evange106 (evange106) wrote in egl,

Question about import duties on Fan plus Friend shipments.

I'm Canadian, so we pay sales tax on any parcel with a declared value over $20, plus $5 to Canada customs/border services for the privilege of having that tax collected from us. But because this amount is so laughably low, customs officials will often let smaller value packages slide, so something that's $25 or $30 will very rarely be taxed, something declared as $40 has a fair chance of being taxed, but might slip through, and something that's $60 (still unreasonably low, IMO) will almost certainly be taxed.

Now if you have something sent by courier (UPS, FedEx, DHL), you're also liable for brokerage fees. Which is the fee they charge for "brokering" your parcel to get it across the border (ie. Paperwork). These fees typically range from 10 to 20% of the declared value. 

For comparison, in the US a parcel can have a maximum declared value of $200 before there are duties.

So I'm planning of making an order with Fan plus friend. I've chosen 5 dresses and 3 shirts, so there is pretty much no way I can avoid customs by keeping the value of the package low (although, even if I bought each dress one at a time and paid shipping separately, I'd still probably end up being taxed.)

And to add insult to injury, Fan plus friend only appear to ship with UPS, meaning I'll also be liable for a brokerage fee. 

But I noticed on the F+F website that they say "we can mark your package as low value to avoid possible custom taxes." Which, at least in my country, is illegal. It's kind of difficult for customs to catch, but if they do they can (a) Guess the value and charge you whatever tax they think is fair (b) refuse to let the package clear (c) heavily scrutinize future packages.

I know some companies will designate part of their price as "consulting fees" or "service charges" so that they can still charge the price they charge, but the declared value will be significantly lower. So it's kind of a gray area/loophole.

Anyway, anyone have any experience ordering with fanplusfriend? Do you remember what the declared value of the package was vs. the price you paid for the goods?

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