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Money Moral Dilemma: Should I pay to receive my own wedding gift?

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Money Moral Dilemma: Should I pay to receive my own wedding gift?

edited 25 February at 4:45PM in Weddings & Anniversaries
25 replies 25.3K views
MSE_AmaliaMSE_Amalia MSE Staff
3 posts
First Post
MSE Staff
edited 25 February at 4:45PM in Weddings & Anniversaries
This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...
I've been sent a wedding gift from a relative overseas, but there's a £55 charge I need to pay before customs will release it. I'm on maternity leave and an extremely tight budget, and the charge will put me into debt. But if I don't pay and get the gift, I know my relative will be offended

Unfortunately the MSE team can't always answer money moral dilemma questions as contributions are often emailed in or suggested in person. They are intended to be enjoyed as a point of debate and discussed at face value.
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  • REJPREJP Forumite
    156 posts
    Third Anniversary 100 Posts Name Dropper
    If the Customs charge is £55 , the item must be worth something.
    Are you saying your family and friends can't help you?  Husband?  You did say wedding gift so he shares it doesn't he?  If you have a credit card, Customs will take that, and you then have time to pay off £55.  I would not be too proud to ask family for help.
  • dysuckerdysucker Forumite
    28 posts
    Seventh Anniversary 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    Tell your relative that the gift they've sent has incurred a customs charge that you cannot afford to pay, and ask if they can contribute towards it. 
  • SWGrannySWGranny Forumite
    3 posts
    First Post
    MoneySaving Newbie
    I agree that the relative who sent the gift should be told.  I am sure they would not have known that sending the gift would incur such a charge, and will be dismayed to think that you would be expected to pay £55.
  • DoxDox Forumite
    2.2K posts
    1,000 Posts Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    jools6688 said:
    For future reference, if the customs declaration states that the item is an unsolicited gift then it is unlikely to incur a customs charge, I work for Royal Mail and it would surprise you how many people don't fill in the declarations correctly.
    ....and you'd be surprised how often those suspicious folk at HMRC don't believe it was a gift (probably because it often isn't) and still charge....

  • w0zw0z Forumite
    30 posts
    Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    Are you sure wasn't sent from a bank manager in Nigeria? (other countries are available).
  • 4caster4caster Forumite
    3 posts
    First Post
    MoneySaving Newbie
    The customs declaration should include a full description of contents and the value and weight of each item. The parcel should bear the name and address of the sender. If it's not worth £55 to you, then reject it.
  • 4caster4caster Forumite
    3 posts
    First Post
    MoneySaving Newbie
    It is possible that the sender did not fully describe the contents. For example I once bought some gold coins from an eBay seller in Australia, and to my dismay I had to pay 20% VAT because the sender described them as "numismatic supplies", rather than "gold coins", which are exempt. HM Customs refunded the charge when I sent the receipted invoice.
  • DaveMac2020DaveMac2020 Forumite
    1 posts
    First Post
    MoneySaving Newbie
    I've just had the same problem this week with a birthday present coming from New Zealand. The charge for Clearance etc is about £42. Usually my relative buys the items and posts them and there has never been a charge but this time she asked the shop to post them. I don't know the value of the present because I have not collected it yet. I have informed my relative of the charge so in future they can post it themselves and I can avoid the charges. 
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