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

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

  1. Pezzaturra

    Pezzaturra 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


    +100.

    Why US customs don't allow US residents to pay custom duties on packages via internet? Because someone's cousin is running a contract company that process your payment and charges you a fee that is MORE than the actual customs bill.
    Welcome to United States of Albania.
     
  2. Bounder

    Bounder Senior member

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    It all depends on the value of the item and the final destination (ie. which state). For example, in Illinois, things under $200 do not get charged.

    Not really. Customs duties are charged by the feds and are payable on goods crossing the U.S. border. The states have no say in levying these duties.
     
  3. onix

    onix Senior member

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    Not really. Customs duties are charged by the feds and are payable on goods crossing the U.S. border. The states have no say in levying these duties.

    Are you sure? Last year during one of a deal craze, members bought shoes from the UK at the same price but reported custom duties differently across the States. IIRC, I don't have to pay custom fee, but one or two guys down in Texas had to pay.
     
  4. RJman

    RJman Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Are you sure? Last year during one of a deal craze, members bought shoes from the UK at the same price but reported custom duties differently across the States. IIRC, I don't have to pay custom fee, but one or two guys down in Texas had to pay.

    Customs duties are technically due on (almost) ANY purchase of ANY value shipped to you from outside the US. State law has nothing to do with it, it's federal.

    A lot might depend on the shipping service used, the reported value, the additional fees leveled by any customs broker in cahoots with UPS/Fedex/etc. and even how the customs agent parses the declaration of contents.

    Trust me on this.
     
  5. juuceman

    juuceman Senior member

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    First, this is not legal advice. It's merely speculation.

    I am not completely convinced that you do have to pay, especially not the "processing" fee. You actually have no contract with the shipper, the seller does. For example, the seller could have chosen to use Royal Mail and you wouldn't have been charged any processing fee. BTW, I have seen packages where no duty at all was due that were still charged a "customs processing fee."

    To illustrate, suppose the shipper decided to bill you a $1000 processing fee. Would you be legally required to pay it? Did you agree to it? $10,000?

    Now if you have an account with the shipper and the agreement requires you to pay these fees, that's different. But absent some agreement to pay the fee, you are a stranger to the transaction between the seller and the shipper.


    If you want to be able to receive a shipment with the shipper again, especially an international one, you have to pay the brokerage fee. DHL will send it for collections.
     
  6. Chargersfan

    Chargersfan Senior member

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    Years back when I broke up with my then American fiance, she shipped some stuff that I had left at her place back to Canada via UPS. I had to pay $70 TO GET MY OWN STUFF BACK. She worked for UPS at that time, and even declared it returned personal goods to a citizen. Seriously, their 'customs broker' bs has to be one of the biggest scams going. That being said, you're gonna have to pay...consider it a lesson learned.
     
  7. Bounder

    Bounder Senior member

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    If you want to be able to receive a shipment with the shipper again, especially an international one, you have to pay the brokerage fee. DHL will send it for collections.

    Well, first, I doubt that you would be unable to receive packages. Say you ordered a bunch of cheap shirts from TM Lewin who shipped it by UPS. (To be fair, IIRC, Lewin ships by Royal Mail.) I doubt seriously that UPS is going to return the package to Lewin and refuse to ship it because the receiver was in arrears on a UPS brokerage fee. That would be incredibly bad business on many levels. I'd be surprised if UPS UK could even screen for this information if they wanted to, though I may be wrong.

    As for collections, I suppose they could try. But if you challenged it, I suspect you would find that it isn't legally collectable. Once again, I could well be wrong. But what if DHL or UPS did decide that they were going to charge a $1000 customs clearing fee? Would you be legally obliged to pay? if not, why not?
     
  8. Nick A

    Nick A Senior member

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    This is only my recommendation and cannot be guaranteed:

    I ship worldwide from the UK. If I use Royal Mail or Parcelforce Priority Mail my customers don't usually have custom problems. These companies use the local delivery service in the destination country which seem to be more lenient about attached documents & duties.

    If I use FedEx, UPS, or other couriers like these, the customs is taken very seriously. If you are purchasing from the UK, try to ask which service the seller uses. Worth noting that if it's Parcelforce Datapost ( their fastest service ) even Parcelforce use FedEx in the destination country for their faster service so more detailed documentation is required so try to avoid.

    If you have the choice when you purchase, try the following:

    Royal Mail "Small Packet" International Signed For service...Parcels under 2KG's

    Parcelforce "International Priority" service...Parcels over 2KG's

    I hope this helps.

    Nick.

    www.bespoke-england.co.uk
     
  9. columbia92

    columbia92 Well-Known Member

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    What if you don't have a ups or fedex account, does UPS just bill you directly or they will ask you to pay them when you receive the good?
     
  10. onix

    onix Senior member

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    What if you don't have a ups or fedex account, does UPS just bill you directly or they will ask you to pay them when you receive the good?

    Yes
     
  11. columbia92

    columbia92 Well-Known Member

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    Customs duties are technically due on (almost) ANY purchase of ANY value shipped to you from outside the US. State law has nothing to do with it, it's federal.

    A lot might depend on the shipping service used, the reported value, the additional fees leveled by any customs broker in cahoots with UPS/Fedex/etc. and even how the customs agent parses the declaration of contents.

