Need help about custom charges etc on imports.

Basically, I want to buy a pair of earphones priced around £30 from someone in USA via eBay. With it coming from outside the EC, I am unsure about whether I will be charged by customs and if theres any documents to sign and complete.

So if anyone has imported anything from outside the EC with goods priced over £30 (4 CDs from CD wow dusnt count cos they send em separately), it'd be nice to hear from ya.

Alternatively, If anyone knows anywhere that sells Shure e2c earphones for less than £45, I'd be happy with that.



Make sure it is shipped USPS from the states (i.e. not UPS/FedEx etc.) to avoid paying the high administration fees associated with couriers.

That's the only legal thing I can recommend. You will probably be charged VAT (17.5%) but on a small item like this shipped with USPS it might get passed through as it's close to the legal grace allowance.

I've used USPS Global Priority on quite a few items and they came through without being charged anything (properly declared too).

Good luck

Original Poster

Oh cool thanx freebie, now I need to make sure the Ebay person uses USPS. sounds good to me just to have no charges, hopefully.

If it comes via USPS then it's handled by Royal Mail/Parcelforce when it comes into the country. They charge £8 admin fee if they custom clear your package but it's always a bit of a lottery if you get charged.

However if it comes via the big couriers eg UPS/Fedex etc then they will custom clear EVERYTHING on behalf of HMCE and charge you between £10-12 for the privilege!

Anyway duty charges are worked on the basis of the SHIPPED cost of the item ie declared cost of item + cost of shipping. THEN 17.5% VAT is slapped on top of that.

You can find out the commodity code for your item to see what rate of duty it attracts as some things are zero rated for duty - look on the hmce website

Original Poster

by the sounds of it, its a gamble to take and with my good fortune nothing ever goes my way, so ill probs stick with buying from within the EC, saves any shock charges slapped on.

Thanx for the help guys.

Wonder if the item that says no custom charges guarenteed coming from the US is worth the gamble.

I would ask them how they are planning on guaranteeing that mug51. As far as I know if the item is valued above the exemption limit you are legally obliged to pay VAT.

There are exceptions for this. For example personal items (if you were moving to the UK) or gift items. However, if an item is shipped and labelled as either and UK customs determines that it is fraudulently labelled the item will be confiscated and a fine can be charged. Any type of mail fraud has very high consequences, higher than you may guess.

The only way I can see guaranteed no charges is that they will pay the 17.5% VAT to you or if the item is under the legal exemption limit.

It seems pretty hit and miss all together, in the end. :?

I just had a small item shipped via regular post from a person in the states - the pkg by no means looked official, but I got dinged for £15.10 . Ah well, suppose I've had pretty good luck in the past so should not complain too much.
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