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FedEx are bullies - do I have rights against "custom charges" after the fact?

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FedEx are bullies - do I have rights against "custom charges" after the fact?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Consumer Rights
40 replies 34.6K views
telbeltelbel Forumite
1 posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Consumer Rights
My mum, who lives in America, sent me a Christmas present by FedEx. Not only did it cost her a fortune (more than 50 US dollars) but now FedEx are trying to bully me into paying £36 in customs charges three months after I picked up the parcel.

The parcel was clearly marked as a gift -- although Mum probably made things difficult by listing a value of $150 on the customs declaration (it contained two DVD box sets - Mad Men series 1 & 2 - and a pair of gold earrings - nice!). I picked up the parcel at the local FedEx depot after they left a card through my door. While at the depot I was not asked for any extra payment - nor was I told that there were customs charges due. If there had been, I probably would have refused delivery of the parcel.

I'm now getting threatening letters from a collection agency saying that legal action will be taken against me unless I agree to pay £36 of outstanding HMCE fees plus various penalty charges they've slapped on my "account" -- adding up to nearly 50 quid.

I haven't been able to find any advice on the HMCE website. Does anyone know whether I can safely tell FedEx and their bullying collection agency to go away? I don't want to ignore it and then find I've been given a CCJ. I didn't think they could chase you for charges after a parcel had been delivered - and I always thought that customs charges didn't apply to gifts... especially Christmas presents!
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Replies

  • Most of that cost will have been clearing customs. Pay Fedex and then sue your mother it was really her fault I'm afraid.
  • toffetoffe Forumite
    431 posts
    its got nothing to do with fedex they only paid the customs charges as a favour to you, they dont have to do it but they do to prevent the customer having to ring customs and make the payment therefore delaying the shipment.

    pay up, you owe it. might not like it, but you owe it.
    ......"A wise man once told me don't argue with fools because people from a distance can't tell who is who"........
  • telbel wrote: »
    My mum, who lives in America, sent me a Christmas present by FedEx. Not only did it cost her a fortune (more than 50 US dollars) but now FedEx are trying to bully me into paying £36 in customs charges three months after I picked up the parcel.

    The parcel was clearly marked as a gift -- although Mum probably made things difficult by listing a value of $150 on the customs declaration (it contained two DVD box sets - Mad Men series 1 & 2 - and a pair of gold earrings - nice!). I picked up the parcel at the local FedEx depot after they left a card through my door. While at the depot I was not asked for any extra payment - nor was I told that there were customs charges due. If there had been, I probably would have refused delivery of the parcel.

    I'm now getting threatening letters from a collection agency saying that legal action will be taken against me unless I agree to pay £36 of outstanding HMCE fees plus various penalty charges they've slapped on my "account" -- adding up to nearly 50 quid.

    I haven't been able to find any advice on the HMCE website. Does anyone know whether I can safely tell FedEx and their bullying collection agency to go away? I don't want to ignore it and then find I've been given a CCJ. I didn't think they could chase you for charges after a parcel had been delivered - and I always thought that customs charges didn't apply to gifts... especially Christmas presents!

    I'm not surprised, that site was closed years ago. You might be better off going to HMRC. ;):D
    The greater danger, for most of us, lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark
  • toffe wrote: »
    its got nothing to do with fedex they only paid the customs charges as a favour to you, they dont have to do it but they do to prevent the customer having to ring customs and make the payment therefore delaying the shipment.

    pay up, you owe it. might not like it, but you owe it.

    It's everything to do with Federal Express, the credit is theirs, it is they who are pursuing the debt, not HMRC.
    The greater danger, for most of us, lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark
  • In the absence of a credit agreement with them, I doubt they will get very far.
    The greater danger, for most of us, lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark
  • fluffnutterfluffnutter Forumite
    23.2K posts
    Who exactly do you owe money to? If it's Fedex, you could try ignoring them. If it's HMRC, pay up! They shoot people who don't pay taxes, you know.
    "Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell" - Edward Abbey.
  • vuvuzelavuvuzela Forumite
    3.6K posts
    telbel wrote: »
    The parcel was clearly marked as a gift -- although Mum probably made things difficult by listing a value of $150 on the customs declaration...
    I always thought that customs charges didn't apply to gifts... especially Christmas presents!

    You thought entirely wrong. If a gift, the customs charges don't apply unless the value is over £36 (I think, it used to be anyway and was twice the value of the non-gift exemption of £18). It was over the limit, you owe the fees and they will chase you for them.
    FedEx pre-pay the customs then normally 2 weeks or so later you get a letter, not from a debt collector but from them saying you owe X amount + Y clearance charge. Did you get this letter or have you ignored this and do you now have one that has been passed to a collections company ?
  • Gavin83Gavin83 Forumite
    7.1K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    ✭✭✭✭
    Part of the conditions of them posting the item will be for any customs fees to be settled and for you to repay afterwards. I'd rather they did this than refuse to post the item until the fees are settled in the same way Royal Mail do.

    Would you really have refused the package and therefore had it sent back to your mother had you known about the fees?
  • Gavin83 wrote: »
    Part of the conditions of them posting the item will be for any customs fees to be settled and for you to repay afterwards.

    But the OP has no contract with FedEx, so they have no right to demand money off them. FedEx may be able to recover the money from the sender.
  • edited 8 April 2011 at 9:23PM
    George_MichaelGeorge_Michael Forumite
    3.8K posts
    Ninth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
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    edited 8 April 2011 at 9:23PM
    But the OP has no contract with FedEx, so they have no right to demand money off them. FedEx may be able to recover the money from the sender.

    The OP might well have a contract with Fedex.
    When they collected the package (or when it was delivered), they may well have had to sign for it, and if this was the case, I wouldn't be at all surprised if there was something mentioned in the small print along the lines of "By accepting this package, I agree to pay fedex any import fees owing and a fee for their handling"

    Even if they don't legally owe Fedex any money, they will still owe HMCE as it is the importer who is responsible for import duty and VAT.
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