Shipping internationally: Customs fees

Discussion in 'The Guru's Pub' started by Insomniac34, Apr 10, 2007.

  1. Insomniac34

    Insomniac34 Ancient Guru

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    I just wanted to get some opinions on the following situation: I sold my 8800 GTS recently through eBay and the winning bidder was located in The Netherlands. I sent it out to him and he finally received it, only to realize that he had to pay $81 USD in customs fees. This was a shock to me considering I used United States Postal Service to ship it out, and I was previously told that there shouldn't be any customs fees for the winning bidder to pay when using USPS. Apparently one solution people use to get around this is for the seller to mark the item they are sending, if expensive, as a "gift" and declare the customs value as $20 or so.

    Anyways, here's my question: Do you guys feel I am obligated to help pay this customs fee? I did some searching on the EBay Help Pages and when it comes to shipping from the U.S. to Canada, it says the seller is not responsible for these fees (http://pages.ebay.ca/help/pay/questions/pay-taxes-customs.html). How would you handle the situation? Do you feel I have any obligation to help pay the fees, or should this be left to the winning bidder? I personally don't think I should, but I'd hate to leave this guy with all these fees to pay.

    Note: If I've learned anything from this situation, it's that shipping internationally isn't worth it. I might make a few extra dollars from the sale, but the extra forms and the hassle isn't worth it :(
     
  2. Joey

    Joey Ancient Guru

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    No you shouldn't be paying the customs fees.
    He should have asked you to specially mark the package. It's not your job to know the entire planet's various tax quirks.
    As for posting internationally in the future. The way I think of it is; since you are charging him for postage, and that is a paid service, then you should cater for country specific problems if they could arise.... BUT!.. only if requested to do so and only cover things at your end. It's their job to inform you about tax matters in their own country and you can only disguise the contents.
    Just make sure you write a little thing about that in the for sale description.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2007
  3. Insomniac34

    Insomniac34 Ancient Guru

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    Thanks for the quick reply. I just talked to the guy and we worked something out where I'd pay for $25 of the $80 in fees and he would pay the remainder. He's going to send me proof of the fees at which point I'll send him the $25 via Paypal. I had originally told him that there wouldn't be a problem with fees since I was using USPS, but this obviously wasn't the case. I know I'm not required by law or by the rules of eBay to help pay those fees, but I'd like to help him out a bit anyways. It seems as though the fee is 19% of the total cost of the item + shipping. I probably shouldn't pay anything, but it's a small amount and both of us will be happy in the end (He'll pay less for the fees, and I'll have the sale finally end).
     
  4. Icebird

    Icebird Ancient Guru

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    Yeah, you know what's a good thing? Wrap it up nicely like a present, with a bow and everything. Throw in a little card and go "To my little niece, happy 10th birthday!"... then the custom never opens it. Seriously. I always do so. John can confirm that ;)
     

  5. dcx_badass

    dcx_badass Ancient Guru

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    Mark it as a gift, i keep buying stuff of a website and its shipped out of Hong Kong and they mark it all as a gift.
     
  6. John

    John Ancient Guru

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    Yes, but since I'm apparently on their "list" of lying bastards (I've been busted before), they did open it. Though when they saw all the "happy paper" and the card they just shipped it on without charging anything :D

    Seriously though, I could make it my life mission to fool customs people. Greedy bastards trying to get their share of everything!
     
  7. Insomniac34

    Insomniac34 Ancient Guru

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    That seems like the best solution. I've shipped a couple things internationally where the winning bidder told me to mark the item as a "Gift" and declare the value for $20 to avoid problems. The problem is that they might still decide to open the package and inspect it, so it's nice to have a layer of wrapping paper to protect the lie :D

    From now on, I think I'll include the following in all my auctions: "Note: Any customs/brokerage fees that arise when shipping internationally are the responsibility of the buyer, not the seller."
     
  8. Icebird

    Icebird Ancient Guru

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    Some companies will assist and cover in cases where duty is charged, but that is ONLY on goodwill, not on an obligation basis. It's not the seller's job to be aware of duty, it's the buyer.
     
  9. Insomniac34

    Insomniac34 Ancient Guru

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    Exactly, the only reason I'm helping out is because I'm a nice guy who can understand that not everyone has a spare $81 lying around to pay for customs fees. If the guy were a jerk who took extremely long to make a payment, or demanded that I contribute to help pay the fees, then there's no way I'd help at all. This guy has been a pleasure to work with so far so I'd be glad to assist him with the problem.

    On the other hand, I sent out a Power Supply to a guy in Qatar, and he took nearly a week to pay. He kept saying he had issues with Paypal that needed to be resolved and I ended up only charging him $125 for the PSU + shipping (as opposed to the original $128 or so) because he didn't have enough room on his credit card. Anyways, I have a feeling he'll have to pay customs fees upon receipt (wasn't marked as a gift), but he won't be able to look to me for any help...
     
  10. AlecRyben

    AlecRyben Ancient Guru

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    Customs duty fees are always responsibility of the buyer..
    Buyers that ignore that fact are just being ignorant. ;)
     

  11. Tom F

    Tom F Ancient Guru

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    I hate customs people. I bought some stuff from the states a few weeks ago...6.75 VAT...annoying, but fair enough. Parcel Farce then charged me a 'clearance fee' of 8 quid!

    WTF!!!

    Thieves.

    Very kind of you to help him out on customs fees...it's entirely his responsibility though. Keep in mind also that not declaring the value correctly constitutes 'forging a government document' which carries a $100000 fine and/or 5 years in prison.

    The bastards are trying to stop people buying stuff from abroad because it's cheaper and they lose money on it...
     
  12. Insomniac34

    Insomniac34 Ancient Guru

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    That definitely seems to be the case. I'm very happy to have e-tailers like Newegg or ClubIT here in the U.S. that charge the prices they do. I think I'd be paying quite a bit more if I lived in Canada or Australia, where the price increase can be extreme in some cases.
     
  13. Tom F

    Tom F Ancient Guru

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    It would be cheaper for me to buy from NewEgg and pay the 17.5% VAT than to buy over here...lol
     
  14. BeMyMonkey

    BeMyMonkey Ancient Guru

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    The increases in European countries compared to US prices are HUGE!

    Here in Germany we pay about the same amount in Euros that Americans pay in US$... that's roughly a 33% increase - INSANE!
     
  15. orenda635

    orenda635 Ancient Guru

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    If you're shipping from the US to Canada, or vice versa, there are no customs fees under NAFTA. You may still have to pay sales taxes though, depending on the item. They are not customs fees though.

    I still can't get over Britain's 17.5% sales tax. It's so high. Ours in Ontario is 14% (Down from 15%), which is a lot IMO. The government gets way too much money.
     

  16. SirLink

    SirLink Ancient Guru

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    Sales tax in Va. is 4.5% ... The amount of sales tax has alot to do with the cost of living in the area... :)
     
  17. orenda635

    orenda635 Ancient Guru

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    The break down here is 6% goes to the feds, 8% goes to Ontario. Not all provinces have a provincial tax though.
     
  18. Icebird

    Icebird Ancient Guru

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    The VAT in Norway is 24% ;)
     
  19. John

    John Ancient Guru

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    No, I believe it's 25% now.
     
  20. orenda635

    orenda635 Ancient Guru

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    25%! OMG, how do you afford anything? I don't know much about the government of Norway, but I'd be asking some questions at that point.
     

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