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Ordering stuff from overseas (customs, VAT)

Ordering stuff from overseas (customs, VAT)

Old Jun 26th 2007, 6:37 pm
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Question Ordering stuff from overseas (customs, VAT)

Does anyone know how customs and VAT work when ordering stuff from overseas? Since coming back I've found there is some specialty cycling equipment I either can't get here, or is ridiculously expensive here. Same for some research equipment made in the US by companies that do not have a UK distributor.

If you order stuff from overseas, does customs pick it up on the way in, and if so is there a minimum value before they levy customs duty? Alternatively, do any of you who receive goodies from relatives overseas ever find that customs charge duty on the package?
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Old Jun 26th 2007, 8:22 pm
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Default Re: Ordering stuff from overseas (customs, VAT)

Originally Posted by dunroving
Does anyone know how customs and VAT work when ordering stuff from overseas? Since coming back I've found there is some specialty cycling equipment I either can't get here, or is ridiculously expensive here. Same for some research equipment made in the US by companies that do not have a UK distributor.

If you order stuff from overseas, does customs pick it up on the way in, and if so is there a minimum value before they levy customs duty? Alternatively, do any of you who receive goodies from relatives overseas ever find that customs charge duty on the package?
If you get it straight from the supplier it will go through customs and most companies will charge you a "brokerage" fee which you will know nothing about until a bloke arrives at your door refusing to hand over your goodies until you give him the cash. UPS are real f***ers about this, so avoid them at all costs.

If it gets shipped to a US address and the person there then forwards it on I have no idea what happens, but nothing I have ever shipped to folks back home has ever gotten stung with customs charges.
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Old Jun 26th 2007, 8:28 pm
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Default Re: Ordering stuff from overseas (customs, VAT)

Originally Posted by BigDavyG
If you get it straight from the supplier it will go through customs and most companies will charge you a "brokerage" fee which you will know nothing about until a bloke arrives at your door refusing to hand over your goodies until you give him the cash. UPS are real f***ers about this, so avoid them at all costs.

If it gets shipped to a US address and the person there then forwards it on I have no idea what happens, but nothing I have ever shipped to folks back home has ever gotten stung with customs charges.
Interestingly, I recently had to send a pair of sunglasses back to the US manufacturer for repair. As you describe, I received a bill from FedEx for customs duty, and it took forever to sort it out. I explained that that I bought the glasses when I lived in the US and this was just a return from a repair. I was gobsmacked when they said that you have to pay customs duty on repairs in that situation! Luckily, she was really nice and managed to find a way around it.
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