    Trust me on this.


    add name and the mood of the agent you're dealing with on the day....
     
  12. clausc

    clausc Senior member

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    Same happened to me before when ordering from Yoox. Even though I put shipping address my work address and billing my home address, they still charged my company.


    Question for the OP: I just ordered an utility blazer from Albam and asked on the phone if they ship internationally (Switzerland in this case) via Royal Mail and they confirmed me so. However, the person on the phone was hesitating. I pay almost double custom duties when the shipment is via UPS or DHL. I did not received yet a tracking #. Is it always UPS?
     
  13. unjung

    unjung Senior member

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    UPS does publish clearance charges on their site... they are high.
     
  14. Sanguis Mortuum

    Sanguis Mortuum Senior member

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    Years back when I broke up with my then American fiance, she shipped some stuff that I had left at her place back to Canada via UPS. I had to pay $70 TO GET MY OWN STUFF BACK. She worked for UPS at that time, and even declared it returned personal goods to a citizen. Seriously, their 'customs broker' bs has to be one of the biggest scams going. That being said, you're gonna have to pay...consider it a lesson learned.

    You should be able to contest the customs charges and get your money back...
     
  15. RIDER

    RIDER Senior member

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    Whenever you are importing goods, the 'ship to' address is officially the 'importer of record'. The 'importer of record' is responsible for all duties, brokerage fees, clearance fees, storage fees, and in the case of UPS fuel surcharges. Also, if there were to be a problem - and trust me, since the Census Bureau took over Customs they are finding all kinds of problems - the importer of record would be responsible for those problems.....including penalties.

    Some of the fees I am reading here that people call bogus are, in fact, legitimate fees - a bond needs to be posted for every import shipment for example. I pay $120 bond fee no matter if I am bringing in one pair or 100 pair. UPS actually discounts the bond and calls it a 'processing fee'.

    Honestly, I'm surprised more don't complain or get questioned about the goods they bring in. Technically speaking, the importer of record (NOT the shipper) is also responsible for the correct importing codes - the list I just received is 84 pages long. And don't try to buy/import something of a material that you are not familiar with the importation rules of, and the potential risk if your package is stopped for inspection. Again, trust me. Illegal importation of goods is a felony - and they don't accept 'I didn't know' or 'the shipper didn't tell me that' as an excuse.

    You are the citizen, you are the importer, your responsibility to know what you are doing.

    Example - you live in California and buy a pair of shoes from ebay Italy....the shoes are made of kangaroo, but the seller doesn't know this and lists them as calfskin. You get your package inspected on the random list, they see kangaroo - you are a felon.
     
  16. Wes Bourne

    Wes Bourne Senior member

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    Similar thing happened to me. A few months ago, I put in a couple of orders with BB. Had the stuff delivered to my office (in Montreal) by FedEx. At first, I was all giddy because no customs brokerage + taxes were due upon delivery.

    Several weeks later, I received some outstanding FedEx bills through internal mail. It seems FedEx had billed my company's account for those fees. The bills went through accounting, then HR before ending up on my desk... While I can't be upset that I had to pay the fees, I sure wish they would have collected them from me when they delivered. Best is something like LL Bean does with USPS and their own Borderfree(?) system whereas all fees are calculated and charged right when you checkout.
     
  17. Bill Smith

    Bill Smith Senior member

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    For that reason I am very leery having stuff shipped via UPS or Fed Ex. At one employer I had a standing arrangement with accounts payable to forward any outstanding invoices for duties and brokerage to me. I was not the only person to shop online at work and as long as my name and work phone number was on the paper work, it was good.
     
  18. bigbris1

    bigbris1 Senior member

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    And don't try to buy/import something of a material that you are not familiar with the importation rules of, and the potential risk if your package is stopped for inspection. Again, trust me. Illegal importation of goods is a felony - and they don't accept 'I didn't know' or 'the shipper didn't tell me that' as an excuse.

    You are the citizen, you are the importer, your responsibility to know what you are doing.

    Example - you live in California and buy a pair of shoes from ebay Italy....the shoes are made of kangaroo, but the seller doesn't know this and lists them as calfskin. You get your package inspected on the random list, they see kangaroo - you are a felon.


    This is scary
     
  19. TheWGP

    TheWGP Senior member

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    This is scary

    Yeah, but in a case like the one Rider presents, you can show evidence that you thought it was legal - not saying it won't be a PITA, but you'll get it cleared up eventually. Things like the auction listing and any seller statements or communication ARE considered - but ONLY to show what YOU knew and were ordering.

    There is a "knew or should have known" component... think about people who order things that LOOK like ivory without being stated as ivory - most are plastic or something else, but some maybe are afoul of regulations. Those people are going to get busted - you, for kangaroo shoes? So long as it was reasonable for you to believe they were calfskin or cordovan or whatever, you'll be okay in the end... after a year or two and lots of $$ spent defending yourself, true, but you won't be in jail as long as you followed all other requirements.

    To foreclose on the easy argument - I mail Rider, unsolicited, a pair of kangaroo boots. It'd be easy to do that from any mailbox in Canada, just drive across and mail it via UPS. Think about that example!
     

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