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Extreme Royal Mail Customs Fees

 
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 Posted 04/24/2015  1:19 pm Show Profile   Check Paul Bulgerin's eBay Listings Bookmark this topic Add Paul Bulgerin to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
This is a strange one. I've been selling and shipping coins overseas for nearly six years and have never had this happen.

A buyer in England bought a Roman coin for $45. I used eBay shipping and filled out the customs part of the eBay shipping form. According to the US Customs tracking information the coin made it to London and then disappeared for over two weeks. Finally tracking resumed yesterday and the buyer got the coin.

However, she had to pay over $22 U.S. for VAT fees and "Royal Mail Handling Fees" . . . whatever they are.

I have never had any issues with the Royal Mail before, have never had a buyer have to pay customs fees and it seems ridiculous to have to pay $22 in customs fees for a $45 coin.

Did the Royal Mail screw up on this or is there a new policy in place? If there is some new policy then my days of shipping coins to the UK and EU are over.

The woman sent me photos of all the Royal Mail stickers on the coin and is actually mailing them back to me. I am going to refund her the fees.

Any help out there on this?
Paul Bulgerin
Edited by Paul Bulgerin
04/24/2015 1:50 pm
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 Posted 04/24/2015  1:58 pm  Show Profile   Check jdmern's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add jdmern to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Many countries have high customs fees... I have heard the UK is among them... Latvia, the Netherlands and Brazil are a few others that come to mind... Be wary about refunding customs fees, that will DESTROY your bottom line if you go down that avenue
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United Kingdom
150 Posts
 Posted 04/24/2015  5:35 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add numismatic biz to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Buyer got burnt on fees she should complain

re Royal Mail charge you a fee to collect a fee (custom fee)

but you should not use ebay shipping better just to send registered letter post no customs label needed

I have bought 100's of coins on ebay from US sellers but I always ask will they work with me on shipping.

I have shipped over 10,000 coins to US no fees for buyers as there's always a way to write a customs label so it does not attract fees and not lying either on label.

If she returns the item she should claim all custom fees back from Royal Mail

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 Posted 04/24/2015  6:37 pm  Show Profile   Check Paul Bulgerin's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Paul Bulgerin to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
What I don't understand is that I have sent many coins to the UK using eBay labels and have never had this happen before.

Is there some specific reason this coin may have been flagged by customs in the UK?

I don't know if this was a fluke incident or a new policy by UK Customs.
Paul Bulgerin
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 Posted 04/24/2015  6:51 pm  Show Profile   Check jdmern's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add jdmern to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Not every package is hit with customs fees... Also, some buyers purchase with the knowledge they may be hit with customs fees and do not alert the seller after the fact that they had to pay customs charges (I actually think that is the majority of buyers)
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 Posted 04/25/2015  09:55 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add SsuperDdave to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Sounds like you ran into a Customs official who didn't know what's subject to duty or not. Those things are very_clearly defined at USPS for every country they will ship to. At the destination, maybe not so much. I never ship "coins" overseas; usually "numismatic items."
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 Posted 04/25/2015  10:23 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Tom Goodheart to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Customs are a bit hit and miss. I've had to pay charges on $70 coins but not on $300+ ones.

Part of the problem is that Customs and Excise pass the job of collecting the money (which can be our UK sales tax (normally 20%) or import duties plus tax, depending on the value of the item) to Royal Mail.

RM charge a flat rate of £8 (US$12) as a fee to pay for the 'service'. This is on top of any Customs charge, which is tax, payable on any item valued at over £15 (US$22) and Import Duty on anything over £135 (US$205).

In practice, this means for lower value but chargeable items the Royal Mail fee can effectively double what the buyer has to pay.

This is not a new thing. Just the first time you've been 'hit' I'm afraid ...

I should point out it's the buyer's (usually me in my case!) responsibility to pay such fees. If she didn't want to pay then if she had left it three weeks the Royal Mail would have returned the coin to you anyway.

.
Edited by Tom Goodheart
04/25/2015 10:31 am
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 Posted 04/25/2015  12:43 pm  Show Profile   Check Paul Bulgerin's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Paul Bulgerin to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for the responses.

I always lists coins as "Numismatic Items" on the customs form.

I guess from now on I will let buyers know that any customs fees are their responsibility.

This buyer had to wait a long time for her coin to get to her and really wanted it. Having never faced this before I decided to refund her fees. At least I still made a profit on the coin.

At least I know what to do next time.
Paul Bulgerin
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 Posted 04/25/2015  5:26 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add andyg to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
It's all down to the value you place on the customs form - whilst I've paid charges on occasion (usually using unfranked but used stamps) it's only ever been because the seller has put the final sale price on the envelope.
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 Posted 04/25/2015  6:34 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add SsuperDdave to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Hmmm. A little reasearch has provided these nuggets:

1) Coins are specifically prohibited by USPS from being shipped to Great Britain.

http://pe.usps.com/text/imm/fh_014.htm

2) Non-legal tender coins imported to Britain have zero customs duty, only VAT.

https://www.gov.uk/trade-tariff/com...s/7118100000
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 Posted 04/25/2015  11:11 pm  Show Profile   Check Pacificoin's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Pacificoin to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Paul you are way above being a saint here. You owe your buyer absolutely nothing back. Import taxes and postal fees are the problem of the buyer not you. Anyone who buys coins of numismatic interest knows that there is VAT in the UK.or anywhere else in the EU. When you ship to anywhere in Europe never lie on the CN22 or your coins will be confiscated. That is a very good reason that most buyers of Better UK coins in the UK will not buy them from North American dealers, they know they are going to get hit by HM customs ,whom by the way are extremely efficient. Never give a buyer money back in this situation plain foolishness.
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 Posted 04/26/2015  05:30 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add andyg to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
see here for more reading -
https://www.gov.uk/government/publi...e-statistics
20% VAT is payable on purchases over £15 (including the postage cost) below which there is no charge.


edit - HM customs extremely efficient?
Try sending something to India!
Edited by andyg
04/26/2015 05:32 am
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Canada
158 Posts
 Posted 04/26/2015  06:01 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add masterofsecrets to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Superdave, the usps export rules you linked to actually specify coins made of gold, silver, or platinum. Other materials are ok. However, it does say "other valuable articles", you can decide what valuable means...

:)

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 Posted 04/26/2015  07:42 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Tom Goodheart to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
see here for more reading -
https://www.gov.uk/government/publi...e-statistics
20% VAT is payable on purchases over £15 (including the postage cost) below which there is no charge.


However for antiques over 100 year old or "collectors pieces of numismatic interest" there is a reduction to the rate of VAT to an effective 5%.

So if you are sending older items it's worth quoting that phrase as it might save the buyer a few pounds...

Oh, and books? Zero rated for VAT purposes! Complicated, isn't it?!
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 Posted 07/24/2020  06:06 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Pertinax to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
numismatic biz wrote

Quote:
I have shipped over 10,000 coins to US no fees for buyers as there's always a way to write a customs label so it does not attract fees and not lying either on label.


Please enlighten me, how do you write a customs label without lying so it does not attract fees?

Does it matter whether the coins' country is one which has US trade sanctions?

https://www.cbp.gov/travel/internat...8.1589318191 says 'Currently, the United States has imposed a 100 percent rate of duty on certain products of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, The Federal Republic of Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the Ukraine.'


What value may US residents import before duty is charged?
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My wants list: http://goccf.com/t/283145
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