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PUERTO RICO HERALD
Refusal Of Stateside On Line Vendors To Ship To Puerto Rico Does Status Have Anything To Do With It?
January 03, 2003
TO: Editor, PRH
Re: Refusal Of Stateside On Line Vendors To Ship To Puerto Rico Does Status Have Anything To Do With It?
Many residents of Puerto Rico, such as myself, who frequently shop online are baffled by the growing trend seen among many large and small online vendors alike to refuse to ship electronics and software to Puerto Rico because they deem the island a "foreign" destination and as such subject to the restrictions imposed on technology exports by the US State Department.
Amazon.com is foremost among such ill-advised online sellers. Amazon justifies its refusal to ship to Puerto Rico either citing the above mentioned alleged technology-import restriction or else claiming that many manufacturers' warranties do not extend to items sold to "foreign countries" such as they hold Puerto Rico to be, ergo they will not ship an item with no warranty.
As you well know, both these reasons are patently false. Why then are mega-vendors such as Amazon subscribing to them? Why has such a possibly prejudicial no-shipment policy been instituted in the first place? It is nearly impossible for a regular folk like myself to get anyone at the policy-making echelon of these companies to give a satisfactory answer to these questions.
I believe that this issue transcends that of a company's right to the customers of its choosing and borders upon a possibly prejudicial refusal to do business with a whole class of US citizens by reason of place of origin (or of residence in this case). Moreover, this issue clearly impinges on the arena of status politics, which your publication covers so well.
For example, does the refusal have anything to do with any extra paperwork involved in the collection of the excise tax imposed by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico? To my knowledge, most of the burden of documenting and collecting such tax falls not on vendors but on shipping companies like UPS and Federal Express, who are currently embroiled in US Court against the Commonwealth to unburden themselves of this imposition.
Or, are the efforts of the small but vocal minority promoting "nation" status for Puerto Rico gaining the island a "de facto" independence among the stateside business community?
These as well as other questions would be well served by an investigative piece on this growing unwarranted business practice, which might well develop into the next commerce related litigation to hit the US District Courts after WalMart vs. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
San Juan PR