VOGONS


First post, by squelch41

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Just curious about costs of buying things from EU companies selling retro parts eg electromyne from the UK.
It seems very opaque as to how much will be charged for import/handling etc and where those charges apply (ie is it at purchase, at delivery collected by courier etc).

Anyone had experience of buying relatively low cost items (under £40) eg ram, cpus etc?
How much were the import fees/taxes?

Thanks!

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Reply 1 of 24, by Carrera

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I have only heard from people buying car parts for classic cars that things are still a little crazy. Mostly it is shipping companies requiring fees etc. that drive the cost up.

While shipments are supposed to be duty free they are not VAT exempt which I think a lot of people overlook or forget.
So once you get the local VAT added PLUS fees it gets expensive but usually no more than 1-5% over what you would have paid under the EU.

Things will stay weird for a while I am afraid.

Reply 2 of 24, by chinny22

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Doesn't matter,
with the queuing for the fuel and lack of drivers not like it'll reach you before Christmas anyway 😜

Been serious, I don't think it makes much difference in the process. Companies have always charged whatever they like for shipping but you'll still see the cost at time of purchase as they'll need to include it on the invoice.

What will be interesting? is private sellers like ebay.
I've had packages from my parents in OZ held by UK customs as the total value on the declaration was set to high. In these cases the receiver gets notified but the sender isn't told anything.

Reply 3 of 24, by BitWrangler

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You would probably have less problems through regular parcel post services, not courier services like FedEx, UPS etc who like double dipping and screwing their customers. In other regions they like to represent to the shipper that all fees are covered in the shipping price, then demand a huge fee on delivery for the "customs presentation" i.e. handing over the paperwork the shipper prepared to customs. This is on top of the taxes. Duty is only applicable on things like alcohol and tobacco and select other items. In addition they can tend to hugely overvalue the taxable value of items. I don't know what their scam is there, I have heard that there is some thing where they later appeal the valuation and get it refunded, to themselves. All this tends to create a lot of friction between buyers and sellers, because the parcel couriers will straight up lie to the sellers about whether there will be extra charges or not, and the buyers are pissed off on getting them, then the sellers tend to assume that buyers "just don't want to pay the taxes" and want them to lie about value, send as gift etc to get round it. While there might be a few people like that, the reality is that many would be happy to just pay the correct taxes, like the VAT on the actual purchase price, plus a reasonable administration expense of maybe a couple of pounds max, but instead might find their parcel held for ransom unless they come up with an additional amount probably comparing in value to original purchase. Particularly difficult across the US/Can border is the fact that UPS ground looks cheaper to the shipper than USPS parcel for some things. When it very isn't when it arrives. "I saved you $2 on shipping" the seller will say, and you groan, because the bastards want another $30+ off you now.

There are usually ways now to file your own customs paperwork, and that should be looked into as a defense against gouging and scamming by courier companies.

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Reply 4 of 24, by majestyk

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I´m often buying from UK sellers and now I have to pay 19% VAT (like back in the old days) since I´m in the EU.
Most stuff is for my own company so I don´t have to care about VAT.

The strange thing is that EU authorities are extremely strict when it comes to buying from the US and the UK, while parcels from China arrive without being treated by customs no matter what the value is.
China is getting some very special treatment - I wonder why.

Reply 5 of 24, by squelch41

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Whenever I've bought electronic goods from china via AliExpress, it's always been straightforward (again never bought anything very expensive) - they charge tax fees at point of sale and never then been charged handling fees on arrival in UK.

Was wondering if buying from businesses sellers in EU is similar

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Reply 6 of 24, by cyclone3d

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Last I heard, China is still listed as a "developing country" and so they get super special treatment as far as shipping costs go.

As a buyer like it, but then there are scammy Chinese sellers who want you to ship their crap back at your expense when they know it is not worth the crazy amount that it costs to ship stuff back to China.

When this happens on eBay purchases I just get eBay involved and they do a full refund without me having to send the crap back.

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Reply 7 of 24, by debs3759

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If a UK buyers buys stuff from the EU via eBay, taxes are added on before you see the price, so there are no extras to pay on receipt. Same applies to most stuff that originates in the US. It's only if you buy direct from the seller that you have to pay taxes and the carrier's fees.

