Drop.com the cause of Customs Fee / Handling charge - mispriced customs label

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G0OSE
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Drop.com the cause of Customs Fee / Handling charge - mispriced customs label

So, back in May I bought a Penguin knife from Drop.com. Painfully (as you’ll see) I ordered this with the $10 voucher I was given for their mess up on the Copper tool tint mixup.
Rather than let the $10 go to waste, I decided to get the knife costing an extra $6.71.
Total was $16.71 or £14.28 at that time.
Drop made such a cock up sending it through 3 couriers, it made it almost impossible to properly track, or get help with after.
It went from the USA (DHL GLOBAL), to Germany (Deutsche Post) , to the UK then on to Royal Mail.
Deutsche Post tracking told me it had failed a delivery due to customs charge not being paid. It clearly says they attempted to deliver it – but I had no card, I was also in all day, so I know they didn’t come.
Turns out, the failed delivery wasn’t a failed delivery at all, they delivered it to my local post office… weird.
Anyway, Royal mail have it now, and explained they hadn’t even tried to deliver it – would be out tomorrow – but it had a £3.73 vat charge, and £8 RM handling fee – all this despite it being less than the £15 threshold, which I can prove – it included shipping – it was free. They haven’t handled anything, other than tomorrows delivery.

Now me, I’m a principal man – and I refuse to be ripped off.
I called HMRC and after 30 minutes on the phone at 10p a min, and a wonderful call (nice guy) I find out I cannot lose an appeal if I can prove it was under £15 shipped. They will HAVE to refund me, and RM will too.
The question is, why, since the value is on the outside of the parcel (unless drop messed it up, in which case it’s their fault – I haven’t seen it yet obviously) was it even charged VAT. Let alone RM’s £8 thank you for nothing fee.
I have been 5 hours sorting this whole mess out – it has cost me at least £5 in calls and way more in time – but it’s the principal.
Whilst on the phone to HMRC the guy said most of his day is taken up with incorrect customs charges, and admitted it was wrong – of course, I raised the point, that I’d been on the phone 30 mins plus, and at say £15 hr, the UK government has paid him £7 explaining how to get my wrongly charged vat back. He giggled, we both giggled. The fact is that £3.73 will end up costing the UK taxpayer probaly £50 ina ll the processing etc – all for £3.73 they are going to have to pay me back.
he said I should report it to the BIFA.
It don’t end there. To claim this I have to fill out a form, and hope it gets sorted in 30 days, or it will go back to the USA!
I asked – who will pay for the stamp? ‘what stamp he says’ the one to post the appeal off, which should never have been charged in the first place I said, we both giggled again – Royal mail must LOVE IT -money for nothing.
And so here I am, no knife and tomorrow I will have to pay the customs charge, just to claim it back and get my knife.
Who is ultimately to blame I have no idea – but from where I’m standing it’s just a low level money making exercise by HMRC – but imagine for a minute ALL the people claimed their £3 back…… each time costing HMRC at least £50 in wages and processing – it now will have to be sent back to customs and re-evaluated – but the guy said there is no way they can win if I have a receipt, which I do.
Shocking really this can happen.
I must admit, when I have a stick in my mouth, I’m NOT gonna drop it if I know I’m right.
Depending on the value written on the front tomorrow will decide who is actually to blame – it may be DROP for putting the wrong amount on, I’m thinking they may have included their free postage, even though I didn’t pay it. We will have to wait and see.
The guy at HMRC couldn’t have felt more sorry for me , and reiterated this happens thousand of times a day.
He even suggested I put a complain into the BIFA which is some sort of shipping ombudsman.
I have already written to my MP about this disgusting waste of taxpayers money sorting messes out that shouldn’t have happened in the first place.
Just goes to show what goes on behind the scenes – and how many people would have just turned round and swallowed that charge with no complaint – most I’d imagine, how many £mmillions a year does the HMRC steel off it’s own citizens for no reason, knowing they won’t appeal over £3.00.
Disgusting.

Edited by: G0OSE on 07/25/2020 - 08:22
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after having worked and lived in multiple countries, the amount of messy logistics I have seen is shocking.
there are so many possibilities to get ripped off as a customer, either through customs, fees, handling charges or returned packages (which are also expensive). The final nail in the coffin is content that is not permitted for import (knives are great examples or items like laser pointers).

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Personally I’d just have refused delivery and had it sent back, I’ve had this loads of times, even expensive knives returned to the US for repair, sharpening etc that have been paid for already. I can’t be bothered with the headache of it. It’s harder now due to Covid-19, anything that needs signing for is just left on the doorstep, but if the package is small enough just drop it in a postbox with Return to Sender written on it.

