Workers at a delivery service sort parcels in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.
People who are used to receiving purchases through express services have found some goods cannot be delivered in the face of a new regulation issued in December.
"The cigarettes are not hazardous goods, why can I only send two cartons of cigarettes?" said a man surnamed Zhang, who was told by an expressman he could send only two cartons at a time.
Zhang has been sending several cartons of cigarettes to his father in their hometown each year. As usual, he called a courier company to deliver the cigarettes. However, an expressman told him that he could only deliver two cartons each time, in accordance with the existing regulation.
Zhang is not the only case; a man surnamed Zhao also had his item rejected by couriers.
Zhao wanted to send a small ivory sculpture to a friend in Beijing and asked the friend to sell it. He contacted three courier companies, but was rejected due to the regulation that forbids sending ivory, tiger bone and rhino horn via express service.
A courier surnamed Lu from Taiyuan city in North China's Shanxi province said the regulation specifies goods prohibited from delivery. "We will not receive unidentified liquid or powder, or we will be fired," said Lu.
The existing regulation also lets people think twice if they want to send purchases back while they travel.
A woman surnamed Huang recalled an experience during a trip to Tibet. She asked a shop owner to send a Tibetan broadsword to her friend.
"Now we should be careful when buying goods like the Tibetan broadsword during our travels. Though the sellers agree to ship the goods, the money will be wasted if the goods cannot be delivered, since it's impossible for us to go back to ask the seller for a refund," Huang said.
To avoid the problem, a staff worker with the Shanxi Provincial Postal Administration said people should make an agreement with the seller on how to refund the purchase price if the goods cannot be shipped, and it's best for people not to buy goods prohibited by express services but wait and buy them at local markets when they return home.
Consumers shopping online are also reminded to purchase goods that can be delivered, since many prohibited goods, including disposable lighters, knives and fake products, are still sold online.
The number of prohibited goods listed in the existing regulation rose to 188 from the 58 listed previously, and that 188 goods, including flammable and explosive hazardous substances, toxicants and fake products, are dangerous for national security and social stability.
The regulation states that courier companies, which could be responsible for serious damage by delivering prohibited goods, will face an administrative penalty of up to 500,000 yuan (,724).
While some complained the existing regulations are inconvenient, most Chinese internet users are supportive of the regulation. An internet user named Beiyou said, "These goods are prohibited to deliver for the sake of public security."