Buyer in UK is charged a hefty amount for VAT and clearance fee (shipped fr

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goldminetrash says:
A lot of countries charge people to obtain their expensive packages. The higher the declared value, the higher the charge. It's another form of taxation.

I feel bad for international customers who have to deal with that crap! Here in the US such a thing doesn't exist, and I wish it didn't anywhere else.


actually it does exist for the USA too

only difference is that for the USA a package has to be worth hundreds of dollars (if not thousands, not sure of exact figure) before any customs duties are levied --unlike the UK where duties start around the $30 mark

Posted at 4:06am Mar 26, 2010 EDT

StudioDax says

For reference, there are 2 distinct charges - one is from customs, and the other is from the shipping company.

Using a private shipping company will add a fee that the buyer has to pay - they don't even disclose it to the seller! They hold the package hostage until they get their money. It's why most of us in the US won't ship via FedEx, UPS, or DHL. Even though many times, there is no customs fee, the shipper has to fill out papers, and they charge big bucks to do it.

Posted at 4:07am Mar 26, 2010 EDT

I've never had a problem when I've bought something from abroad BUT my sister purchased an item of jewellery from an etsy seller and because they inclded the SHIPPING costs on the customs label instead of just putting the cost of the actual item....she had to pay way too much at customs. I did bring this up in the Forum at the time.(Sis is way too nice to complain even when she has good reason)

Posted at 4:09am Mar 26, 2010 EDT

nicolehill says

Just to add to what others have said (namely that you shouldn't be paying these fees, they are the buyers responsibility) even if you don't ship with a courier, Royal Mail act as brokers and charge their own ridiculous fees to get your stuff. Anything over £18 will incur customs charges, on top of which you will have to pay Royal Mail a handling charge - usually much more than the customs charge itself.

It amazes me when people buying from abroad don't know about these things, but maybe it's that I've been buying online for too long, spending too much money!

Posted at 4:23am Mar 26, 2010 EDT

Thats goverments for you, take what they can and where ever they can. I ship jewellery and and I never say thats its jewellery cos it seems the postage company wants to charge more insurance and I always say its a gift. I find this is a way to stay clear of any complications that may arise. It works if you are only sending one or two items. How else can a small shop like mine justify international shipping with paying large taxes on one item, or why would a customer buy from you when they will have giant fees to pay. I also say its worth is less than £50. I let customers know that they take there chances with postage rather than making the item more money than its worth with large unforseen costs.

Posted at 4:28am Mar 26, 2010 EDT

sbpf says

I am in the UK and have had this happen to me before - the charges can be huge and can appear disproportionate to the value of the goods.

The customs & VAT charges are calculated based on the value assigned to the package goods this value includes the postage! & type (there are thousands of "types"). Its a bit of a black art to work out what the charges will be.

Also, the purchaser is responsible for all charges. They have chosen to "import" so they have to pick up the import charges.

This is a really useful forum thread, if you have a flick through to page 2 where I have posted how the charges are worked out.

Posted at 5:53am Mar 26, 2010 EDT

jenny -- calling it a gift when it isnt (it is "other" or "merchandise" depending on the options available on your form) can get you into big trouble if found out --as can mis-declaring the value

Customs officers have the right to open any package and will assess duties on what they consider the true value regardless of what is declared

You can face huge fines - even imprisonment - for falsifying a legal document

Posted at 6:30am Mar 26, 2010 EDT

Jenny- marmaday is correct.

Here in the USA a copy of the custom's slip is filed at the PO. And all international packages are now scanned, weighed, and the address filed as well.

If a country opens a package, and contacts our state department, they go to the post office, and then contact the seller. You can face fines and imprisonment, and yes, it has happened here. A man in New Hampshire or Vermont is in jail for falsifying the customs forms.

The reason people are charged a tax is that the government considers you an importer, that you are buying on the same level as a store would.

A broker is used for private companies- fedex, ups, etc. to clear customs. USPS does not need a broker.

For expensive items people can call Fedex, and ask for Great Rates. It is a separate department, and I have used them for shipping full bolts; and the rates have been MUCH less than regular Fedex.

Also, insure through third party insurer- U-Pic or Shipsurance.

Posted at 6:42am Mar 26, 2010 EDT

Please please please don't write "gift" on a customs form if it is not!

Posted at 6:57am Mar 26, 2010 EDT

Just to confirm what everyone else said. A item over the minimum would be liable for duty and VAT tax (and one of those is calculated on the shipping too, but I can't remember which) plus the post office charges an £8 flat fee for clearance.

Yes, it is another taxation. And one that pretty much every country in the world has - import duty and sales tax.

Posted at 7:19am Mar 26, 2010 EDT