Shipping to US. Import/VAT/Customs charges?

Discussion in 'Fred's Barcalounge' started by Ricochet, Mar 19, 2020.

  1. Ricochet

    Ricochet I Bleed Orange

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    If I receive something shipped from the US to the Netherlands, I have to add 25% minimum(over the total including shipping) to cover Import, Vat and arbitrary handling charges by Customs.
    I had instances were it was closer to 40% and the added charges actually surpassed the value of the item. Insane if you ask me.

    Curious how that works for you guys(Other countries please feel free to add your experiences).
     
  2. nrw_guitar

    nrw_guitar Gretschie

    188
    Aug 19, 2012
    kettwig
    I have certainly experienced this as a US Citizen living in the EU. I bought a used 1964 Bassman in the States and had it shipped to me in Germany. In addition to the actual postage, I had to pay around 40% for both Import Fees and Vat. It's why most music gear here is much more expensive than in the USA.
     
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  3. BrianW

    BrianW Synchromatic

    830
    Oct 21, 2014
    Vancouver Island
    I recently received a package of vintage motorcycle parts - from the US to Canada. The total taxes were about $7.00 CDN. Handling fee by the courier was over $20. That was not shipping but just for handling the package through customs. Same courier usually charges a flat $10 to handle the border crossing so I asked them. Turns out that it was because the shipper did not fill out any declaration for customs so the courier had to do it. So saving a few $ on cheaper shipping cost from the vendor made for more in handling charges.

    I don't know how that would work to or from another continent, but might be worth finding out before deciding on shipping option!

    (This was also a very small order both cost and size wise which could affect shipping options)
     
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  4. Gregor

    Gregor Gretschie

    449
    Oct 17, 2018
    New Brunswick, Canada
    Did you use UPS? They charge a fee(a high one)for brokerage and whatever. I always have the sender use USPS. It's been my experience that an order under $100 is not charged any duty although I expect your package was more than that.
     
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  5. Are the fees designed to discourage citizens to purchase products made elsewhere? Buy local?
     
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  6. bluenote23

    bluenote23 Country Gent

    Oct 17, 2009
    Montreal, Canada
    Couriers like UPS, FedEx and DHL are really designed to deal with business to business transactions. They pay their workers professional fees when doing professional work like bureaucratic paper work. So yes, their fees are high but that's because this is what it really costs.

    Postal services are subsidized (by taxpayers) and their fees are lower so this is always going to be the ideal solution for individuals.

    International transactions will always be subject to the tax laws of your country so you need to be aware of these when making these types of transactions. Whether these taxes are applied can be sporadic but you need to assume that they will be applied to avoid surprises.

    Learn from experience.
     
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  7. Ricochet

    Ricochet I Bleed Orange

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    That’s the argumentation they use for Import and VAT.
    Except local manufacturers most often don’t offer this product, nor anything similar at this quality or price point.
    Yeah making me use an inferior product at a higher price point is protecting your industry how Mr Guberment?
     
  8. wabash slim

    wabash slim Gretschified

    Age:
    70
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    No, it's just a way to make money.

    At least the US doesn't have VAT---yet.
     
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  9. BrianW

    BrianW Synchromatic

    830
    Oct 21, 2014
    Vancouver Island
    No it was FedEx, which has always been the best with their fees for "Low Value" imports.. $10 flat rate to pay the tax/duty and subsequently bill for it. I have had lots of shipments that cost me only the tax and duty (if any) and paid FedEx only $10. I believe the low value program is a government one to encourage cross border trade for anything less than $1700 declared value. BUT... the shipper has to file a declaration with the shipment or the charge is more for someone at FedEx to do the paperwork. That seems fair to me.
    USPS has also been good between the US and Canada.

    I don't order anything that is shipped UPS if at all possible. They charge a percentage of the declared value - which can be more than the declared value of the goods when added to tax and duty. A service manual for $50 and a fee of over $60 to UPS (there was no duty) was the last time for me, and a number of years ago at that.
     
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  10. Hammerhands

    Hammerhands Country Gent

    Aug 26, 2011
    Winnipeg
    These handling fees are being charged by custom brokers who are hired by the couriers.

