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Does this customs charge seem excessive?


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IIRC RM have a set standard charge for procssing which will account for £8 so the rest is duty / vat etc

Taken from RM website

"All mail that enter the United Kingdom may be examined by customs, but normally letters, postcards and packets containing only documents or similar forms of correspondence are excluded.

If you are receiving a package from overseas (unless it’s from another EU Country), please be aware that it may incur customs charges. Any package assessed by HM Revenue and customs as being liable for customs charges will also incur a Royal Mail handling fee of £8.

Any goods imported into the UK over the value of £18 are liable to import VAT. Gifts between private individuals over the value of £40 are also liable for VAT. Goods and gifts over these values may also be liable for customs duty. You no longer have to pay customs duty for goods up to the value of £135, however you will still be required to pay import VAT and excise duty where applicable"

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I've paid similar, but mainly because I wouldn't know how to dispute it. I'm going to have to pay £34 tomorrow for my ES 18mm 2" from Optcorp in the US. I expected it though and it still makes for a good price. But that's hefty for a wee bag of bolts.

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I've paid similar, but mainly because I wouldn't know how to dispute it. I'm going to have to pay £34 tomorrow for my ES 18mm 2" from Optcorp in the US. I expected it though and it still makes for a good price. But that's hefty for a wee bag of bolts.

Yep, I'm going to pay it mainly because I can't be bothered contesting it. I guess its the Royal Mail because I've bought things from Scopestuff in the past that cost more than the bolts did yet I didn't have to pay any customs charge.

I've got a 9mm ES 100deg from Optcorp on the way myself....:hello2:

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Yes a real rip off. But with RM stuck for money and the government the same, they are out to get every penny they can from anywhere.

If you can get together with others and bulk buy, you will get only one import handling charge, but duty & VAT on the total.

If you can buy from within the (now large) EU, you won't have any problems. It will come straight in.

At work I often import high value electronics items for repair & return to country of origin. It takes longer to sort out the paperwork than it does to find & fix the faults. No kidding there. The paperwork is supposed to be a standard procedure and the faults are different every time. We have seriously considered equipping a truck container as a workshop with spares and setting it up outside the UK mainland. Paying for flight & hotel a couple of times a month might be cheaper than dealing with the paper trail. Sad situation when skilled work goes out of the UK - but it gets RM handling charges into perspective.

Sorry got to go. Can't breathe. Red tape throttling me.

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Yep. I placed another order and shared it with my brother and a frind to see if it cuts down the charges. We'll share shipping and duty. Will be interesting to see how it works out - might not actually be much cheaper than buying in the UK (although I know that the saving on the ES 100degree will probably be worth it!)

Ant

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It seems to be the case that if goods are shipped via Fedex or UPS they attract the (correct) duty and VAT plus the RM handlig fee if they're involved. My experience is that when other carriers are involved items seem to get through without the charges.

Some people (ahem) ask for packages to be marked 'Gift' or 'Samples - of no commercial value' but the problem then is if an item is damaged in transit then the insurance is worthless.

Without doubt some items are cheaper even after paying all the necessary fees but consideration needs to be given to such elements as warranty and customer support. What would be useful is a clear indication of exactly what the customs charges and VAT are payable when importing but my efforts to find such information has failed.

I'm sure we'd all prefer to support our local supplier (not that we really have a dedicated astronomy retailer in Cumbria) and especially when a potenmtial supplier offers histime, experience and advice only to find the customer then buys from the cheapest source available. That said, none of us likes having our leg lifted or can afford to ignore significant savings in these austere times (even if the Government has kindly informed us that the recession is over...)

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I would have gone for a UK supplier, except for two things. I could only find one retailer keeping any of the Explore Scientific products in the UK, and their stock is limited to the 100-degree eyepieces. Also, their prices do not reflect the Winter Sale Event that ES are running on their entire range. So not only is the UK price intrinsically higher, but they are ignoring the manufacturer's sale promotion too!

I may have missed out on finding alternative UK retailers. I did spend some time searching, but only found the one. Unless anyone knows of any alternatives to TH?

The total cost for my ES 18mm 2" which arrived today, including purchase price, shipping, import VAT and handling charge is £145. The other eyepiece I would consider as an alternative to this particular model is the 17mm Nagler T4 - £240 including 20% discount at the moment. A price which I couldn't justify at the moment...

Will the ES be "worth it"? I'll have to see, but at the very least it has cost me less actual cash at this point than the nearest competitor (albeit a competitor which may well be a tad superior to it).

My next incoming order comprises several eyepices, all bought at the US price less hefty "sale" discounts, so it will be interesting to see how it goes. One thing to consider is that several of the items I've ordered are simply not available over here (or if they are I can't find them)! But yes, Gaz - I was well aware of the price difference between the UK and the US for the 9mm ES100 - hence the purchase! :hello2:

Ant

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Got the charges today for the ES 9mm 100deg eyepiece, the total came to £43 which gives a total for the eyepiece, delivery from the USA and customs of ~£240 which is quite a saving on the UK price even with TH 20% off deal.

Edited by GazOC
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Without doubt some items are cheaper even after paying all the necessary fees but consideration needs to be given to such elements as warranty and customer support. What would be useful is a clear indication of exactly what the customs charges and VAT are payable when importing but my efforts to find such information has failed.

From what I can determine; you can find out what import duties apply by using the business link website and searching for "Tariff". It's a nightmare to find however - the HMRC have buried the link deep in their website.

I've attached a link for info on Astronomy items

Heading | Business Link

I hope it works, but if not you need Section XVIII, Chapter 90, heading 9005. but it looks like Customs is 4.2%, VAT 20%.

I hope this helps

Ian

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Yep, Royal Mail have found a nice little way to add to their coffers.

The £12 will be simply what they charge, you still have the duty to pay.

If I get anything I always ask that it be sent via FedEx. I think that the "handling" charges are part of the initial payment, and they have more experience of our customs rules etc.

If it was sent UPS then UPS hand it over to Royal Mail, so pick he courier with care.

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If you send it via Fed-Ex / TNT etc then there is only one courier involved so i would not expect an additional handling charge.

HOWEVER

Why shouldnt RM charge £8 to process and transport the product ?? , if it was your business would you do it for free ??

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