Online since 2002. Over 3300 puzzles, 2600 worldwide members, and 270,000 messages.

TwistyPuzzles.com Forum

It is currently Wed Apr 16, 2014 12:11 pm

All times are UTC - 5 hours



Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 16 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Legality of import duty collection charges?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2011 8:21 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2005 7:37 pm
This is not the first time this has been mentioned but I wonder if anyone knows about the legality of the practise of charging a fee for the collection of import duties by postal companies. I guess it must be legal but struggle to see on what grounds. If a parcel is sent to me I did not enter into any sort of legal contract and as far as I am concerned owe them nothing. My only possible debt is to the tax office for the actual duty. How on earth can I be charged by the postal company? What is stopping them from charging £1000 to clear a parcel?
To make matters worse I have just received a letter from Fedex trying to charge VAT plus a handling fee (which is more than the VAT) for a parcel that arrived three weeks ago! I always thought we have the right not to pay import duty and have the item forfeited instead. For now I'm refusing to pay and will see what happens. Rant over.

_________________
Image


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Legality of import duty collection charges?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2011 8:46 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Oct 16, 2008 9:46 pm
Location: Littleton CO
I’m guessing that by agreeing to have them deliver it you also agree to any terms and charges that they want to enforce.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Legality of import duty collection charges?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 5:58 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2005 7:37 pm
eye2eye wrote:
I’m guessing that by agreeing to have them deliver it you also agree to any terms and charges that they want to enforce.


In that case they must tell you that terms and conditions apply before asking you to sign for a package.

_________________
Image


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Legality of import duty collection charges?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 6:54 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2009 12:00 am
Location: Jarrow, England
I totally agree Tony. It bugs the hell out of me that for most of my parcels, the "fee" charged by the Post Office is a lot more that the VAT owed. To me, there is no difference between the P.O. holding a parcel for me to collect if they have been unable to deliver it, and them "handling" the parcel to collect VAT.

And then, when you go to pay the fees, if you do not have the exactly correct money (to the penny) they will not hand the parcel over :evil:

_________________
My Shapeways Shop: http://www.shapeways.com/shops/gus_shop

Image


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Legality of import duty collection charges?
PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 5:27 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2009 1:09 pm
Location: My House
I'm guessing it's legal, but it's very unfair. As mentioned above, the 'handling' fees are far higher than the actual fees you would have to pay anyway. Unless you pay them though, you won't get your parcel. :?

Alex

_________________
If I had £1,000,000 more, I'd be a Millionaire

YouTube Account: Cubiksrube113


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Legality of import duty collection charges?
PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2011 5:48 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2005 7:37 pm
APJ wrote:
I'm guessing it's legal, but it's very unfair. As mentioned above, the 'handling' fees are far higher than the actual fees you would have to pay anyway. Unless you pay them though, you won't get your parcel. :?

Alex


In my case with Fedex I already received the parcel 3 weeks ago! I emailed them saying I would not pay. No reply yet.

_________________
Image


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Legality of import duty collection charges?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 4:50 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2005 1:39 pm
Location: UK
Tony,

A very good question. I recently looked into this because I was also paying lots of similar charges one of the useful pieces of information I did find was this thread on moneysupermarket :

http://www.moneysupermarket.com/communi ... 10938.aspx

In a nutshell delivery companies can should collect VAT/duty on packages AND withhold their delivery until they are paid. However, they can not retain goods if the handling fee is not paid as it potentially a civil debt.

The other useful point of argument is around whether you as the recipient actually have a contract with the delivery company. Typically their contract is with the vendor and, assuming you did not specifically select the courier company (i.e. Fedex) you as the buyer have no contract with them. Therefore you can argue with no contract between you there can be no enforceable liability nor can they charge you for a "service" you have not requested.

However, the VAT and duty is another issue. The courier has paid this on your behalf (and with my layman's understanding) can rightfully hold on to goods or make a claim against you as the law in this regard is on their side.

Therefore my advice would be to immediately to pay (or at least offer to pay) the duty and VAT component charges but not pay the handling charge (and the VAT upon it) with an explanation that you fully recognise your obligation to re-imburse the duty but do not believe that you have an contract in place with the company to pay any handling charge.

I must admit I haven't actually pursued this myself yet but intended to do so the next time a minimal value puzzle import gets caught by customs and the fee is disproportionate. Other companies charge similar amounts though I have found it is only DHS and Fedex that typically deliver the goods ahead of payment and I've not been willing to risk an arguement with Parcelforce when I have important and rare puzzles being delivered ;-)

Steve


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Legality of import duty collection charges?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 10:29 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2009 5:13 pm
Tony, I agree with Steve: you must pay the tax/duty, but forcing you to pay an additional handling fee doesn't sound legal. Why not send them a letter asking them to clarify what law they are basing their claim for handling fees on...

...and then send them a bill for handling the letter you sent them (and another bill for handling the first bill, etc., etc.)! :lol:

_________________
If you want something you’ve never had, you’ve got to do something you’ve never done - Thomas Jefferson


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Legality of import duty collection charges?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:16 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2009 1:09 pm
Location: My House
Steve wrote:
Typically their contract is with the vendor and, assuming you did not specifically select the courier company (i.e. Fedex) you as the buyer have no contract with them.

