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Shipping Internationally

RennyRenny USAMember Posts: 1,145
edited December 2012 in Buying & Selling Topics
I just received a query about a set in my inventory (sealed Cloud City) but the prospective buyer is located in Germany. He asked in addition to the shipping costs, what the taxes would be as well. I've never shipped anything this big/expensive to Germany before and after an online search found some calculators which indicate that imports into Germany face a "Duty tax" and something called "VAT". Punching in some numbers the calculator indicated that Duty tax would come to 4.7% and the VAT would be 19%. For a set like this the total customs fees total a little over 200 euro!

Is this correct? I don't want to reply to the buyer with false information. If this is true this seems very excessive. Thank you for any information you may provide.
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Comments

  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,310
    I would just say "import taxes are for you to deal with".

    The important thing is that you don't falsify the customs declared value.
  • SupersympaSupersympa SwedenMember Posts: 534
    Yes, this is correct
    Buyer from Europe faces an extra tax when buying from outside Europe.
    Germany's VAT is 19%, so if the parcel get caught (if you put the real value on the custom, which i recommend for a big set like that) he has to pay 19% extra on the amount, PLUS duty...
    But buyer should not ask you about the taxes, since he has to calculate the risk himself...

    That is why for us European, it is quite difficult to buy BIG sets from the US or anywhere outside the European Union.

    When i buy a bigger set, I ask kindly to get send to a friend inside the US, and when i travel out there I pick it up, or like now, he is coming over to Europe. (he is a really good friend ;) )

    Imagine in Sweden...our VAT is 25%!!
  • RennyRenny USAMember Posts: 1,145
    Wow.. just wow. I had no idea customs taxes were so high. I feel so sorry for anyone wanting to import the big retired sets. I'll let him know the shipping cost and quote him with that price since that is what I am responsible for. Sounds like he has to deal with the additional taxes on his own and is not something I include with my quote/invoice. Thank you for the great information! I have a feeling this deal won't go through :)
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,310
    edited July 2012
    ^ These aren't actually customs taxes, VAT is a sales tax. By buying from the US, someone is essentially avoiding paying sales tax, which is why it is added when imported. There are also customs taxes / duty in some countries too.
  • RennyRenny USAMember Posts: 1,145
    Makes sense, thanks for the clarification :)
  • atkinsaratkinsar Member Posts: 4,272
    Don't forget, when importing in to the UK, you will also get a handling fee added if it gets processed by customs. I had the very painful experience of importing an expensive polybag bought from eBay, customs got hold of it and it had a couple of pounds VAT added and over £8 in handling fees! I still lose sleep over that one.
    Mcfrogy
  • mountebankmountebank Member Posts: 1,237
    edited July 2012
    Yes, it is very annoying that import VAT (into the UK from outside Europe) is triggered for item values over £15. If I buy an item in, say, the US for £15.01 the hidden costs, not including shipping, can nearly double the price.

    Obviously as value->∞, hidden cost->20%.

    I buy almost nothing from outside Europe for this reason.
  • SupersympaSupersympa SwedenMember Posts: 534
    Limit here in Sweden is USD 50...so everything I buy below that amount i am relaxed, but as soon as it goes higher, either I do not buy or go through my friend.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    ^ Everyone should keep in mind that those fees and taxes are there to provide for the social services you get.

    There is nothing wrong with that, but really no one should be surprised that all those services cost so much and thus taxes are high.

    When you look at the price of Lego in the UK vs. the USA, keep in mind that you have VAT built in, we generally have to add sales tax. Not always, but most of the time.
  • mountebankmountebank Member Posts: 1,237
    edited July 2012
    I am completely with you LegoFanTexas over the need to pay taxes and do not begrudge them in the slightest. There was a time when I lived outside the UK and paid income tax at a rate of 56%, but man, those social services were simply extraordinary.

    For me, the only effect of taxes is that, at the margin, I will slightly modify my behaviour.

