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Question on international sales

Just to clarify, it *is* usual for buyers to be responsible for customs fees when buying internationally, isn't it? I've had a few people ask me about marking items as gifts on customs forms, or putting a lower price than what they paid for it, but I refuse to, as I have no desire to make trouble for myself.

Thoughts?

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( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
aburamechan
Mar. 2nd, 2012 08:31 pm (UTC)
When people buy from stores or websites from overseas, they're typically responsible for customs fees. I don't see how your products would be any different.

I'd say to make it clear what you're comfortable up front when dealing with an overseas customer.
ormspryde
Mar. 2nd, 2012 09:21 pm (UTC)
Thanks for your input. I've really only dealt with two people who complained about customs fees, but I'm going to start making sure people know about them up front if they want something from me and are international.
aburamechan
Mar. 2nd, 2012 09:28 pm (UTC)
Customs fees just happen, and they suck. It's common to want to complain and try to get around them, but the item's in limbo until the fees are paid. it really sucks to have to tell them they're on their own, but it's just how it is.

If it's a handmade item, it's hard to tell what the worth may be though, so some people do mark the price down or send as gifts. I'm not sure what kind of trouble it can cause, but it's common. I've heard the inspectors will think certain things are fishy, like a giant package marked as a gift worth $1. Most things marked as $1 would seem fishy to me.
When doing things like group auctions on other communities, I usually mark things as gifts...

In the end, it's all about what you're comfy with though, so do what you need to. :3
ormspryde
Mar. 2nd, 2012 09:33 pm (UTC)
It does kind of suck, but I don't know that it's fair to ask seller to risk fines either. :\
aburamechan
Mar. 2nd, 2012 09:45 pm (UTC)
It's not fair, but many will still ask. All you can do is tell them it's not okay to you.
mandyseley
Mar. 2nd, 2012 08:34 pm (UTC)
Absolutely.

If you're running into this a lot, you may just want to say up-front that the buyer's going to be paying for customs fees and that paying "as a gift" is not an option.

You've got the right idea. Do not lie on customs forms, period. It's illegal and you're opening yourself up for a lot of trouble if you do it.

(edited to clarify wording)

Edited at 2012-03-02 08:35 pm (UTC)
ormspryde
Mar. 2nd, 2012 09:22 pm (UTC)
I haven't had many international customers (or sales at all, come to think of it), but I'm going to start telling them up front.
(no subject) - fenris_lorsrai - Mar. 2nd, 2012 08:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
ormspryde
Mar. 2nd, 2012 09:25 pm (UTC)
Yeah, low risk isn't no risk at all. :\

I didn't really know what the consequences were until now, but I'm glad I chickened out at the last moment last time I mailed something internationally! (was debating with myself whether to mark it as gift or not, then decided not)

I've altered my TOS to state in no uncertain terms that falsifying customs forms is illegal and I won't do it to save someone a few bucks.
beetlecat
Mar. 2nd, 2012 08:57 pm (UTC)
You have the correct policy.

All customs fees, Duty or other expenses the customer may incur through importing is their responsibility. Marking as 'gift' or claiming less than the actual cost is illegal (plus customs is not stupid and will simply mark it up anyways)

You may want to include such a statement in your ToS so there is no wheedling to be done.

edit: Also the 'gift' exemption to fees is usually a fairly small amount ($50-$100) so if what you sell is higher than this, it likely will not work anyways. People do not always realize this and have just heard somewhere that marking gift is magical fee removal. And if it *is* under this amount then the fee amount that will be added is so tiny they shouldn't be buying art overseas anyways XD

Edited at 2012-03-02 09:02 pm (UTC)
ormspryde
Mar. 2nd, 2012 09:26 pm (UTC)
I've already altered my TOS to state in no uncertain terms that I won't falsify documents. Thanks!

