How to fight a Customs charge with Royal Mail?

26
Posted 21st Feb
Hey All,
I recently ordered some new boxers from a seller in Australia, and HMRC/Royal mail want me to pay £4.09 and an £8 handling fee.
The total purchase price for the items was £20.44 (shipping was free) and I wanted to know if there was a way to get around this (i.e without me paying!!)
Thanks!
-BottomDrawer
Community Updates
Buying From Abroad

Groups

Top comments
As it is over the threshold of £15, you won't be able to fight it.
I won mine last month. Paid it all then did a credit card claim for my £8 and got it back (I'd no issue with the tax). I used payment under duress (holding the parcel to ransom) and breach of consumer rights/contract law of them trying to charge for a service I'd not agreed to or been notified of in advance.

Didn't take long at all and did it on halifax's live chat. More people should do this and end RM's scam.
Edited by: "dcx_badass" 21st Feb
26 Comments
As it is over the threshold of £15, you won't be able to fight it.
You owe that tax. The handling fee stings a bit but that's what happens buying from abroad.
As above unfortunately.
I usually ask the seller to state that the product value is less than £15 to avoid this if the product is only a little more. Most sellers I've dealt with are accommodating.
You've been undercharged. Most peeps would likely not want to fight such a scenario.
But wait-there's more!

-Courtesy of Brexit.
You should try it the other way round
When I was living in Oz there was 0 to pay unless the cost was over $1000
Additionally, if I ordered from Amazon UK they took off the 20% VAT and invariably I ended up paying less than if I lived in the UK even after postage across the world.
I won mine last month. Paid it all then did a credit card claim for my £8 and got it back (I'd no issue with the tax). I used payment under duress (holding the parcel to ransom) and breach of consumer rights/contract law of them trying to charge for a service I'd not agreed to or been notified of in advance.

Didn't take long at all and did it on halifax's live chat. More people should do this and end RM's scam.
Edited by: "dcx_badass" 21st Feb
dcx_badass21/02/2020 12:08

I won mine last month. Paid it all then did a credit card claim for my £8 …I won mine last month. Paid it all then did a credit card claim for my £8 and got it back (I'd no issue with the tax). I used payment under duress (holding the parcel to ransom) and breach of consumer rights/contract law of them trying to charge for a service I'd not agreed to or been notified of in advance.Didn't take long at all and did it on halifax's live chat. More people should do this and end RM's scam.


That's very clever, I will definitely borrow the idea!!!!
Thank you so much!
dcx_badass21/02/2020 12:08

I won mine last month. Paid it all then did a credit card claim for my £8 …I won mine last month. Paid it all then did a credit card claim for my £8 and got it back (I'd no issue with the tax). I used payment under duress (holding the parcel to ransom) and breach of consumer rights/contract law of them trying to charge for a service I'd not agreed to or been notified of in advance.Didn't take long at all and did it on halifax's live chat. More people should do this and end RM's scam.


I completely agree.
BottomDrawer21/02/2020 12:13

That's very clever, I will definitely borrow the idea!!!!Thank you so …That's very clever, I will definitely borrow the idea!!!!Thank you so much!


So a few tips, keep evidence so take a photo of the card showing the rm charge/customs split and keep a copy of your receipt. Also email RM saying you don't agree (they'll fob you off but that's your evidence you tried to resolve it with the retailer. I never got asked for it but was advised to hold onto it for a few weeks in case it was challenged.
It’s not a Royal Mail scam, Royal Mail Pay the tax for the customer which the customer should of paid and this can sometimes be £100s so Royal Mail charge £8 flat fee which I know can be a lot on cheap items but £8 when item is £400 isn’t too expensive. Royal Mail have to pay for the tax, then sent item separate in special package to sorting office who then have to fill out forms and post a card through your door and then take the parcel to nearest post office, then once fee paid they have to go and get the parcel back out of post office and then deliver that and fill out more paperwork. So the £8 fee is for a lot of work and I’m sure Royal Mail would prefer people just paid the tax, it’s hmrc who pick the charge up and Royal Mail have no say in it.
There is a way though to avoid the fee but it’s a long process, let the item be sent back to sender, or ask Royal Mail to send it back. Royal Mail will then send it back free of charge and the sender will get the package back without them paying any fees and then they’ll need to resend it but obviously make sure you pay the tax this time. Since you’ve never actually received the item you can’t even be charged for delivery.
"Since you’ve never actually received the item you can’t even be charged for delivery."

