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people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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right, this didn't happen
children of dune - leto 1
Totes hypothetical, of course.

If one was--no reason--buying some sort of stuffed animal from a company in London--let's say Harrods--how does one discover what the everloving hell the duty and customs will be? I have found out for Canada, New Zealand, and possibly, Mars, but google is not cutting it--yes, I said it--and God, I don't even know how they will get to my house.

...hypothetically. I mean, I wouldn't be such an idiot as to get so excited about an entire family of seasonally-inclined stuffed animals as to place an order, realize that finally, it was accepted, and then only after the email confirmation appeared have it dawn on me that really, I have no idea what I just did.

I blame Christmas. Hypothetically.

Posted at Dreamwidth: http://seperis.dreamwidth.org/112796.html. | You can reply here or there. | comment count unavailable comments

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Hypothetically speaking of course - I would find the 'contact us' button on the website you ordered from?

*glum* From the website:
All items are sold on a Delivery Duty Unpaid basis, so recipients outside of the EU may have to pay import duty or other taxes. Harrods cannot be held liable for any import duties payable on orders made and recommends that all customers make themselves aware of such local charges before ordering.

Harrods can also not be held liable should local customs officials decide to hold or confiscate items for any reason.

*blank look*

...they don't have a way to contact an actual person to ask these sorts of questions?

Um, maybe the actual post office website? I have no idea :(

The last time I had something shipped from the UK, I got a duty bill from FedEx (the shipping company) a month or two later.

It was about 30 bucks on an order of $5000.

Dunno if it scales down or not.

It's a flat rate from the customs broker who clears the FedEx/DHL etc. packages. However, the charge depends on which customs broker the courier company uses. This is how I ended up spending about $100 on a t-shirt worth $30 and won't buy anything from the US that can't be shipped to Canada through the post office.


Yeesh, that's gotta hurt!

The kicker is the shirt was on the small side and I couldn't really fit into it but could not return it.

No, go ahead and blame Christmas outright.

Now, this can either be a sign to discourgae you from the purchase, or a sign you just have to get creative. For instance, could you hypothetically order said bears through Amazon? Or is there a similar bear on the Amazon UK site that might have such info included? Because I have often found Amazon to be more helpful than, say, Google, in hypothetical matters.


I'm not sure on Harrods, but I ordered some gifts from Marks and Spencer a couple of Christmases ago, and not only was their delivery remarkably prompt, I didn't have to pay any additional duty and customs. But then, I didn't spend a whole ton either - probably less than fifty quid.

Hypothetically, Harrods Christmas bears are totally adorable, though.

Speaking for things going US -> UK, there seems no way to be certain what will get Customs charged. I just had to pay £20 for a $100 birthday gift from a friend and I've paid £20+ on orders of $50 t-shirts before (why I no longer buy stuff from Threadless over $20) but I've had DVDs from Amazon worth about $35-40 that have had no charges at all. Some stuff's been dropped off at the Post Office and I've paid & collected in person, while last week I had to pay online & they wouldn't deliver until after the weekend.

So if it's anything like US-mail inbound to the UK, there's no way to tell for sure if you'll get charged, although it seems to be at least £20/$30 when stuff does get charged. I've decided it depends to an extent on how nice/lazy the Customs worker is feeling on the day with whether or not they let something pass (most of mine have not been feeling nice/lazy this year. I've spent close to £100 in Customs charges by now. ;_; )

To add to this. My experience / research as a UK citizen buying stuff from places that aren't UK/Europe. (My figures may be out of date, but the general principle is, I'm pretty sure, still the same.)

Any under £18* gets ignored by customs people. For parcels with a value over that, you pay (I think/assume) a percentage of the value (maybe 20%? Given that that's what VAT is in the UK?). Not sure if it's a percentage of total value, or if it's percentage of the value less £18*.

You also pay a (flat rate?) handling fee to the Post Office / Royal Mail for, y'know' having to handle your parcels and charge you customs.

It used to be (I don't think it is any more) that if your parcel was marked as a gift, customs ignored parcels up to a value of £36. I think gifts are now £18* as well.

* This figure may have changed.

Basically, any customs / excise is completely independent of Company From Which You (Hypothetically) Buy Stuff, and depends on your own Government / Customs / Mail people.

My Hypothetical Option for Buying Stuff From Abroad (which I've never actually used, but have in the back of my mind for future use) is to find a friend in country of purchase, get them to buy it and then get them to post it to you and mark the value of the parcel as something just under your country's customs limit. The downside of this is that if the parcel should go awol, you'll only be able to claim the value that you marked on the parcel rather than actual value. And not that I am in any way advocating trying to fiddle the government out of its hard earned cash.

ETA: Hmmm. Ok. Apparently, Customs Duty =/= Excise Duty =/= Import VAT. You pay Customs duty on stuff over £135. You pay Import VAT on stuff over £18 and Excise is only paid (I think) on alcohol and tobacco. Customs duty is waived if the value of the duty is under £9. So pretty much, people in the UK are going to get caught on the VAT duty at the £18 limit. Also. Gifts are free under £40.

PS. UK folk, please don't take my translation as gospel. There is a high probability that I got something wrong somewhere. HMRC website is not very clear on a quick first read.

Edited at 2011-11-05 12:17 pm (UTC)

I wouldn't worry about it until the package get here unless you you still have the option to cancel it. If you Google, usa import custom fees, iirc you'll find out more--my browser isn't wanting to load those sites right now for me.

I don't know about buying direct from a UK business like Harrods but I have spent lots of money buying internationally from ebay sellers including UK businesses. I have never paid any sort of USA Customs fees or anything like that on anything I've ordered internationally. I don't know it I'm just lucky and got ignored or what or if the seller just mailed it such that I didn't have to it for whatever reason, but I've ordered hundreds of dollars of merchandise and didn't pay anything.

Hi, just letting you know that the lj links to your website no longer work (on your profile page and at the top left hand corner of your lj). Did you discontinue to the website, or change domains?

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