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Brokerage fees - who should pay?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Sixgunn, May 5, 2015.


  1. Sixgunn

    Sixgunn

    Jun 6, 2012
    Colorado Springs
    I don't wait 30 minutes after eating, to go swimming.
    Scratching my head on this one.

    I recently bought a bass from a fellow TB'r in Europe. I asked for the bottom dollar price including shipping to my address. He told me a price. We agreed on it and I promptly sent it via Paypal. The bass arrived yesterday via UPS with a COD of $201.00 for a "brokerage fee"! I had no idea that there would be any such thing! I did pay it because they wouldn't give it to me otherwise.

    I contacted the seller and he said he knew nothing about it either saying that if there were import taxes or anything like that, it was my responsibility. After going back and forth, I explained that it wasn't a tax or tariff but a fee that HIS shipper charged and there was no way for me to know that there even was a fee. If I had known the bass would have cost me $200.00 more, I wouldn't have bought it! I asked if he would compromise and split it with me. He insisted that it wasn't his problem, said no and stopped responding to my (very polite) messages.

    I did buy a bass from Italy a year ago or so and incurred no such fee so I had no idea that there would be one on this purchase.

    I feel that as the seller, it was his responsibility to know ALL of the shipping charges. Even so, I offered a compromise but he totally stonewalled me.

    What do you guys think?
     
  2. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    You are responsible for any brokerage/duties/taxes, etc. beyond the shipping charge itself, you are the importer.
     
  3. Sixgunn

    Sixgunn

    Jun 6, 2012
    Colorado Springs
    I don't wait 30 minutes after eating, to go swimming.
    I get what you're saying but how could I have known the charge(s) when I didn't know his shipper or their fees? That's why I asked him for the total, bottom line cost, with everything.
     
  4. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    Appleton
    If you wouldn't have paid $200 more for the bass, why did you accept it? You could have refused it, the bass would have been returned to the shipper, and you could have filed a dispute with PayPal if the seller refused to refund you.
     
  5. tedious1

    tedious1

    Feb 14, 2014
    Considering you didn't anticipate brokerage fees, why should the seller? And the saying is caveat emptor, not curam vendit.
     
  6. Sixgunn

    Sixgunn

    Jun 6, 2012
    Colorado Springs
    I don't wait 30 minutes after eating, to go swimming.
    That's a multi-faceted question. First, it was here and I was GASing pretty hard :) Second, I figured I could work something out with the seller and third, hassling with sending it back was not something I was not excited about.

    Obviously, at the end of the day, I will/did bite the bullet but that's not the issue. I'm trying to figure out if the seller has some responsibility (compromise?) here since I asked him up front for the bottom line (his shipper. his shipper's fees).
     
  7. Sixgunn

    Sixgunn

    Jun 6, 2012
    Colorado Springs
    I don't wait 30 minutes after eating, to go swimming.
    Right, BUT, as the seller/shipper I feel that he should have explored this. I know that anytime I ship anything, I cover all the bases and if it were international I would have looked into taxes, tariffs, etc.
     
  8. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    UPS is no good for international shipping> Period! I called them prior to shipping to a good friend of mine and was told no fees. Then they turned around and charged a Brokerage fee. They are thieves! They are Weasels that wont make good on insurance claims. USPS is the way to Go.
     
  9. Sixgunn

    Sixgunn

    Jun 6, 2012
    Colorado Springs
    I don't wait 30 minutes after eating, to go swimming.
    I can dig it, but the seller was in charge of who shipped it.
     
  10. Sixgunn

    Sixgunn

    Jun 6, 2012
    Colorado Springs
    I don't wait 30 minutes after eating, to go swimming.
    Another way of looking at it: Same scenario but the bass was special ordered from Guitar Center. You pay for everything including shipping but when it arrives they hit you with a brokerage fee that "they didn't know about". Who is responsible?
     
  11. This would be how I'd see it, too. If I order a pedal from Fuzzrocious, I inevitably get hit with a customs fee - should Ryan pay it, or have built it into the price? Of course not.

