buying items from the USA

13
Found 20th JunEdited by:"little_green"
right so i want to buy an item & although the website is global & they ship globally the item is sent from the USA which means when it arrives in the UK it possibly faces customs charges.
there was a bit of fuss on their facebook page about it as a few people from the UK had bought multiple items totaling to around £18 but then had to pay £14 customs fees as i believe it is 20% on the total order value + £8 handling fee.
I read up the t&c re customs & it says if the total price (item cost, packaging & postage) is valued less than £15 you wont get a customs charge. So i ordered one of the item & paid postage. I did not get a customs charge. Having received my item i am certain i'd like to buy more.
Anyways the company have acknowledged the UK people being unhappy & said they have updated things so VAT is added on at checkout or something.
So i've had a look, if i buy one item it's less than £15 & i have to pay $3 shipping, it does say custom fees may be due at border but given the total package value is less than £15 i wouldnt see why. The thing is i want 3 of the item. So i can do the above 3 times thus totaling to $9 shipping but meaning i have to wait between orders OR it seems i can order all 3 items at once totaling to $35 then the site gives me 2 options at checkout - free shipping with possible customs charges at border or "Standard Shipping (Duties Paid) $9.36"
if i select the standard shipping at $9.36 option does that mean I will definately NOT face customs fees when it arrives to the UK as i'll have already paid these upfront? Or given the total value of the parcel is over £15 may i still be subject to a charge?


clarification would be helpful. It' be easier to do it all in one order & receive the items all at once but i dont need them urgently so can place separate order over the period of a few weeks, if buying all at once still risks custom fees
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13 Comments
Shipping counts towards the total before you are charged VAT.
You could ask them to put on the customs form that the item is worth $10 so it won’t get charged.

I don’t know if it still works but you also used to also get around it by marking it as a sample.
I think if you pay customs up front, that's an estimated charge that the company charges you. They then pay the full customs fee, whether more or less, on your behalf. So it should be okay (but it might vary between companies).
Ah ok, if you select the shipping that says duty paid then you won't face extra charges as the company will clear customs instead.
Edited by: "hearts22" 21st Jun
hearts225 m ago

Ah ok, if you select the shipping that says duty paid then you won't face …Ah ok, if you select the shipping that says duty paid then you won't face extra charges as the company will clear customs instead.


That's the way I understand it. It's how Amazon do it too.
hearts229 m ago

Ah ok, if you select the shipping that says duty paid then you won't face …Ah ok, if you select the shipping that says duty paid then you won't face extra charges as the company will clear customs instead.



yes, some companies like Amazon do an estimate and will refund you back if it works out less than the charge, dont think they charge you if its over. Some companies have a business model where they ship from outside of the EU and absorb the fees and you dont even see them.

Other companies will make it clear the item will probably get fees and still if you go on any review site people moan like mad about it. easiest way to manage it is if you are buying and it says fees may be taken is to just put in an order total under £15, however dont just assume that you can place multiple orders one after the other as you will have seen with Amazon companies will just pack them all together which then ends up with fees.
Edited by: "eslick" 21st Jun
eslick45 m ago

yes, some companies like Amazon do an estimate and will refund you back if …yes, some companies like Amazon do an estimate and will refund you back if it works out less than the charge, dont think they charge you if its over. Some companies have a business model where they ship from outside of the EU and absorb the fees and you dont even see them. Other companies will make it clear the item will probably get fees and still if you go on any review site people moan like mad about it. easiest way to manage it is if you are buying and it says fees may be taken is to just put in an order total under £15, however dont just assume that you can place multiple orders one after the other as you will have seen with Amazon companies will just pack them all together which then ends up with fees.


Yeh I means If I do 3 seperate orders I'll probably actually wait until each is arooved before ordering the next hence it'll take probably a month if not longer until I have all 3.

mastablasta8 h, 53 m ago

You could ask them to put on the customs form that the item is worth $10 …You could ask them to put on the customs form that the item is worth $10 so it won’t get charged. I don’t know if it still works but you also used to also get around it by marking it as a sample.


I don't think they would do that as it's not a individual seller they are a company so the order invoice will be enclosed in the package.
jamie0151 h, 14 m ago

I think if you pay customs up front, that's an estimated charge that the …I think if you pay customs up front, that's an estimated charge that the company charges you. They then pay the full customs fee, whether more or less, on your behalf. So it should be okay (but it might vary between companies).


