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How does this work?

Discussion on bikes, and whatever...

How does this work?

Postby Gumgardner » Sat Jan 08, 2011 9:01 pm

What's it cost to get a set of wheels shipped to the us from Germany? Is there a customs charge? I've ordered from pbk.com and have never been charged custom fees but I usually buy stuff for under $300. The wheels would be around $3,000
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Re: How does this work?

Postby Ypsylon » Sun Jan 09, 2011 11:56 am

I've only done this the other way around, but I'd be surprised if you didn't have to pay customs.

Please note that all prices you see on German websites allready include 19% VAT, and AFAIK you don't have to pay that, so you can substract that, which sounds sweet to begin with, but the costs add up quickly.

Here you have to pay customs (5% of the value) and a processing fee, or around €10. Then they add up the value of the goods you are recieving, the cost of customs, the fee, and, this is sweet, the shipping, and add 19% VAT to that total.
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Re: How does this work?

Postby mdeth1313 » Sun Jan 09, 2011 2:59 pm

It depends if customs catches it. The larger the item, the more likely they'll nab it. They did this to me when I had a frame shipped from the UK to the US. I was hit w/ an 11% customs charge- if it had been a complete bike it would have been 5.5%, but a frame goes under misc. cycling and thus the 11%.

The good news is I was able to fight it. I paid the charge then sent in a letter w/ pics of the bike built up (w/ lights on it) and explained that I use the bike for commuting to work. For whatever reason, they refunded the customs charges, minus the postal services fees (which were about $10-11). I understand this doesn't always work, but I got lucky. I do know of people who have had wheels shipped and customs did NOT grab it. It's a crapshoot.
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Re: How does this work?

Postby dunlinii » Sun Jan 09, 2011 4:39 pm

When I get stuff from Fairwheel, I always get a letter off DHL or whoever a week after the order saying they have paid my customs fees, and to get my item I need to pay them on their website. The next day normally it arrives. Its a good way of doing it, but the UK customs never seem to miss a thing :(
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Re: How does this work?

Postby Gumgardner » Sun Jan 09, 2011 4:49 pm

This all stinks. It adds a few hundred dollars easily to a set of wheels. I guess that's why they say to have oversees wheels handbuilt.
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Re: How does this work?

Postby Ypsylon » Sun Jan 09, 2011 5:08 pm

Gumgardner wrote:This all stinks.


That's a way to put it, I guess. But IME it's just a part of the game. You can't expect to just not pay VAT, because you buy abroad.

You just need to figure out your true cost and then decide if it's worth it to you, or not.
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Re: How does this work?

Postby Matteo » Sun Jan 09, 2011 8:25 pm

You can try to figure out the amount by checking the Harmonized Tariff Schedule. Bikes and parts are covered towards the end of chapter 87. It is not quite clear to me what the rate for wheels exactly is, but maybe you are better at this than I am.
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Re: How does this work?

Postby Gumgardner » Sun Jan 09, 2011 8:35 pm

That's a tricky read. Lol.
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Re: How does this work?

Postby dalai » Mon Jan 10, 2011 3:54 am

Ypsylon wrote:You can't expect to just not pay VAT, because you buy abroad.


You can here in Australia, as long as the order is under AU$1000 or if you are sometimes lucky and it slips through... :applause:

This threshold is currently in the news here with a couple of local billionaire retail shop owners complaining that more people are choosing to buy online from OS. They want to have all OS purchases taxed (ours is a 10% GST -Goods and Services Tax plus an additional 5% customs duty on some items), but it would cost more to administer the scheme than what it would bring in…

As much as I like to support the LBS, when we can get say bike tyres cheaper than the Australian distributor sells them to the LBS I have to go with my wallet.
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Re: How does this work?

Postby Fibre-Lyte » Tue Jan 11, 2011 1:27 am

I think it's pretty much the same everywhere and Ypsylon has a good point, if you're not paying the tax to the country you buy from then you should expect to pay it in your own country. I have a feeling that the US are a bit lucky in that respect as
depending on the state the taxes always seem to be less than what we pay as far as I can remember. For instance, as Mdeth pointed out, there was an 11 percent tax, but Ypsylon would have to pay 19 percent in Germany. I always find it very odd that someone in the US can buy something cheaper from the UK, than someone in the UK, due to the tax rates.

dunlinii, the couriers always end up sending a customs letter, I'm sure it's a legal obligation. Funnily enough though, it doesn't seem to happen as much with the mail service :wink:
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Re: How does this work?

Postby mdeth1313 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 2:54 am

Fibre-Lyte wrote: For instance, as Mdeth pointed out, there was an 11 percent tax, but Ypsylon would have to pay 19 percent in Germany. I always find it very odd that someone in the US can buy something cheaper from the UK, than someone in the UK, due to the tax rates.



Yup- one more reason the US is in a rapid decline. But I'll stop there. :bangHead:
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Re: How does this work?

Postby dunlinii » Wed Jan 12, 2011 6:21 pm

Hmm no it doesn't. My point was that its quite a good way of doing it, as opposed to just not really knowing.
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Re: How does this work?

Postby Fibre-Lyte » Wed Jan 12, 2011 11:27 pm

It's not really a good way of doing it imo, because the couriers usually charge an administration fee so you're actually paying duty plus the admin fee. Not always the case but often is. It's the same with export. With my mother living in Tenerife she doesn't have to pay UK VAT on anything she takes home. For years she'd simply buy the goods, fill out a customs form, send it in and they'd refund the VAT. However, a lot of shops now charge an admin fee to remove the VAT. A well known department store in the UK were going to charge her 10 percent so at the time she's only actually get back 7.5 percent. When she enquired with customs and excise she was apparently told that they were exploiting a loophole in the law.
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Re: How does this work?

Postby Ypsylon » Thu Jan 13, 2011 2:46 pm

That's funny because I've never paid a fee with FedEx. They pay the customs for me and I either pay them cash when they hand over the package or get a bill.

If it goes through with the postal service I have to pay an admin fee for customs, and sure enough, they calculate the VAT after adding the fee.
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Re: How does this work?

Postby Gumgardner » Thu Jan 13, 2011 3:33 pm

Maybe I'll contact AX Lightness and see if they ship with Fed Ex. I just don't want to get hit with a huge ($300-400) customs bill.
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