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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After recently being mugged by Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs, I was directed to this useful page:

Foreign currency exchange rates published by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) for both VAT and customs purposes

This is the official HMRC exchange rate which runs each calendar month. It doesn't matter if you paid under £18 for your order or if the value is under £18 by the exchange rates published in the Financial Times or by the bank of England. It has to be under £18 according to this HMRC official rate in the month your package goes through UK customs.

For May 2011, the rate is: $1.6407 = £1

So £18 = £29.50

Happy shopping
 

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I am absolutely fuming on this one this evening.

I bought a pair of cars from the bay on the 18th April. They cost me $23.77 or £14.72 according to the site. The postage was $9.

A month of waiting (and today I mailed the guy asking where the cars were) later, I come home to find I owe a Customs Charge of £13.97 which can only relate to these cars as I'm not waiting on anything else.

From the below I can only assume that £8 of that is Royal Mail which leaves £5.97 Customs fee. HOWEVER, acocrding to Andy's link the conversion rate of US Dollars to Sterling for April was 1.6246 which means that my $23.77 works out at £14.63.

So I can only presume that the seller must have put a higher value on the cars when he posted them than what I paid.

Well I am going to pay it tomorrow, get a receipt and then I am going to complain and keep on complaining until I'm jailed, fined or given my £13.97 back so I can buy another couple of cars.
 

· David K Phillipson
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Is this another random lucky /unlucky thing with customs
I have twice bought cars from overseas without getting any additional customs charges

2 cars from canada ebay total costs £38.40 + £24 postage
2 cars from usa ebay total costs £48 + £12 postage

are these parcels just randomly checked or have i missed a process somewhere
 

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Don't know is the honest answer! I didn't even know about these charges until a few months ago and I've been darn careful to keep my US purchases below the £18 limit since. I can only presume that your US seller didn't put the value on the package which is a risky business in case it does get lost.

I'd go with lucky or you missed a meeting!*


*Little Bill Hicks reference there for you fellow fans!
 

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well I bought some slot stuff from outside europe ie usa. the package declaration was 1.00 dollars the post people read it as 100. took a mountain of paperwork and 2 months to get my money back. however, principle here is I can get the vat back but the post office made a mistake.
 

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Thanks Slot32, that proves that these mistakes can happen. I wonder how much they thought these cars were worth to charge me £6? We shall see in a few hours time when I get to the Post Office!
 

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This is one reason I refuse to buy from outside of the UK, Royal Mail - you mean Highway Robbers
 

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I buy quite a bit from overseas, and i think customs have a real thing about the US, because i have bought from china and japan and australia and canada without any duty ever, but have been stung several times from the US ?
 

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Alot of people add the postage cost in to the customs value. Even worse, alot of postal employees try to tell you this is the correct way to do it.

From HMRC:

"You may have to pay Customs Duty on goods with a value that exceeds £120. You will have to pay Import VAT on goods with a value that exceeds £18. Note that on all goods from outside the EU, Customs Duty is waived if the amount of duty calculated is £7 or under.

The VAT limit of £18 is in regard to the intrinsic value of the item and therefore does not include any associated freight or insurance costs."
 

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That is intriguing Diesel. The question is then: if I paid less than £15 for the cars and the seller wrote a higher value on the shipping, which is the price that should be used when calculating if I pay Import VAT or not? Because in my mind, the cars are worth what I paid for them. That is their value as it is the amount of money I handed over. So I should not have to pay the charges.

I'm definitely claiming.

Wraith: If I could buy all of my cars over here I probably would but HO has such a tiny footprint over here in terms of distribution that we don't really have a choice if we want the full range of what is out there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
It's more likely down to customs reading the figure incorrectly than the seller writing the wrong amount. You should be fine if you send all the invoices etc.

With my limited maths, if you got charged £13.97 then £8 is handling charge and 5.95 is VAT (at 20%) so 5.97 x 5 = £35.64 and that is what HMRC valued your parcel at, or $57.90 - which really doesn't make any sense, unless the vendors handwriting is completely illegible


Maybe the solution is to always buy more than £18-worth and expect to pay HMRC every time - so when they miss a parcel it feels like a bonus
 

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I asked the seller and for reasons known only to himself he told me that the cars were worth far more than I paid for them (go figure!) and that he therefore put an arbitrary amount in the region of $30 - $50. He can't remember exactly how much!

He has offered to help me with the fees so I may as well ask him for a contribution to the post office fees as I won't see that again.
 
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