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"UK customs strike again" Topic

24 Posts

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2,075 hits since 14 Mar 2013
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doublesix6614 Mar 2013 10:45 a.m. PST

Just received my parcel from the Kickstarter I pledged on for $25 USD and was given a nice £13.21 GBP charge by customs the Bleeped texts added the postage to the actual item then charged vat + that nice £8.00 GBP handling charge on-top.

I didn't think postage was added to the value of the item if that's the case I'll propably never order abroad again as it will always take it above the £15.00 GBP threshold (which they have just lowered again).

Also no more outside EU kickstarters anymore for me :( sad but I'm waiting on a couple more coming soon from the US can't wait to see what they get charged at.

Sorry for the rant but I was happy to get the game but its taken the shine of getting it as I could have waited until it came over here and bought in in the UK but I wanted to help make sure the game got made.

Cherno14 Mar 2013 10:57 a.m. PST

Yeah, that whole "customs charge on postage & handling" thing sure seems sketchy, but from what I understand it's one of the disadvantages of living in a large bureaucratic society; it's just not possible for the custom offices to determine if every parcel coming through has it's shipping declare correctly. It would be possible for sellers to make every item cost 1$ and adding the actual difference to the shipping costs, and that's of course illegal but hard to prove, so they just slap the charge on the total value. I think that the general idea behind this and custom charges is decent, but hurts people who import products that are only available overseas anyway and hence don't hurt local businesses anyway.

Personal logo Doms Decals Sponsoring Member of TMP14 Mar 2013 11:12 a.m. PST

VAT (and duty if applicable) does apply to postage costs, but not for threshold purposes, so £14.99 GBP of goods plus £10.00 GBP postage is VAT exempt, but £15.00 GBP plus £10.00 GBP postage is VAT able on the full £25.00 GBP total.

When ordering outside of the EU I tend to add a note to make sure the seller knows to put the correct value on the declaration – ie. just the value of the goods, or breaking it down as x goods plus y postage.

doublesix6614 Mar 2013 11:15 a.m. PST

Cheers Dom but thats just daft isn't it if I received a parcel worth $10 USD with $500 USD postage that's fine but slightly over and you get whalloped with the postage added in to.

Personal logo Doms Decals Sponsoring Member of TMP14 Mar 2013 11:18 a.m. PST

Gotta draw the line somewhere. And if you get a $10 USD order with $500 USD postage you can bet they'll be opening that one up to check for under-declaration…. ;-)

Frothers Did It And Ran Away14 Mar 2013 11:28 a.m. PST

if that's the case I'll propably never order abroad again

And that, essentially, is why import duties exist.

Personal logo Doms Decals Sponsoring Member of TMP14 Mar 2013 11:33 a.m. PST

Except to be honest import duties aren't really the issue (they don't kick in until £140.00 GBP or so of goods, and on a lot of wargames stuff are 0% anyway) what's actually being charged is VAT (which is charged on most purchases within the EU too [although wargames are an odd field, as a lot of firms are too tiny to be VAT-registered], so the intent is that it's about levelling the playing field rather than creating a barrier to imports.)

The problem bit (which does act as a barrier to imports) is the handling fee for the "pleasure" of having the royal mail do the paperwork for you that does take the Bleeped text, especially on small orders; nothing says annoying like an £8.00 GBP charge for dealing with £3.00 GBP of tax….

normsmith14 Mar 2013 11:54 a.m. PST

I think ordering from within the UK is the way to go whenever possible. I do this for boardgames, ALL of which originate in the U.S. and I am unable to take the game producers up on their pre-publishing offers (and by implication have an involvement in the decision as to what does get made) because of the import situation.

The upside is that this helps a UK game supplier to carry on surviving.

I don't mid paying the tax (from the point of view that these things have to be) but I do resent the additional £10.00 GBP charge on my doorstep by the postman when collecting that tax. If there was any way in this computerised world that one could pay for import tax at the point of buying, it would be so much fairer.

Personal logo Doms Decals Sponsoring Member of TMP14 Mar 2013 11:59 a.m. PST

Remember it's not an issue buying from other EU countries (since their prices include the appropriate VAT already.) But yeah, roll on the day they figure a way of streamlining things so you don't have to pay so much admin charge for the privilege of paying your tax….

doublesix6614 Mar 2013 12:28 p.m. PST

Same here the vats not the issue its the extra charge as I'd have to have bought quite a lot in order to get a £13.00 GBP vat charge something like £70.00 GBP or $105 USD not $25 USD + $14.90 USD P&P

I'd be happy to pay that if I'd spent that much.

