Customs/VAT??

GolGotha

Death Scythe
Can someone please dumb down all the requirements for this Customs/VAT business? Getting myself a bit confused over it.... :oops:
 
If you import anything over £15 from abroad, the government wants some extra money for it.

Now there are exceptions, loopholes and goalposts that move all the time, but when it comes to Blu-ray and DVD, which is what we are mostly interested in when it comes to anime, anything over £15 will be liable to be charged.

In that case, the goverment will take their cut, and the post office will add on a handling fee, I think that the minimum you can expect to be charged is £13 per package at the mo. Again the rules change from circumstance to circumstance, and how the authorities feel.

Now because it's small items, borderline prices, you can take a chance and place an order from abroad and hope that the package gets through. I think in majority of cases, if the order is single items, and you aren't a regular purchaser (ie not ordering every week), then you might sneak a few packages through the system. In that case, being charged for one item in five isn't such a drag. Or you can just order in bulk, and the fee averages out to something reasonable.

The second thing is to look for shops that pay fees up front, although with Planet Axel closing, the biggest one has vanished.

The third thing is to buy from a speciality importer like UP1, who ship from the UK, and add the customs fee to the price you pay ahead of the order.
 
GolGotha said:
Thankyou for explaining it so well.

Is the £15 the RRP of the item or how much it was sold to you for?

The £15 is what you pay for the item... It doesn't include postage, and is subject to the vagaries of exchange rates. It's worth being careful when spending close to the border...

I once ordered an item from CD Wow, when the limit used to be £18. What I bought was £17.99 after a £1 discount, but CD WOW declared £18.99 on the package and I got stung, I managed to get the customs charge refunded after showing them the receipt, but the Royal Mail handling charge was non-refundable.

Actually the Royal Mail charge is the most evil thing about the whole process. I can understand the government wanting their tax, and they'd much rather take it from the little guy over little sums who is't liable to spend a million on a lawyer to sneak his way out, rather than the corporations who hide billions each year. But the Royal Mail charge extra for doing what they do anyway, sorting mail!
 

FourthLion

Adventurer
Just adding even though they don't include your shipping in working out whether to charge you, they WILL include it when working out how much tax to charge you so I wouldn't import anything over £15 with astronomical shipping charges... not that you would anyway...
 

GolGotha

Death Scythe
Just Passing Through said:
The £15 is what you pay for the item...

Sorry I meant...

If the item still retails for I dunno...£30, but you got it in a sale or auction site for £10, would they base it on the RRP or what I paid. Hopefully that makes more sense? :oops:
 

unknownfate

Pokémon Master
Whatever the item sells for the seller is obligated to declare on import documentation. If the item is sent from outside the EU and exceeds £15 then VAT may be charged on the declared price.

It doesn't matter what the item retails for it's the price YOU paid that it's judged on.
 

FourthLion

Adventurer
It's what you have paid. Basically they will go on whatever the seller write on the customs form on the package, which should be exactly what you were charged (not RRP), but as JPT has said the potential is there for them to write a different price. In fact soem specialist importers often ask if you would like them to write a lower price so you get taxed less (this having the drawback of not being able to claim as much if the package ends up getting lost or boken in transit).
 

Rosencrantz

Dragon Knight
Just to clarify there is actually a set rate and charges for all this.

VAT is 20%, Royal mail charge £8 handling.

By my reckoning that'd make the minium charge £15*0.2 = £3 +£8 = £11.
 

GolGotha

Death Scythe
Okay, I have another stupid question...

I was on Play/Amazon market place and saw a DVD I wanted, but when I went to put it in my basket I realised it was going to be shipped from the USA.

It was like £20 plus £1.20 postage or something. I think the postage rates are set in stone on the marketplaces, so perhaps that's why they couldn't amend it....but anyway, should I risk it?

Has anyone else been in this situation?
 

mangaman74

Akatsuki
Aaron said:
Yeah...I got a t-shirt for £16.00 recently and the charge was £11-something. Sucks.

I imported a DVD a while back. I worked out that it should have cost about £15.60 but I was charged just over £11 thanks to the RM :evil:

GolGotha said:
Okay, I have another stupid question...

I was on Play/Amazon market place and saw a DVD I wanted, but when I went to put it in my basket I realised it was going to be shipped from the USA.

It was like £20 plus £1.20 postage or something. I think the postage rates are set in stone on the marketplaces, so perhaps that's why they couldn't amend it....but anyway, should I risk it?

Has anyone else been in this situation?

You could risk it as you never know when you will get charged when importing. Taking the above example where I got charged £11 by the RM. Around the same time another parcel arrived that cost around £26 which did not get charged.
 

Rosencrantz

Dragon Knight
mangaman74 said:
You could risk it as you never know when you will get charged when importing. Taking the above example where I got charged £11 by the RM. Around the same time another parcel arrived that cost around £26 which did not get charged.

