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FedEx invoiced me for £100 "duty/tax" charge, on top of the cost of shipment

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I don’t know where to post this. FedEx has sent me an invoice for £98.62, for a shipment that was made early September from Thailand to UK. There is a tailor in Bangkok that I sometimes buy shirts from. The shipment contained two shirts and weighed a total of 450grams (1 lb). The money they want is not the cost of the shipment (that was paid in advance by the person in Bangkok), rather it’s an unbelievable surcharge that they want me to pay. The invoice from FedEx breaks down the chargesas follows: FedEx Pak Duty £30.74, VAT £57.38, Advancement fee £10.50.

The tailor had already declared the value of the pack to be about £10 and stated that the shirts were “used garments with no commercial value”. FedEx have included a copy of that declaration with the invoice.

A bit of background on the use of FedEx is that I had used their service for shipping an identical pack on 20-Aug. I lost that pack (left in on the tube on the way home from work) and had to contact the tailor and buy the shirts again. The tailor shipped this second pack through FedEx as well, on 3-Sep.

FedEx didn’t invoice me for the first shipment, but they have invoiced me for the second shipment. Their invoice date was 10-Sep. I ignored it. Today I got a reminder letter that unless the £98.62 is paid in 7 days they’ll go through with legal proceedings. I haven’t contacted FedEx.

My thinking is that they (FedEx) automatically think you’re a business if you use their service more than once in a space of a couple of weeks, and want to shaft you. Please if you have ideas how to tackle this let me know.

Thanks
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  • Jonboy_1984
    Jonboy_1984 Posts: 1,228 Forumite
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    If you import goods from outside the EU you are liable to pay Duty and VAT as a personal buyer or business. The value of duty and VAT to pay is ascertained by HMRC, not FedEx and HMRC will adjust the value of the goods if they believe the sender has falsified the value to avoid duty.

    FedEx are just the middleman in this and all carriers (I work with around 8 on a regular basis in my employment) I have come across insist on payment sharpish and refund if a dispute is upheld.

    Did the sender insure the goods/claim for original goods at a higher value than declared on the invoice?
  • dzug1
    dzug1 Posts: 13,535 Forumite
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    The declaration made by the sender was obviously false so HMRC have made their own assessment and charged accordingly.
  • Thrugelmir
    Thrugelmir Posts: 89,546 Forumite
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    edited 2 November 2013 at 11:30PM
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    The tailor had already declared the value of the pack to be about £10 and stated that the shirts were “used garments with no commercial value”. FedEx have included a copy of that declaration with the invoice.

    When the parcel was examined obviously not found to be the case.

    Fedex merely collect. Customs doing the clearance and levy the charges.

    Import duty and VAT are also charged on the postage costs.

    Find yourself a UK tailor.
  • dunstonh
    dunstonh Posts: 116,888 Forumite
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    As others have stated above, the issue is not with Fedex. It is compliance with HMRC tax guidelines. If you disagree with the tax taken then you should take it up with HMRC. However, as it appears that tax evasion has been attempted here, you are probably better off keeping your head down.
    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). The comments I make are just my opinion and are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice and you should not treat them as such. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from an Independent Financial Adviser local to you.
  • Thanks for the replies. The sender did not insure the item and as far as I know hasn't claimed for a higher value.

    Agreed with FedEx being the middleman. I've no choice other than to pay it. It does appear that this tax is invoiced selectively, because the invoice states it was for the 10-Sep shipment, and nothing has been asked of me for the first shipment (20-Aug). And whatever value HMRC has placed on these two shirts must have been an enormous number for the charges to amount to £100.
  • Thrugelmir
    Thrugelmir Posts: 89,546 Forumite
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    And whatever value HMRC has placed on these two shirts must have been an enormous number for the charges to amount to £100.

    Out of curiosity what did you pay inclusive of shipping?
  • JasonLVC
    JasonLVC Posts: 16,762 Forumite
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    Thanks for the replies. The sender did not insure the item and as far as I know hasn't claimed for a higher value.

