Duty wrongly charged on an import

Started by woodbury22uk, October 08, 2023, 12:04:42 PM

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woodbury22uk

Back in August 2023 I received a pre-ordered item from Japan from Hobby Search and for delivery by DHL Express. The Hobby Search customs documentation was correctly completed and a careful reading of the code and description would have led to the item being zero rated for duty.

However DHL Express contrived to raise a charge of £6.84 for import duty by classing it as a lawnmower (rather than a model tram), added to the correct 20% import VAT and their £11 administration charge. When I paid the total charges I indicated that I required a refund of the wrongly charged duty. DHL confirmed that the charge had been raised in error and offered a credit note. I insisted that I would require a refund of the overpayment as a credit note was only of any value if I intended to use their services again, and that was now in question as the sender offers alternative means of shipment.

So far there have been 25 emails (some of them copies of internal DHL messages) culminating in a confirmation to me that they will now refund the outstanding amount to my credit card, though how they have arrived at an £11 refund is a mystery. 10 working days have elapsed since the promise of a refund within 10 days and still no sign of the refund.

I am somewhat alarmed that I have now received an email from their UK invoice queries section which seems to be restarting the whole process of enquiring into my original refund request.

I know it is only a few pounds and the amount does not bother me over much, but the waste of DHL resources almost beggars belief.

My patience is now worn out so tomorrow will see me in a much less friendly mode with a request for a substantial ex-gratia payment for all my wasted time and the fact that they have my money when it should be in my bank.
Mike

Membre AFAN 0196

Timbo66

Tell them you`ll go to the Small Claims Court unless they pay up. You`ll charge them for your time and inconvenience. There are numerous precedents for doing this.

Newportnobby

Quote from: woodbury22uk on October 08, 2023, 12:04:42 PMHowever DHL Express contrived to raise a charge of £6.84 for import duty by classing it as a lawnmower (rather than a model tram)

Me - I'm just a lawnmower. You can tell by the way I walk
(Genesis - I know what I like (in your wardrobe))

AdeV

Something like this is happening to me right now - albeit it's the post office... Got a package coming from Germany, and by my calculations they've charged 2x the amount of VAT they should have done.

I did a bit of googling, and there's a HMRC form you can fill out to reclaim the money from the tax man.  Might be worth a try? (that's the route I'll be taking). Of course... nothing to stop you double-dipping with DHL too  :angel:
Cheers!
Ade

Gordon

Quote from: AdeV on October 08, 2023, 12:31:38 PMSomething like this is happening to me right now - albeit it's the post office... Got a package coming from Germany, and by my calculations they've charged 2x the amount of VAT they should have done.


Post Brexit some Euro zone retailers were not taking off local VAT. Might be worth checking because if it is the retailers policy then you might not have grounds for a claim.
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For reference (based on bitter experience living in 3 different countries):

DHL: Kafka-esque, avoid like the plague
UPS: Kafka-esque, avoid like the plague
Fedex: slightly less Kafka-esque
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AdeV

Quote from: Gordon on October 09, 2023, 12:51:08 AM
Quote from: AdeV on October 08, 2023, 12:31:38 PMSomething like this is happening to me right now - albeit it's the post office... Got a package coming from Germany, and by my calculations they've charged 2x the amount of VAT they should have done.


Post Brexit some Euro zone retailers were not taking off local VAT. Might be worth checking because if it is the retailers policy then you might not have grounds for a claim.

Even if that's the case, the VAT charged by the post office is at least 1.5x what it should be...

Basically, I've paid £92ish, which should be £18ish VAT + the £8 handling fee.
They've actually charged me around £35 + £8. If the £92 was then + German VAT, that would bring the totals to around £20/£28. Assuming my 2am maths is good...
Cheers!
Ade

woodbury22uk

Coffee made. Dudgeon meter set to 11+. Call to DHL at 10am. "Sorry we cannot talk to you, we are in a team meeting. Please call back later". Probably means this call centre is in the GMT+1 time zone. After all, with a weekend build up of queries, what better time for a team meeting, than first thing on Monday morning.

I wish I was making it up, but I do not see a happy ending here.
Mike

Membre AFAN 0196

Railwaygun

Quote from: Gordon on October 09, 2023, 12:51:08 AM
Quote from: AdeV on October 08, 2023, 12:31:38 PMSomething like this is happening to me right now - albeit it's the post office... Got a package coming from Germany, and by my calculations they've charged 2x the amount of VAT they should have done.


Post Brexit some Euro zone retailers were not taking off local VAT. Might be worth checking because if it is the retailers policy then you might not have grounds for a claim.

DM- Toys do not remove German VAT for UK shipping

https://www.modellbahn-kramm.com/customer-area?lang=en do remove VAT
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AdeV

Quote from: AdeV on October 08, 2023, 12:31:38 PMSomething like this is happening to me right now - albeit it's the post office... Got a package coming from Germany, and by my calculations they've charged 2x the amount of VAT they should have done.

So it turns out the error is by the sender - for some reason, they've put the full price of the products contained in the package - but I got it on a BOGOF deal.  Not sure if there's anything I can do about that, unfortunately.
Cheers!
Ade

dannyboy

#10
Quote from: AdeV on October 10, 2023, 09:28:00 AMSo it turns out the error is by the sender - for some reason, they've put the full price of the products contained in the package - but I got it on a BOGOF deal.  Not sure if there's anything I can do about that, unfortunately.

I have had a similar problem with the Irish Customs people, when I showed them what I had actually paid, their reply was on the lines of 'you pay duty on the total value of the contents of the parcel, plus the postage, so tough' ! What you actually paid for the contents is irrelevant.
David.
I used to be indecisive - now I'm not - I don't think.
If a friend seems distant, catch up with them.

dannyboy

A further thought - I believe it is a legal requirement for the true value of the contents to be shown on Customs declarations, so even if you you got the contents as a free gift, you might have to pay duty/VAT.
David.
I used to be indecisive - now I'm not - I don't think.
If a friend seems distant, catch up with them.

woodbury22uk

After a strong word with a DHL agent yesterday a credit has arrived in my account this morning including a nominal ex-gratia payment.
Mike

Membre AFAN 0196

njee20

Quote from: dannyboy on October 10, 2023, 10:48:56 AMA further thought - I believe it is a legal requirement for the true value of the contents to be shown on Customs declarations, so even if you you got the contents as a free gift, you might have to pay duty/VAT.

THere were a number of stories about exactly this in the press immediately after Brexit - family sending presents and the recipients being hit with the fees based on the value of the item, not the price paid (ie £0 to them).

AdeV

Quote from: woodbury22uk on October 10, 2023, 11:03:04 AMAfter a strong word with a DHL agent yesterday a credit has arrived in my account this morning including a nominal ex-gratia payment.

Persistence pays off! Nicely done...

Quote from: dannyboy on October 10, 2023, 10:48:56 AMA further thought - I believe it is a legal requirement for the true value of the contents to be shown on Customs declarations, so even if you you got the contents as a free gift, you might have to pay duty/VAT.

Sounds about right, very Borisy :(

Ah well - reminder to self - only buy stuff from unscrupulous Chinese companies who lie about the value on the customs label...  :-X
Cheers!
Ade

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