Customs is a bitch!

#1 Jun 2nd, 2017, 06:02
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We bought some printed cotton quilts in India, because the overall weight was 12.5 kg. We still had allowance for our luggage, at the end of our journey

We flew with Emirates, which provides 30 kg checked in luggage for each person, for economic class. I only packed 10kg to India, most of them were tissues and toiletries which nearly ran out at the end of our journey, after buying loads of bits and bobs, my hubby's luggage had reached the limit and mine was 18 kilos, and I got a rucksack which can contain another 10 to 12 kg.

Originally I was thinking to buy another cheap luggage for the quilts and checked in. But we thought about that, we cant afford to take taxi from airport to home, which would cost us minimum 100 for an 1 hour journey (the same amount in India, is enough to hire a cab for 3 to 4 days.) So we had no choice but to travel by train. And we wouldn't be able to carry 3 luggages and 2 rucksacks up and down the platforms..... hence we've decided to send the quilts by Indian post office.

We were told by the staff at the Indian post office that, it took around 50 days to deliver. But it was much quicker then we thought, it took about 10 days only!!

But our parcel is kept by U.K. customs, and we have to pay 53 customs charge!!!! WTF!!!!!!!

My hubby thought about there might be a customs charge, but I told him that, my family in Taiwan has sent me some food to U.K., and I've never ever been charged by the customs, as my understanding, I thought if the parcel was for yourself not for commercial purposes, there wouldn't be a customs charge.

And befre we sent the quilts, we've removed the packages, so they didn't look like "goods for sale" at all. And indeed, the quilts are for ourselves and for my in-laws as gifts!!!

So I didn't image that the customs would charge us!!!!!!!

Anyway I have read the articles online, someone says that: pay and get the parcel first, then write to them to claim for a refund!!!

What's your experience?? My hubby said that we are still lucky in comparison with some others. A friend of him just posted a pair of trainers back to Uk from USA, and he was charge 40 something by the customs!!!
#2 Jun 2nd, 2017, 06:13
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  • Govindpuri is offline
#2
They are probably charging you VAT on the declared cost of goods.
#3 Jun 2nd, 2017, 06:34
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What did you put on the form as value of contents?

I have sent parcels a couple of times... Value a few hundred RS. No tax was charged.

Sent quite a big parcel of "nighties" to one friend and a package of Christmas stars too my cousin's hotel. No tax.

But it is a lottery. And if they tax you, they include the postage in the value.
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#4 Jun 2nd, 2017, 06:37
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#4
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Originally Posted by Govindpuri View Post They are probably charging you VAT on the declared cost of goods.
Yes, they're charging me : import VAT, customs duty, clearance fee...........
#5 Jun 2nd, 2017, 06:39
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#5
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Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post What did you put on the form as value of contents?
Rs 12000
#6 Jun 2nd, 2017, 14:03
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Steep valuation..
#7 Jun 2nd, 2017, 15:33
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#7
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Originally Posted by Mimimiha View Post We bought some printed cotton quilts in India, because the overall weight was 12.5 kg. We still had allowance for our luggage, at the end of our journey


And befre we sent the quilts, we've removed the packages, so they didn't look like "goods for sale" at all. And indeed, the quilts are for ourselves and for my in-laws as gifts!!!

So I didn't image that the customs would charge us!!!!!!!
What you imagined or hoped for is neither here nor there. If you sent them by post, even if to yourself, you can't benefit of the exemption for goods carried by travellers. Doing a rough calculation (without seeing the goods) and generously assuming that the 12000 INR corresponds to what you actually paid for the goods, I arrive at 48 GBP import duty + VAT, without taking into account shipping on which taxes are also added, and the cost of declaration.

Customs simply applied the law. Complaining about 53 lousy GBP after travelling to India, buying stuff and choosing to ship it home rather than carry it seems downright churlish to me.
"It is preferable to have a criminal for a servant rather than a fool because a criminal's actions are predictable and you can protect yourself against them, whereas there is no telling what a fool's next move will be.
#8 Jun 2nd, 2017, 15:44
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12 *thousand*!

Goodness. Is that what you actually paid?

Yep. There is no way you are going to get 150 quid goods past customs. I don't see why you should even get a refund, unless you can show that these particular items are not subject to duty.

Just add it to the total cost of your trip. I don't suppose it's a high percentage of that.

One of those things... You have to live with it.

Customs is not a bitch.

What is a bitch is post office or courier charging collection fee. Charging you for charging you. That one made several of my much-cheaper-in-USA purchases (back in London) just as expensive as the UK price.
#9 Jun 3rd, 2017, 10:20
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#9
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Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post 12 *thousand*!

Goodness. Is that what you actually paid?

Yep. There is no way you are going to get 150 quid goods past customs. I don't see why you should even get a refund, unless you can show that these particular items are not subject to duty.

Just add it to the total cost of your trip. I don't suppose it's a high percentage of that.

One of those things... You have to live with it.

Customs is not a bitch.

What is a bitch is post office or courier charging collection fee. Charging you for charging you. That one made several of my much-cheaper-in-USA purchases (back in London) just as expensive as the UK price.
I was just shocked and a bit moaning! I won't make a complaint. I've learned a lesson, next time I will carry them as a checked in luggage if I can persuade my another half. He is strong enough to carry all that but he feels quilty to take up space on the trains or coaches back in UK as airport taxis aren't affordable.

