Buying from aliexpress, Seller from China requesting a tax number or ID number for FedEx

This is the the first time I've used aliexpress, so I'm a complete novice when it comes to importing goods from overseas.

I did all my due diligence before buying, first checking the sellers feedback, 100% satisfied, over 1000 followers and half a dozen reviews of the acutal product I was buying, all positive. I've even been in contact with the seller and they've sent pictures of item I bought, before it's been packed, all good but has it been too positive?

Today I received a message from the seller asking for a tax number or ID number, this is at the request of the courier FedEx. As I understand the situation, from what I've read online, I will be responsible for pay import duty and tax on the item, and this is usually collected by the courier before delivery, the amount due will be calculated from the invoice with the parcel. 

Obviously my worry is, what happens if I can't supply either number? Is this where I discover it's all been smoke and mirrors? 

Has anyone had any experience with this type of purchase or knowledgeable about the inner working of importing electronics from China via aliexpress?

I did cover my purchase by using PayPal to buy the item. 

Thanks for reading, any answer is very much appreciated.
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Comments

  • My understanding on duty and tax after brexit was that couriers were contacting the recipients to request payment prior to dedlivery. I would ask the seller if that is an option.
  • GabbaGabbaHey
    GabbaGabbaHey Posts: 1,077 Forumite
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    My experience with buying through AliExpress is that they normally add on UK VAT at the point of payment, so you shouldn't need to pay anything further on arrival in the UK.
    Philip
  • Spoonie_Turtle
    Spoonie_Turtle Posts: 8,380 Forumite
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    My experience with buying through AliExpress is that they normally add on UK VAT at the point of payment, so you shouldn't need to pay anything further on arrival in the UK.
    Yes, up to £135.  Above that and there are customs duties as well and they can't collect the VAT online.
  • martindow
    martindow Posts: 10,205 Forumite
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    edited 4 March 2023 at 1:30PM
    For B2B sales it is normal to be asked for a VAT number or if you are not registered an EORI number as it is a standard field when booking with carriers like Fedex.  I believe that you can get an EORI immediately on request - try applying here
    There is no charge and it could smooth customs clearance when it arrive in the UK


  • soolin
    soolin Posts: 72,134 Ambassador
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    As well as the excellent advice already received I would express caution if you are buying to resell. A lot of Far East suppliers sell look a like electronics that might not be suitable for the UK market , photos online often don’t match what has been sent. As a business seller you are responsible for ensuring that everything is legal to sell in the UK both from a branded view but also safety. You would also need to ensure that your business insurance is good enough to cover any issues arising from unsafe goods, for example overheating due to dodgy wiring to fit Uk looking plugs etc.

    I do use some Far East sellers but only for smaller Nick Nack type items and steer clear of anything electrical or aimed at children, so make sure you know what you are looking at when you inspect your items. 
    I’m a Forum Ambassador and I support the Forum Team on the eBay, Auctions, Car Boot & Jumble Sales, Boost Your Income, Praise, Vents & Warnings, Overseas Holidays & Travel Planning , UK Holidays, Days Out & Entertainments boards. If you need any help on these boards, do let me know.. Please note that Ambassadors are not moderators. Any posts you spot in breach of the Forum Rules should be reported via the report button, or by emailing forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com.All views are my own and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
  • Jam1e_l0
    Jam1e_l0 Posts: 11 Forumite
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    Thanks to everyone for their responses.

    Sorry I wasn't clear in my original post, I'm not a business seller, I've just bought an android headunit for my car, there weren't any like it advestised for sale in the UK, the only ones I found were on Aliexpress.

    I have had a further update from the seller saying because I can't provide a tax/ID number, I can't have the item shipped with FedEx, instead they want to send it by Yun Express, which will take a further 3 days to process because the package is already with FedEx.

    I've never heard of Yun Express but a quick search says their a big courier in China, something seems odd though, they've said because its being sent by Yun, I won't need to pay tax on it. Surely this can't be true, with this info and the delays I'm starting to get a bad feeling. 
  • forgotmyname
    forgotmyname Posts: 32,545 Forumite
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    Don't forget that if it fails within 6 months you will need to send it back at your own cost. If it fails after 6 months you may
    have an expensive paperweight.

    Censorship Reigns Supreme in Troll City...

  • tightauldgit
    tightauldgit Posts: 2,628 Forumite
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    Jam1e_l0 said:
    Thanks to everyone for their responses.

    Sorry I wasn't clear in my original post, I'm not a business seller, I've just bought an android headunit for my car, there weren't any like it advestised for sale in the UK, the only ones I found were on Aliexpress.

    I have had a further update from the seller saying because I can't provide a tax/ID number, I can't have the item shipped with FedEx, instead they want to send it by Yun Express, which will take a further 3 days to process because the package is already with FedEx.

    I've never heard of Yun Express but a quick search says their a big courier in China, something seems odd though, they've said because its being sent by Yun, I won't need to pay tax on it. Surely this can't be true, with this info and the delays I'm starting to get a bad feeling. 
    I assume what they mean is Yun don't ask for prepayment of taxes and don't collect the taxes on behalf of the government so you'll have to just work it out yourself with presumably royal mail when they deliver it to your door? Been a long time since I've imported anything and certainly havent done so since brexit. 
  • Jam1e_l0
    Jam1e_l0 Posts: 11 Forumite
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    I assume what they mean is Yun don't ask for prepayment of taxes and don't collect the taxes on behalf of the government so you'll have to just work it out yourself with presumably royal mail when they deliver it to your door? Been a long time since I've imported anything and certainly havent done so since brexit. 
    Thanks for replying, yes that would make sense. I imagine that they'll sub contract to another courier when they get to the limits of their network, maybe to FedEx even.
  • Jam1e_l0
    Jam1e_l0 Posts: 11 Forumite
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    edited 5 March 2023 at 7:47PM
    Don't forget that if it fails within 6 months you will need to send it back at your own cost. If it fails after 6 months you may
    have an expensive paperweight.

    There's always a risk with any electronics, Apple had phones that wouldn't work if held wrong, then Samsung had their exploding batteries, even the biggest can have issues. But as you pointed out they don't include 10,000 mile round trip to China for repairs.

    Also, I think the kids are saying "Bricked" now-a-days, as in, it's as useful as a brick. 
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