    I'm not au fait with brokerage fees specifically, is there any way of accurately gauging what the fee will be, and can the sender even pay it at their end?
     
    vegas532 likes this.
  12. Roland GR 88

    Roland GR 88

    Sep 16, 2013
    Whitby
    He probably had no idea. My TH500 amp bag cost $56.00 and I paid $60.00 more for Fed-Ex to bring it over the border. Once it's out of the sellers hands any charges at borders are a crap-shoot and some get lucky, some don't.
    A carrier should be able to provide a quote in advance but it might take days and they realistically may not have a clue what a bass guitar is.
     
    Slough Feg Bass likes this.
  13. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    Obviously you're new at importing an item. Yes, the all the private shipping companies are typically going to charge a Brokerage fee on a valuable item, especially one made of wood. The seller has nothing to do with this, it's the border crossing agencies that do this to you. There's different fees that you can get nailed with when you buy from out of the country: Brokerage, Duty tax, State sales tax, usage tax...and sometimes you can skate-by on the off chance and not have to pay anything. The US is pretty low on these fees....the folks in Europe can end up paying 3-4 times more in taxes.
    I understand you're upset that importing cost you extra, but in reality it's your resposibilty to research out of the country purchases.
     
  14. Sixgunn

    Sixgunn

    Jun 6, 2012
    Colorado Springs
    I don't wait 30 minutes after eating, to go swimming.
    Just to be clear, I don't think this is a totally black and white issue. I think there's a case to be made for the seller but I also think I have an argument. That's why I came here asking for opinions and I do appreciate them. It's also why I suggested compromise. :)
     
  15. MarkoYYZ

    MarkoYYZ Commercial User

    Jan 31, 2012
    Toronto
    Hammersmith Music
    Brokerage fees alone will never reach $200, so it sounds like there are taxes or duties included. What was the declared value of the bass?
     
  16. Sixgunn

    Sixgunn

    Jun 6, 2012
    Colorado Springs
    I don't wait 30 minutes after eating, to go swimming.
    $2000.00
     
  17. FrenchBassQC

    FrenchBassQC Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Gatineau QC CA
    This ! ... I know, I'm from Canada and when I buy basses or amps from the US new or used, they (the Canadian custom agency) will charge brokerage fees and depending who was used to ship (UPS, USPS, DHL,...) you will pay different administration fees and sometimes sales tax. Also, if you're lucky, sometimes an instrument or an amp will go through the custom process and you might not have brokerage fees like you've won the lottery... So far I had two basses and a couple of amps that I had no brokerage fees to pay and one of the bass came from Brazil.
     
  18. mark beem

    mark beem Wait, how does this song start again?? Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    Alabama, USA
    Unfortunately it is a black & white issue. The seller is not liable for any extra charges incurred from the transaction. Sorry, but that's just the way it is. Having bought several items from overseas vendors, I always research any extra fees and / or duties which may be levied once it crosses into the US.

    Rule of thumb; always budget more than the purchase price for any item bought from outside the continental US. Conversely any item that I sell to an overseas buyer I include the caveat that they (the buyer) will be responsible for any additional duties or fees from the purchase.

    [bitter old geezer mode] I believe GAS simply got the better of you and you went forward with the transaction without thinking about the added cost YOU would be required to pay when it was delivered. [/bitter old geezer mode]

    Tough lesson learned.
     
  19. Roland GR 88

    Roland GR 88

    Sep 16, 2013
    Whitby
    10% isn't too bad. I wouldn't expect the seller to know or pitch in anything as he would have to have an encyclopedic knowledge of different countries' policies before shipping anything internationally. Like FrenchBass said, sometimes you win the lottery sometimes you pay.
    My last American shipment from Weber came USPS/Canada Post without any charges at all.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2015
    Jeff Scott and blindrabbit like this.
  20. The Bass Clef

    The Bass Clef “the brian” Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 17, 2010
    Southern California
    I agree with Caca de Kick and the others that are saying that the fees are the buyer's responsibility. It's pretty well documented on the web that when you buy/sell overseas there are import duties, taxes, brokerage fees, etc.. Also, if you've ever travelled overseas you'll notice that international airports usually have duty-free stores that you can buy stuff like booze and food. These stores only exist only because under normal circumstances, there are fees associated with importing goods. I think it also makes much more sense for the buyer to be familiar with their own country's import taxes than to expect a seller to know what a foreign country charges. It sucks you weren't expecting it, but it is the norm.
     

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