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Thread: DHL customs bill

  1. #1
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    DHL customs bill

    I hope someone can shed some light on a query

    I bought a watch which was delivered to me back around end of May. As it was an import I was half expecting a bill by DHL before the watch would be delivered. To my surprise that didn’t happen and I got the watch delivered without any questions asked. I thought nothing of it but I’ve now just received a letter saying that I owe x amount to dhl.

    Seems rather odd or normal?

  2. #2
    Master j111dja's Avatar
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    It appears normal these days. I know that FedEx do the same on occasion.

  3. #3
    Never trust DHL - they are the worst company going.My experience is that they are liars...did you sign for the delivery and now they have sent a threatening message saying you owe money for import costs etc..otherwise they will take you to court?

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    Last edited by amcneill; 3rd July 2021 at 23:48.

  4. #4
    Master j111dja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amcneill View Post
    Never trust DHL - they are the worst company going.My experience is that they are liars...did you sign for the delivery and now they have sent a threatening message saying you owe money for import costs etc..?

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    I agree with the DHL scenario.

    What the carriers are doing is avoiding tax and duty delays for the customer. It is so he or she get their package quicker. We all have to pay tax and duty fees when necessary.

  5. #5
    Master jukeboxs's Avatar
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    So, you're not disputing that you owe DHL money for the import and you're not disputing the amount, you're only querying the timing of the request?

  6. #6
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    Yep, absolutely normal. I got one a few weeks ago (and ignored it) then received a slightly more urgent one about a fortnight later. Best to just pay it.

  7. #7
    Master TKH's Avatar
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    I guess you’ve just had the pleasure of enjoying “interest free credit terms’ …until they caught up with a backlog…DHL seem to work very differently to others in that they will release so they don’t end up with piles of packages piling up then they play catch-up..daft process IMHO..

    Fedex on the other hand ring and email (waybill) as your package lands and request immediate payment before they will send it on to you …which makes perfect sense as people are more inclined to pay instantly when they are waiting on their stuff…and they have no debtors to chase post event…

  8. #8
    Grand Master learningtofly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TKH View Post
    I guess you’ve just had the pleasure of enjoying “interest free credit terms’ …until they caught up with a backlog…DHL seem to work very differently to others in that they will release so they don’t end up with piles of packages piling up then they play catch-up..daft process IMHO..

    Fedex on the other hand ring and email (waybill) as your package lands and request immediate payment before they will send it on to you …which makes perfect sense as people are more inclined to pay instantly when they are waiting on their stuff…and they have no debtors to chase post event…
    Actually, I've had multiple invoices from FedEx some time after delivery.

  9. #9
    Master TKH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by learningtofly View Post
    Actually, I've had multiple invoices from FedEx some time after delivery.
    Fair enough Tony …both times i got a call from them on the day item landed requesting payment over phone…..which seems logical….perhaps its location dependent mine where originating from Japan…

  10. #10
    Grand Master Onelasttime's Avatar
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    I've only ever received delayed VAT demands from FedEx. DHL has always invoiced up front before delivery.

    FedEx were all letters, DHL has always been email.

  11. #11
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    I took delivery of a kitchen appliance earlier this year. It was 3 months later that DHL sent a demand notice for VAT, duty and admin fees. They had charged VAT on the full retail price ( not the documented discount price), carriage and admin.

    I disputed and they recalculated it, but then agreed to write it off. Not sure how they can write off a tax owed to government, but that’s the outcome.

  12. #12
    Grand Master Onelasttime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joe narvey View Post
    Not sure how they can write off a tax owed to government, but that’s the outcome.
    They'd already paid it and were forwarding the bill to you.

  13. #13
    Journeyman theancientmariner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TKH View Post
    Fair enough Tony …both times i got a call from them on the day item landed requesting payment over phone…..which seems logical….perhaps its location dependent mine where originating from Japan…
    They all vary tbh. Through work we've had both options through all our deliveries. Like you, it has always seemed more logical to us for them to ask for payment up front before they deliver the item but I guess that the reasons are two fold for the change, firstly the sheer number of extra shipments requiring import charges and secondly, some shipments require duty and vat to be applied (outside the EU) and others only require VAT (from the EU). Possibly as you suggest, the shipments from the EU are being allowed through prior to payment being received.

  14. #14
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    Same thing as OP described happened to me with DHL. I assume that although they try to collect payment up front, they have had so much work/paperwork of late they preferred to deliver and follow up later. I'd much rather they did this than keep me waiting for months for the delivery.

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  15. #15
    Master j111dja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by learningtofly View Post
    Actually, I've had multiple invoices from FedEx some time after delivery.
    Me too.

  16. #16
    Master j111dja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonRA View Post
    Same thing as OP described happened to me with DHL. I assume that although they try to collect payment up front, they have had so much work/paperwork of late they preferred to deliver and follow up later. I'd much rather they did this than keep me waiting for months for the delivery.
    I totally agree. It does make sense.

    The delivery and the tax and duty bill (post delivery) is becoming more popular with the carriers due to the current situation we are all in.
    Last edited by j111dja; 4th July 2021 at 10:42.

  17. #17
    This thread has made me think I might get a delayed bill from Royal mail.

    Recently bought a watch from Portugal which was only £250.00 so I factored in about £65.00 for import taxes plus fee's but it was delivered without any charges.
    I have no idea what was declared by the seller but he had put a value of €250.00 rather than pounds but even then I would of expected to be charged.

