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Damn you Brexit!! Astroboot closed to UK temporarily


AstroNebulee
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I'm sure it will all get sorted out soon / in due course / eventually (delete as appropriate).

At work I have been awaiting some equipment for repair here, coming from the USA. With UPS reporting 'held up in customs' for several days.
This being despite the usual known and well understood paperwork accompanying the package.
The customer is seriously considering buying new equipment from us as it will be cheaper than losing money while his machinery is not running.

Normally we get things delivered to us in a couple days, rapid repair, and a couple of days return freight.
In reality, the customer sees the repair 7-10 days door to door.
If we can offer this speed, there is little incentive for customers to look locally and take a risk.

Nothing has changed in dealing with the USA. But the pen pushers are so busy making mountains out of molehills in other areas that it is having a significant knock on to established routes.

Along with container shipping charges and times becoming astronomical (no pun intended), the rule makers are going to have get their act together to avoid serious international trade barriers caused by shipping frustrations.

In the meantime we can only grumble.

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Ref discardedastro........but the other half only had 3 copies of the paperwork attached, not 4,

You have my sympathy. Been there and got the T shirt.....

Common sense and international shipping rarely go together.

We have found the number of invoices required  by the penpushers seems to vary in  an unpredictable manner. Not by destination, parcel content, value, day of week, phase of moon, or anything else predictable.
Now we always include at least 6 copies of the commercial invoice. Paper is cheap and hopefully there are still some trees left on the planet. We have yet to be asked for more than 6 copies.
When signing invoices by pen, always use a blue pen so it stands out against the black print.
Some jobsworths have been known to reject invoices signed in black as they might be photocopies. Yes they need sight tests if they can't differentiate between original and photocopy.

But it isn't just 'Johnny foreigner' who causes bother.
Once in routine checks by HMRC, they pounced on one of our invoices that did not include VAT. It was a sale to Singapore.
They were shown the order to us from the Singapore company. Not good enough.
They were shown a bank statement with our payment received (numbers matching) from a Singapore bank. No good.
They were shown the invoice from the parcel shipping company, to prove goods export. Not good enough.
Eventually after much effort we dug out our copy of the parcel carriers waybill. Complete with 'X' or similar mark that was supposedly the collecting driver signature. Job done!
No the driver did not add his name in capitals, employee number, van reference or anything at all.
We had a big pile of blank waybills that we ompleted when shipping. Or screwed up if we didn't ship or made a mistake.
The carrier was not interested in missing waybills. He just gave us another wad when we asked.
If I had known HMRC would accept a waybill without further proof......Writing now sipping a long cool drink on my Caribbean island.
Go figure!
 

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HMRC appear to have been lenient in your case. Usually without evidence of export - a DTi-S8 - you will be charged VAT and a penalty. They will also go through your records and repeat the same for any non compliant export. It is wise for any organisation to have good export procedures in force. Companies should have for each export: a commercial invoice; a transport document - AWB, BOL, CMR; a C-88 SAD; a DTi-S8. There's no excuse for not having them!

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2 hours ago, Ships and Stars said:

I sent an important parcel 48hr on the 11th to an EU country with the required paperwork in quadruple as requested via a normally fast and reliable courier.

It's still in the UK distribution hub. 

Businesses are apparently being told by HMRC reps over the phone if they don't like it, they can relocate to an EU country. 

Between shipping and charges, this effectively halts purchases of astronomy equipment from the EU unless you are happy to pay a third more or it's under £39.

Without saying more, I'll let people decide if this is a good thing for the UK, especially with our economy in its current state.

 

I am seeing this on other forums. A popular tent maker, Hilleberg and other Scandinavian and German outdoor equipment brands and retailers are no longer importing to the UK. Small UK businesses struggling advised by government to relocate into the EU, will lead to those working for these companies to lose their jobs.

