who pays customs fees when price is "$X shipped"?

Discussion in 'Classifieds Usage Discussion and Help' started by sleeplessknight, Mar 21, 2011.


  1. sleeplessknight

    sleeplessknight Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Seattle
    Hey all, I purchased a bass from a Canadian seller (I'm in the US) not too long ago. We haggled a bit on price, and we agreed on a price of $1100 shipped. He got the bass out to me quickly, it was as-advertised, and all seemed well, so I left him positive feedback. However, about a week later, I got a bill from UPS for $71 for "customs and brokerage" fees.

    Now, I've sold more than a few items overseas, to Canada, etc, and I'm always very up front with "buyer pays ALL shipping and customs fees" so there's no confusion with who owes what (at least on my end). I've also bought my fair share of items from Canada, and when the seller says "$X shipped", it's generally been understood that the price includes the brokerage/customs fees. My question for the collective is, who's on the hook for these fees? I say that the seller is, but he's saying that I am because "he (the seller) always pays his own brokerage when buying from the US". My understanding is that "shipped" means "all fees included", but perhaps I'm wrong. Anyone care to chime in with their experiences/expectations?
     
  2. FunkyMcNasty

    FunkyMcNasty

    Dec 4, 2010
    CO
    That's a good question. I am thinking about shipping a bass to canada this week and would like some info on this as well. How much did your package weigh and did u take the neck off or leave it on?
     
  3. sleeplessknight

    sleeplessknight Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Seattle
    Well, I was the buyer in this particular transaction, and the seller chose to leave the neck on as it was shipped in a sturdy case. I think the weight was 25 pounds, according to the shipping label. However, I believe Customs charges on the value of the item and not the weight. I think the $71 charge was because the bass was valued between $1000 and $1500.

    As for your own sale, if it hasn't been completed I'd recommend sorting out who is responsible for the fees NOW, before any money changes hands. I tend to sell my stuff as "$X shipped anywhere in the continental United States", and when an international buyer approaches me for a sale, depending on their TB/iTrader rating, I'll specifically say "I've got no problem shipping to East Jabip (or whereever), but the buyer is responsible for all shipping and customs fees because those can add up".
     
  4. kai_ski

    kai_ski

    Apr 14, 2007
    Wenatchee, WA
    Like you, I always make it clear that if my shipment leaves the CONUS, any and all fees related to customs, or an international shipment, are the responsibility of the buyer. That said, I've never shipped a bass internationally, but have sold and bought several effects and never received a bill from UPS. Thanks for sharing your experience. It's doubtful I'll ever buy a bass from a seller shipping from outside the US. It's just too much of a hassle when you consider the number and variety of instruments already available here.


    I can see where the seller is coming from on this, but his mistake was to not make it clear before the sale. I'd say $71 is not that bad, about the same as paying sales tax. But the best you can do at this point is to try and compromise on half-each. Neither of you will ever forget to make it crystal clear prior to the sale again.
     
  5. FunkyMcNasty

    FunkyMcNasty

    Dec 4, 2010
    CO
    Ok. I just went to the post office and the guy said that if I mark "gift" on the customs form that it wont charge the recipient a fee. I don't know if he is correct though. Anyone have any experience with that?
     
  6. Bting

    Bting

    Dec 2, 2008
    I've done a bit of trading from my US brothers here, and it's always been smooth.

    We agree before hand, price, with shipping, and that any customs fee's are mine to take care of.

    UPS, DHL, Fed Ex, Purolater all will hit the receiver with a set of fee's. UPS is hands down the worst.

    These fee's cover:
    -broker clearance fees's ($8.00 cdn)
    -Duty (musical instruments are free trade items, so thsi will only be all applicable sales taxes)
    - the rest is profit grab for courier.


    If you ship via post office, buyer will get hit with the clearence fee's, and duty, only.

    Amount of this is not soemthing you can really calculate into the selling "shipped" price (pre-paid) IMHO, but I always make it plain it is I assume these fee's when it arrives.


    "gift" Well you can mark it as such, but it is dishonest and potentially actionable. Additionally, this only exempts you from the duty. I think you still have Clearance fee's and if you use a courier, Profit Grab.

    I really prefer usign the Post Office for this reason.
    When you hear the horror stories of how Couriers treat our packages, and how difficult claims are to make with them, how much worse can the Post Office really be?
     
  7. Don't ship by UPS. You are getting stung by their brokerage fees that they screw you on. UPS is the worst. Never ship international via UPS, Never.
     
  8. FunkyMcNasty

    FunkyMcNasty

    Dec 4, 2010
    CO
    Thanks for the info guys. I guess I kind of hijacked this dudes thread. Sorry sleep, good thread. Helpful.
     
  9. kai_ski

    kai_ski

    Apr 14, 2007
    Wenatchee, WA
    What about dhl? When I was living abroad it was hands down the best courier, with the least red tape, and fast, but also expensive, although I was never the shipper. I wonder how those prices actually check out after the UPS "fees?"
     
  10. sleeplessknight

    sleeplessknight Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Seattle
    Haha, np McNasty, it happens :) So, uh, yeah - what're thoughts on the OP topic?
     
  11. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    The recipient is ultimately always responsible for whatever happens in their own country, IMHO. Shipping fees are not the same thing as customs and brokerage, no reason to expect the seller to suck that up unless you both explicitly agreed to that up front. I tend to be very careful about asking about "hidden" fees though, I hate surprises.
     
  12. as the buyer i can avoid brokerage fees by self brokering......it's a few hoops to jumpmthru,but it's legal and save the insane fees ups charges for a mouse click or 2......it's likely that us buyers have a mechanism by which they can self broker,and save the fees also.,and i'm sure the canook in question acted in good faith.....if you are able to save the fees by self brokerage,there should be no onus on an international seller to pay them.....
     
  13. I buy the odd bit of stuff from you yankees. I pay for shipping and the item. Any charges on this end fpr customs inspection, tax etc is my lookout. Sometimes I get stung, sometimes not. The notion that the shipper would cover the customs is just ludicrous imo.
     
  14. allexcosta

    allexcosta

    Apr 7, 2004
    The buyer pays customs fees. It's always been like that...

    If one sells a bass to Brazil for 1000 bucks the buyer will pay around 100% in import fees.
    So, how would this be if the seller had to pay 1000 bucks in fees plus 200 bucks for shipping? You sell a bass and all of sudden there's a hole of 200 bucks in your pocket?
     
  15. sleeplessknight

    sleeplessknight Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Seattle
    Hah, fair enough all of you, it looks like I was grossly out of whack with how things are supposed to run. I was operating on the assumption that "$X shipped" includes all the various costs needed to get the item from Point A to Point B, and from the number of replies here it looks like I was dead wrong. :)
     
  16. btw Fedex make a point of charging taxes on behalf of NZ Govt. Much better odds going USMail to NZ, cheaper shipping too.
     
  17. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
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