Personal logo Doms Decals Sponsoring Member of TMP14 Mar 2013 1:13 p.m. PST

Yeah, I always try to either keep just under the £15.00 GBP, or save up and go waaaaaaaay over, as the £8.00 GBP handling charge is less offensive on a £200.00 GBP parcel than a £20.00 GBP one.

Trouble is Kickstarters are rarely designed in tax-efficient lumps like that, so it can be rather a turn-off where they're concerned, especially if their stretch goals have different shipping dates, meaning multiple parcels, extra postage charges, and more than one damned handling fee…. :-(

Wolfprophet14 Mar 2013 2:21 p.m. PST

so the intent is that it's about levelling the playing field rather than creating a barrier to imports.

Sounds like they're trying to take the "Freedom" out of "Free Market."

Yesthatphil14 Mar 2013 2:22 p.m. PST

My sympathies to all. I detest this rule (particularly the Post Office 'money with menaces' bit) …

All credit to Warweb, I recently had a small package from them and specifically asked that it could be made clear on the declaration that the goods were worth less than £15.00 GBP They did, and I did not get intercepted. Thumbs up for that, even though the order took a while …


doublesix6614 Mar 2013 2:37 p.m. PST

Dom I did think of that when I did some of the kickstarters so i didn't do some I was fancying the only ones I did with multiple postings was the UK posting ones.

I did the "Assimilation Alien Host" which will get hit as its $390 USD :)

Tarleton14 Mar 2013 2:44 p.m. PST

You'd be extremely hard pushed to find a customs officer in a postal depot nowadays.

Its all done by the post office, who charge you that nice £8.00 GBP for the priviledge!

Personal logo Rrobbyrobot Supporting Member of TMP14 Mar 2013 4:28 p.m. PST

If protectionism should rear it's ugly head again. Can another great depression be far off?

Personal logo Doms Decals Sponsoring Member of TMP14 Mar 2013 5:07 p.m. PST

Quite probably, but this is nothing new and not protectionism; simply levying the same sales tax on imports as is levied on domestic sales. It's the damned handling charges that are an annoyance….

Huscarle15 Mar 2013 1:50 a.m. PST

Yes, not looking forward to that extra charge on my Reaper Bones KS. Sadly, most of my non-EU purchases have gone the way of the dodo, and I used to order from the USA/Canada fairly often. However lowering the threshold to £15.00 GBP combined with the collapse of sterling has put paid to such trading.

auton115 Mar 2013 3:47 a.m. PST

Exactly the same issues for me, no more outside the EU Kickstarters for me unless they fall under the £12.00 GBP customs threshold

Personal logo Doms Decals Sponsoring Member of TMP15 Mar 2013 4:39 a.m. PST

It's £15.00 GBP not £12.00 GBP. Trouble is with the thoroughly tanked pound that's only about $22.00 USD USD. Man I miss two bucks to the pound….

Khusrau15 Mar 2013 5:46 a.m. PST

Australian retailers (most of whose profits are doing very nicely thankyou, as our Govt rode out the GFC) are complaining bitterly that imports under 1000 dollars are exempt from our 15% 'goods and services tax' – ignoring that retailers here commonly charge a 40-50% markup on overseas prices. Wargames suppliers commonly more.

I would quite happily pay a 20% premium for local sales, but when (for example) the face price of an Essex pack in the UK is A$4.82 at current currency rates, and the local retailer is charging A$8.50, then I order from overseas… that's a 70% difference – not the 15% of local tax.

Personal logo Doms Decals Sponsoring Member of TMP15 Mar 2013 7:27 a.m. PST

Australia does seem to be in an odd place, as importing retailers just haven't adjusted to the Aussie dollar's strength, especially against the pound – usual pricing seems to reflect an exchange rate that's ancient history, not current reality.

No Name15 Mar 2013 10:13 a.m. PST

Don't forget that if the retailer (outside the EU) ships using an 'Express' service, it'll cost you £13.50 GBP for the pleasure rather than £8.00 GBP, and trust me, once it gets into the UK it is no quicker.

DuckanCover16 Mar 2013 2:23 a.m. PST

Relating to Khusrau's post above-

I recently ordered an item from a supplier in New York for a friend of ours here in Sydney. Cost delivered to our door was just over 113 Australian Dollars. IF (and that is a big IF) we had been able to find the same item here, the nearest available model in Sydney was priced at 279 Australian Dollars. Some recent competitive pressure later caused a local retailer to lower the price on a similar item to about 155 Australian Dollars but, by then, we'd already taken delivery of the item from overseas.

No conceivable charges on the original item could have amounted to a total price difference of 166 Australian Dollars.

The Australian Dollar has been so good, for so long, that I've long wearied of the excuses for such atrocious gouging.


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