Another HMRC / RM / AliExpress Rant...

SeanC

Forum GOD!
Bought an item of Ali Express for the grand sum of £12.85 including postage. Didn't even cross mind my mind that there would be any RM/HMRC issues, but lo and behold a ransom note for £11.11 (£3.11 VAT + £8.00 admin fee) was waiting for me today.

Anyway, after coughing up the ransom I checked the package. Value on the CN22 was $20. Not usually an issue, but since the Pound has plummeted it is: $20 = £15.54 at current rates. Well meaning, but ill-informed seller was using $20 as a default value. Fine if you are in the US and almost certainly the Euro zone, but not any more in the UK.

Pedantic HMRC then apply a £3.11 VAT charge for a package that's less than £1 above the threshold and RM then gleefully apply their £8 fee on top. Worst still is that whilst I can challenge the VAT charge with HMRC by supplying the original invoice; the RM ransom fee is gone for good due to the CN22 being incorrect (that's only refunded if the CN22 is correct, but misread).

Have raised a dispute on Ali Express, but not holding out much hope.

Utterly and abjectly p**sed off :thumbsdown:
 

Nisse

Old geezer
Been there, done that, but life is really too short for being seriously pissed off at 11 pounds.
 
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Boru62

Shaving Boar
Bought an item of Ali Express for the grand sum of £12.85 including postage. Didn't even cross mind my mind that there would be any RM/HMRC issues, but lo and behold a ransom note for £11.11 (£3.11 VAT + £8.00 admin fee) was waiting for me today.

Anyway, after coughing up the ransom I checked the package. Value on the CN22 was $20. Not usually an issue, but since the Pound has plummeted it is: $20 = £15.54 at current rates. Well meaning, but ill-informed seller was using $20 as a default value. Fine if you are in the US and almost certainly the Euro zone, but not any more in the UK.

Pedantic HMRC then apply a £3.11 VAT charge for a package that's less than £1 above the threshold and RM then gleefully apply their £8 fee on top. Worst still is that whilst I can challenge the VAT charge with HMRC by supplying the original invoice; the RM ransom fee is gone for good due to the CN22 being incorrect (that's only refunded if the CN22 is correct, but misread).

Have raised a dispute on Ali Express, but not holding out much hope.

Utterly and abjectly p**sed off :thumbsdown:
The "like" was thanks for the info, not your predicament Sean.
A weak pound may only be the tip of the iceberg.
 

sev-8

Forum GOD!
Good to know, thanks. Decided not to order something valued at $13 after seeing this. Hopefully the £ recovers a bit soon
 

RussellR5555

Forum GOD!
I don't see why people get so bent out of shape by import duty , the purpose of it is to protect the UK Market from a situation where a local seller was selling something and had to apply 20% VAT but a foreign importer could under cut them by not having to charge it. Import duty takes this a step further and provides an advantage for the UK based manufacturer. The £8 fee is for the extra step in the process for RM to clear it through customs an additional step and to be honest a pretty reasonable fee, many couriers charge considerably more for the same process £25 in some cases.

It will expand next year I guess when the UK leaves the EU as the same will apply to all goods from Europe too, we are already seeing the same declaration process being put in place , that is of course assuming no other special arrangements are put in place.
 

sev-8

Forum GOD!
I don't see why people get so bent out of shape by import duty , the purpose of it is to protect the UK Market from a situation where a local seller was selling something and had to apply 20% VAT but a foreign importer could under cut them by not having to charge it. Import duty takes this a step further and provides an advantage for the UK based manufacturer. The £8 fee is for the extra step in the process for RM to clear it through customs an additional step and to be honest a pretty reasonable fee, many couriers charge considerably more for the same process £25 in some cases.

It will expand next year I guess when the UK leaves the EU as the same will apply to all goods from Europe too, we are already seeing the same declaration process being put in place , that is of course assuming no other special arrangements are put in place.
At a certain value it makes sense, but if I had to pay £11 import duty and fees on an £11 item, I'd think twice. I actually don't have a problem with the import duty itself, but the £8 fee feels disproportionate. If there were different bands depending on the declared value, it may be fairer
 

Rowlers

Massive Member
Staff member
Got to agree @RussellR5555, if you're buying from overseas you have to expect that you will be paying fees. If not then it's a bonus. Some stuff, like Sean bought above, that is generally only available from China etc and is priced under the threshold, then yeah I'd be a bit pissed off too...
 

RussellR5555

Forum GOD!
At a certain value it makes sense, but if I had to pay £11 import duty and fees on an £11 item, I'd think twice. I actually don't have a problem with the import duty itself, but the £8 fee feels disproportionate. If there were different bands depending on the declared value, it may be fairer
Thats why they have the cut off point for low value items , guess they have to put it somewhere and in Sean's case very annoying as the pound had gone down.

I wouldn't say the £8 is disproportionate to the extra handling and the processing involved , you don't get much of someone's time for £8.
 

sev-8

Forum GOD!
Got to agree @RussellR5555, if you're buying from overseas you have to expect that you will be paying fees. If not then it's a bonus. Some stuff, like Sean bought above, that is generally only available from China etc and is priced under the threshold, then yeah I'd be a bit pissed off too...
I generally order things under £15, but the thread reminded me that my last Yaqi order was declared as $20 and that it might cause me problems now, even though the actual product value was under the £15 threshold. If I'm ordering items that cost more than £15, I would factor the tax and fees in and, if possible, buy from within the EU.

I wouldn't say the £8 is disproportionate to the extra handling and the processing involved , you don't get much of someone's time for £8.
From a customer perspective, the only thing that they do exclusively for packages over the threshold is to take payment for the tax & handling and provide it to the government:
  • Slip through the door telling you to go to the collection office? Done if you're not home
  • Holding a parcel at the collection office? Done if you're not home
  • Determining the value of a parcel from outside the EU? Probably done by a machine (unless it's a weird shape) and has to be done for items under the £15 threshold too, which don't attract a charge
I might be missing other things in the chain which aren't so visible to me of course.
 

Zwilling

Kamisori shaver
I suspect post C19, import fees and admin fees will rise significantly and subsequent threads will be "remember when RM fee was only £8 and HMRC only charged VAT and not import duty on low value items etc...Let's not even think about the £ falling further over time and reaching parity with the $ as many pundits predict. Get your shave kit while the going is good.
I think you are right about this...
 

Optometrist

Forum GOD!
I believe Sean's point is being missed here. This post started last November, before the recent fall of sterling.
The vendor specified a value of $20 which was above the true value paid. At £12.95, there shouldn't have been any additional fees if the true value had been converted correctly, rather than declaring a default $20.
 

RussellR5555

Forum GOD!
I believe Sean's point is being missed here. This post started last November, before the recent fall of sterling.
The vendor specified a value of $20 which was above the true value paid. At £12.95, there shouldn't have been any additional fees if the true value had been converted correctly, rather than declaring a default $20.
Yes you are correct I had missed that they had overstated the value , but from RMs point of view they still had to process it as if it incurred VAT , so not really their issue.

Guess sit should have been the supplier who refunded those fees.
 

Optometrist

Forum GOD!
Yes you are correct I had missed that they had overstated the value , but from RMs point of view they still had to process it as if it incurred VAT , so not really their issue.

Guess sit should have been the supplier who refunded those fees.
Agreed.

There was a similar case with Classic Shaving, recently, where they declared a higher value than that actually paid and the buyer not only overpaid on the VAT, but also had to pay import duty that wasn't actually due.
 
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