The Perils of Dealing with the Israeli Postal Service

The Israeli postal service is notorious for delivering packages late, sending them to the wrong address, or losing them altogether. I’m sharing this story as a guide for dealing with them, should any issues come up. Please note: I’ve ordered countless items online; this is the first time I’ve run into a case this bad.

On November 30, 2020 I ordered decorations for my wedding that would take place on December 15, 2020. This package came from the UK, and I know I should have known better than ordering them so close to my wedding date. I was in close contact with the shop, and they assured me that it would arrive in time as they had booked FedEx’s fastest shipping option. FedEx collected my package on December 8, my wedding came and went, and the package finally arrived in Israel on December 21.

On December 29, my package was listed as “undergoing customs processing.” The tracking information says a notice was sent to me, but I never received it. On January 5, a second notice was sent to me. On January 11, I still hadn’t received either notice but saw that they were supposed to be delivered to me. I reached out to the wedding decorations shop and asked them if they knew anything about what was going on. If I needed to pay money to get it to clear customs, and if so, how? The company replied they didn’t know if I had to pay but that customs would contact me if I did (very helpful πŸ˜’).

On February 8, I finally received the second notice (whatever happened to the first?) I called the Israeli Customs Brokerage number, and they grilled me about the contents of the package and their purpose. I said they were decorations for my wedding. Hearing this, they asked me to provide proof that my wedding was authorized (weddings were put on hold due to the third lockdown) and would indeed proceed. I told him the wedding already happened on December 15, but I still wanted the package to be delivered. He had me send him an email with a photo of my Teudat Zehut and wedding invitation before he would release it. A week later, there was no change in the tracking status of my package. I called them back and spoke with the same guy. He said, “yes, yes, it’ll be released today,” and when I asked him how to pay, “you will receive a text message with a link to pay.” Lo and behold, my package still hadn’t been released. I called the next day again and spoke to a different agent. He went through all of my information all over again and said he would release the package.

The next day I called yet again (still no change in status), and the agent told me that the package had already been released. That I would need to pay the fee to have it delivered. I asked him how I could pay, as I still have not received any text message on my phone. He said to log in to mypost, and I’ll be able to pay there. Well, I tried. The website is in Hebrew, and I couldn’t figure out how to navigate using Google Translate. I tried to contact mypost, but couldn’t find a phone number. They have an instant messaging service on their site, but it’s operated by a bot who’s only programmed for Hebrew.

You may be wondering at this point why did I work so hard to get this package. My wedding date had already passed 2 months prior, and the fee for storage and release from customs was pretty high. I had to pay 531.13 shekalim (about $163) for them to release my package.

So how did I figure out how to pay for my package? It turns out my mother figured out the system. She had also been waiting months for a package and filled out an inquiry form on Israel Post’s Contact Us page. The next day, they emailed her with a phone number to call and pay over the phone. She sent this number to me, and it worked! Hopefully, I’ll finally have my package next week. Wish me luck!

I am providing the phone numbers below should you need them. They do have English options. You will need your Teudat Zehut number, tracking number for your package, and an Israeli debit/credit card to make a payment:

Israeli Customs Brokerage: 072-264-2642

Israel Post (to make a payment): 076-887-0007

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