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Customs charges in the UK

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  1. #1

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    Aug 2017
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    Customs charges in the UK

    I sent our belongings from Hong Kong back to the UK via HK post, One of the 5 30KG boxes was stopped by UK customs. They charged £130 VAT on the contents. It was all personal items - most purchased in the UK!!!

    Because it was being shipped at he UK end by Parcelforce, Parcelforce paid the charges but now won't release the box until I pay them. If I don't they return the item to the sender (Me inHong Kong but I'm now in the UK)

    I've no idea what they have charged for. Apparently my only choice is to pay up and then argue for a refund with the Customs people. Grrrrr!!!

    Anyone had experience of this.
    Mr Chips likes this.

  2. #2

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    130 quid seems quite excessive but I also recently sent 5 x 30kg boxes to the UK and had one stopped at customs, I think they wanted 50 quid...

    I sent loads of parcels to the UK over the years... I would say, from my experience, I got picked about 1 in 5 times, so it seems about right... 130... yeah that sucks...

    I've always just sucked it up and paid...

    Thinking about it... sadly, the VAT thing pushed me into the arms of Amazon... I used to like sending quirky gifts to pals with kids in the UK, training chopsticks, money cats, lanterns, etc... but paying 50 quid for stuff that was worth 10 put me off a bit... it was also awkward as they've always wanted the receiver to pay it!!

    Sucks man... I feel your pain... that said, you're out of there... you're going to be very happy soon!

    gigglinggal likes this.

  3. #3

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    I haven't personally had experience, but friends have encountered it when moving back to UK (they gave up getting the money back in the end, life's too short to argue the toss with Her Majesty's Customs over 100 quid).

    It is the reason I've decided to send everything with the shippers, despite the teen complaining that all her stuff is far too important to wait 2 months for. Especially as we're heading to France, if you think UK customs are bad...

    Mr Chips likes this.

  4. #4

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    Applies to other parts in Europe too. I think that they’re trying to profit from the parcel load with the covid situation. My sister claims that 1 out of 6 parcels over the past 4 months she received through the air from Hong Kong are being taxed (new and old items).


  5. #5

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    Feb 2016
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    Very important to mark the customs form USED personal effects NCV (no commercial value)

    shri, TheBrit and AB888 like this.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by meinhkhk:
    Very important to mark the customs form USED personal effects NCV (no commercial value)

    I agree. Get the paperwork correct, HMRC runs on paperwork.
    AB888 likes this.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by meinhkhk:
    Very important to mark the customs form USED personal effects NCV (no commercial value)
    Yes - I think I was naive on this matter. Didn't really think it through carefully enough. I will pay and then go about trying to reclaim.

    Quote Originally Posted by kimwy66:
    I haven't personally had experience, but friends have encountered it when moving back to UK (they gave up getting the money back in the end, life's too short to argue the toss with Her Majesty's Customs over 100 quid).
    Well there is a form online to fill in if you disagree. I'll give it ago - it's not too complicated. The difficult thing is proving where you purchased things. I don't have receipts for items purchased years ago.

    It's a stupid situation. We took the ipad/camera/samsung tablet/ 2 phones we purchased in HK all through as hand luggage and no one questions of course and yet old items bought in the UK...

  8. #8
    bsh
    bsh is offline

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    I got the impression any boxes containing electrical goods, old or new, will be subject to custom charges.


  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by bsh:
    I got the impression any boxes containing electrical goods, old or new, will be subject to custom charges.
    The interesting thing is the boxes with some nice expensive bluetooth speakers and Nespresso machine in came through ok. However, I think maybe the boxes contents were incorrectly labelled. Would they go purely on the label and not check. How would they calculate a value? The label was very generic.

    They box they stopped does have 3 fake designer handbags in. £10 each off the night market. I wonder if they think they are real!!!

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Sep 2020
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    Fake goods

    I do believe that having Fake goods is not regarded very highly by customs authorities. Some years ago a friend visited from the UK and was blown away by all the fake goods available. He thought he would do his Christmas shopping here and bought a suitcase which he filled with handbags, scarfs, watches etc. About HK$5000 worth of goods. They were all confiscated and but for the fact that he was an elderly retired professional it could have very bad. Regarding relocation the UK government does have tax exemption forms for shipped goods.


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