    As I get older, every time I am tempted to do something a bit hooky over taxes I have sterner and sterner words with myself.
  • ecmo47ecmo47 North CarolinaMember Posts: 2,101
    I've done many overseas shipments but never one the size of 15x4195. I can ship 6 sets with USPS (my usual and cheapest method) due to box size limitations. The order would take 3 shipments of 6, 6 and 3 sets respectively. Total shipping would run approximately $310.00 total. Anybody have experience with other shippers (UPS, FedEx, DHL) in shipping larger sized orders? Thanks in advance.
  • Pacific493Pacific493 Member Posts: 379
    I've priced it out a few times and USPS has always been the cheapest for overseas shipping regardless of the size of the package.
  • atxleeatxlee Member Posts: 155
    The cheapest way to do it will still be USPS
  • CoolsplashCoolsplash Member Posts: 935
    USPS works good for overseas...Priority Mail service of theirs is good!
  • ecmo47ecmo47 North CarolinaMember Posts: 2,101
    Thanks! I'm checking into other options, FedEx "Great Rates" program for one. Will post back if I find anything.
  • LegogeekLegogeek Orange County, CaliforniaMember Posts: 711
    I ship a lot of stuff through work, as I'm the shipping & receiving department.... USPS is the cheapest. Rates will jump up dramatically for Fed Ex or UPS.

    Personally, I use USPS to ship packages to friends/family in Japan & Germany. First Class works fine, but for added benefits and speed, I normally use Priority or Express mail.
  • ecmo47ecmo47 North CarolinaMember Posts: 2,101
    edited October 2012
    After a good bit of checking, I found a good shipping deal with the FedEx "Great Rates" program. For a 68# box (24x24x30 inches) the rate was $158.19 for International Priority or $129.64 for International Parcel. We went with the Priority as I will get a refund if they don’t delivery it on the date they said they would. I will drop the package off at the local FedEx shop and it will be delivered to my customers door. The "Great Rates" program is only available if you have an account with FedEx which is easy to set up. This is my first time using FedEx AND the Great Rates service. I must say that FedEx customer service has been very responsive in helping me through the "Shipment Manager" program that generates the necessary documents. I tried using this program once before for Australia but the rates could not beat USPS in that case. One other thing. This is not "sea mail" or container shipping. I will drop it off on 1 Nov and the guaranteed delivery date of 5 Nov. Hope this info helps others.
  • CoolsplashCoolsplash Member Posts: 935
    @ecmo47, how much weight did you manage to ship in this FedEx deal?
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,247
    ^ he said "68# box"
  • thehockeyboythehockeyboy Member Posts: 97
    I have a pretty big pile of Count Dooku's Solar Sailer (7752) (~25) that I was attempting to sell to resellers in Germany when I was told by one of them that, due to the new Lucas Films agreement, it is illegal for resellers to import Star Wars sets in Europe...

    Anyone have any information on this?
  • prof1515prof1515 EarthMember Posts: 1,561
    Any agreements between Lucasfilm and Lego are not binding on your or anyone else. Ship away.
  • PicopiratePicopirate Member Posts: 315
    It depends on German copyright law. If it requires the copyright owners approval to import (like the US Supreme Court is considering) then the reseller must get that approval.
  • JohnnyfinlandiaJohnnyfinlandia Member Posts: 358
    edited January 2013
    Hi

    Does anyone know a good, cheap, reliable and safe courier or postal service which send parcels from the UK to EU (e.g. Finland)?

    I have quite a few largish sized Legos I would like to send, but normally prices are quite high as they are based on volume not weight. (e.g. 30 GBP).

    I have used parcelmonkey, interparcel, parcel2go before for other things but not sealed LEGO.

    Any thoughts appreciated.
  • DeadareusDeadareus Member Posts: 264
    I've been tracking a package this past week.

    From California express international to eastern Canada.

    Here's the tracking info:

    Encino CA
    Raleigh NC
    Miami FL
    Los Angeles CA
    CHINA REP. PEOPLE
    DELIVERED CHINAS REP PEOPLE

    It was shipped express international and insured so its not the end of the world. But I thought someone here may have a little experience with USPS and how something like this could happen.

    The shipper isn't a moron (nor a scammer) and my Canadian address was properly attached to the item.

    We have the proper tracking # that he was given but.... Could it just be that the tracking number is attached to another parcel in USPS's system?

    A definite head scratcher.

    Thanks in advance for any insight some of you may have. D


    Mods, wasn't sure where to post this. If it needs moved or removed please feel free.
  • DadsAFOLDadsAFOL USAMember Posts: 617
    In the postal sorting center there are bins by country. Either someone threw it in the wrong bin or it stuck to another package. The Ch... bin is probably next to the Ca.... bin. :)
  • DeadareusDeadareus Member Posts: 264
    Ugh. Really hoping that's not the case for my package.