I think this is quite important. If you are not told what the courier will be when ordering, there is no way you could even know their terms and conditions and thus you couldn't have agreed to accept them. If you have the option to select, then you can research these before purchasing and will probably be considered to have accepted them. However, on a small order, I would doubt that they would challenge a 'no contract' claim as it wouldn't be worth their time. They've got the duties back, so the cost to them will be minimal.

Kelvin Stott wrote:
Tony, I agree with Steve: you must pay the tax/duty, but forcing you to pay an additional handling fee doesn't sound legal. Why not send them a letter asking them to clarify what law they are basing their claim for handling fees on...

...and then send them a bill for handling the letter you sent them (and another bill for handling the first bill, etc., etc.)! :lol:

:lol:

Alex

_________________
If I had £1,000,000 more, I'd be a Millionaire

YouTube Account: Cubiksrube113


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Legality of import duty collection charges?
PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 9:11 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2005 7:37 pm
Thanks guys. That seems to make sense to pay the duty but not the handling fee. However in this case the items were valued at $50 and marked as a gift. This means it falls within the gift allowance for the UK and no duty was due anyway.
I still haven't heard any more from them.

_________________
Image


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Legality of import duty collection charges?
PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 9:31 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Jul 21, 2010 4:01 am
I have had a pretty futile time sending letters to both UPS and DHL about this issue on every puzzle I've ever had delivered Internationally. However, when I rang UPS directly on one occasion, they refunded me the handling fee. They also claimed that the charge was not arbitarily placed, but was the export fee charged for taking the package from Canada in the first place - I have not confirmed this though.

I do intend to make a Small Claims case in order to determine the legality and to recover some of the fees at some point, but right now it's not worth the cost.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Legality of import duty collection charges?
PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2011 12:49 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2005 7:37 pm
Just to update on this.
I received an email saying they had accepted the item was within the gift allowance. They also added they had an arrangement with customs to collect fees. This doesn't really solve the question though.
Today I received another parcel which had further import duties. It was through DHL and they asked for the money before handing it over. The handling fee was just £1.24. Although I am sceptical any fees are legal they were at least minimal and I was given the chance to refuse the parcel.

_________________
Image


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Legality of import duty collection charges?
PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2011 1:25 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2009 6:07 am
Location: Germany, Bavaria
I can talk about the regulations in Germany, only, but I have got the information that the rules are valid for the EU in total.
(Probably for Euro states only?)
- There is no special rule for gifts. Everything depends on the value of the goods.
- Import tax is due for values beyond € 150. Toys have a very low import tax percentage.
- VAT is due for a value above € 22.
- If the value is higher than € 22, the shipping costs are added and VAT is calculated based on the sum.

The practise in Germany is, that the post office has charged me directly the VAT many times, never an additional handling fee. I had once a ridiculous high handling fee when a parcel has been sent via EMS from China via Frankfurt. That has been an exception. (I think that the problem had been caused by the fact that the sender address had been in Chinese signs only.) I cannot complain about practise in Germany, in general.

_________________
My collection at: http://sites.google.com/site/twistykon/home


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Legality of import duty collection charges?
PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2011 2:23 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2005 12:26 pm
Location: Mainz, Germany
Another story from Germany, about the package I received today:

I ordered some puzzles from China, adding up to 81 EUR including shipping. The German shipping company asked me for some original documents and payment documents which I sent them to do the import. Today I received the bill:
    approx 15 EUR import tax -- I am fine with that, it's by law
    approx 25,5 EUR import handling by the shipping company
    adding up to 41 EUR in total.

Next time, I'll chose DHL again for shipping, although a bit more expensive. They always send the packages to the local customs office in our city, where I can do the import myself, including taxes within 15 minutes at most. At least, the 25EUR saved me the way to the customs office in this very busy time, to add something positive. :)

_________________
Goetz

http://puzzles.schwandtner.info


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Legality of import duty collection charges?
PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2011 3:34 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2009 6:07 am
Location: Germany, Bavaria
goetz wrote:
...approx 15 EUR import tax -- I am fine with that, it's by law
Actually, this is the 19% VAT, import tax would be due in addition, if the value is higher than € 150.
goetz wrote:
approx 25,5 EUR import handling by the shipping company
....
I think you could have chosen not to pay the handling fee (I find this handling fee really ridiculous.) and the puzzles would have been returned to the sender. The sender should be liable to avoid that such "handling agency" becomes involved. I had the same case only once, but I have paid the handling fee as well, to avoid further problems. :roll:

_________________
My collection at: http://sites.google.com/site/twistykon/home


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Legality of import duty collection charges?
PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2011 4:10 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2005 12:26 pm
Location: Mainz, Germany
Yes correct, the 15EUR are a tax equivalent to our VAT, probably best translated "import sales tax" -- just looked that up in a dictionary. :)

According to the customs form, the additional "customs duty" would be 4,7%, but does not apply in this case.

Also in this case, the handling company offered me to either let them do the import or return the shipment. Probably in that case I would have lost at least the shipping expenses, maybe even more -- depending on the goodwill of the vendor. To avoid trouble, I have chosen the import option.

I had some cases of "handling fees" some while ago with UPS and even DHL, but they were much lower then.

_________________
Goetz

http://puzzles.schwandtner.info


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 16 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  

Forum powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group