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Chris G. Williams Beware: I mix tech and personal interests here.

(or...  If you don't know the laws of your own damn country, how can you possibly expect me to?)

This is a transcript of a “conversation” I had with an overseas buyer over the last few weeks.


Her:
HI! I've received a note from the postman. The boxes have arrived, but the note also says I must pay 76,26 euro and I feel something is wrong, as I paid the shipping cost for yhe boxes. Could you explain me what's going on? Thanks, Toni

Me:
I have no idea what is going on, since I paid the postage as dictated by USPS. Perhaps you should ask your postman.

Her:
HI! I've cought the packet at the post office. I've paid 76,26 euros in taxes 2,7 % of custom duty and 16% of comercial taxes (applied on 385,57 euro, 495,5 dolar). Both are aplied when something is imported from outside de EU. That means I've paid 97,54 $ more than I was suposed to pay. I hope we can find a solution.
Please, dont hesitate if I don't answer during this week because it might be difficlut for me to acces to the internet as I'm travelling abroad for job reasons (I really sorry about my english...)
Hope to know from you soon... Thanks, Toni

Me:
I'm not sure what sort of solution you are looking for. You purchased an item internationally, I reported the honest value on the customs forms. You are responsible for all customs duties and taxes.

Her:
I see. I asume you won't take any responsability about this issue, so I won't continue asking for it. I feel you should have told me about the taxes I had to pay, because it's not a mater of 10 or 20 $ but 100 $ and it does make a differrence. If I'd known I'd have thought twice before buying outside the EU. I can't give you positive feedback as I feel you didn't give me all the information you should have given to me. Of course, it won't be a negative feedback because I did receive the items in good conditions. With nothing more to say... Toni

Me:
You can't honestly expect me to know the specific customs & tax laws of every country on the planet, do you?  Especially when you can't even be bothered to do so yourself for your own country...  I'm sorry you got hit with taxes, but they absolutely are NOT my responsibility. In fact, considering I have no idea how much they are, I certainly can't be expected to inform you.


So... is it just me? Am I being dense here? Should I fork over some cash for this? I feel (a little) bad for her, because it's a lot of money, but damn... I honestly did not know how much she would have to pay and it seems silly to expect me to inform her when I didn't have any idea in the first place. Isn't it the buyer's responsibility to know the laws and import taxes of their own country?

I'll be the first to admit, I don't know what it would cost me to import something into my own country, because I haven't done it yet, but you can bet I'd research it or at least suck it up and pay it without trying to get someone else to take responsibility for it.

This is a fairly international community here... What do you guys think?

Posted on Monday, July 10, 2006 5:32 AM General Interest | Back to top


Comments on this post: more fun with Ebay

# re: more fun with Ebay
Requesting Gravatar...
Or it could be a scam
Left by Scott Miller on Jul 10, 2006 5:57 AM

# re: more fun with Ebay
Requesting Gravatar...
True, although she definitely bought merch from me that was high enough in value to incur import duties. I just had no idea how much they would be. Regardless... I don't think I should pay for her mistake.
Left by Blogus Maximus on Jul 10, 2006 6:25 AM

# re: more fun with Ebay
Requesting Gravatar...
No you should not pay her for her mistake. But perhaps you should learn from it though and add an nice little *Not responsible for International taxes blah, blah, blah, please check your local laws for any taxes duties , etc.
Left by [C.B.W] on Jul 10, 2006 6:29 AM

# re: more fun with Ebay
Requesting Gravatar...
You are absolutely right... and that's exactly what I will do. I already have a little "rules" section on every auction I do, it would be simple enough to start adding that to it.
Left by Blogus Maximus on Jul 10, 2006 6:31 AM

# re: more fun with Ebay
Requesting Gravatar...
Nah, she's responsible. I purchase stuff off Ebay all the time for band equipment and stuff. All of the internation ones I stay away from to avoid taxes and such. It's silly to assume the seller is going to pick up such things. As posted previously, it's a good idea to be VERY clear on your auction, though. Most of the ones I see are.
Left by Theo Moore on Jul 10, 2006 6:47 AM

# re: more fun with Ebay
Requesting Gravatar...
Dude, she's SO responsible. That would be like me buying a whack of stuff off of ThinkGeek and expecting them to pay the duty and any extra fees for their stuff crossing the border.

D
Left by D'Arcy from Winnipeg on Jul 10, 2006 7:29 AM

# re: more fun with Ebay
Requesting Gravatar...
I haven't heard anything further from her yet so hopefully this matter is resolved. This is almost as absurd as expecting me to lie to customs for them. Some people are just cheap.

Although... apparently some countries do abuse it a bit (or I'm being lied to again...) Apparently in Chile they count the shipping cost as well as the value of the item when determining import duties and taxes.
Left by Blogus Maximus on Jul 10, 2006 11:47 AM

# re: more fun with Ebay
Requesting Gravatar...
You are 100% in the clear.

However if you have never purchased internationally before it comes as a shock to find that it costs you to pick stuff up. I remember the 1st year I posted Xmas presents back to my family in the UK and the post office billed then over 50 pounds to get their presents....

I agree that you should put a 'if you buy from outside the USA there may be taxes added by your country which you are responsible for'
Left by ZMan on Jul 10, 2006 6:38 PM

# re: more fun with Ebay
Requesting Gravatar...
She's in the EU? Simple.


Tell her that you live in the USA and don't have free health care. Call Bush a Warmonger. Then tell her that you are embarassed as an American about our Kyoto vote. Tell her you can either refund her the money or go to a protest march against Bush. Tell her also that with her fine european education and your terrible little American education, it's all hard for you to follow. My guess is she'll think you're divine and let it go.

If that doesnt' work tell her you drive a SUV and need the money for a downpayment on a Smart or a hybrid.

That oughta do it but if not then just start talking about how terrible American is (that always gets them going) and how you need the money to buy some Noam Chomsky books and a subscription to LeMonde and Der Speigel

If none of that works, just tell her to grow up and get over it. Since you're typing it out you can hopefully pull it off without laughing too hard.

Left by William on Jul 10, 2006 8:29 PM

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