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Old 12-11-2005, 12:55   #301
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They can; they can "determine" the value of the item by the contents declaration. If something has been opened, I think they're obliged to mark it as such (and it'll be reselealed with official tape)

IMHO they've seen that something sent from a company was marked as a gift, and decided that this was an attempt to evade the taxes due, and have therefore decided to determine the contents value themselves.

There are strict rules as to what makes something a gift.

What really needs doing, of course, is to update the ludicrously obsolete £18 allowance, which hasn't even had inflation added to it for a good ten years.

Like so many tax allowances, "fiscal drag" means that it captures more and more money simply by standing still!
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Old 16-11-2005, 20:51   #302
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Guys, I know it's mentioned in this thread but just double-checking, even if I order say $100 of books off amazon, I won't get any customs charges?
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Old 16-11-2005, 21:59   #303
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yetiboy
Guys, I know it's mentioned in this thread but just double-checking, even if I order say $100 of books off amazon, I won't get any customs charges?
None at all. nada, zip, nil, nowt in the way of customs.
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Old 17-11-2005, 14:51   #304
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yetiboy
Guys, I know it's mentioned in this thread but just double-checking, even if I order say $100 of books off amazon, I won't get any customs charges?
That is correct; books are exempt.

Just make sure that you don't put anything other than books in there, which would complicate things horribly, and be certain that your source will accurately describe the contents on the declaration. Amazon should be fine.
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Old 17-11-2005, 19:51   #305
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if i order a dvd boxset that is under £18 in value but the company put the value on the package as the dvd price +postage costs i.e. over the £18 threshold. Can I reclaim customs charges if they charge me for going over £18 ? Is it a case of photocopying the invoice and sending it off to MP ? i haven't been stung just wondering !
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Old 18-11-2005, 09:07   #306
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warney
if i order a dvd boxset that is under £18 in value but the company put the value on the package as the dvd price +postage costs i.e. over the £18 threshold. Can I reclaim customs charges if they charge me for going over £18 ? Is it a case of photocopying the invoice and sending it off to MP ? i haven't been stung just wondering !
In a word, Yes. You will then need to send a copy of the letter from H&M Customs to the Royal Mail to get a refund on the handling charge (£4) from them too. A lot of hassle, but most places should declare the correct value (no postage) anyway
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Old 18-11-2005, 14:16   #307
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warney
if i order a dvd boxset that is under £18 in value but the company put the value on the package as the dvd price +postage costs i.e. over the £18 threshold. Can I reclaim customs charges if they charge me for going over £18 ? Is it a case of photocopying the invoice and sending it off to MP ? i haven't been stung just wondering !
Yes. Companies should know enough to properly declare values; item value and shipping charges should be declared separately (and often shipping doesn't seem to get declared at all).

If the item value is under £18, then the package is exempt, regardless of the shipping charge. But if the value is over £18, then the shipping charges are liavle to duty/VAT as well. So it's a double whammy if you go over £18.

You can reclaim from Customs by providing proof of what you paid (copy of invoice, printout of confirmatory email, etc). Relatively straightforward.

A copy of the letter saying you were charged when you shouldn't have been from Customs will enable you to recover the £4 from the Royal Mail, as well.

Of course, if the charge is trivial, then you should consider if all that time (and postage for the letters) is worth it. I think I'd do it on principle though.

Last edited by Nebiroth; 18-11-2005 at 14:18.
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Old 18-11-2005, 18:23   #308
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nebiroth
Yes. Companies should know enough to properly declare values; item value and shipping charges should be declared separately (and often shipping doesn't seem to get declared at all).

If the item value is under £18, then the package is exempt, regardless of the shipping charge. But if the value is over £18, then the shipping charges are liavle to duty/VAT as well. So it's a double whammy if you go over £18.

You can reclaim from Customs by providing proof of what you paid (copy of invoice, printout of confirmatory email, etc). Relatively straightforward.

A copy of the letter saying you were charged when you shouldn't have been from Customs will enable you to recover the £4 from the Royal Mail, as well.

Of course, if the charge is trivial, then you should consider if all that time (and postage for the letters) is worth it. I think I'd do it on principle though.

Thanks Nebiroth - principle mate !!! I don't mind spending a few hours writing/posting - makes a difference between getting a boxset for £16 compared to £20+ !!!
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Old 23-11-2005, 12:04   #309
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nebiroth
I'd guess that Amazon would (if they're on CD) show them as "optical media".
Just to clarify, the amazon package I ordered with a audiobook on CD was marked by amazon as CD - new. So glad I ordered using 2 seperate orders now.
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Old 29-11-2005, 09:51   #310
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What do you reckon my chances are of sneaking an Amazon package for $32.47 (~£18.82) through Mount Pleasant unscathed..?

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Old 29-11-2005, 10:02   #311
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bapapapa
What do you reckon my chances are of sneaking an Amazon package for $32.47 (~£18.82) through Mount Pleasant unscathed..?

