Since there are many experienced online buyers here, I wonder if I could ask some advice about sending returned goods to Italy.
I realised there are risks with online buying, and in hindsight I might have handled this one better, however I would still appreciate your input (and still think the benefits of buying online outweigh the negatives).
I returned a jacket to an Italian online retailer as it was too big and arranged for him to send the new in the right size (it wasmy error in selecting the size), paying for the new one on the agreement they would refund the one I sent back once it arrived (minus original shipping costs).
The new jacket was paid for, arrived promptly and fitted perfect. Happy there.
I sent the original back, mark as "Returned Goods", and emailed the retailer. I then stayed in touch over the next four weeks to find out what was happening (they have very good, fast communication, even if the English is a little broken [far better than my Italian!]). The jacket was delayed in customs, something he said was an unfortunate regular occurance in Italy. Anyway, eventually it arrived with him and he refunded me, minus customs fee (which were very high). He did attach a copy of the custom fee receipt (in Italian but the numbers are there).
My question is, why should there be any custom fees on returned goods, and if so, who should be charged them? Do I have any ground to claim these back or where the rightfully charged? And if the retailer will not repay them (presuming I am correct in think no custom fees should be charged on returned goods) is it worthwhile opening a dispute through paypal?
The seller has been quite nice and helpful (and apologetic about the custom fees, though they were never mentioned when I arranged to send the jacket back), but I am not sure I should be expected to fork out for customs fee that are not required to be paid. I did buy another jacket after all. In hindsight I might not be wise to pay for another jacket to be sent before sorting the original one (though how that would avoid this problem with custom fees I am not sure, really I should have got more detailed measurements to start with).
Still cost less online that in would have here and maybe I just put it down to experience and learn from it but just wanted to get any advice from those who might know something about it?
There should be no customs fees either way if it is a return, as the retailer paid customs on it the first time when they paid for it or if it was made in Italy as well, no customs would have been payable. My only guess is something has been lost in translation on the customs form maybe, but you certainly shouldn't be liable for customs fee's yourself. Even if they have mistaken it for an item you have sold rather than returned, the seller doesn't pay customs, the importer/buyer does.
I do know Italian customs and indeed the postal system in general is really shit, which is why we always use DHL or FEDEX, which costs a lot more but is more reliable.