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  • FIRST POST
    telbel
    FedEx are bullies - do I have rights against "custom charges" after the fact?
    • #1
    • 17th Mar 11, 4:20 PM
    FedEx are bullies - do I have rights against "custom charges" after the fact? 17th Mar 11 at 4:20 PM
    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!
Page 1
    • Hintza
    • By Hintza 17th Mar 11, 4:52 PM
    • 19,013 Posts
    • 13,960 Thanks
    Hintza
    • #2
    • 17th Mar 11, 4:52 PM
    • #2
    • 17th Mar 11, 4:52 PM
    Most of that cost will have been clearing customs. Pay Fedex and then sue your mother it was really her fault I'm afraid.
  • toffe
    • #3
    • 17th Mar 11, 5:31 PM
    • #3
    • 17th Mar 11, 5:31 PM
    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"........
  • Flyboy152
    • #4
    • 18th Mar 11, 1:10 AM
    • #4
    • 18th Mar 11, 1:10 AM
    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!
    Originally posted by telbel
    I'm not surprised, that site was closed years ago. You might be better off going to HMRC.
  • Flyboy152
    • #5
    • 18th Mar 11, 1:11 AM
    • #5
    • 18th Mar 11, 1:11 AM
    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.
    Originally posted by toffe
    It's everything to do with Federal Express, the credit is theirs, it is they who are pursuing the debt, not HMRC.
  • Flyboy152
    • #6
    • 18th Mar 11, 1:15 AM
    • #6
    • 18th Mar 11, 1:15 AM
    In the absence of a credit agreement with them, I doubt they will get very far.
  • fluffnutter
    • #7
    • 18th Mar 11, 1:55 PM
    • #7
    • 18th Mar 11, 1:55 PM
    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.
    • vuvuzela
    • By vuvuzela 18th Mar 11, 2:17 PM
    • 3,236 Posts
    • 3,753 Thanks
    vuvuzela
    • #8
    • 18th Mar 11, 2:17 PM
    • #8
    • 18th Mar 11, 2:17 PM
    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!
    Originally posted by telbel
    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 ?
    • Gavin83
    • By Gavin83 18th Mar 11, 3:59 PM
    • 5,908 Posts
    • 10,104 Thanks
    Gavin83
    • #9
    • 18th Mar 11, 3:59 PM
    • #9
    • 18th Mar 11, 3:59 PM
    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?
    • TimothyEBaldwin
    • By TimothyEBaldwin 8th Apr 11, 6:02 PM
    • 441 Posts
    • 127 Thanks
    TimothyEBaldwin
    Part of the conditions of them posting the item will be for any customs fees to be settled and for you to repay afterwards.
    Originally posted by Gavin83
    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.
    • George Michael
    • By George Michael 8th Apr 11, 6:19 PM
    • 3,375 Posts
    • 4,561 Thanks
    George Michael
    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.
    Last edited by George Michael; 08-04-2011 at 8:23 PM.
  • Freddie_Snowbits
    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.
    Originally posted by TimothyEBaldwin
    Such Sound advise, but I am afraid it is ABSOLUTE CODSWALLOP.
  • omen666
    If she had sent it by parcelforce you wouldnt have got your stuff until you stumped up the money. Get it paid and learn a lesson
  • Oopsadaisy
    Some people are so ungrateful.
    • vikingaero
    • By vikingaero 9th Apr 11, 9:54 AM
    • 10,440 Posts
    • 13,126 Thanks
    vikingaero
    This happens all the time with parcel deliveries whether RM, Parcelforce or any other private carrier using pre-pay or post-pay for the customs charges.
    I don't know why they bother. If I were in charge I'd send them one call or email to let them decide and if they refuse kick the item back to the sender. It's not the carriers fault that there are customs charges, it's the stupid sender.
    The man without a signature.
  • lew99
    There seems to be a misunderstanding on what the charges are and who is imposing them. If it stemmed from a Fedex additional charge, you may have some gripe.

    However as these are customs charges (eg import duty and / or VAT) being levied by HMRC, you do unfortunately have to pay them. It doesn't make any difference whether a parcel is sent by Fedex, another courier, or by standard mail. Customs have the right to inspect parcels coming into the country, and apply the appropriate import charges (duties and VAT). All that has happened is that to help you Fedex have first settled this with HMRC, to get the parcel through customs so it could be delivered to you, and are now asking for the costs from you.

    You are not alone in this, seems quite a few people get caught out, but whether ordering something from a foreign website or receiving a gift from family, there are customs rules in place as to what charges may be applied at the import end. Not quite your case, but people often like the look of the price of a product from a foreign country, forgetting that the UK comparison price includes VAT etc while the foreign one doesn't.

    In this case it is unfair to criticise Fedex, as they are only operating correctly.

    If you do not agree with the customs charge, you actually need to take the matter up directly with HMRC, and argue to them that they wrongly imposed a charge.

    While it may be little consolation to you, hope at least that your situation can highlight to a few more people that they should be aware of customs charges (duties and VAT) that may be due on imported parcels.
    • giraffe69
    • By giraffe69 9th Apr 11, 1:00 PM
    • 2,655 Posts
    • 2,298 Thanks
    giraffe69
    hope at least that your situation can highlight to a few more people that they should be aware of customs charges (duties and VAT) that may be due on imported parcels.
    Hopefully some of those who gloat how cheaply they got it whilst you (the mug) paid UK prices.
    • deanos
    • By deanos 9th Apr 11, 3:04 PM
    • 10,905 Posts
    • 5,588 Thanks
    deanos
    Your mum put the value on the parcel of $150 so customs is payable as its over the 36 limit for gifts
  • bjohnson
    This is the problem with using carriers such as Fedex. In my experience if you use normal mail then they often cannot be bothered to collect the import duty. Most of the time they are just as quick as other carriers, especially from the US.
    • Mithos
    • By Mithos 14th Mar 12, 6:27 PM
    • 132 Posts
    • 88 Thanks
    Mithos
    I know this thread is old, but they still do it. Happened to a friend recently and myself some years ago. Never use this company again.

    It's fine paying custom charges because that's the law. The problem is FedEx deliver the item for you, then hound you AFTER for the custom charge and their own fee on top.

    The others are far better, including Royal Mail. They advise you a parcel is waiting and if you want it you have to pay up. There you have a choice, the fee's are very clearly outlined from the start.

    Suppose FedEx increased their "handling" fee up to 50 a time, there would be total outrage as you feel compelled to pay, as they chase you and threaten legal action if you don't.

    It's all about principle, not the actual cost of the "fee". To me it's totally unethical.

    This from the their own website TaC:

    Duties and Taxes
    Duties and Taxes are not included in the export rates and will be billed to the recipient unless otherwise requested by the shipper. An advancement fee may be charged.


    If the recipient refuses to pay, the sender shall be ultimately responsible for the payment of all Duties and Taxes



    The use of legal threats is wrong wrong wrong, as they will never actually carry through, instead billing the original sender.


    This website is good as well:

    http://www.craig-west.co.uk/2008/11/how_to_beat_unlawful_admin_charges_by_fedex/
    Last edited by Mithos; 14-03-2012 at 6:38 PM.
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