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Reply 8 of 24, by mR_Slug

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As far as I can tell they just add a random amount. It's supposed to be 20% VAT. Look at this ebay item:
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/184914288318

Item is 29.95, import tax $13.16. that's like 40%. (US to UK btw).

Curious to know what happens if someone sends you something to repair. You pay import tax on entry, then they pay import tax to get it back? I keep hearing about how wonderful globalization is from politicians, yet they screw you on import tax. If it's so wonderful why can't it just be zero. Also thinking about it. I think you are doubly taxed? You pay VAT/sales in the country to begin with, then tax again when you import it. And why does china get a free pass? Surely it should be the same for every country.

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Reply 9 of 24, by Big Pink

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mR_Slug wrote on 2021-09-28, 20:50:

And why does china get a free pass? Surely it should be the same for every country.

A global flood of dirt-cheap consumer products made in China helps mask the fact that wages in the developed world have stagnated for over three decades. If certain unnamed objectionable regimes of the 20th century had offered free postage on their exports I wonder if they'd have ever been toppled.

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Reply 11 of 24, by mR_Slug

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Big Pink wrote on 2021-09-28, 21:15:

A global flood of dirt-cheap consumer products made in China helps mask the fact that wages in the developed world have stagnated for over three decades.

Explains a lot. Clown world we live in now. Guess they hope Joe public wont notice if they keep debasing the currency.

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Reply 12 of 24, by aaronkatrini

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Shipping from/to UK has been a pain since Brexit for me personally. I've heard many EU countries are butthurt from UK leaving and are applying strictly every customs fee there is. This while letting chinese sellers do what they please with customs and shipping fees, its a shame IMO. The other day I had to ship a motherboard to UK and they asked so many information (reason of export, price, what's inside, my ID number ecc...), I had to fill everything out otherwise it wouldn't let me ship, also I had to find the European Customs code for IT-related stuff...

As for your question. When I sell on eBay, for example I put the price of an item for 20 euro + shipping. To a potential buyer from UK he sees about 26 euro + shipping, so I presume ebay is doing already calculations so there will be no more customs fees after what you pay on ebay, this is my theory at least.

Reply 13 of 24, by appiah4

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aaronkatrini wrote on 2021-09-29, 09:50:

I've heard many EU countries are butthurt from UK leaving and are applying strictly every customs fee there is.

Oh yeah, it's the EU's fault that they now have to do their job and enforce their customs laws. Even though it is a situation for which no one but Britons are to blame.

With this kind of thinking Brexit will certainly not be the end of UK's downward spiral..

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Reply 15 of 24, by aaronkatrini

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appiah4 wrote on 2021-09-29, 09:59:

Oh yeah, it's the EU's fault that they now have to do their job and enforce their customs laws.

Not saying who's fault it is, just if you're applying the law, then do it equally for everybody, especially the chinese sellers who are flooding the markets with electronics waste!

Reply 16 of 24, by igna78

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What can I say ... do not get angry any English, but since Great Britain is out of the EU, I have stopped buying from UK sellers (at least via eBay), as import charges sometimes weigh more than shipping costs (at least for Italy)

And I'm sorry because I've done good business in the past 😓

Reply 17 of 24, by snufkin

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Errius wrote on 2021-09-29, 10:26:

It's 1972 again but with worse music.

And that was a year in which the second highest selling single in the UK was "Mouldy Old Dough" by Lieutenant Pigeon ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aO5GWJJP3FM ), only beaten by the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards' version of Amazing Grace...

mR_Slug wrote on 2021-09-28, 20:50:

Curious to know what happens if someone sends you something to repair. You pay import tax on entry, then they pay import tax to get it back? I keep hearing about how wonderful globalization is from politicians, yet they screw you on import tax. If it's so wonderful why can't it just be zero. Also thinking about it. I think you are doubly taxed? You pay VAT/sales in the country to begin with, then tax again when you import it. And why does china get a free pass? Surely it should be the same for every country.

Ooh, I know a little bit about that. And it's sort of on topic. Look up Inward Processing Relief if you want a really boring and frustrating read. Customer sends thing to be repaired and when it enters the UK it's liable for any duty (depending on the customs code of the goods*) and VAT. But if it's being repaired and sent back then you can instead use the IPR process, where the duty+VAT bill is suspended for up to 6 months (with a 6 month extension on request). The bill is then cancelled when the goods leave the UK.

