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"USPS, US and UK customs; three well oiled machines..... " Topic

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12,329 hits since 4 Jun 2012
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Double G Sponsoring Member of TMP05 Jun 2012 12:59 p.m. PST

Back on May 7th I send a parcel to my figure painter in the Uk, valued the package at $25.00 USD (which was mistake #1) and paid for international priority 6-10 day delivery time (mistake #2) to the tune of $41.00 USD even though I could have gone the cheaper route as it was pretty light.

Nope, I wanted a tracking number, so I paid out the whazoo for one.

I checked the tracking status on May 21st, which was two weeks later and saw the following;

Accepted at post office May 7th
Arrived in New York May 8th
Left the US May 18th
Arrived UK customs May 21st

Ok wonderful; so it sat in US customs for 10 days.

Spectacular service.

It then sat in Uk customs until the 30th, then this appeared;

Item being held pending payment.

Which I assume is the lovely Uk VAT, which dropped from 18.00 pounds to 15.00 pounds and as long as the item is valued below 15.00 pounds, it should slip through, but mine is valued at 16.00 pounds, or 25.00 US according to the exchange rate.

It has yet to be picked up by my painter.

So, on a package that SHOULD have been in his hands by the 17th of May at the latest, as of today, June 5th, A MONTH later, it is still not there.

If I had sent it the cheaper route, it would have been there by now.

If I had sent it by rowboat it would have been there sooner.

What top shelf service I got on this package.

If I ran my business like this, I wouldn't have a business to run because I'd be out of business for such Bleeped text poor service.

BEYOND pathetic.

Monstro Inactive Member05 Jun 2012 1:15 p.m. PST

This is why I dont buy stuff from the US any more.

It really is just a racket to extort money.

Maddaz111 Inactive Member05 Jun 2012 1:20 p.m. PST

So what is wrong? I do not know what you are angry about.

The goods have to be charged, because they were not marked as a gift, if the customer does not pay then they sit there.

Of course we have had an extended bank holiday weekend, so even if your painter had wanted to pay for the last three days he would not have been able to.

I have had the same problem when I imported a laser scanner from the states. It was sat in a warehouse just down the road, but because it was "Weapons Technology" it had to be sent down the road to Heathrow, before an old mate called me and asked if I was going to be reverse engineering Weapons of mass destruction using this scanner. I then had to wait two weeks because of the worst spring weather for a century that left the parcel locked in a snowbound bonded warehouse. Then the parcel was delivered to the wrong house.

Not In my mind Pathetic, but your opinion is of course yours.

Is it your fault for pricing the parcel correctly? So that VAT and Other collection charges have to be made? I might not agree with all the taxes and reason to collect them, and I might not agree with everything that the money is spent on, but I can imagine what a state our country would be in without taxation.

Taxes are the price we pay for government services, and I think they are a small price to pay.

Double G Sponsoring Member of TMP05 Jun 2012 2:18 p.m. PST

Understood about paying VAT, that's all part of the process, more annoyed over the fact that I paid for 6-10 day delivery and it's been a month with no end in sight, could have send it economy for about $10.00 USD and it would probably have been there by now.

Chef Lackey Rich Fezian Inactive Member05 Jun 2012 2:34 p.m. PST

I'm not seeing what the USPS did wrong here. They delivered your package to US Customs in New York in about a day. How's that a failure? You want to blame someone for the holdup, try Homeland Security (which Customs is part of) or whatever branch of the UK government is responsible for their voracious VAT. They're the ones producing the delays, not the US Postal Sevice.

Samulus Inactive Member05 Jun 2012 2:49 p.m. PST

I avoid buying stuff from the states like the plague for this very reason, customs is a bitch.

Double G Sponsoring Member of TMP05 Jun 2012 3:26 p.m. PST

Yeah, you're right, USPS did nothing wrong.

Or nothing right.

41.00 for 6-10 day delivery that has taken a month (so far).

