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Man asked to pay custom duty on his mobile, identified as TV by custom official

26, Dec 2013 By Ad-min

Mumbai. Tata Sky’s “Pocket mein TV” campaign might have given hopes to people who are otherwise too busy to watch TV programs, but it also seems to have given hopes to some government officials to earn some revenues.

Earlier today, Manish Kumar was asked to pay 36% customs duty on an old iPhone that he was carrying. He had bought the phone last year and had flown in and out of India at least thrice without customs official having any problem, but not this time.

Tata Sky Pocket Mein TV
Your smartphone is now a TV, take control by installing the Tata Sky mobile app.

“They said it was not an old iPhone but a brand new TV!” Manish recalled how he was shocked when asked to pay up customs duty on his old mobile phone.

However custom officials argued that the iPhone ceased to be a mobile phone and became a TV after Manish installed the latest Tata Sky mobile application on it.

“As soon as he landed in India, he installed the Tata Sky application on his mobile while waiting for his baggage to arrive. This turned his phone into a TV,” the customs officer explained the logic.

It should be noted that earlier this year, the government had announced that people bringing flat screen LCD/LED TVs will have to customs duty. Since the iPhone screen is flat and the Tata Sky mobile application brings TV onto mobile, the customs officials identified the phone as flat screen TV.

Manish conceded having installed the Tata Sky application on his phone.

“Of course I did that. It’s a wonderful service. I am always stuck in Mumbai traffic and now I can use that time to watch my favorite shows!” he said, “But I didn’t know that the custom officials will interpret this service in this way!”

“What is more shocking is that my friend, who bought a 21 inch flat LCD from the same shop, paid a much lower customs duty because he claimed that it was a tablet with extra large screen!” Manish revealed.

Following this incident, experts have suggested iPhone users to download the Tata Sky application only after coming out of the airport.

“We know that free Wi-Fi at airports is a big incentive, but better to use the home Wi-Fi or 3G than to pay huge customs duty!” a commerce expert said and hoped that the government will soon issue advisory to clear the air about “Pocket mein TV”.