That's EU and doesn't apply everywhere.
dcx_badass21/02/2020 12:08

I won mine last month. Paid it all then did a credit card claim for my £8 …I won mine last month. Paid it all then did a credit card claim for my £8 and got it back (I'd no issue with the tax). I used payment under duress (holding the parcel to ransom) and breach of consumer rights/contract law of them trying to charge for a service I'd not agreed to or been notified of in advance.Didn't take long at all and did it on halifax's live chat. More people should do this and end RM's scam.


Badass by name ... penny pincher by nature
£4.09 is 20% of £20.44 so you are being asked to pay the VAT on the item, there is no way round this, HMRC want their money and taxes are a fact of life. £8 is the Royal Mail handling charge for them to pay the tax and then collect it from you, yes it is a lot of money, but the simplist way to avoid it is to buy items within the UK (or for the next few months the EU) where the tax will then be included in the purchase price.
You’ve probably ordered plenty of items before and not received a customs charge when you could have done. Just take this one on the chin and realise that you are bound to get the occasional one.
Avatar
deleted67360
Gotta love the Chinese on that ! bought some daily driving lights from China £50.00. Came in a huge box and they put it valued $10.00.
Royal mail delivered... no questions asked!
toonsquirel21/02/2020 15:12

It’s not a Royal Mail scam, Royal Mail Pay the tax for the customer which t …It’s not a Royal Mail scam, Royal Mail Pay the tax for the customer which the customer should of paid and this can sometimes be £100s so Royal Mail charge £8 flat fee which I know can be a lot on cheap items but £8 when item is £400 isn’t too expensive. Royal Mail have to pay for the tax, then sent item separate in special package to sorting office who then have to fill out forms and post a card through your door and then take the parcel to nearest post office, then once fee paid they have to go and get the parcel back out of post office and then deliver that and fill out more paperwork. So the £8 fee is for a lot of work and I’m sure Royal Mail would prefer people just paid the tax, it’s hmrc who pick the charge up and Royal Mail have no say in it.There is a way though to avoid the fee but it’s a long process, let the item be sent back to sender, or ask Royal Mail to send it back. Royal Mail will then send it back free of charge and the sender will get the package back without them paying any fees and then they’ll need to resend it but obviously make sure you pay the tax this time. Since you’ve never actually received the item you can’t even be charged for delivery.


For a lot of shipping companies that handle the process end to end there's no reason this shouldn't be incorporated in the up front cost they charge. Exchange rates fluctuate so the actual tax and duty might have to be charged when it enters the country but to charge a handling fee at the same time is a strange way of doing things.

Royal Mail is a special case because they have to deliver mail sent by other national mail services so they're generally not the ones that charged the sender.

I don't know what the length is of the reciprocal delivery contracts royal mail has with other national postage service but internet shopping has been around for a long time now so you'd expect the opportunity to renegotiate some of them should have come up by now.
EndlessWaves21/02/2020 17:42

For a lot of shipping companies that handle the process end to end there's …For a lot of shipping companies that handle the process end to end there's no reason this shouldn't be incorporated in the up front cost they charge. Exchange rates fluctuate so the actual tax and duty might have to be charged when it enters the country but to charge a handling fee at the same time is a strange way of doing things. Royal Mail is a special case because they have to deliver mail sent by other national mail services so they're generally not the ones that charged the sender.I don't know what the length is of the reciprocal delivery contracts royal mail has with other national postage service but internet shopping has been around for a long time now so you'd expect the opportunity to renegotiate some of them should have come up by now.


The handling fee is to process the customs payment that is charged, it add up how much it costs in people’s time to collect the money, bank it, complete the customs declaration, create a payment for the customs amount, include bank fees, then£8 is not a lot of money. If you see how big companies have to manage custom payments it’s not a simple task.
Edited by: "eslick" 21st Feb
eslick21/02/2020 17:56

The handling fee is to process the customs payment, add up how much it …The handling fee is to process the customs payment, add up how much it costs in people’s time to collect the money, complete the customs declaration, create a payment for the customs amount and £8 is not a lot of money. If you see how big companies have to manage custom payments it’s not a simple task.


And all the work before and after that part of the process costs money too. Why charge the recipient for this particularly bit when you're charging the sender for all the other bits?

It's not as if this is coming as a surprise to the delivery company. They know exactly where the parcel is going when they take on the contract - and many already ask for value up front to calculate the insurance costs.
EndlessWaves21/02/2020 18:03

And all the work before and after that part of the process costs money …And all the work before and after that part of the process costs money too. Why charge the recipient for this particularly bit when you're charging the sender for all the other bits? It's not as if this is coming as a surprise to the delivery company. They know exactly where the parcel is going when they take on the contract - and many already ask for value up front to calculate the insurance costs.