Personal logo Doms Decals Sponsoring Member of TMP Inactive Member05 Jun 2012 3:34 p.m. PST

If it's stuck in customs it's stuck in customs nothing USPS can do about it. That tracking info suggests the actual "postal service" bits have taken 4 days there, with just the final delivery from parcel depot to door still to come. So they've delivered on their bit.

Not sure why you suppose using a slower service would've gotten it there quicker do you think only the expedited stuff gets customs inspections? I'd suggest that if you'd gone for the cheap option it'd probably have only made it as far as UK customs late last week, just in time for the 4 day weekend, your painter still wouldn't so much as have the "it's in customs" letter yet, and you'd be going spare because it's been a month and you don't even have any tracking info to reassure you it's not fallen off a boat or been pilfered from a depot….

Double G Sponsoring Member of TMP05 Jun 2012 3:43 p.m. PST

"Fallen off a boat or been pilfered from a depot"…………….nah, that would never happen once it's in the trusted hands of our USPS.

But you are probably right though regarding the cheaper route; I had a customer one time insist I send a parcel to him via parcel post, the box got as far as a sorting facility in California………..empty of its contents.

The explanation I was given was "It may have gotten hung up in a sorting machine and as a result it 'broke open' during processing"………sure it did and in the process, the two 60mm limited edition King & Country tanks worth about 500.00 fell out.

Pull this leg, it plays jingle bells.

charared Supporting Member of TMP05 Jun 2012 6:03 p.m. PST

Over a period of five decades, I've had good service from the USPS…

But, hey…

Jim Selzer05 Jun 2012 7:49 p.m. PST

hmm ever think about having your over seas guy buy the figs?

btw if you claim items as gift on customs when they are not you could be charges with mail fraud or so ebay says

Double G Sponsoring Member of TMP05 Jun 2012 8:05 p.m. PST

Five decades of good service from the USPS; is your name Clifford C Clavin Jr?

I got the figures at Cold Wars, they are out of production Qualitycast 20mm Napoleonics, got 80 figures forf 25.00 and 25.00 was the value I declared on the parcel.

Did not declare it as a gift as it is not a gift, I did this strait as an arrow.

So there you go.

Tarleton Inactive Member05 Jun 2012 10:46 p.m. PST

Its not actually the UK customs who've got your parcel but the UK Post Office.

They now do all the collecting of any charges on postal parcels/packets etc. Part of your charge will be an £8.00 GBP-10 charge they make for the pleasure of collecting the VAT because the government has removed most of the customs from parcel depots.

bsrlee06 Jun 2012 1:00 a.m. PST

If you are sending it to a painting service, there is a method of avoiding customs, VAT & etc. Basically it is a declaration that the goods are only going to the destination country for some process after which the goods are being exported back to the originating country, so you should also avoid any duty on re-entering the US.

I believe its called a 'Douaine' or something that sounds similar, its used fairly regularly for movie props being shipped between international locations to avoid ridiculous amounts of duty being paid.

Personal logo David Manley Supporting Member of TMP06 Jun 2012 2:46 a.m. PST

I suspect if you had used the slower service the time overhead at customs would be the same, and so the overall process would have been even longer.

GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP06 Jun 2012 3:24 a.m. PST

You don't get any exemption from tax even if you mark it as a gift – why people keep coming up with that idea foxes me.

Double G Sponsoring Member of TMP06 Jun 2012 7:16 a.m. PST

I agree with you bsrlee 100%; why they are being charged VAT is beyong me, they are painting the figures and sending them back to me, what a scam VAT is.

The painter told me this has been happening with parcels a lot in the past 6 to 8 months; he has to eat the VAT each time, can't charge it to the customer, really not fair to him, he's trying to make a living is all.

I spoke to a supervisor at USPS today and she agreed with me, a month delivery time on a parcel that should been there in 6-10 days is pitiful, she is going to refund me the difference for the charge between surface and airmail.

