Import Duty/Tax liability on online sales

  Quickbeam 08:31 12 Sep 2013
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Answered

I received an invoice this morning from FedEx for £43.01 for, I presume, a lens that I bought a few weeks ago.

This is the item, which was the best online price by far from eGlobal Digital Store. It's priced in £UK, on a .co.uk site, and as such leads me to believe that I've bought a ligitimatly UK imported product from a UK eRetailer... right? The Hong Kong ebay retailers state that their products are in Hong Kong and as such, I avoid them for this reason.

So, is this invoice enforceable? This is a matter of principle, not so much the £43.01 on account that I'd considered that I bought a legitimately imported product. If you scroll down the above web page, this statement is claimed as point 3 of 6 reasons to use them; 3. We ship our products promptly without any hidden charges and no surprise shipping cost.

Over to the PCA team...

  fourm member 09:04 12 Sep 2013

Clause 14 'Customs' of the T & Cs ends with;

'As a result, prices shown on this website are the final total you have to pay to have the order delivered to your door, without any customs delay.' (Emphasis added)

I was expecting to find a clause specifically excluding customs duty but instead I found that.

  wiz-king 09:10 12 Sep 2013

"We work from Monday to Friday HKT 16:00pm to 00:00am (except public holidays). You are able to contact our Customer Service Team via live chat and phone support during this period."

No UK address or company number.

Yes, you are liable for the VAT and any other customs duty.

  Al94 09:15 12 Sep 2013

This is a classic case of a business I would never deal with. The four ways to contact them do not include a UK address. The whole site is carefully and craftily worded but as others have stated, it is obvious they are based in Hong Kong so I'm afraid you are liable.

  onthelimit1 09:36 12 Sep 2013

It's not always easy to work out where goods may be sent from. As in this thread of mine, goods I ordered from Amazon UK came from California.

  fourm member 10:00 12 Sep 2013

There's no doubt that customs duty is payable but the T & Cs suggest the price includes them. It certainly doesn't explicitly state they are excluded.

However, as has been pointed out, the seller is outside the EU so the rights you have are reduced.

  BT 10:46 12 Sep 2013

Have you actually received the goods? Normally if Duty is payable it has to be paid before the goods are released from the carrier. This is certainly the case with Royal Mail. My wife had a parcel sent to her by a friend from USA and I had to go to the sorting office and pay the money before they would release the parcel.

If you have already received the goods I would be wary of paying the money. There are scams around using FedX name, and I would investigate further.

  spuds 12:08 12 Sep 2013

I am no legal expert, but just looking at the information provided by the link advert, would suggest that its a UK company that you are dealing with, complete with UK telephone number, but no address provided.

The advert also seems to suggest that "there are no hidden extras".

There is also a provision which seems to suggest that the company complies with UK consumer law and the Distance Selling Regulations.

On the above alone, it would seem that the invoice for £43.01 is very questionable. If there is a FedEx customer care helpline or contact available, then I personally would be making contact for further clarification. At the same time I would also contact the retailer pointing out the above.

Another point that I would consider, is if payment was made by credit card. If payment was made via credit card, then perhaps worth contacting them for advice regarding the sale, if its an import?.

One thing that I did notice in their Q&A, the items sold might be of a 'grey' nature?.

  bumpkin 12:45 12 Sep 2013

Have you got the item? if so it seems a bit odd sending a further invoice. Was it a paper invoice or an Email. If Email I would ignore it and wait for any follow up. One through the post should have a phone number for you to query it.

  Quickbeam 12:46 12 Sep 2013

fourm member The full paragraph of clause 14 suggests that that is it. I've paid for everything, but you say the opposite in your second post because it doesn't explicitly say all taxes are paid!

14.1 To simplify the process of buying internationally, eGlobaL choose to handle the process of custom clearance for customers. By purchasing products through eGlobaL, you authorise eGlobaL to make arrangements for clearance of customs on your behalf for the products in your order. As importing products from overseas can be a hassle for most of our customers, we organise this process for you. We then provide you with fast local shipping to deliver the goods to your door. As a result, prices shown on this website are the final total you have to pay to have the order delivered to your door, without any customs delay.

Al94 "...it is obvious they are based in Hong Kong so I'm afraid you are liable." Surely not that simple an argument?

BT I have actually got the goods, and yes, I also would have expected that I would have to pay any dues before delivery.

"There are scams around using FedX name"

Now that's plausible, because the FedEx invoice is with a second sheet headed 'SUPPLEMENTARY DECLARATION ACCEPTANCE ADVICE'. That contains a whole load of importer/exporter details and consignment numbers, carriers etc. But the description of the goods is very basic and only described as 'CAMERA ACCESSORIES NO BATTERY', and states the item value as £162.58.

So is someone chancing their luck, or have they under valued the goods leaving me with the best course to pay and leave the store promptly knowing that I've had the change for £20 from a five pound note...?

spuds, I paid with a debit card.

  spuds 13:05 12 Sep 2013

QB- If your debit card is Visa backed, then I would still suggest that you contact Visa for advice. I have used Visa customer careline previously, and found them very helpful.

I would also still suggest that you obtain FedEx 'genuine' contact details, and seek advice there. If the invoice contains different contact details, then perhaps add suspicion?.

Would also mention that now you are stating the camera is only invoiced at £162.58, then alarm bells might be ringing if import duties are applicable. Sometimes HK companies might invoice or describe items of a bigger value for less, so to pay less higher value rate duties. If you check the Revenue and Customs (?) website, you will most likely find some information about this, and the actual duties required?.

I also note that the website offers a chatline, so why not have a chat or make a telephone call. Might ease the concerns?.

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