First and only
I have found out from the horse’s mouth (HM Customs) what this entails, here is my bit:
Goods to the value of up to £125.00 attract no import duty, but are still subject to V.A.T. if the item(s) fall in to the V.A.T. category. You will then be required to pay V.A.T. on the total cost of the invoice (goods plus P&P).
Example: Goods to the value of £100 plus postage of £30. This gives a total invoice cost of £130. Add V.A.T. @17.5% of £22.75. You have an duty inclusive invoice total of £152.75.
Goods of a value of £125 or higher attract the import duty of 3% plus your V.A.T. Please note the 3% rate is chargeable only to the goods and not the P&P.
Example: Goods to the value of £200 plus postage of £30. This gives an invoice total of £230. Add V.A.T. @ 17.5% of £40.25, and then add the import duty of 3% on £200, that is £6. Then add £230, £40.25 & £6, and you have a duty inclusive invoice of £276.25.
Once the duty has been worked out, you then have to pay an ‘administration’ charge to the courier service you have used, all of the companies pay your duty for you and then charge between £10 & £30 for the service. You do not have the option to opt out of this and pay Customs yourself; you tend to be billed before the goods are released to you.
After all this, if ordering a RIF or IF, you then have to convince Customs you have Legal excuse to purchase and import said gun. If Customs is not happy with your excuse they will confiscate and destroy you gun. Do not hope that your parcel will slip through the net, it will not. Customs are very aware that Hong Kong and China import a lot of these things over for us Airsoft players and check all the parcels. If you buy from the US they have different criteria, but after 9/11, it won’t sneak through.
Recently, my afg got taken by customs and charged vat. Nothing wron with that, only a fiver.
What was outrageous was the £14 ransom charge, sorry 'clearance fee' they tried to charge me, which essentially doubled the price of the grip.
After digging around a bit, it turns out that they are not legally allowed to hold the parcel if you elect not to pay this charge.
So I phoned up my local depo, and stated that while I would pay the vat, I would not be paying the clearance fee. I was then told that it is the standard fee that they charge when they take on the vat charge.
In response I simply and calmly said that am not legally obliged to pay the fee under the postal services act (parts 83,84) and that they cant hold my parcel.
After sitting in silence for a fee seconds, that woman on the other end asked if I would hold on for a minute, and left (I presumed to talk to her manager)
When she came back, she simply asked if I would like the pay the £5 now, and arrange a delivery for tomorrow, or to collect it from the depo.
So, if the robbing b*stards try to pin a whopping big ransom charge on you, simply state you are not legally required to pay the extra fee in a polite manner with all the correct legal mumbo jumbo. What they are doing is illegal and they are getting away with it, unless you confront them.
I think the second one is particularly interesting and certainly worth remembering as no matter what you buy parcelforce can and will try this. It is certainly something that needs to be become more well known.
Like I say, this is not my work, I just stumbled across it on other forums. All credit goes to whomever the other 2 posters feel like (most likely themselves )
also, dev, Potential sticky this?