unfortunately, as far as I know and have experienced on a shipment that was not returned by me, but even by our customs (or carrier, not really identifiable for me) due to IOSS problems, Paizo will only refund you the product cost and taxes paid to paizo, but not not the shipping fees. So, you'd then also loose at least the 17.75$ paid for shipping.

I'm stilling discussing with Paizo customer support (not Brian, another support rep) to get back my shipping cost from a January shipment (refund for the items itself came also only in May).
Not really logical, in my point of view, why customers should have to pay for shipping costs for a returned shipment that was returned due to IOSS problems on Paizo's side ...
(Brian, if you want to know which order: 36705880)

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

But that might be a good general question to you, Brian:
How should we customers behave at the moment when we need to pay VAT a second time (to our postal service, carrier, customs office, local tax office - whatever, it's different in different parts of EU) or else the shipment will be returned.
Should we pay?
Do we get a guarantee from Paizo to be refunded the taxes that we had to pay twice?
Do we get a guarantee from Paizo to be refunded the shipment cost if the package is returned to Paizo due to IOSS issues?
This would be very good to know! (currently still waiting for two IOSS shipments ...)
Thanks

Paizo Employee Software Architect

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Hello, all.

Those are very good questions. I am not in a role that decides Paizo's business rules, so I can't make such determinations myself.

I forwarded the situation and some potential solutions across multiple departments internally, and they're currently assessing the extent of the excess costs and what responses are viable. Unfortunately, that means I don't have a word from on high as of yet.

I will, however, make the following observations:


  • If you elect to receive your packages, paying the fees assessed by customs, I recommend keeping the receipts, and ideally labeling them with the Paizo order number. Being able to easily associate specific customs fees to specific orders will almost certainly be helpful in the future.
  • Paizo's continuous position for as long as I've been here has been that customers should not shy away from using whatever legal method of obtaining our books brings them the most joy. It's completely understandable that someone might be unable or unwilling to float the additional fees to accept international shipments while Paizo resolves this issue.

Paizo Employee Software Architect

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Hello, all,

I have an update! If Paizo has already assessed and collected VAT for orders from Europe, we will reimburse any fees assessed by your local customs office due to this issue. We will also continue to reimburse such fees until this issue is resolved. This reimbursement will be in the form of store credit added to your Paizo account. To receive this reimbursement, please send an email to customer.service@paizo.com with a copy of your receipt(s) from your local customs office and their associated order number(s).

We fully recognize that this measure doesn't resolve the underlying issue, and doesn't prevent the inconvenience of needing to pick up your packages at the customs office and pay tax again, but we want to at least alleviate the financial pressure this has placed on you while we continue to investigate.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber
Brian Bauman wrote:
If Paizo has already assessed and collected VAT for orders from Europe, we will reimburse any fees assessed by your local customs office due to this issue.

Hi Brian,

while this sounds like a nice thing from Paizo to do in the way you phrase and post it, I'm sure you and Paizo are aware that you're legally obliged to pay back any VAT that you collect but that is never received by the federal tax offices where the VAT is due?
To be honest, when I see how long it takes for customer service to work on IOSS issues they are sent, I could only guess that I will receive store credit roundabout 9 to 15 months after Paizo collected the VAT? (I've not yet received any feedback on some mails to customer service from beginning of the year)
Additionally, store credit is not the same as a refund - it can't be used on subscriptions, and I only can use it to generate more revenue for Paizo. And to be honest, with how it currently goes with IOSS and how long there was no improvement at all for months, and how hard it currently is to get any support from Paizo, I'm not that positive that Paizo will fix the IOSS issue any time soon, and if it is not fixed in the near future, I will simply stop ordering at Paizo.
So, in this case, future store credit would not be of any use for me. It is money I paid to Paizo and not received anything for it.

This is not really acceptable. At least there has to be a guarantee that the store credit will be in the account within days (not even weeks!) after sending the receipts to Paizo.


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Not a tax problem, but I tried to cancel an order (accidentally ordered the physical book instead the PDF).
Can you please look into this before you send the book ?
Support ticket ID is 160657.

thx.


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Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Thank you, Brian, for making that possible. I've looked through my orders in the online history, and it looks to me that Paizo has started collecting VAT at the beginning of 2022, so in my case all my subscription orders this year would be affected. I'll see if I can find all the UPS receipts.

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