Boo hoo. I got a parcel worth $30 and had £11.21 fees added from customs!
£8.00 of it was “handling fees”.
I think that the reason this has happened is because of the exchange rate – so whereas $30 used to be £15, its now more like £20. So remember this ladies when buying from the US/Hong Kong/Japan – ANYWHERE!
1. The threshold for customs fee for goods from outside the EU (Europe) is £18. If you go even a PENNY over, they can (and will) charge you customs fee which is VAT, 17.5% I believe and the dreaded handling fees which is normally quite a large sum – a minimum of £8.
2. Because of the dodgy exchange rate, you need to buy something or have something declared at around $26, if not less. I am not advocating that you lie to customs…………..but its up to you and your seller what is declared.
3. Be aware that that any insurance you ask your buyer to get will only cover the amount written on the front.
4. Normally on a customs form you can have something marked as GIFT, DOCUMENTS, SAMPLE, OTHER (depending on the country it comes from). Marking something as GIFT does NOT necessarily mean that customs will let you off. However, being marked as gift and arriving the in the UK, it can reach £36 value without being charged, but seriously this is hit and miss, and good luck getting your money back from evil customs.
Samples should not be subject to any fees BUT they may open it to check you don’t have a Chanel 2.55 in there! Other can be anything – if you tick this box then you will only be free from customs charges up to £18.
5. Technically you can’t send things like purfume through the post (I tried once and Royal Mail wouldn’t carry it).
That’s all I can think of! Personally (maybe because the post office hate me) I never ever ever ever get away with charges, not even if my item is £18.20 (seriously). Some people are luckier than me but it is worth being aware of what is happening – customs will also delay your parcel by a week, although it can be longer.
Curses to you customs, curses!