    It makes sense but the delivered scan is bazaar. Hoping USPS will have some answers for us tomorrow. OR the package will show up at my for sometime this week.
  • monkeyhangermonkeyhanger Member Posts: 2,889
    edited January 2013
    I've been selling a few Lightning Dragon sets lately (#2521) and I just can't compete on postage with some of the other sellers. For a 2Kg packed set with shipping carton dimensions of 60cm x 50cm x 10cm I cannot get cheaper than about £28.50 using Transglobalexpress.org.uk for a UPS service (UPS directly is £56!). Royal Mail (tracked only within the UK) comes out at about £32.

    I see others posting the same item (possibly in a smaller box - the Lego box itself is 48cm x 38cm x 7cm - presumably little or no protection used to achieve a shipping dimension close to this) to US for £14.99 and wonder how the hell they are doing it without making quite a loss on the shipping.

    Anyone know of a cheaper (tracked) way of shipping a parcel as per my dimensions listed above from UK to US?
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    I have tried buying from the UK several times on Bricklink, postage is always the problem.

    Shame, but not your fault of course.
  • monkeyhangermonkeyhanger Member Posts: 2,889
    LFT: Someone might know a way, or maybe the £1499-ers are literally putting the Lego box in a plastic bag to keep costs down and hoping they won't get dented on the way over. Even with the actual Lego box dimensions, I can't see US/Canada shipping options for less than £23.

    I have had more than a few enquiries about my sets but asking me why postage is so much when other UK sellers are putting them out for less postage. I showed them a photo of a shipping invoice to demonstare that I wasn't ripping them off on postage, and then point out that even with shipping I was still $50 cheaper with delivery than most US sellers. I had someone buy one at auction last night for £5.50 more than my "buy it now" price on another listing - crazy!
  • pd66pd66 UKMember Posts: 168
    Maybe they are taking a loss on the shipping as a sales tactic?

    Personally, when I'm buying on ebay I always look at overall price not just the bid and maybe they think having a lower P&P cost will make people see them more favourably initially and they will end up recouping the difference in a slightly higher bid?

    Or....the box is going to turned up smashed and they get complaints because it's wrapped in a plastic bag and a bit of bubble wrap?!
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,310

    60cm x 50cm x 10cm

    the Lego box itself is 48cm x 38cm x 7cm

    Isn't there a break point at 50cm? In the UK, many couriers have a price for maximum dimension under 50cm, and then either refuse over this, or charge more. Do you have an original lego shipping box? If so, these are normally 50cm long for a 48cm lego box, so just fit in this limit. I have a few for technic sets, but these are 50cm x 30cm x 30cm. So not big enough for your use.
  • monkeyhangermonkeyhanger Member Posts: 2,889
    No original shipping boxes unfortunately, just off the shelf purchases. Been using boxes acquired from Costco. Funnily enough, I got a slightly smaller box for one to ship - 55cm x 45cm x 10cm and it came out at £1.50 more than using a 60 x 50 x 10 box with the same carrier?!?!
  • beebee Member Posts: 33
    What is the best/safest method for shipping worldwide through eBay? Where the seller is protected just in case the buyer claims that they did not receive the product. Just wanted to get some thoughts from those that sell in the US and ship worldwide. Thanks!
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,310
    Ship it tracked, with insurance.
  • samiam391samiam391 A Log Cabin in KY, United StatesMember Posts: 4,299
    edited January 2013
    Whenever I ship worldwide through eBay, I always ship it registered mail which provides very safe and secure shipping and tracking.
  • beebee Member Posts: 33
    samiam391 said:

    Whenever I ship worldwide through eBay, I always ship it registered mail which provides very safe and secure shipping and tracking.

    Do you ship USPS? Priority or first class? Not familiar with how to do registered mail. It seems that USPS only has tracking information up until it enters the country and that's it.....which doesn't protect us if the buyer claims they haven't received the product

  • samiam391samiam391 A Log Cabin in KY, United StatesMember Posts: 4,299
    bee said:

    samiam391 said:

    Whenever I ship worldwide through eBay, I always ship it registered mail which provides very safe and secure shipping and tracking.

    Do you ship USPS? Priority or first class? Not familiar with how to do registered mail. It seems that USPS only has tracking information up until it enters the country and that's it.....which doesn't protect us if the buyer claims they haven't received the product


    Yes, registered mail is USPS. I ship mine first class because I ship in "figure sized" boxes.

    You do have to wrap your package in brown tape, as opposed to regular packing tape. At USPs, or at least mine, they let me use their brown tape. I simply tape up the box using standard clear packing tape, and than cover it up with brown tape when I get to the USPS.

    You also have to fill out a registered mail form, which is as simple as "from/to".