And the painter is making arrangements to pick up the parcel.

So all's well that ends well.

Can't thank some of you enough for your .02 on this.

Yep, thanks.

Maddaz111 Inactive Member06 Jun 2012 7:51 a.m. PST

Its not exemption from tax, it means when they look through the red book to determine what the parcel is, they match it to gift, type its code into the system and send it on its way. Otherwise they look up thousands of codes trying to match it to one or another.

I used to send painted figures as Object d' art, but had a parcel lost (claimed my insurance but thats not the point).

Now specify collectors figures, gift or purchase depending what it is.

Personal logo David Manley Supporting Member of TMP07 Jun 2012 12:49 a.m. PST

"what a scam VAT is" – no, its not. You didn't mark the items correctly as material that was only being sent to the UK for processing and then returned. One of my contractors has to do this regularly the other way around, sending stuff to the US for trials and then having it returned. If they don't tick the right boxes on the customs form they get charged. Sometimes they get charged anyway because US customs don't bother reading the forms properly and then fun and games ensue chasing down refunds.

Double G Sponsoring Member of TMP07 Jun 2012 8:39 a.m. PST

The options on the customs form are as follows;

Gift, which it is not
Documents, which they are not
Merchandise, which is what they are
Returned goods, which they are not
Commercial Samples, which they are not
Other, other what?

Sorry, don't see a box that is marked;
"Material that was only being sent to the UK for processing and then returned."

Tell you what; when they put THAT option on the form, I'll be sure to check it off.

And VAT is a scam, it is the killer of small businesses and if, or should I say when we get a VAT in this country, I'm cashing out my business and retiring as it will be gone within a year anyway, I'm not eating the VAT and I'm certainly not going to pass it along to my customers.

GenWinter07 Jun 2012 8:54 a.m. PST

I though VAT paid for universal health care in the UK. How is that a scam?

Double G Sponsoring Member of TMP07 Jun 2012 1:00 p.m. PST

And we all know what a well oiled machine universal health care is in the Uk.

Personal logo Swampster Supporting Member of TMP07 Jun 2012 2:07 p.m. PST

So, the recipient of the parcel – the painter – should have received a letter telling him that the parcel had arrived in the country and there was a charge, which is payable online if required.
If he doesn't pay it, how would you expect the parcel to be freed by customs?

When I've received one of these letters, it has been a day after the parcel arrived in the country. My last delivery from OG15s arrived in about 8 days, including time spent in customs both ends.

charared Supporting Member of TMP07 Jun 2012 4:07 p.m. PST

so much grey, so little time.

Double G Sponsoring Member of TMP09 Jun 2012 3:29 p.m. PST

Yeah, he did get the letter and he went down to the blood bank to drop off a gallon or two in order to get the parcel.

It's in his hands, one month after I sent it.


And thanks for your .02 there charared, where would this thread be without posts like yours.

GNREP828 Jun 2012 1:47 p.m. PST

And we all know what a well oiled machine universal health care is in the Uk.

um – you are in the USA – what do you really know about the NHS – I imagine its been slated over there by some people as part of a domestic agenda.

myrm1129 Jun 2012 2:31 a.m. PST

Both the WHO in 2000 (the last major international comparison) and the (US based) Commonwealth Foundation (a few years later on a restricted set of about half a dozen countries) who have done the major comparisons of healthcare system place the UK above the the US despite the much higher spend rate – so while we may comment on its creakiness and moan about its many real shortcomings the NHS is clearly doing some things right.

Not to say the UK and its system is perfect, as there were plenty of countries above us in the WHO check (the UK came 18th, the US 37th) with France winning – but please – lets drop the political dogma of 'universal healthcare creaks' and stick to reality for discussing the many issues in the many healthcare system round the world. If you take the top nations there's a mixture of methods of healthcare provision – all working well.

WHO report for those seriously interested
PDF link

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