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19 minutes ago, scarp15 said:

I am seeing this on other forums. A popular tent maker, Hilleberg and other Scandinavian and German outdoor equipment brands and retailers are no longer importing to the UK. Small UK businesses struggling advised by government to relocate into the EU, will lead to those working for these companies to lose their jobs.

It's a mess. I think shipping times will improve slightly, but that's all. The trade deal will have to be completely renegotiated.

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1 minute ago, Ships and Stars said:

It's a mess. I think shipping times will improve slightly, but that's all. The trade deal will have to be completely renegotiated.

To fix a lot of this, for sure. I think a lot of the pain is that we're well above "normal" shipping-from-outside-EU timelines because of general trade chaos due to COVID anyway, and then there's the paperwork nightmares atop of that. Once COVID starts to subside in 2022 that'll let general trade routes get back into the swing of things (or precipitate change to re-establish "normal" throughput/timing on new routes/volumes). The paperwork situation will bed in as exporters and importers figure out what to do and govt (we hope) makes long-awaited fixes to their IT systems so they can actually work with the EU rules properly as a third country.

But there will definitely be no return to next-day-from-the-EU as a third country, at least for individuals/private importers, and VAT/import charges are here to stay. That's an unfortunate consequence of leaving the single market and customs union, and I don't think that's going to be reopened as a topic for conversation in the next 8-10 years, practically.

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Ref Mr Spock.

All of this was some years back. We have found that the paperwork required seems to change with the lunar calendar.
Numbers that are valid in one part of the year are named differently later in the year.
HMRC (and in their earlier guises) have shown absolutely no interest in supporting companies who deal with small transactions overseas.

If you are importing/exporting items in the hundreds to a few thousand pounds each time, the paper trail is too onerous.
Small companies cannot have a dedicated team to handle what is not, but should be, a simple process.

Basically on repairs, we could diagnose a fault, remedy the problem and test in less time than it took to process the paperwork.
A few years ago we gave serious thought to equipping a 20ft container as a workshop. Benches, power points, test equipment, stock of parts, etc.
We would send this to a nearby less 'paper intensive' destination like IOM. Channel Islands - though this may have changed now. Paying a site rent and someone to handle parcels.
Once a month one of us would go out to the container for a few days and clear all the repairs.
Crazy I know. But the ££ numbers were looking good enough to justify this.

We now recommend scrapping a lot of equipment that is repairable and sell new.
Profit is unchanged simply because we don't have to deal with the import & re-export paper pushing.
Landfill (of difficult to recycle electronics) in various overseas countries is of course increasing.
A UK manufacturing company who pride themselves on being able to look after anything they have built in 40+ years now have to say:
Yes we can repair it for ££ and shipping is a couple of days each way. However, the paper trail will cost ££££, there may be customs delays of a week or more and there may be unforseen customs charges.

How do we export nowadays? Simple. We pass most of that to another company who deal with generally larger transactions. The owner is now grey. Not a hereditary conditionūüėĀ
For other items we box up the parcel and tell the customer they have to make their own arrangements. This is usually a consequence of them saying they doesn't like our (realistic) paper charges.

Until this year parcels to/from Barnsley, Basingstoke, Barcelona and Berlin had the same paperwork effort.

Unless the 'powers that be' get their act together trade with Europe is going to decline.
Once the trade is lost it will be difficult to recover.

Are we going to see a resurgence of 'Made in the UK' astronomy equipment? Not forgetting all the other sectors who are having similar issues.

 

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6 minutes ago, Carbon Brush said:

Are we going to see a resurgence of 'Made in the UK' astronomy equipment? Not forgetting all the other sectors who are having similar issues.

Have to be careful with rules of origin on that now, of course, which is another thing tripping up a lot of exporters.

Quite a good thread here on twitter from a wine importer about the struggles with the IT system.  There's also a (very long) thread of examples of non-tarrif barriers causing fun over here, which is useful as a view of how this is affecting different industries - it is interesting, in a slighly morbid way, to watch.

