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  1. #11
    I could cancel, but it's via PayPal, so it would take at least 6 weeks to get the money back from PayPal, maybe much longer, from what I've heard.

    My experience of buying from the US is that I seem to get hit with duty, handling charges and VAT on about one in five packages. I've even had a few really big packages come through from places like China without getting caught, so it does seem to be a bit random as to whether or not things get picked up.

    One thing I have noticed is that packages that come via UPS, DHL or another big company always seem to get caught for extra charges, but stuff that comes via EMS or USPS seems to be less likely to attract the extra charges, goodness knows why.


  2. Ask the supplier for a definitive date of shipping and if its more than 7 days away ask them to cancel and refund by paypal - a reputable organisation should do so with no charge. The reverse paypal transaction should be just as quick as the original. The 6 weeks applies if its a paypal investigation into non-delivery etc.

  3. #13
    Get the guys at Warp9 to cancel your order and refund your Paypal payment. It gets cancelled and refunded immediately. They have been very understanding whenever I've dealt with them and I'm sure they'll accomodate your request.

  4. #14
    FedEx are probably the worst for high charges, in my experience. There is a cut-off value (10 for import duty, 22 for VAT), below which imports shouldn't attract a charge, but I know that the like of FedEx etc rarely take note of this.

    It's not so much the duty or VAT that I find irksome, but the hefty "handling fee" that these companies charge for making the duty/VAT payment on your behalf.

    I've had cause to question the level of this with one company, TNT, who, like you, wanted to charge me more than the value of the goods in fees. After writing to them a couple of times to try and get the (incorrect) bill adjusted, they just seem to have dropped the matter.

    You can avoid duty for some imports by getting yourself an End Use Authorisation number. I have one, it's free from HM Revenue and Customs and allows the import of certain items from outside the EU without attracting import duty (although VAT is still payable). In my case the parts have to be for aircraft construction, but that covers pretty much anything with a connection to engineering in my experience. The saving isn't great, but it does mean that you can sometimes by-pass the handling fee from the freight companies, by declaring that you will pay the VAT directly to HM R&C.


  5. #15
    SOLD via eBay.

  6. #16
    Glad you sold it OK for a good price. Mine turned up from the US a few days ago, quicker than expected. The good news was that I didn't get hit by the "duty, VAT, handling fees" lottery, so the total cost was around 116 including shipping.

    I just need to get the rest of the machine built now...............


  7. Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy View Post
    The good news was that I didn't get hit by the "duty, VAT, handling fees" lottery....
    yet... give it time can take up to 3 months in my experience

  8. Quote Originally Posted by irving2008 View Post
    yet... give it time can take up to 3 months in my experience
    You beat me to it !

  9. #19
    That's interesting. I buy quite a lot of stuff from the US (another hobby has been building aeroplanes for quite a few years) and I've only once been hit by a late bill unexpectedly. That was a few years ago now and was a package shipped by Fed Ex.

    I guess I receive around a dozen or so overseas deliveries a month, may be more, and have spotted a fairly consistent pattern over the past few years. Anything shipped by USPS or EMS normally gets through unscathed, but when they do occasionally decide to charge Parcelforce call and ask for full payment by credit card on the 'phone before they will release the package for delivery. This happened to me a couple of months ago. TNT always need authorisation of payment up front before releasing anything for delivery and always charge fees about a week later - nothing seems to get through their system without being caught. UPS seems random, but if they do decide to charge, they seem to need the authorisation to pay the money up front like TNT.

    Interestingly, I received a big and expensive (25kg and ~800) package of lithium batteries from China earlier this year via EMS and it didn't get caught, whereas they did pick up on a package valued at around 50 and charge me almost as much again in fees, duty and VAT. It does seem random to me.

    Most of the people I buy from regularly know how the system works, as do quite a few ebay sellers, so they work things their end to reduce the likelhood of a package attracting charges. As I'm mainly buying component parts, rather than finished goods, this seems to work OK. I also have a HMCR End Use Authorisation registration and number as an importer of aircraft parts, but I've no idea if that really makes a difference - it only exempts me from paying duty, not VAT or the handling fee.

    If I'm unlucky enough to get caught for charges later, I'll report back here with an update!


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