But... HMRC found too many people were forgetting to send the goods back out again, so effectively dodging taxes, which HMRC then had to chase up as unpaid bills. So they decided that even though the bill was suspended you still had to lodge payment with them, which you'd then get back when the goods left the UK.

Except they won't accept the deposit from small businesses/people. So it has to go through the shipping agent who actually handles the import process. They have a large deposit lodged with HMRC, and then charge you for the use of their deposit. Plus you have to make sure the shipping agent actually files the correct paperwork for both the import and export, otherwise HMRC can't tell that the goods have left, so you don't get the deposit back (and have still had to pay the agent). Net result being that it ends up being more hassle than it's worth.

Oh, and the customer at the other end has to jump through similar hoops (Outward Processing Relief) with their Customs people, otherwise they get to pay (or pass the charge back to the supplier) sales tax when the repaired goods re-enter their country.

We've gone and done reverse globalisation and made trade more difficult, particularly for the countries nearest us. The previous process within the EU was: thing broken, person send thing, thing repaired, thing sent back. Or even: thing broken, send replacement, replacement swapped in, broken thing sent back (IPR doesn't allow for this at all).

On the double taxation thing... As I understand it, if a seller is VAT registered then they don't (possibly shouldn't) charge VAT on sales leaving the UK, so the buyer only pays their local sales tax (and any import duties) when it gets imported to their country, so it's not (or shouldn't be) double taxed. Buying through intermediaries like ebay makes things complicated though.

* For hours of fun you can explore customs codes here https://www.trade-tariff.service.gov.uk/
You get to find entries such as:

4. Heading 8509 covers only the following electromechanical machines of the kind commonly used for domestic purposes:

(a) floor polishers, food grinders and mixers, and fruit or vegetable juice extractors, of any weight;
(b) other machines provided the weight of such machines does not exceed 20kg. The heading does not, however, apply to fans or ventilating or recycling hoods incorporating a fan, whether or not fitted with filters (heading 8414), centrifugal clothes-dryers (heading 8421), dishwashing machines (heading 8422), household washing machines (heading 8450), roller or other ironing machines (heading 8420 or 8451), sewing machines (heading 8452), electric scissors (heading 8467) or to electro-thermic appliances (heading 8516).

Marvel as to why there's a 2% duty on tuning forks (92099940) but 0% on musical box mechanisms (92099950), which are essentially a bunch of tuning forks. Unless you're in Northern Ireland, where it's 3.2% and 1.7%, but I think they can still trade at 0% within the EU.
Cry (or laugh) as you realise what we've re-inflicted upon ourselves.

Reply 18 of 24, by squelch41

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PC Hoarder Patrol wrote on 2021-09-28, 21:20:

It may *seem* straightforward looking at that, but it isnt.

Take VAT -- Quote from that gov't site--
"If you bought the goods yourself and they are not excise goods, the seller will have included VAT in the total you paid.

You will need to pay VAT to the delivery company if the goods are:
gifts sent to you by someone else and worth more than £39
excise goods
"

Fine - so far.
BUT the delivery company may charge and additional handling fee to the buyer in addition to the VAT.
How much? Doesnt seem to be stated anywhere. Presumably depends on the delivery company?
That's why I was wondering about people's actual experience for goods under £40 value.

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Reply 19 of 24, by mR_Slug

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squelch41 wrote on 2021-09-29, 13:51:

It may *seem* straightforward looking at that, but it isnt.

Take VAT -- Quote from that gov't site--
"If you bought the goods yourself and they are not excise goods, the seller will have included VAT in the total you paid.

Right so in theory, as I understand for under 135, buy from US or EU, the VAT/sales tax is paid in the US or EU. So we shouldn't be paying 20% import tax. Say I buy from a seller in Idaho, the sales tax is 6%. You pay the tax there, and get it with no import tax.

In practice, you pay sales tax 6%, then 20-50%* import tax. And 20-50% on the 6% sales tax. And a handling fee...

*Based on ebay calculations.

I once ordered some wing mirrors for my car. First left then right. Same price, second one cost 20 quid more in tax. In my experience, from the US, it is a total crapshoot. Meanwhile I can buy Heroin at 2am....goes lovely with co-co-pops:)

As for the repair importation process, it's just a joke if that's how it works.

As for the UK being in a downward spiral, the EU is doing it's best to go down a spiral too. US is catching up... I think they think it is a race to the bottom.

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