I've only sent a few things internationally, most of which actually *were* gifts, but I've had at least one person ask me if I'd mark a purchase gift, and another complain about customs fees after the fact.
(Deleted comment)
ormspryde
Mar. 2nd, 2012 09:27 pm (UTC)
I'm going to start pointing the customs thing out up front, in case people aren't informed, though I don't sell a lot of things to international customers.
findmealone
Mar. 2nd, 2012 09:16 pm (UTC)
Buyer is always responsible. I run a small gift shop online and the amount of people that email me saying that the item ended up costing them more and how I should've told them that (or even in once care refunded the difference) drives me insane. But it's their responsibility to pay customs.
ormspryde
Mar. 2nd, 2012 09:28 pm (UTC)
I haven't sold much yet, but I've altered my TOS to include a line about customs fees, and I'm going to start telling people up front. What site do you have your gift shop on?
findmealone
Mar. 2nd, 2012 11:59 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure if Paypal lets you have TOS - but if you use Google Checkout it has a little editable blurb that the customer has to acknowledge - this is very handy for putting things like this in a second time so you can point out there is no way they missed it!

My site is : http://www.thehandmadeemporium.com :)
ormspryde
Mar. 3rd, 2012 12:06 am (UTC)
Derp, I should've clarified; I do essentially all of my selling on furaffinity and deviantart, and I've got my TOS posted to both of those sites.
nambroth
Mar. 2nd, 2012 09:26 pm (UTC)
Buyer is always responsible. When someone buys an item and then asks me to mark it as a gift, I politely tell them that they are asking me to commit fraud, and I don't do that. Customers sometimes don't realize that falsifying customs forms is illegal, and if you tell them politely they should understand. If they don't... well, they might not be worth doing business with (I say this with a cringe, because I know how it hurts to lose any customer right now).
ormspryde
Mar. 2nd, 2012 09:29 pm (UTC)
The way I see it is, they're asking me to trade a few dollars on their end for the risk of fines or jail time on my end - and this makes them *not* worth doing business with.
nambroth
Mar. 2nd, 2012 09:30 pm (UTC)
I agree.
snobahr
Mar. 2nd, 2012 11:45 pm (UTC)
Have you stated in your TOS which country you're located in? Just to help remove doubt and confusion. "I live in USA/Canada/England/LeftButtPimpleStan, so any customs fees are the responsibility of the client. I will not commit mail fraud by intentionally mislabling items in order to circumvent Customs Fees."
ormspryde
Mar. 3rd, 2012 12:14 am (UTC)
I've edited my TOS to include which country I'm in.

In other news, I will now forever be referring to Mississippi as 'LeftButtPimpleStan.' XD
mazz
Mar. 3rd, 2012 12:09 am (UTC)
Put in your TOS that overseas shipping will cost more.
I as a customer expect to pay more for overseas shipping.
scenceable
Mar. 4th, 2012 07:26 pm (UTC)
The only thing I'd like to add into this is that in some cases, you'll get charge customs (brokerage) fees when using a courier where you wouldn't get charged using the postal system. I'm not sure how often you'd use UPS or FedEx to ship something internationally, because of the cost, but just in case keep in mind that those fees tend to be higher. I think it has to do with the fact that couriers hire their own customs agents, called "brokers" to do border inspections on their parcels.

Just as an example, I never complain about customs fees, but in one case the seller and I agreed the item was being sent by usps first class international to Canada, and the seller sent it by UPS. The item was only worth $26 but I got charged $20 in brokerage fees from the courier, which I wouldn't have to have paid if the item was sent by USPS (which is what I paid for/ agreed to). In that case I did feel the seller was at fault for sending by a different shipping service than agreed to.

I know it doesn't have to do specifically with your issue, but might be something to be aware of in the future. I only use UPS for shipping and have it in my TOS that brokerage and customs is the buyer's problem.

ormspryde
Mar. 4th, 2012 07:43 pm (UTC)
I've only ever used USPS to send items abroad, but I'll keep that in mind if anyone wants something sent by FedEx or UPS.

I've altered my TOS to include a line about customs fees.
ikirouta_fox
Mar. 6th, 2012 06:53 pm (UTC)
I buy stuff overseas almost every month (I have bought something from every continent except Africa) and it´s ALWAYS the buyer´s responsibility to pay custom fees. Every webshop which ships internationally has it in their TOS that buyer pays the fees.

Almost all my own customers are from foreign countries and I have shipped commissions internationally a lot. I have also got these customers who want me to tag the item as a gift. Nowadays I refuse to do it. Customers who request this most likely don´t understand how these things really work. Include your country in your TOS and also state that international shipping is expensive and that the buyer is responsible for custom fees. Tell the customers to contact their country´s customs if they have questions because laws wary from country to country and some countries may have rather strange rules that what is legal to ship. You are not responsible for these laws or fees.
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )

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