To have to pay £84 in Customs charges for childrens clothing, or end up with zilch?

(39 Posts)
Diege Sun 07-Oct-07 13:08:36

Grrrr!!! Purchased two items from US-based children's website. Designer dress with tights (£80 - OK, I know, shamefull..blush) and pair of trousers (about £50). V. hard to find items that I'd been after for ages, so was OKish about paying £15 p&p per parcel.
No mention made on website about possible customs/VAT added on.
OK, letters then arrive, one day apart from ParcelForce saying they have 2 parcels to deliver, but I need to send £84 to cover customs/VAT/parcelforce fees.
Have e-mailed said shop, who basically say they're very sorry, but that its not their problem. If I want a refund, I need to send back within 14 days, but then I have to pay £84 to collect the parcels to send back (plus pay for extra postage). They would be sent back eventually by parcel force to sender if I didn't collect, but then too late for refund.
Soooo, looks like I'll end up with nothing - can't justify charges, but then I end up with nothing. Are the shop right d'you think? I've gone back onto their page, and there's no ref to possible extra charges for overseas sales.
Any one help shed any light from experience/legal knowledge?

MyTwopenceworth Sun 07-Oct-07 13:13:19

Yes. This is correct. There are duties to pay...VAT at 17.5% and there's one other that you get a comodoties code for..can't remember what it's for. And there's something going on with goods from the US, some sort of retaliatory tax or something!!

What they should have done, was mark the goods as a GIFT, for customs purposes, then you wouldn't have had to pay.

I went through this recently, with some clothes I bought ...I didn't get a bill because they were sent as a gift.

scienceteacher Sun 07-Oct-07 13:15:18

You shouldn't have to pay VAT on children's clothes, but the customs duty is charged on the basic cost of the goods as well as the shipping costs.

themoon66 Sun 07-Oct-07 13:17:22

We bought some stuff from US website thinkgeek.com for DS's birthday last month. About two weeks later we got a letter for Customs saying we had to send them a check for £13 approx. We had spent about £70 on a t-shirt and a watch.

£84 sounds very over the top.

charliecat Sun 07-Oct-07 13:17:44

When I get stuff sent from abroad, its marked as gift, and even if its worth £80 the seller puts $10 or similar.
I also do the same when sending out of the country, whether its necessary or not I dont know, but its saved me a fortune this end.

scienceteacher Sun 07-Oct-07 13:18:11

Here's the latest info as of July this year.

Internet Shopping

MyTwopenceworth Sun 07-Oct-07 13:18:24

What bugs me more that the taxes, is the post office / courier paying the tax and then charging you about £45 or whatever because they paid it. When you don't have a choice! angry When I bought some pedals and a yoke for dh's computer, I had to pay the charges and it pissed me right off. I even phoned IR to ask if I could not just pay them directly in future and save this fee. They said no. Bastards. Which is why I was glad when the clothes came through as a gift!

Tamum Sun 07-Oct-07 13:18:28

They are placing themselves at risk by marking stuff as a gift when it isn't, though. They are completely within their rights to refuse to do anything about it I'm afraid, it's just not their fault. I have stopped ordering stuff from overseas now- I used to have to pay duty on about one parcel in 10 but it's now almost all of them, and the charges have gone up enormously. Complete pain though, I know.

AitchyBabesHugz2AllUHunnis Sun 07-Oct-07 13:18:28

bummer. and you can't persuade the shop to accept them and resend them as gifts when they are returned by parcelforce? with you paying an extra postage, of course?

RustyBear Sun 07-Oct-07 13:20:12

So you can either
(a)pay £84 more than you expected & keep the clothes (lose £84)
(b)have items delivered & return them (lose £84 + return postage)
or (c) do nothing & lose the value of the goods (£130)
If you do (c), the shop might refund the value of the goods even if they recieve them after the due time, but you couldn't count on it.

I think I'd go for (a),but I'd be really pissed off about it.

scienceteacher Sun 07-Oct-07 13:24:02

It looks like you would have to pay VAT for children's clothes from abroad, and there is a duty rate of 12% - meaning that the total tax you pay is around 30%

Diege Sun 07-Oct-07 13:28:59

Thanks for all your responses. Yep, seems as rusty says that I have one of 3 'choices' to make - only problem being I need to pay and collect for parcels within 20 days, but need to wait until payday before I can afford to pay charges, which is after 20 days and they'll be sent back sad. Have been used to US sales via e-bay (and am aware of 'gift'option), so pretty shocked by this. Was just wondering if it was the responsibility of the shop to mention this to overseas sales, but havbing rwad some of the responses does seem outside their remit...The clothes were over the top expensive, hence cahrges rasied on their value does seem ott, but true I'm afraid sad. Not sure how I would go about VAT query re: childres clothes - just sick of it all now! [Letters are well stashed away in my briefcase btw lest dh stumbles across them...can you imagine...]

Diege Sun 07-Oct-07 13:30:07

Thanks scienece teacher for VAT info!! Geez, don't think I could bear to pout the damn things on dd - would feel sick looking at them..

scienceteacher Sun 07-Oct-07 13:31:10

Do we get to see these clothes?

CarGirl Sun 07-Oct-07 13:32:09

wonder if you contact the company and explain you are unable to collect the clothing within the 20 day remit and say as they will be returned after the 14 day period would they give you a credit note. Then perhaps buy some much cheaper stuff one item at a time and ask them to mark it as a gift?

Marina Sun 07-Oct-07 13:33:01

I stopped shopping from Gymboree last year for the same reason

Diege Sun 07-Oct-07 13:34:28

grinif I ever get them...They are Oilily, from the TrendyTogs website - the skater dress and tights, and the skater trousers (I have the mathcing top, like it matters now..)..oh the shame blush. I'll stick to Ethel Austins next time sad God, thinking about it it will all cost more than my wedding dress, and for a 22 month old toddler blush

Diege Sun 07-Oct-07 13:36:45

Cargirl, I contacted 'Dana' at the shop, and they are very much sticking to the legal line of 'required info'; can't see them going for the 'gift'option.

CarGirl Sun 07-Oct-07 13:38:43

see if you can exchange for a gift voucher and sell that on ebay (suggest you make it available to the USA!)

Diege Sun 07-Oct-07 13:40:57

LOL, yes can you imagine a UK customer trying to use it and getting stung for charges, tee hee!!

scienceteacher Sun 07-Oct-07 13:56:26

I've just read the customs info in more detail. It seems there is an additional charge of 15% for goods coming from the US. That means you have to pay 45% tax, plus the handling charge to Parcelforce.

scienceteacher Sun 07-Oct-07 13:58:53

The Parcelforce handling charge is £8 per package.

Tamum Sun 07-Oct-07 14:01:42

They really can't be expected to mark it as a gift- I know lots of eBay sellers do, but they are not likely to get found out. A company doing this could get themselves into a lot of legal trouble. Many companies that sell overseas a lot now state upfront that they will reject any request to mark stuff as a gift.

scienceteacher Sun 07-Oct-07 14:04:27

Even if it were a gift, it becomes fully taxable once it exceeds £36 in value. The exempt amount for commercial goods is £18.

Tamum Sun 07-Oct-07 14:08:54

Yes, good point.

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