    Registered mail is under lock and key until it reaches its destination, where upon tracking notifies you that it has arrived at its destination.

    Who better to explain it, than USPS themselves:
    http://faq.usps.com/eCustomer/iq/usps/request.do?create=kb:USPSFAQ&view()=c%5Bc_usps04233%5D&varset(source)=sourceType:embedded

    It does cost a bit extra, however I find that it is worth it, especially in cases where I want to make, with absolute surety, that the package arrives at its destination.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    Registered Mail is only a Domestic service, the OP wants to know about international shipping.

    Priority Mail International doesn't provide tracking to a lot of countries, for that you need Express Mail, which gets expensive for some items.
  • beebee Member Posts: 33
    You're right. I just feel stuck. But it seems that MANY sellers sell their lego sets on ebay offering Worldwide shipping. Does this mean that they are just taking the risk?
  • emilewskiemilewski CT, USAMember Posts: 475
    ^ I am not that experienced with selling, but have been selling internationally through eBay. I never had problems, until now. Two shipments (one to Portugal and one to the Netherlands) have not shown up and it has been about 40 days. I will have to refund the amount plus shipping and just hope that they eventually show up and the buyers are honest and kind enough to pay me back later if they do. I used insurepost.com to insure one of them for USPS first class...I will have to see how their claim process goes. So yeah, a risk...but profitable too potentially. I would love to hear what other's experience is.
  • clowndiscuslegoclowndiscuslego Member Posts: 97
    usps postal charges went up today

    i am on the west coast

    a 1 ounce bubble mailer in the usa is $1.69 now (up from $1.64)

    for that same 1 ounce to canada is now $6.16 (up from $3.00)

    and it was that same $6.16 for most countries

    just a FYI
  • sidersddsidersdd USAMember Posts: 2,432

    Registered Mail is only a Domestic service, the OP wants to know about international shipping.

    Registered Mail is not just a domestic service. It works for First Class International to most countries. It's about an additional $13 to ship - or at least it was before the last round of changes (I haven't looked to see if Registered Mail was impacted).
  • sidersddsidersdd USAMember Posts: 2,432
    Does anyone know what happened to eBay's Global Shipping Program? The one where you ship to an eBay warehouse and they handle shipping to the foreign country?
  • sidersddsidersdd USAMember Posts: 2,432
    ^ Yeah, I had seen that, but I don't see the opt-in options in my account (specifically the "Offer the Global Shipping Program" setting). I wasn't sure if the program had been suspended or not. Has anyone used it?
  • prevereprevere North of Bellville, East of Heartlake, South of Bricksburg, West of Ninjago City Member Posts: 2,886

    usps postal charges went up today

    i am on the west coast

    a 1 ounce bubble mailer in the usa is $1.69 now (up from $1.64)

    for that same 1 ounce to canada is now $6.16 (up from $3.00)

    and it was that same $6.16 for most countries

    just a FYI

    And to Australia is around $9.
  • vwong19vwong19 San DiegoMember Posts: 1,183
    I guess I will be losing many international customers with the 100% shipping price increase... It appears that you can create shipping labels online now and maybe it includes tracking as well.

    Shipping a 2oz package from the US to Australia (or most any other country) is $6.16 (online).
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,129
    ^ yeah. the package rate for bigger sets didn't go up as drastically, but selling a couple minifigs across the pond is going to be a lot less frequent
  • BastaBasta Australia Member Posts: 1,259
    I have purchased a lot of Lego sets from Amazon FR, ES, DE & UK. One thing I have found is that shipping charges are all over the place.

    Most recently amazon.co.uk have the Technic Helicopter #9396 purchasing one of these has a £11.03 shipping charge, if I order 5 of these sets it increases to £11.17, a whole 14p more. The Goblin King Battle #79010 on the other hand is £16.73 for one & £39.68 for 5. #9396 is actually 300 grams heavier then #79010 and they are both in the same size box.

    Another experience a while ago was with amazon.de and the Red and Yellow cargo trains, postage was just about double for the yellow train.

    I would have thought that Amazon would have a better system for calculating postage. Such as each item they sell has its weight and box dimensions entered in the system and some algorithm spits out a postage charge.
  • ArdalisArdalis Member Posts: 37
    edited January 2013
    First question I would have to ask is are you sure it was all coming from Amazon themselves and not another company..ie Amazon EU S.a.r.L. is the seller name for Amazon themselves. anything else and its a third party shop which means you don't get the free supersaver postage offers or stuff like that.




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