My company got billed by UPS for customs charges -- what?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by enigma77, Feb 4, 2010.

  1. enigma77

    enigma77 Senior member

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    Hey guys,

    The office manager where I work just told me that there's a $100+ customs bill sitting at her desk for an order addressed to me. I ordered some stuff from Albam clothing in the UK, and had it shipped to my work because I didn't want to miss an international shipment while I was at work. But as far as I know, I paid customs duties and shipping charges when I gave Albam my credit card number.

    What's most befuddling, though, is how my company got charged, as I obviously put this on my personal credit card and gave the billing address as my home! The only place my work shows up on this order is just the street address. That's it.

    What gives? Anyone else had a similar experience with this or another int'l seller? I'm inclined to think that this is UPS' fault. Might it be Albam's? They ship so much abroad that they seem like that's a mistake they wouldn't make.

    Thanks so much for the help!
     


  2. VKK3450

    VKK3450 Senior member

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    Albam will have charged you shipping & handling, not customs. Retailers generally dont charge customs at time of purchase, its only levied when it actually goes into your country, and sometimes it gets skipped if you are using USPS or Royal Mail.

    Unfortunately UPS and FedEx have a vested interest in you getting charged for customs as they also take a processing fee.

    K
     


  3. Eligius

    Eligius Senior member

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    -IF- you get dinged for customs charges it happens on this end, not when you purchase. Some shippers are more likely to consistently do this. It's not a superfluous charge, customs are due.

    I'm guessing your company got dinged because they probably have a UPS account and do a lot of receiving, additionally, the charge was probably due upon delivery and they don't have your credit card #. A friend does a lot of overseas receiving like this and the company pays when received and he reimburses.

    EDIT- agreed with VKK-
     


  4. mjc

    mjc Senior member

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    This is normal.

    When you order internationally, customs charges are almost NEVER included, for the simple reason that the sellers are not experts in the tariffs levels in every country. Customs charges are your problem entirely.

    UPS arranges customs clearance for you. They may do the customs work themselves, or they may feed it to the customs broker that your company regularly uses. Either way, you or your company will receive a bill. UPS can't really tell if it is actually a personal item being delivered to a corporate address.

    So... either you have arrange to pay your company when customs charges arise, or you have to ship things to your home address.

    - Mike
     


  5. furo

    furo Senior member

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    I ordered some stuff from Albam clothing in the UK, and had it shipped to my work because I didn't want to miss an international shipment while I was at work.

    This is precisely why I never have things shipped to my office, since I don't want this sort of situation to happen. If it does, I'm going to be called out and it's pretty embarassing. Always ship to your home address. If it's international and you're not at home when it arrives, big deal. It will go back to your local UPS distro center and you can pick it up on your own time.
     


  6. Wicky

    Wicky Senior member

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    Unfortunately UPS and FedEx have a vested interest in you getting charged for customs as they also take a processing fee.

    K


    Aint that the f%$king truth, I have had bills whereby the processing fee exceeds the customs charges.
     


  7. enigma77

    enigma77 Senior member

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    Thankfully, my office manager is a nice person and is handling this discreetly. She's telling our UPS rep that this is a personal and not a commercial purchase. Hopefully that'll work ... ? My downfall was that I put my company name in the second line of the address. STUPID.

    The weird thing is that there was *no* pro forma invoice (i.e. invoice stating that this is for commercial use) with the shipment. Must be through a 3rd party organization like you guys said, because this is pretty careless.
     


  8. Michael Ay329

    Michael Ay329 Senior member

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    Fed Ex and UPS get dinged with fines by U.S. Customs if they do not properly process import duties. I have never heard of their financial incentive via a processing fee.

    The U.S. Post Office does not get dinged since they are a governmental entity...and in theory will self police themselves well to ensure duties are imposed and paid...but in reality, many times they just let it slide and are way more lax

    Anytime I purchase something from the UK, I ask if they can ship via Royal Mail...since this will then by delivered by the USPS...not UPS or FedEx

    If UPS or FedEx is used, some of the U.K. companies are shrewdly noting noting no commerical value (samples) or drastically undervalueing the cost of the product to stiff the import tax man.

    But using your companies name under the second line for the address, is just outright unwise unless you are the boss or a manager.
     


  9. deveandepot1

    deveandepot1 Senior member

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    FWIW I rarely get hit with customs from other countries except when the seller uses
    UPS.
     


  10. enigma77

    enigma77 Senior member

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    Fed Ex and UPS get dinged with fines by U.S. Customs if they do not properly process import duties. I have never heard of their financial incentive via a processing fee.

    The U.S. Post Office does not get dinged since they are a governmental entity...and in theory will self police themselves well to ensure duties are imposed and paid...but in reality, many times they just let it slide and are way more lax

    Anytime I purchase something from the UK, I ask if they can ship via Royal Mail...since this will then by delivered by the USPS...not UPS or FedEx

    If UPS or FedEx is used, some of the U.K. companies are shrewdly noting noting no commerical value (samples) or drastically undervalueing the cost of the product to stiff the import tax man.

    But using your companies name under the second line for the address, is just outright unwise unless you are the boss or a manager.

    People order stuff to come here all the time. The fact that I used my company's name is no big deal. It's just the customs charge is obviously the issue...
     


  11. sjmin209

    sjmin209 Senior member

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    Thankfully, my office manager is a nice person and is handling this discreetly. She's telling our UPS rep that this is a personal and not a commercial purchase.

    This makes no difference. You still have to pay.
     


  12. S. Paul

    S. Paul Senior member

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    Fed Ex and UPS get dinged with fines by U.S. Customs if they do not properly process import duties. I have never heard of their financial incentive via a processing fee.


    I don't know about the "dinged by U.S. Customs" part, but UPS definitely has a financial interest in processing import duties - they get to charge a minimum of $25 brokerage fee to the receiving party for doing so. Also, there does not necessarily have to be a "pro forma" invoice for you to be charged import duties and then the UPS brokerage fee - depending on what exactly you are importing, it can be evaluated by U.S. Customs when it enters the States and determined that the item(s), or quantity of them, justify a "commercial shipment".

    Good luck,
    Sean Paul
     


  13. VKK3450

    VKK3450 Senior member

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    It doesnt have to be a commercial item. Even personal items and gifts can be hit with customs depending on the item and value.

    As someone mentioned, ask if they can ship Royal Mail or whatever the equivalent national mail carrier is. That way it hits USPS and chances are lower that it will get charged by customs.

    K
     


  14. enigma77

    enigma77 Senior member

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    It doesnt have to be a commercial item. Even personal items and gifts can be hit with customs depending on the item and value.

    As someone mentioned, ask if they can ship Royal Mail or whatever the equivalent national mail carrier is. That way it hits USPS and chances are lower that it will get charged by customs.

    K

    Thanks guys. We'll see what happens.
     


  15. Michael Ay329

    Michael Ay329 Senior member

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    I don't know about the "dinged by U.S. Customs" part, but UPS definitely has a financial interest in processing import duties - they get to charge a minimum of $25 brokerage fee to the receiving party for doing so. Also, there does not necessarily have to be a "pro forma" invoice for you to be charged import duties and then the UPS brokerage fee - depending on what exactly you are importing, it can be evaluated by U.S. Customs when it enters the States and determined that the item(s), or quantity of them, justify a "commercial shipment".

    Good luck,
    Sean Paul


    My experieince with UPS is different. In December, I took delivery of 2 G&G shoes via UPS. Got hit with a $43 custom duty...no brokerage fee
     


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