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RichH wrote:
Personally I’d just have refused delivery and had it sent back, I’ve had this loads of times, even expensive knives returned to the US for repair, sharpening etc that have been paid for already. I can’t be bothered with the headache of it. It’s harder now due to Covid-19, anything that needs signing for is just left on the doorstep, but if the package is small enough just drop it in a postbox with Return to Sender written on it.

It was certainly a headache Facepalm , but I am one for standing up for my rights – I am clearly being robbed.
I don’t like the hassle of it, and the £3.83 I would have paid if it came to it, but it’s the added £8 from RM that put a rod up my butt.
If people don’t raise these issues, they carry on. Surely they have bigger fish to fry with their time too.
We had quite the funny chat as it goes, talking about Chinese firms dodging vat (on behalf of customers) by opening warehouses in the EU. Then laughed at how many millions the GOV loses out on because of it – explains why they come after their own I suppose lol! and that is why they do it, because they know most will just swallow the charge.
I am also interested in where they got the value from – I know they usually google it, but I couldn’t find a single site that charged the amount they added vat to. I really think they just made it up to meet a quota.
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I’m with you. I’d‘ve fought it, too, and make it cost them more than they’d get from me.

Amazing, though, how many bureaucrats and other petty minions it takes to wring a few pennies from people. Must make ‘em feel important.

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RichH
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G0OSE wrote:
I am also interested in where they got the value from

From what I understand, you haven’t yet seen the package or it’s label? The value is taken from the customs sticker on it. The charge is calculated on declared item value + shipping cost + any insurance costs. So if your item is worth £3 but cost £20 to ship it puts it well over the VAT threshold and gives Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs the perfect opportunity to print a label and charge you £8 in admin fees. I’ve been 13 pence over on a Maratac AAA and got the £8 charge. That was a pain, but it was a copper one and hard to get when CountyComm were being all off about U.K. shipping so I swallowed the charge.

Thing is, most stuff does get here from China without fees. That kind of suits me and my bank account, I reckon it’s best to keep hushy hush about the whole thing and count myself lucky I can get a big old MF04, various Sofirn, more Thrunite FW3As, decent Bluetooth speakers etc and not pay a penny. I’d not be bleating over a few quid to be honest, it’s annoying I know that because I’ve got wound up about it too.

Edit: Just had a look at the Penguin knife, it’s a looker in the blue linen micarta. I see your dilemma Big Smile

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RichH wrote:
G0OSE wrote:
I am also interested in where they got the value from

From what I understand, you haven’t yet seen the package or it’s label? The value is taken from the customs sticker on it. The charge is calculated on declared item value + shipping cost + any insurance costs. So if your item is worth £3 but cost £20 to ship it puts it well over the VAT threshold and gives Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs the perfect opportunity to print a label and charge you £8 in admin fees. I’ve been 13 pence over on a Maratac AAA and got the £8 charge. That was a pain, but it was a copper one and hard to get when CountyComm were being all off about U.K. shipping so I swallowed the charge.

Thing is, most stuff does get here from China without fees. That kind of suits me and my bank account, I reckon it’s best to keep hushy hush about the whole thing and count myself lucky I can get a big old MF04, various Sofirn, more Thrunite FW3As, decent Bluetooth speakers etc and not pay a penny. I’d not be bleating over a few quid to be honest, it’s annoying I know that because I’ve got wound up about it too.

No, I haven’t seen the label yet, I await it tomorrow. As for declared value, it is kind of immaterial, I was told by customs themselves today if I can prove it was under £15 including shipping (which it was) I will have no worries. The total is £14.28 including the free shipping.
This is where DROP may have to shoulder some responsibility….. if they marked it as more they are lying about how much I paid in total – which is what counts. Basically they MAY have caused all this fuss for no real reason. This is all in theory of course lol! Should it prove to be their fault I’ll aim my cannon at them next.

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Same here let the last one go, £8 charge to pay £5.

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Plainly this is quite a common practice, as I expected and was told by customs. This has only been on here a few hours and already a few are saying the same thing. It is one big ‘hidden’ tax collection, and free cash for RM.
To be fair the guy at customs seemed quite annoyed to, as it takes up most of his day answering questions about £3 etc…

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I edited above cos I googled the knife. It’s a cool one, especially in the blue linen micarta.

