Monday, 29 December 2014

Please don't ask....

Yes we are in the office and its still Christmas, but with a mountain of orders to clear we are trying to process the backlog. But the reason for this post? Customs duty and the avoidance of...

This stems from having just had a rather irate customer online demanding that we i) send his two orders separately and ii) we fill in the customs declaration with a low value so he can avoid paying import duty.

Now the first is no problem, but the second is in fact illegal both on our part and on his part. Firstly if we declare an absurdly low value, and the package goes missing we have no insurance cover, which mean missing packages have to be paid of in other ways, which increases our shipping charges and general prices.

You might say 'so what thats the customers problem' - but it isn't its ours as when the customer is nice enough to place an order we have accepted a contract with the customer to supply the goods, if they don't arrive then we either have to supply replacements or offer a refund - either way we loose the original items, so we do use tracking and ask for signatures on delivery, as well as having the ability to chase the package through the system.

Secondly an incorrect low value on a package will rase the ire of any customs inspector (how many times do they see a 'gift' for £18 being sent by a high value tracked shipping method?), resulting in the package being opened, the true value being ascertained, and the recipient and dispatcher being contacted for further details on the transaction, and most likely the package then either being subject to high penalties, and or legal action, and or being destroyed, or all three.

In most counties deliberate avoidance of import duty is a crime (tax evasion), and for the small values involved its just isn't worth it - in this case the value was around 7% of the order.

Now we don't declare our items as 'sex toys', they are correctly described as a signal generator and accessories, and 99.9% of the customs inspectors around the world we deal with are happy with this, as it correctly describes the items, and doesn't scare your neighbours - but please don't ask us to change the value on a customs declaration - its illegal and just not worth it.