Go back to sleep now.
#10 Jun 3rd, 2017, 11:09
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#10
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Originally Posted by dillichaat View Post I arrive at 48 GBP import duty + VAT, without taking into account shipping on which taxes are also added, and the cost of declaration.

Customs simply applied the law.
According to Gummint Customs should be less, unless a) I am misreading the law, or, b) OP misstated the value.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mimimiha View Post But our parcel is kept by U.K. customs, and we have to pay 53 customs charge!!!! WTF!!!!!!!


What's your experience?? My hubby said that we are still lucky in comparison with some others. A friend of him just posted a pair of trainers back to Uk from USA, and he was charge 40 something by the customs!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post
One of those things... You have to live with it.

Customs is not a bitch.

What is a bitch is post office or courier charging collection fee. Charging you for charging you. That one made several of my much-cheaper-in-USA purchases (back in London) just as expensive as the UK price.
And then you wonder Why Trump happened ? Expect more thuggery, after all someone has to pay for #brexit *MUGA* got covfefe'd


I have routinely ordered doodads, and tchotchkes from Asia, many of which are in the range of $400+ delivered without any extra Duty.
#11 Jun 3rd, 2017, 13:39
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#11
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Originally Posted by nycank View Post According to Gummint Customs should be less, unless a) I am misreading the law, or, b) OP misstated the value.
First, the UK gov site doesn't reflect the latest state of applicable legislation, all their energy probably goes toward preparing their exit . Second, a shipment sent to oneself can never be considered a gift. Even if it could be declared as a gift, customs have the possibility to reverse the burden of proof if the quantity, nature and conditioning of the goods indicate otherwise. If everything declared as 'gift' would be accepted as such then no duty would be collected at all.

I'm assuming the declared value is exact (against statistical odds).

@OP: of course you're not going to make a complaint, there's nothing to complain about! I bet the officials are shaking in their boots.
#12 Jun 3rd, 2017, 15:27
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#12
The irritation is very much understandable.
All we can really say is... People get lucky with customs, but mostly, they don't.

People, what is this thing about "gift? " is there anything at all in it?
I've always assumed it's a complete myth. Something people want to be true for actual gifts or want to use as a loophole.

Usually, if a loophole is blatantly obvious, it doesn't really exist... Or got blocked decades ago.

So, leaving out stuff personally carried, *is* there, in your various countries, any actual duty allowance on "gift?"

As just said, if so, nobody would ever pay any duty.

3megawatt turbo generator? It's a gift, mate. Just a little something for my old granny. Surely you're not going to take money out of the old lady's pocket?

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Last edited by Nick-H; Jun 3rd, 2017 at 20:18.. Reason: spelling
#13 Jun 3rd, 2017, 17:21
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#13
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Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post The irritation is very much understandable.
All we can really say is... People get lucky with customs, but mostly, they don't.

People, what is this thing about "gift? " is there anything at all in it?
I've always assumed it's a complete myth. Something people want to be true for actual gifts or want to use as a loophole.

Usually, if a loophole is blatantly obvious, it doesn't really exist... Or got blocked decades ago.

So, leaving out stuff personally carried, *is* there, in your various countries, any actual duty allowance on "gift?"

As just said, if so, nobody would ever pay any duty.

3megawatt turbo generator? It's a gift, mate. Just a little something for my old granny. Surely your not going to take money out of the old lady's pocket?
It's an archaism. On the CN-23 customs form which has to be affixed on the package, the category 'gift' is foreseen, together with 'commercial samples' and 'documents'. This form derives from an international convention whose modification easily takes 10 years -if it happens at all. Essentially, for 'gift' it was meant to avoid the payment of duty on low-value items sent as a personal attention from a person in third country x to someone residing in a member state. What is marked on the declaration is simply a statement, not gospel truth that customs need to adhere to. And 12000 INR declared value is way beyond the exemption limit.

Legislation is pending to tally do away with exemptions, even for very low declared value importations. These represent a multi-billion Euro/year loophole.

If you want to benefit from any meaningful exemption then in the EU at least there's only one way: carrying the item in one's personal luggage and staying below the exempted limit .
#14 Jun 3rd, 2017, 20:17
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#14
Thanks. Pretty much what I thought.

"Undervaluing," writing a lower amount on the attached form than the actual value, is rife. I have received undervalued packages. One British company sends me stuff marked commercial samples. I hasten to add that I have never asked people to do either!

Those of us receiving stuff in India know that small packages coming by post have a fair chance of escaping all customs attention. We know, also, that, whatever, if anything, they end up charging, sometimes they just sit on stuff for weeks and the delay is worse than the fee. With couriers, nothing escapes, because the international courier companies pass everything under the nose of a customs officer.
#15 Jun 3rd, 2017, 23:17
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#15
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Originally Posted by dillichaat View Post ...Complaining about 53 lousy GBP after travelling to India, buying stuff and choosing to ship it home rather than carry it seems downright churlish to me.
Unless you are intimately acquainted with OP's finances, this seems to me to be a presumptuous judgment. An unexpected expense of GBP 53 strikes me as cause for shock, never mind whether Customs is in the right or not. But then, I've never been a member of the Throw-Money-at-India-Just-Because-You-Can brigade; and I am a notoriously stingy bastard, so whadda I know?
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