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Alfie Noakes
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,
I'm looking at picking up a couple of cars from outside of Europe (USA/Australia), and would like to know what Customs/Import charges I should expect to pay for a single car (typical value £25-40), and for a box set of 2/3 cars (typical value £50-75).

I know some cars can get through without the charge, especially if the gift box is ticked or if it's low value, but would like to know how much extra to 'factor in' to determine if a car is worth getting, rather than getting caught out at the Post Office collection counter.
Any help appreciated.
Cheers,
Richard
 

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From my experience there is no formula, Its all a bit of a lottery. As you say most times its nil other times there is a charge.
 

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QUOTE (jonnynobber @ 8 Jul 2011, 11:01) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>From my experience there is no formula, Its all a bit of a lottery. As you say most times its nil other times there is a charge.

Also depends who you buy them from
 

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QUOTE (Ed. @ 8 Jul 2011, 12:40) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Also depends who you buy them from

True, some retailers in the States absolutely refuse to put a lower value on the parcel and in those cases I've been hammered with customs charges. So you need to check with the seller first if they are willing to put a lower value on the customs declaration.
 

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Be aware as well, even if you have a friend in the states who can post them to you, you are still liable form import tax if the value is over £40 inc postage, and the government decide on the exchange rate!!!!

As said before, its a bit like Russia Roulette except the gun only has 1 empty chamber.
 

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I've bought a few cars from the USA, usually Slot.its which are excellent value when the £ is good against the $.

I tended to buy two at a time, which seemed to kept the price at a low enough level not to attract the attention of the customs man.
 

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Gregory Petrolati
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For us shippers (this is for cars sent in for proxy races too) declaring a lower value isn't really an option especially if you want to make sure the package gets to its destination. There no way to insure or track the item without declaring its value... For us in the USA it brings the overall shipping price up to over $25 USD.

I'm not willing to chance something getting lost BTDT

Greenman62
 

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Last time I ordered from the States, order value was $190, was stung with a bill for £22.34 for HM revenue and customs, and then what really cheesed me off, an extra £13.50 clearance fee for Parcel force. Regards Jason
 

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OK there is no way of knowing how the UK custom guys are going to react when they are confronted with a parcel full of slot cars. The only way they can deal with it is if theres an invoice inside then they can work out the duty and VAT. But I know some US dealers (if you order online) will invoice you back by email and then put something like "4 x toy plastic cars total value $10" on the shipping note stuck to the package, which in 9 outta 10 cases will get through OK with no extra charges. Go for it!
 

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As someone who ships to different countries from time to time, you may want to hear our side...

Here at Slot Car Corner, we ship products to international customers often. We used to cater to those who would ask that we ship at lower costs. This meant there's no tracking...
We would ask for confirmation via email that they knew the risk before we would ship. This worked ok for awhile, until someone claimed he didn't get his package. We reminded him of the deal, but instead, he threatened to take it up with PayPal. We spoke with PayPal, and PayPal said they would back the buyer because we shipped without any tracking, even though we had an email proving he knew the risk. Thus, we had no choice but to refund his money and instead of the buyer losing out (even though he knew the risk), we lost out the money AND the products we shipped.

We hate that our international customers get charged so much for shipping with tracking. But after getting burned, we just can't do it any other way. We need to protect ourselves.

As for marking the value of the products at a lower costs, we "got caught" there as well. You see, the Custom's agents have computers with internet connections as well, and they can visit the same internet store you bought from. It's very easy for them to open a package, look at the product, and look it up online. We have been warned. So please, think about what you are asking from someone when you ask that they place a lower value on your package. He's the one who's going to be "reprimanded", not you.

So if a dealer from another country won't drop the value or ship without tracking, I hope you can understand why.

As for paying the customs charges, you really should be blaming your postal service, not those shipping products to you...
 

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I think you'll find very few retailers in the US willing to reduce to value of the goods or send as a gift on the customs label. In fact most of them openly advertise that they will do nothing of the sort......
 

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Paying the tax is no loss to the buyer, because if you buy from your own country the retailer charges you the same tax anyway, eg VAT, GST etc depending where you are. However you do get slugged around 3.5% customs which is relatively small cost. So to me there is no real difference.

Currency fluctuations is the only biggie.

Rick
 

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Alfie Noakes
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks all for the great replies.
It's especially good to hear experience from both sides (of the pond and the shop counter).

Just to confirm, I have no problem with paying the charges, I'm just looking for some rough idea of how much it might be, based on your experiences.
Cheers,
Richard

(ps: Greenman, what's BTDT?)
 

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Ewan McKen
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QUOTE (richardtheforth @ 10 Jul 2011, 11:56) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>BTDT?)

Been There Done That (got the Tee-Shirt)

Regards,
Ewan
 

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There are a lot of guesses here, and not many answers anywhere near the truth!

Goods imported to the UK from outside the EU are subject to Import VAT.
Import VAT rate is 20%, which is the same VAT rate that applies to similar goods that are sold in the UK.

Import VAT is applied to the total value of the goods. This should be the amount on the Customs Declaration, which includes the price paid for the goods, the cost of transport, postage and packing, insurance and any excise duty (for alcohol, cigarettes, etc.) that may be payable. Please note, excise duty and import VAT are two different things. Slot cars do not qualify for excise duty, but they do qualify for Import VAT.

You only have to pay Import VAT above a certain value (£18). This value is different if you're importing a gift (£40).
 

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No1 super guy
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As pressbutton says.
The £18 limit includes any postage you pay, so a £17.99 car might seem a steal until postage is added on. That's if it gets noticed coming into the U.K.
Might be worth checking how the supplier ships, I've yet to be charged by Royal Mail, but couriers like DHL will charge you the V.A.T. and 2% or £10 (whichever is the greater) for use of their deferment account to clear goods through customs. This will most likely turn a few days later in the form of an invoice demanding payment.

I think I remember reading somewhere that HMRC's personal import limit for which you'll have to pay V.A.T. on is going down to £14 in November.

Excise duty has a limit of £135, over that and you'll also pay duty regardless of what the goods are.
 

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To add to the confusion I bought slot car goods valued at about US$60 and though this was correctly marked on the customs declaration, and no customs duty was imposed, I was charged a £25.00 'handling fee' by HMRC - so it can be quite random, and this wiped out any benefit of ordering from the US. I now just get things sent to relatives and picked up whenever someone from my family is in the States.
 
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