Exactly and there is a company started in the last 10 years who is making a fortune doing it for major companies around the world and it costs a lot more than £8 but factored into their delivery custom charges just like Amazon do
Edited by: "eslick" 21st Feb
deleted6736021/02/2020 16:20

Gotta love the Chinese on that ! bought some daily driving lights from …Gotta love the Chinese on that ! bought some daily driving lights from China £50.00. Came in a huge box and they put it valued $10.00.Royal mail delivered... no questions asked!


Royal Mail don’t care what it’s worth, it’s more a customs check issue.
EndlessWaves21/02/2020 18:03

And all the work before and after that part of the process costs money …And all the work before and after that part of the process costs money too. Why charge the recipient for this particularly bit when you're charging the sender for all the other bits? It's not as if this is coming as a surprise to the delivery company. They know exactly where the parcel is going when they take on the contract - and many already ask for value up front to calculate the insurance costs.


When they receive a parcel into the network they don’t necessarily know of customs are due though do they? Should everyone pay extra because some people don’t arrange the correct duty payment? It’s like when someone doesn’t put the correct postage on, you pay the excess and then a fee for the hassle.
anthonyjames9021/02/2020 20:08

It’s like when someone doesn’t put the correct postage on, you pay the exc …It’s like when someone doesn’t put the correct postage on, you pay the excess and then a fee for the hassle.


I suspect that system came about in the olden days because the only information on a letter was a recipients address and the sender could be a complete mystery. How many online purchases are sent nowadays without the delivery company having the contact details of the sending company? I can't imagine it's many.

And this is not making good the occasional mistake, it has become normal practice for online shops to leave customs clearance up to the delivery company.

If a high street company started systematically sending out parcels with insufficient postage would it be reasonable for the delivery company to continue accepting them and charging customers the difference plus a fee for the hassle?

In that situation they'd likely say to the company 'pay up front or we won't carry your parcels'. They need to do the same for sending internationally. Find out when they're asked to carry a parcel to another country whether customs are sorted.

Of course there'll be mistakes and cases when it's not possible that this system would still be in place for but it'd cover the majority of purchases. .
EndlessWaves21/02/2020 20:50

I suspect that system came about in the olden days because the only …I suspect that system came about in the olden days because the only information on a letter was a recipients address and the sender could be a complete mystery. How many online purchases are sent nowadays without the delivery company having the contact details of the sending company? I can't imagine it's many. And this is not making good the occasional mistake, it has become normal practice for online shops to leave customs clearance up to the delivery company. If a high street company started systematically sending out parcels with insufficient postage would it be reasonable for the delivery company to continue accepting them and charging customers the difference plus a fee for the hassle?In that situation they'd likely say to the company 'pay up front or we won't carry your parcels'. They need to do the same for sending internationally. Find out when they're asked to carry a parcel to another country whether customs are sorted. Of course there'll be mistakes and cases when it's not possible that this system would still be in place for but it'd cover the majority of purchases. .


Customs is such a black hole sometimes that I know many wouldn’t want to get involved. Sure you send it and think you’ll have to pay 20%, but what if it’s 32%? When businesses deliver they make it very clear who’s responsible for duty payment; I think it should be something like that in the consumer market too really. The Amazon global shipping program makes a ‘best guess’ at duty, but ultimately you as the buyer is responsible. eBay have a different approach whereby you send it to a local location and they then deal with the international element. Either way someone’s got to pay for the added time and duty!
deleted6736021/02/2020 16:20

Gotta love the Chinese on that ! bought some daily driving lights from …Gotta love the Chinese on that ! bought some daily driving lights from China £50.00. Came in a huge box and they put it valued $10.00.Royal mail delivered... no questions asked!


They were actually valued $10. You've overpaid the Chinese seller
dcx_badass21/02/2020 12:08

I won mine last month. Paid it all then did a credit card claim for my £8 …I won mine last month. Paid it all then did a credit card claim for my £8 and got it back (I'd no issue with the tax). I used payment under duress (holding the parcel to ransom) and breach of consumer rights/contract law of them trying to charge for a service I'd not agreed to or been notified of in advance.Didn't take long at all and did it on halifax's live chat. More people should do this and end RM's scam.


I believe it's very probable that Halifax have refunded you as a goodwill gesture. For this sort of sum it's not worth them disputing it with the vendor. So, you've got your money back but had no impact on the RM. A genuine stand would require the Small Claims Court.
Post a comment
Avatar
@
    Text

    Discussions

    Discussions

    Top Merchants