Very slim!
The limit for November is $31.70 and for December (published yesterday) $30.87.
I've had several pacels from Amazon.Com in the last week or so, shipped via Germany, all below $31.70 and all dutifully stamped by those nice people at Mount Pleasant.
I've got one parcel that is missing. It was for $54 (Monty Python Box set) and I suspect the worst!
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Old 29-11-2005, 14:05   #312
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bapapapa
What do you reckon my chances are of sneaking an Amazon package for $32.47 (~£18.82) through Mount Pleasant unscathed..?

Slim to non-existant. Amazon will be very familiar to Customs.

However, if the $32.47 is the price including shipping, it will pass with no charges (as AFAIK shipping with Amazon would have added around $6 to the price). So long as the value of the goods is under £18, you're OK. The shipping won't count as part of the value until the goods themselves go over the limit.

But if the value of the goods exceeds £18, then the whole amount (goods plus shipping) becomes taxable.
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Old 29-11-2005, 15:11   #313
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Slim but not non-existant; I've had a couple, over the limit, creep through unscathed recently.
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Old 29-11-2005, 16:36   #314
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Remember they'll have a much larger number of packages going through Mount Pleasant at this time of year and consequently less time with each one.

I doubt they employ extra staff - most Government run places don't, unlike say the Royal Mail.


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Old 01-12-2005, 01:26   #315
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Ive just had a £27.10 charge for my Buffy Collection from Amazon. Label says £13.60 for VAT and £13.50 for Parcel Force 'clearance fee'. Rip Offs (not like it can go through anyone else, PF charging the same amount as VAT is scandalous )
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Old 01-12-2005, 12:54   #316
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Originally Posted by blazeuk
Ive just had a £27.10 charge for my Buffy Collection from Amazon. Label says £13.60 for VAT and £13.50 for Parcel Force 'clearance fee'. Rip Offs (not like it can go through anyone else, PF charging the same amount as VAT is scandalous )
Oh yes, I've posted in many places a warning to steer clear of "expedited" delivery methods (such as "Express Airmail") because this means delivery in the UK is by ParcelFarce, and their clearance fees are utterly ludicrous. Standard air/surface mail packages get handled by the Royal Mail at this end - and their clearance fee is always £4, no matter how big or small the customs charge is.

If you want fast delivery, use a courier like DHL or FedEx. Though the shipping is higher, their "clearance" (usually they call them "admin") fees are much lower - lower than Royal Mail in fact.

And they will deliver to the door, and send you a bill for the customs/admin fees later. None of this "go to your (so called) local depot" mullarkey.

Last edited by Nebiroth; 01-12-2005 at 12:56.
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Old 01-12-2005, 19:41   #317
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Most stuff i have delivery from Amazon goes through the Royal Mail, i pressume Amazon sent my buffy boxset differently because it was $130 worth. Definitly be avoiding going over the limit with them in future though, even though the boxset was still fairly cheap, its just not worth it if Parcel Force are involved.
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Old 01-12-2005, 20:34   #318
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capricorn One
Very slim!
The limit for November is $31.70 and for December (published yesterday) $30.87.
I've had several pacels from Amazon.Com in the last week or so, shipped via Germany, all below $31.70 and all dutifully stamped by those nice people at Mount Pleasant.
I've got one parcel that is missing. It was for $54 (Monty Python Box set) and I suspect the worst!

After all that my complete TV series Monty Python arrived today without a charge!
It was for $94.97 plus $6.98 postage (apologies for my bad memory above). I couldn't believe it, especially after the ominous delay.
Sorry to hear about Blaze's unfortunate entanglement with ParcelFarce and Gordon's goons.
Could $100 be the trigger point for Amazon to send packages as 'special delivery' hence triggering the extra Parcel Farce roger?
Anyone else had a similar experience with Amazon for orders greater than $100?
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Old 04-12-2005, 10:16   #319
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Hi.

A quick question concerning Play.com and customs.

They pre-pay VAT as I understand it, but is this limited to the UK only? I live in Denmark.

Earlier this year I purchased a dvd (around £12-15) and was hit with customs charges and clearance. One and only purchase from them ever to have been hit, but the last purchase, so unsure if things have changed.

In January this year I purchased 8-10 seperate items and not one was hit.

Anyone able to shed some light on this?

Thanks.
Taibi

Last edited by Alan b; 04-12-2005 at 10:46. Reason: to add affiliate link
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Old 04-12-2005, 16:12   #320
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capricorn One
After all that my complete TV series Monty Python arrived today without a charge!
It was for $94.97 plus $6.98 postage (apologies for my bad memory above). I couldn't believe it, especially after the ominous delay.
Sorry to hear about Blaze's unfortunate entanglement with ParcelFarce and Gordon's goons.
Could $100 be the trigger point for Amazon to send packages as 'special delivery' hence triggering the extra Parcel Farce roger?
Anyone else had a similar experience with Amazon for orders greater than $100?
I think that Mount Pleasant are overloaded in the pre-Xmas rush. I've had two packages recently that weren't stamped - though they were below the £18 limit, they still should have had the Customs stamp on them.

I don't know about the $100 limit, but yep I think if it;s "special delivery", but not by a courier (like DHL or FedEx), then it gets handled by ParcelFarce in the UK, and their fees are ridiculously high!
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