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Official Customs, Duties, and International Shipping Questions and Stories Thread

whorishconsumer

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This proved invaluable information. The vendor provided an incorrect and incomplete tariff code and so UPS took liberties in interpretation and assigned an “other” code carrying a 27.7% fee. They invoiced me for $350. But because I knew the correct tariff code, I was able to direct correction. The vendor is in the process of resubmitting paperwork with the correct code, which carries a 4.4% assessment instead.

I don’t know how most would be able to address this kind of oversight, as reading and understanding the tariff schedule with no prior experience doing so is a nightmare, if you even know about the “Harmonized System” in the first place.
Man, this continues to be a drag. It took from the 22nd to now to get any traction on this from UPS' side and that only after my having made a ton of calls to all different departments within their organization and gaining additional contacts beyond the one originally given to me, which I'm taking may have been a deprecated email address. The divisions do not seemingly communicate with each other, so in the interim, and despite my continual attempts to circumvent this, the driver made multiple attempts to deliver before marking the package as "refused". Now the UPS division overseeing correction is asking for proof of the material makeup of the coat before making any adjustment. Meanwhile the package is lost in space, presumably somewhere in transit back to a customs holding cell.

In all of this I have done almost all of the legwork, save the UPS driver who was needlessly instructed to deliver the package. Going back to how they could possibly expect most people to catch and address such a costly oversight as this, I'll add that I really can't see what UPS has done to earn their broker fee.
 
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Regg

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what a fucking hassle. I had an issue with DHL when buying from a big international ebay seller and since then I stay away from their auctions if there even looks like there's fur on an item. not worth the trouble
 

whorishconsumer

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what a fucking hassle. I had an issue with DHL when buying from a big international ebay seller and since then I stay away from their auctions if there even looks like there's fur on an item. not worth the trouble
There's faux fur trim on the hood of this coat which I have been careful not to mention...
 

whorishconsumer

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I am vindicated like Shitty Spiderman. From the UPS rep to their internal team:

"Can you write this one up as a misclassification. The invoice tariff number should have been verified by the rater prior to submitting with the highest rate. Tariff number was not a full number, however, was defaulted to the highest duty rate. UPS error."

Original duty charged: $339.60
Correct duty owed: $53.94
$285.66 difference

They still charged me a $12 brokerage fee, though.

 
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zippyh

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I applaud your tenacity. I wasn’t able to get anyone at ups to even entertain the idea that they fucked up and there was any path to get it fixed.
 

whorishconsumer

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The index-card version of how to handle this scenario should any of you be unfortunate enough is as follows.

Note that these instructions only apply in seeking to identify and correct an incorrect tariff/duty amount billed to you for an international shipment of clothing coming into the US where UPS is the carrier and broker. Also your results may vary, and probably will.

I will also note that, like Shitty Spiderman, great power comes with great responsibility. Not every customs invoice from UPS is an injustice. If steps 1-8 below check out, then you probably don't have a case and it's really not worth your time or anyone else's to dispute (trust me).

1.) Look at invoice received from UPS.

2.) Weep.

3.) Call the UPS Brokerage desk at (866) 493-7140. Select option 3. Explain that you believe that the incorrect tariff code may have been provided by the shipper in submitting the customs documentation for the shipment and that you would like a copy of the submitted invoice, as well as the rating sheet completed by UPS.

You will receive two sheets: the invoice is provided by the shipper and specifies the dollar amount of the article in their local currency plus the tariff code for that article; the rating sheet is completed by UPS and specifies the converted US dollar value for the article as well as confirms the tariff code.

4.) Check the shipper invoice and the UPS rating sheet for inconsistencies. If they reference separate tariff codes or rates, that's a flag.

5.) Locate the tariff code specified by the shipper in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule. If it doesn't exist, that's a flag.

6.) Locate the tariff code specified by UPS rater in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule. If it has nothing to do with the article you are having shipped, that's a flag.

7.) Determine what you believe to be the correct tariff code for the article in question, using the Harmonized Tariff Schedule. In my case, for a down coat with a polyamide shell, it was Chapter 62 subsection 6201.13.10.00 (Thanks once again to @cb200 ).

Here I will note that this activity seems on par with augury and is open to wide interpretation.

8.) Compare what you believe to be the correct tariff code to the codes specified on the shipper invoice and UPS rating sheet. If there is a discrepancy, that's flag.

9.) Email the UPS Entry Review desk at [email protected] AND [email protected]. I'm not clear on which of these is valid or if both are, so it's best to address to both. Open by specifying the tracking number and invoice number in question. Explain the circumstance and specify what you believe to be the correct tariff code.

I also recommend CCing the shipper, as they will need to provide any corrected invoices as well as proof of the material content of the article.

10.) Wait.

11.) Wait some more.

You will think that no one is looking at your email and you are probably right. If you have a clear-cut case, hopefully the shipper will have kicked in by this point and provided a corrected invoice and you will then only need to await receipt by the UPS Entry Review team.

Here I will also note that attempts to prevent my package from being delivered while this was sorted out were entirely in vain. I spoke with both the International Support desk and the domestic team supposedly responsible for coordinating delivery with the driver and at no point was I successful in getting information relayed between these parties. So, accept that the package may be marked as "refused" and returned to shipper during the period where this is being worked out. Which is all the more reason to ensure you have an actual claim.

12.) Upon acknowledgement by the UPS Entry Review desk, and assuming you have a case, they will ask for the corrected invoice from the shipper, if not already provided. If provided, they will probably ask for proof of the material content of the article. A picture of the garment tag sufficed in my case.

13.) Finally, assuming everything else has gone to plan, and if it hasn't been returned to shipper, ask that the UPS Entry Review team 1.) have the package scheduled for redelivery, and 2.) expedite matters by sending a corrected invoice amount to the UPS Brokerage Accounting desk so that you may pay it over the phone. The UPS Brokerage Accounting desk number is (502) 485-2399. You should be able to use just the tracking number when paying.


That's as far as I've gotten with things. I'll update if any further steps become required.
 

cb200

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Great info. Note that for "5.) Locate the tariff code specified by the shipper in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule. If it doesn't exist, that's a flag. "

The US sports apparel lobby groups were pushing for lower tariffs on sporting goods. That only got so far, but it resulted in the creating of a bunch of extra HS codes and depreciating some old ones in apparel - they didn't inform any trade partners when they did this. So in some categories it's very likely that exporters in other jurisdictions would have HS codes on record that are depreciated and no longer in use in the US.
 

GeorgeC

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Canadians,
What happens when you buy made in EU goods from abroad (EU, US...). Do you still pay duty or taxes or nah? Trade agreement and all...
 

GeorgeC

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@illiterate good to know! Thanks. Does it apply also to made in uk goods? I wonder if all Post Canada employees are aware of the new legislation...
 

illiterate

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I hate when sellers advertise shipping with one method, then ship it with the cheapest version that turns out to be the most expensive for me. UPS Worldwide Saver to Canada from the US means no ridiculous brokerage fees tacked onto my package. Seller decides to ship with UPS Standard which means almost $100cad in brokerage depending on the package value, despite me paying for UPS Worldwide Saver. Ridiculous.
 

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