Edit: Hum, new theme and Twitter embeds don't seem to work very well but I can't paste in links without the editor instantly turning them into embeds.

Edited by discardedastro
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On 22/01/2021 at 16:07, LukeSkywatcher said:

Excuse my ignorance, but if Astroboot UK are based in the UK, why are they not shipping to UK addresses?.

They used to be based in Ely/Cambrdge area, GB/UK ūüá¨ūüáß,¬†...then they moved to/or shipped orders from¬†Kivik, Sweden¬†ūüáłūüá™, a few years back.

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I just bought a shelf for a caravan fridge freezer from Australia. Cost was $40 AUD, plus $41.10 AUD shipping. But then as expected I was billed another £17.09p by our UK Post Office of which  £8.00 customs tariff now ,but used to be around £18, the remainder  was the PO handling charge.

So around £62.79 total.  Cost over here for this item is  around £70. So I saved some money. But as usual the Post Office and others charge exorbitant fees for filling in a form online.

Same happened to me when buying several items from the USA in the past. We trade with countries all over the world and accept the customs fees. Astro gear is at about 4.2% from the USA.

Hopefully once things settle down it will all become quicker from the EU.

Edited by Physopto
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1 hour ago, DaveL59 said:

and now mastercard joins the party, upping transaction fees for EU purchases

Mastercard to push up fees for UK purchases from EU - BBC News

And beware, since Amazon process orders from their EU side not UK sho that could well affect purchases, Netflix etc.

I read that Visa who have yet to comment, have not ruled out the same measure, increasing the cost of transactions from an EU purchase from 0.3% to 1.5%. Also that debit card purchases will also increase. 

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And the way the BBC article reads, they're not saying they have to put the fees up because of additional costs associated with Brexit, but mostly "because we can", thanks to no longer being restricted by the EU.  It does look quite cynical :(

James

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2 hours ago, JamesF said:

And the way the BBC article reads, they're not saying they have to put the fees up because of additional costs associated with Brexit, but mostly "because we can", thanks to no longer being restricted by the EU.  It does look quite cynical :(

James

Some more details on this here https://www.theguardian.com/money/2021/jan/25/mastercard-to-raise-fees-to-eu-firms-by-500-percent-for-online-sales-to-uk-shoppers#:~:text=Mastercard to raise EU fees,online sales to UK shoppers&text=Credit cards,The Guardian

 

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On 21/01/2021 at 21:14, jonathan said:

Sounds to me that a lot of the problems seem to be on the EU side

If UK people are paying more it is exclusively because of how the UK is applying the rules. The money goes to to the UK government following the UKs interpretation of the rules.

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56 minutes ago, Ags said:

If UK people are paying more it is exclusively because of how the UK is applying the rules. The money goes to to the UK government following the UKs interpretation of the rules.

Indeed UK decided to not clear tax thru central clearing system (deals with different tax rates in EU) so now we have to pay handling fee if a company will still supply to UK. Just show companies will no longer trade if uneconomical, such as adding friction to trade... 

Maybe the answer is to have a warehouse in N.I., now the UK has been partitioned and N.I. is in the EU for trade purposes then as long as all good went thru there it would be less complicated, same tax regime?

Edited by Deadlake
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On 24/01/2021 at 12:29, discardedastro said:

Have to be careful with rules of origin on that now, of course, which is another thing tripping up a lot of exporters.

Quite a good thread here on twitter from a wine importer about the struggles with the IT system.  There's also a (very long) thread of examples of non-tarrif barriers causing fun over here, which is useful as a view of how this is affecting different industries - it is interesting, in a slighly morbid way, to watch.

Edit: Hum, new theme and Twitter embeds don't seem to work very well but I can't paste in links without the editor instantly turning them into embeds.

I guess this is an example of "care what you wish for".  People were warned that there would be consequences for this action...  Hell mend them.

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