    I’m pretty sure this is organized criminal activity. No legitimate company would employ a third-party that arbitrarily charges so much money to do so little work. Someone is getting kickbacks to allow this to continue or the couriers would find a way of doing this in-house and keeping this significant revenue.

    DHL’s brokers generally charge $10 for handling while Fed-Ex and UPS will charge $20, $40 or more. This usually gets charged whether or not the package has the correct documents or if the item requires duties, because the package has been “handled”.

    Under the new CUSMA agreement, the value of a package that does not need to be charged duties [or taxes?] will increase, but will remain lower if it is sent through the mail, and Canada Post has a requirement to be more vigilant in collecting duties, whatever that entails, for some reason.

    So the US seems to have negotiated to have Canadians use mail less, couriers more and pay more grift, which seems not good for anyone but the custom brokers.

    The “handling” fees will continue.

    Some companies like Digikey do their own customs work and build the fee into the price. Amazon estimates the cost and will refund you later.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2020
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  11. Hammerhands

    Hammerhands Country Gent

    Aug 26, 2011
    Winnipeg
    I wonder if it is a matter of accounting.

    In international mail, the originating postal service gets paid, the receiving postal service does not, even though they seem to do most of the work. The assumption being most letters get a reply.

    I expect that same model applies to a courier company. UPS in the US gets the money, ships the package to UPS Canada, who does most of the work, but gets nothing.

    The balance of goods bought by consumers come from the US to Canada, so that wou;d be a large expense for UPS Canada and someone wouldn’t get their bonus.
     
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  12. Hammerhands

    Hammerhands Country Gent

    Aug 26, 2011
    Winnipeg
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  13. ALS57

    ALS57 Gretschie

    148
    Jun 17, 2019
    London
    I was dumb enough to restore a 57 Chevy in the UK. The Import duties on huge amounts of new parts were crippling.
     
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  14. Henry

    Henry Gretschified

    Apr 9, 2014
    Petaluma
    I'd love to know. I'm looking at a good priced item from Germany but I have to deal with customs into the USA, not sure if that will eat up any savings from buying the item at the usual high price.
     
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  15. Henry

    Henry Gretschified

    Apr 9, 2014
    Petaluma
    I could be wrong, but mail in most countries is run by government or pseudo government agencies, and the mail arrangement is among those agencies. Also, it covers postage (the fee to the courier), but I doubt it covers customs (taxes paid to the importing country).

    UPS, FedEx, do partner with other courier companies around the world for deliveries, but I would bet it is a paid service.
     
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  16. Merc

    Merc Country Gent

    May 6, 2017
    Florida
    I’ve never used it, but I think most people overlook EMS shipping. Been around 20 years and was established by a postal union. I’ve seen it listed from a lot of Japanese sellers.

    https://www.ems.post/en/global-network
     
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  17. TV the Wired Turtle

    TV the Wired Turtle Gretschified

    Jul 25, 2009
    so cal
    I thought EMS generally takes over when USPS.com packages leave the country? I dont trust our government mail anymore so
    i try to use DHL exclusively. Charges are drastically lower to customers. a 2 lbs box leaving the states to germany for example, via usps.com express insured (full value ) is $98-106 for a box that is 7"x7"6". DHL will ship that same package for $49-65 in most places European. Plus it skirts through customs like a greased pig in 5 days. With USPS.com handling it as it leaves the states, whomever takes over manages to get it stuck in customs for over a week at a time. England, Norway and the Nethers.. 2 weeks sometimes, same with France. Not so w DHL.

    Pardon if I'm repeating myself. Its 1am and I've been sleeping about 6hrs a night
     
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  18. Merc

    Merc Country Gent

    May 6, 2017
    Florida
    I guess if you don’t trust a governments mail service EMS is not likely for you.

    Really I guess I’d need to ask the USPS about EMS. What little I’ve gathered from google is that it’s an international express mail service that utilizes the each participants mail service. Which is why I was under the impression it may be cheaper than DHL and others. And I believe trackable the whole trip if those postal services regularly offer tracking. But I’m guessing it’s only as reliable as that governments mail service. Which for me would likely be good enough with major countries like the U.S., UK, Australia, Japan, etc.

    Almost sounds like you’ve got a newborn getting 4-6 hours sleep.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2020
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