This is basically the worst thing about importing, Royal Mail are not consistant. If you knew you'd be hit always with the Vat + £8 charge you could buy accordingly but there's always a chance you'll get away with it.

In general assume you will have to pay and then be happy when you avoid the charges.
 
The way that I see it is that depending on how many parcels you get through unscathed, it's worth it.

Right now I'm in the middle of getting Gosick from Australia. It's £44 plus P&P from UP1 per volume (cheaper from UP1 US but their P&P is unclear).

Getting it from DevotedDVD is £37 and change all in. Part 1 got through without being charged, so I'm about £7 up on the deal. I should save the same amount on Part 2, but if the second volume gets hit by customs, it'll still be slight cheaper than UP1.
 

unknownfate

Pokémon Master
GolGotha said:
Okay, I have another stupid question...

I was on Play/Amazon market place and saw a DVD I wanted, but when I went to put it in my basket I realised it was going to be shipped from the USA.

It was like £20 plus £1.20 postage or something. I think the postage rates are set in stone on the marketplaces, so perhaps that's why they couldn't amend it....but anyway, should I risk it?

Has anyone else been in this situation?

If the seller is All Your Music or Import DVD then it'll be routed via Germany so you wont need to worry about VAT or any other fees. With sellers like Movie Mars, Elite Digital etc I'd avoid since they don't do the VAT dodging thing.
 

mangaman74

Akatsuki
Unknownfate said:
GolGotha said:
Okay, I have another stupid question...

I was on Play/Amazon market place and saw a DVD I wanted, but when I went to put it in my basket I realised it was going to be shipped from the USA.

It was like £20 plus £1.20 postage or something. I think the postage rates are set in stone on the marketplaces, so perhaps that's why they couldn't amend it....but anyway, should I risk it?

Has anyone else been in this situation?

If the seller is All Your Music or Import DVD then it'll be routed via Germany so you wont need to worry about VAT or any other fees. With sellers like Movie Mars, Elite Digital etc I'd avoid since they don't do the VAT dodging thing.

All Your Music are not 100% safe as I found out earlier this year,

mangaman74 said:
Received my ranson parcel from RM. After opening it it was indeed the MSG Collection 1 (the market trader was All your music from Amazon UK - order cost was £17.95 plus shipping although the parcel listed the order as $24.05).

mangaman74 said:
The custom charge was £11.12 including £8.00 handling fee from RM and £3.12 in tax.

At the same time that parcel arrived I received a different one that cost around £26 (can't remember who the seller was though) which didn't get a customs charge.
 

HellCat

Stand User
Bumping this because I really am finding this to be a lottery currently. I'm usually lucky enough that my stuff escapes customs but since September EVERYTHING imported seems to get hit. I've had 3 parcels from HobbyLink Japan (ironically using their 'customs beating' Private Warehouse) and today my monthly parcel from CD Japan (latest issue of Gundam Ace and latest Gundam AGE Blu-ray) hit. There just doesn't even seem to be any clear logic; even the sticker on the box that breaks it down has stated rules these parcels aren't hitting.

Is this really just a dirty little money maker?
 

Rui

Karamatsu Boy
Administrator
HellCat said:
Bumping this because I really am finding this to be a lottery currently. I'm usually lucky enough that my stuff escapes customs but since September EVERYTHING imported seems to get hit. I've had 3 parcels from HobbyLink Japan (ironically using their 'customs beating' Private Warehouse) and today my monthly parcel from CD Japan (latest issue of Gundam Ace and latest Gundam AGE Blu-ray) hit. There just doesn't even seem to be any clear logic; even the sticker on the box that breaks it down has stated rules these parcels aren't hitting.

Is this really just a dirty little money maker?

Pretty much. I've had a parcel with some miscellaneous cheap merchandise stuck in customs for two weeks (I already knew it was going to be hit, but I wish they'd bally well let me pay it and get on with it - Parcelforce are useless, especially for an 'express' service!).

If they're charging you over what's on the declaration and they've made a mistake, I thoroughly recommend filing a complaint. I've always got my money back that way (less my time and the stamps...) and the more time they spend answering complaints and raising cheques to people, the more time they might spend training their staff to read the rules properly before inconveniencing everyone. You can get the processing fee back easily enough by making a claim after HMRC agrees that your charge was made in error.

My stuff from CD Japan always gets hit without fail. It's why I rarely use them unless it's for cheap things/books :(

R
 

HellCat

Stand User
Rearing my ugly head again and bringing this back to ask a question I'm uncertain on.

As I said back in October, I've been having a magazine + blu-ray parcel every month for the last year. The final volume is out this month, which means I'll be going back to just the magazine. Said magazine is about £4-7 but is the typical Japanese phonebook style, making the total cost higher.

As the magazine is only a fiver or so, does this mean I should be back to avoiding customs on said parcels? Thanks.
 
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