I got the hell out of Massdrop a few years ago after a titanium hip flask fiasco. They sent it, I paid my fees, it was poorly finished and nothing like the photo mockups, I sent it back at my cost. Another was sent and I was charged again etc etc. I never got my return costs back and reluctantly paid the second lot of fees because the seller wouldn’t communicate. As I said, it’s a headache and it leaves a bad taste. Even though the second flask was ok, I sold it on at less than my costs and stepped away, I never felt I’d enjoy using it after months of emails and getting nowhere.

As far as I know, the customs declaration value on the package is what the VAT and £8 fee is calculated on. It is all that HMRC and Royal Mail have to go on, they’ve no business asking you to prove anything, they should be asking the seller who paid the shipping, not you. The seller, or his point of sale must declare the shipping costs on the label at time of posting. This is what the fees are calculated on. Royal Mail can not pull a figure out of the air and ask you to prove it.

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RichH wrote:
I edited above cos I googled the knife. It’s a cool one, especially in the blue linen micarta.

I got the hell out of Massdrop a few years ago after a titanium hip flask fiasco. They sent it, I paid my fees, it was poorly finished and nothing like the photo mockups, I sent it back at my cost. Another was sent and I was charged again etc etc. I never got my return costs back and reluctantly paid the second lot of fees because the seller wouldn’t communicate. As I said, it’s a headache and it leaves a bad taste. Even though the second flask was ok, I sold it on at less than my costs and stepped away, I never felt I’d enjoy using it after months of emails and getting nowhere.

As far as I know, the customs declaration value on the package is what the VAT and £8 fee is calculated on. It is all that HMRC and Royal Mail have to go on, they’ve no business asking you to prove anything, they should be asking the seller who paid the shipping, not you. The seller, or his point of sale must declare the shipping costs on the label at time of posting. This is what the fees are calculated on. Royal Mail can not pull a figure out of the air and ask you to prove it.


The form to claim the money back (or try to) asks for the invoice showing what I paid. It is customs who want it, not the post office. I am just going by the instructions given.
The form is BOR286 should anyone need it in the future.
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/vat-customs-dutyimport-vat-re...
Oh, and I recorded the phone call to customs too (always do if I think it will be needed for evidence)
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So the parcel came today – as I thought idiots at DROP are to blame and put the value of $24 even though I paid $16.71 as was listed on their site.

CLEARLY on THIS page it says – ‘The prices listed on Drop include the cost of the product and shipping , but do not include customs fees.’
Lets see what they have to say about it. Customs as it goes did their job correctly.
Muppetts. Facepalm

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They always do this. I had one brass drop tools basically for free ($2.50 s&h), but they declared $30. Had to pay taxes. Another guy on TLF wrote to the customs office, proving the lower price, and got taxes back.

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Why would store/shipper INcrease the value on the declaration form? It really creates problems for the customers and they won’t come back or ever order from them again.
Time has a higher value than the items shipped.

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So, this is the rather feeble reply I got.
I would LOVE to know what the point of contacting my local customs office is BEFORE ordering, when they only pull a MRSP out of their butt AFTER you have ordered. If that is the case, the MRSP should be CLEARLY marked on the site for International customers to see. I have now forwarded all this to their CEO, Mr El-Hage. steve@drop.com should anyone else need it.

Katrina Miller (Drop Community Support)

Jul 29, 2020, 10:58 AM PDT
Hi ,

Thanks for contacting us here at Drop Community Support. My name’s Katrina and I’ll be helping out today.

The prices listed on Drop include the cost of the product and shipping. Customs fees are not included in that amount.

All orders shipped internationally are subject to customs fees. While we sell them for around $17.00 USD, we legally have to put the MSRP on the shipment as this is the value that the manufacturer has put on this item. The fees and taxes levied on imported goods is up to the discretion of the customs agent in the country of importation. Before purchasing items on our site, we advise customers to reach out to their local customs office for information about the duties and fees to be expected.

For more about customs fees you can see our Help Center article on Customs Fees.

I hope this helps! Feel free to reach back out if you have any other questions or concerns.

Best,

Katrina ‘

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Would love to know where the legal requirement is to declare a shipment with the MSRP and not the actual price paid? anybody knows enough about postal/US export/customs law to elaborate?

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It’s actually really patronising, making out I’m the idiot for not checking this ‘made up’ amount which was not listed with my local customs. Especially as I made it CLEAR I checked beforehand.
2 orders from the USA both were a disaster. 2 out of 2, beat China hands down, at least they usually try to help.
Imagine they had decided to put a value of £100 Facepalm

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The only problem I had from China was that vouchers, discounts and coupons were NOT subtracted from the declared value. Which is also borderline difficult. But I can somehow understand that the logistics and shipping team might not know how the customer funds the order. They only “see” the total price paid. So a flashlight could be 15$ US after coupons, but, say, 27$ US before (just an example). A European customer might have to explain this to customs already.