Hmm so if I pay upfront I should not face any other charges when it enters the UK for sure? Because I don't want to end up paying twice
little_green17 m ago

Yeh I means If I do 3 seperate orders I'll probably actually wait until …Yeh I means If I do 3 seperate orders I'll probably actually wait until each is arooved before ordering the next hence it'll take probably a month if not longer until I have all 3.I don't think they would do that as it's not a individual seller they are a company so the order invoice will be enclosed in the package. Hmm so if I pay upfront I should not face any other charges when it enters the UK for sure? Because I don't want to end up paying twice


No wait until they are dispatched at minimum or do separate accounts, change dispatch addresses. Anything to ensure they don’t get combined.

if you pay up front just check the terms and conditions to make sure you don’t have to pay extra. It could be that you need to pay 20p but the handling charge would then by a minimum of £8 it’s its Royal Mail more with others.
Know anyone who works for a global company with a US office?

Thats what I used to do, have goods shipped to a colleague in the NYC office and he would stick it in the internal mail system and zero taxes incurred.
eslick2 h, 17 m ago

No wait until they are dispatched at minimum or do separate accounts, …No wait until they are dispatched at minimum or do separate accounts, change dispatch addresses. Anything to ensure they don’t get combined. if you pay up front just check the terms and conditions to make sure you don’t have to pay extra. It could be that you need to pay 20p but the handling charge would then by a minimum of £8 it’s its Royal Mail more with others.


I mean until the item has arrived I'd place the odere for the next item. My typo made it look like I said approved
DKLS1 h, 40 m ago

Know anyone who works for a global company with a US office?Thats what I …Know anyone who works for a global company with a US office?Thats what I used to do, have goods shipped to a colleague in the NYC office and he would stick it in the internal mail system and zero taxes incurred.



I have a friend in the states so could get the items sent to him in one order then him to remove the invoice and forward to me, but the shipping charge would be the same for him to send me the goods.
little_green28 m ago

I mean until the item has arrived I'd place the odere for the next item. …I mean until the item has arrived I'd place the odere for the next item. My typo made it look like I said approved I have a friend in the states so could get the items sent to him in one order then him to remove the invoice and forward to me, but the shipping charge would be the same for him to send me the goods.


No need for them to arrive just make sure they are dispatched separately. Companies combine orders to reduce shipping costs and don’t think about customs.

Even if your friend sent them they will be subject to fees. Gifts aren’t simply excluded but they could say it’s worth less than it is.
eslick3 h, 54 m ago

yes, some companies like Amazon do an estimate and will refund you back if …yes, some companies like Amazon do an estimate and will refund you back if it works out less than the charge, dont think they charge you if its over. Some companies have a business model where they ship from outside of the EU and absorb the fees and you dont even see them. Other companies will make it clear the item will probably get fees and still if you go on any review site people moan like mad about it. easiest way to manage it is if you are buying and it says fees may be taken is to just put in an order total under £15, however dont just assume that you can place multiple orders one after the other as you will have seen with Amazon companies will just pack them all together which then ends up with fees.


Yes, it does say on Amazon's site that they won't charge you if it is over, I bought something through them from the US recently (unfortunately defective ).

If you buy several items from the same place, even if they are posted in separate packages, I believe if UK customs should happen to pick up on them (I guess unlikely unless they go out in the same shipment) , then if the combined total of all the packages is over £15 they can charge vat and duty.
DKLS9 h, 12 m ago

Know anyone who works for a global company with a US office?Thats what I …Know anyone who works for a global company with a US office?Thats what I used to do, have goods shipped to a colleague in the NYC office and he would stick it in the internal mail system and zero taxes incurred.


I'm not entirely sure that's correct.

Perhaps a better ending to your sentence might be "he would stick it in the internal mail system and zero taxes were incurred by either of us. Taxes were probably incurred but they no doubt ended up being attributed to one of the mail rooms, who probably had no real way of tracking the package so they probably ended up footing the bill".

Source: Started a new job with a global company, co-incidentally ordered a parcel from the US at around the same time, was expecting to pay tax charges when the parcel arrived but found out that the mail room had just paid the charges having assumed it was a business delivery of some sort. I probably could have gotten away with it, but I was new to the company and keen to make a good impression, so I tracked the post room down, explained the situation and paid the tax charges.
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