    Agreed with FedEx being the middleman. I've no choice other than to pay it. It does appear that this tax is invoiced selectively, because the invoice states it was for the 10-Sep shipment, and nothing has been asked of me for the first shipment (20-Aug). And whatever value HMRC has placed on these two shirts must have been an enormous number for the charges to amount to £100.

    The duty on cotton shirts from Thailand is 12% of the goods + postage cost, VAT is then added on top of all that at 20%.

    What you haven't mentioned in your post is how much the shirts cost you - you have said the supplier marked down as £10 but is that the proper cost?
    If that is indeed what you paid for them and you have proof (emails, bank transfer, etc) then you can take this up with HMRC and they will, when presented with evidence, amend their duty/taxes charge accordingly and then FedEx will reduce theirs to you.

    if you can't prove the true value then HMRC will stick with their estimate instead.

    As to why your other shipment was not stopped, its not an exact science, some stuff slips through, some doesn't, they can't check every single parcel entering the UK.
    Anger ruins joy, it steals the goodness of my mind. Forces me to say terrible things. Overcoming anger brings peace of mind, a mind without regret. If I overcome anger, I will be delightful and loved by everyone.
  • Jonboy_1984
    Jonboy_1984 Posts: 1,228 Forumite
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    Based on them being cotton or similar shirts it looks like a duty rate of 12% https://www.gov.uk/trade-tariff/commodities/6205200090 .

    This suggests HMRC have valued the shirts and carriage at £256.16.

    ( (30.74/12)*100 = 256.16). (256.16+£30.74 duty)*20% gives the VAT total of £57.38.

    If you have genuinely paid less than this you will need to appeal to HMRC (FedEx can tell you how) and provide proof in the form of bank statements or payment receipts.
  • The last shipment cost me £100 inclusive of the FedEx shipping (which is around £50 for a 500gram (1 lb) package from Thailand to UK). So the actual price I paid for the two shirts in that last pack was the £50 (£25 each). I have email account of this, however to show it would link it to the previous transactions with the tailor. The email correspondence is a chain.

    The whole story with this tailor in Aug-Sep was as follows: In mid-Aug he sent me a number of shirts, using a shipping company I haven’t heard before (a Thai one). One of the shirts was not tailored properly; it was too big. The tailor emailed me and said that if I agree to bear the cost of FedEx-(or DHL)-ing it to him then he would tailor two shirts for me and sent both using FedEx. So I did. I FedEx-ed the unfit shirt. This cost me around £50. A week later I received a pack containing the promised two shirts. Now through my absentmindedness, I lost the pack (left them on the train) on the way home from work. Adamant that I have to get my shirts, I bit the bullet and asked the tailor if he would give me a good deal to replace the lost items, to which he proposed £100 including the shipping. He shipped using FedEx. The initial cost of the each shirt (in original order) was higher than £25 apiece, but it amounted to £25 in the last shipping because he gave me a good deal.
  • Mallotum_X
    Mallotum_X Posts: 2,591 Forumite
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    timbo58 wrote: »
    Apologies for resurrecting an old thread somewhat but I am in a similar situation-

    I bought some motorcycle parts from Vietnam last year and have had fedex chasing an invoice as they paid import duties, although none of this was advised before/at delivery.

    Ok it's only £20.01, but only £9.26 is the tax -the rest is an admin fee that was never agreed.
    (Even though the value of the goods was genuinely only £40, so even £9.26 is OTT?)


    The supplier does give the 'normal' disclaimer on taxes in their terms however -i.e. the buyer is responsible for import duties' -nothing about fees for a courier to pay taxes up front however?

    Is it not permitted under UK contract law to levy charges without prior agreement/contract?

    Anyway I've had the invoice and reminder so am now awaiting their next move -FWIW I have told them at least twice I'm happy to pay the tax (only) if they remove the charges.

    I'm guessing they'll slap this over to a collections agency -so any point just chucking a cheque for the tax at them and stating I didn't agree to any fee?

    VAT is 20%, so they are valuing the goods at about £46. Sounds as if thats in line with what you expected.

    £10 as an admin fee is pretty much normal.
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