I am clueless whether MSRP is a must on the tax form when exporting from the US. That would be a real issue then.

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Full refund after my email to the CEO. Amy (Drop Community Support)

Jul 31, 2020, 9:20 AM PDT
Hi,

This is Amy reaching out from Drop Community Support.

I was forwarded your email from our CEO and wanted to reach out. I have reviewed this order and can help provide some clarity.

I understand your concern with us marking the package as “$24” even though you paid a lower amount. Our warehouse goes by the subtotal of the item, this amount is listed on both our product page and on your transactions page on drop.com/transactions.

For future orders, this means that no matter what discount you used, it does not affect the subtotal (or value of the unit). For example, if you have enough credits accumulated from our VIP Rewards Program and you end up paying your order all in credits, the unit value will still be listed on the package, not $0.00.

I understand this is a confusing experience and so I have issued a full refund to your original form of payment method to help you out this time, but wanted to help you understand how the unit price works on any future packages.

Feel free to let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,
Drop Community Support

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Good gesture from their end, but not helpful for future orders.

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I’ll order again, but taking into account taxes and handling through DHL based on orginal price. So, prices/discounts must be really good.

This is stupid beyond belief.

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Yes, it was a nice gesture.
BTW this part, which they still don’t accept is NOT true. ‘this amount is listed on both our product page and on your transactions page on drop.com/transactions.’
I have just checked again, there is no mention of $24 anywhere on my transactions page.

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I think this is exactly as they said it, internal logistics teams see a different price on their end. Had the same issue so many times with other shippers, even AliExpress. seller/CS tells you one story and the guy picking and packing/printing the label has some other information.

These people have no way of knowing at what discount, coupon or what rebate you purchased the product. Gearbest i.e. always put down the original price they had pre-discount from their website. which was a ridiculously high price.

Super confusing.

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UK customs sounds like a bitch.. I feel sorry for you guys.

> paid 16.71
> they listed $24

How much extra customs fee did you have to pay? Crying

And congratulations on your courtesy refund. Beer

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jon_slider wrote:
UK customs sounds like a bitch.. I feel sorry for you guys.

> paid 16.71
> they listed $24

How much extra customs fee did you have to pay? Crying

And congratulations on your courtesy refund. Beer

The customs fee was a small £3.83 – but Royal Mail charge a whopping £8 to collect it – I say collect – I paid online lol! To be honest, years ago a postman actually collected it – not now, which makes RM a lot of money for nothing – to be honest I don’t know why they are even involved- nowadays you could just pay Customs directly, and I see no reason why that isn’t so – it’s all a big old con.
I have also applied to customs to have the £11.63 returned, and am awaiting the result.
Principals – they should never be forgotten, no matter how petty – not if you KNOW you are right and are being wronged. They EXPECT you not to make a fuss, and that is why they get away with it.
Not with me though. Evil Silly

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G0OSE wrote:
The customs fee was… £11.63

ouch!

what was the DIFFERENCE in fee?

between the
> paid 16.71
and
> they listed $24

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This whole situation sounds like a case of “Monty Python Meets the Three Stooges in a Catch-22”. Silly

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jon_slider wrote:
G0OSE wrote:
The customs fee was… £11.63

ouch!

what was the DIFFERENCE in fee?

between the
> paid $16.71
and
> they listed $24


Well, it’s not so much about the dollar value as the UK VAT threshold. You can buy items for £15 or less – no VAT and no collection fee, nothing.
So the $16.71 wouldn’t have had any vat or fee as it was just below that. The vat over £15 is 20%.
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> the $16.71 wouldn’t have had any vat or fee as it was just below that. The vat over £15 is 20%.

I see… thanks for explaining
so, it comes down to the stated $24 value that drop put on the package..

I hope you can convince Customs that the stated value on the package was not correct

I hope you win a refund of the $15.22 in customs fees

certainly hardly seems worth buying a Tool for $16.71 given the way drop fills out the customs value.

at least so far, due to the courtesy refund, your net cost for the Tool is $15.22 (the fees).. so you already got the Tool for less than it cost..

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Final update on this, a letter came this morning from the Border Force and I won the case – full refund on the £3.63 VAT Wink
They won’t refund Royal Mails £8 charge for ‘presenting it’ to customs – even though they didn’t, DHL did Facepalm who then delivered it to my local post depot, all RM did was deliver it like any other parcel.
I could fight that too, but to be honest I can’t be bothered now since i already had a full refund from Drop.

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thanks for reporting back to us.

time to found a European version of drop.