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  18. #18
    Something to mention if not already done so is with DHL(and others) they pay the import costs then charge you plus a nice commission fee on top.My item was listed in £ and no mention that it came from overseas.DHL initially contacted me by phone,were very rude and threatened to not deliver the package unless I paid their fees - I called their bluff by insisting they send item back which is an option apparently. Following this a series of attempted deliveries were made to my house with the item and insisting I paid upfront.I was then told during the last attempt that the import costs had been paid by the sender (they had agreed to pay due to non disclosure of their location).3 months later DHL threatened to take me to court if I didn't pay the original import costs - I had simply been lied to by them.Never trust them again.For clarity the costs charged by DHL were greater than the item was worth.

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  19. #19
    No problem at all with DHL and happy they deliver item before charges collected. Most of us know all carriers levy an administration charge, hardly a surprise there.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by jukeboxs View Post
    So, you're not disputing that you owe DHL money for the import and you're not disputing the amount, you're only querying the timing of the request?
    Exactly.

    Thanks all for the replies. Not disputing it, just surprised because I would have thought they would want payment first before releasing the product. A lot can happen in a month, what if I’d changed address or left the country etc. Plus I was also a bit wary it could have been a scam, but the documents do look legit.

  21. #21
    Grand Master wileeeeeey's Avatar
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    Hmm looks like I have a bill due too then. Unfortunate

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by wileeeeeey View Post
    Hmm looks like I have a bill due too then. Unfortunate
    I've got three more outstanding :(

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by gaurav_tzuk View Post
    A lot can happen in a month, what if I’d changed address or left the country etc. .
    bear in mind that it's HMRC that is the final recipient, not the courier company. They're just acting as agents for HMRC. So as long as you stay in this country and they want to get you, they will. If you move overseas you would most likely get away with it but between the honesty of people in general and the chances of someone moving overseas after just taking receipt to a UK address, I dare say that they're willing to risk the odd hiccup.

  24. #24
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    DHL have never before delivered without me paying first. They always hold the parcel until I pay. But about three months ago I received a very expensive fountain pen from the Netherlands, with no demand for payment. I thought I'd got lucky, but an invoice from DHL turned up a couple of weeks ago for £240 in VAT.

    I am now anticipating a flurry of other invoices for recent imports that I thought I'd got lucky with too.

    While I like having no delay in my deliveries, I would prefer to have full visibility of all costs before I decide to accept the delivery... getting hit with a bill three months later out of the blue is not a great feeling.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by theancientmariner View Post
    bear in mind that it's HMRC that is the final recipient, not the courier company. They're just acting as agents for HMRC. So as long as you stay in this country and they want to get you, they will. If you move overseas you would most likely get away with it but between the honesty of people in general and the chances of someone moving overseas after just taking receipt to a UK address, I dare say that they're willing to risk the odd hiccup.
    No concern of HMRC, they've already been paid by DHL.

  26. #26
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    I bought a used watch in May and the seller declared the item and value correctly on the customs forms. It was even opened and resealed by customs before leaving the EU so I was surprised when DHL delivered it here without any demands to pay VAT and admin costs first. Just got an invoice a few days ago (6 weeks later).

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by gaurav_tzuk View Post
    Exactly.

    Thanks all for the replies. Not disputing it, just surprised because I would have thought they would want payment first before releasing the product. A lot can happen in a month, what if I’d changed address or left the country etc. Plus I was also a bit wary it could have been a scam, but the documents do look legit.
    Out of interest, how much did they add for their admin fees on top of the VAT?

  28. #28
    Grand Master JasonM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FK77 View Post
    I bought a used watch in May and the seller declared the item and value correctly on the customs forms. It was even opened and resealed by customs before leaving the EU so I was surprised when DHL delivered it here without any demands to pay VAT and admin costs first. Just got an invoice a few days ago (6 weeks later).
    The delays must be because of the vast number of goods they now need to inspect and calculate costs on, basically everything that comes in now I guess.
    Cheers..
    Jase

  29. #29
    Grand Master snowman's Avatar
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    DHL recently got me to pay before delivery, while a delivery from FedEx arrived without payment, but I'm expecting an invoice at some point.

    M

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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by gcleminson View Post
    Out of interest, how much did they add for their admin fees on top of the VAT?
    Vat is 35, and charges on top are 11. Nice ~32% added…..

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by sickie View Post
    This thread has made me think I might get a delayed bill from Royal mail.

    Recently bought a watch from Portugal which was only £250.00 so I factored in about £65.00 for import taxes plus fee's but it was delivered without any charges.
    I have no idea what was declared by the seller but he had put a value of €250.00 rather than pounds but even then I would of expected to be charged.

    Sent from my SM-N976B using Tapatalk
    Unlikely. If it came via Royal Mail or Parcelfarce then you would have received a card telling you how much you owed and that you needed to pay it before they would deliver the package.

  32. #32
    Journeyman theancientmariner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    No concern of HMRC, they've already been paid by DHL.
    What makes you think that?

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by theancientmariner View Post
    What makes you think that?
    Common sense.

  34. #34
    Grand Master JasonM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theancientmariner View Post
    What makes you think that?
    Because thats what happens, the courier companies have arrangements with HMRC that allow them to pay the duties on the recipients behalf, this lets the goods get delivered without the huge delays that would result if HMRC had to inspect and asses each package, they do after all advertise a fast timed delivery service, they are in effect licensed customs agents, you could in theory ask that they don't do this and arrange your own assessment with a bonded inspector, the end result will be the same but it would take weeks. The deferred accounts that FedEx DHL etc have with HMRC run into the tens of millions, they of course then recover from the recipient.
    Cheers..
    Jase

  35. #35
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    It works a little different here. As soon as DHL are aware of the consignment they text me the CLC number. I then go on to Jersey custom's web site, declare the item and pay the GST. DHL are then instructed to release the item as soon as it arrives in Jersey. I have always found DHL to be one of the better companies over here.

  36. #36
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    I’ve had an invoice some time after the event too.

    I understand the argument that by doing this the courier is limiting the delays and getting the package to you as quickly as possible but what I object to is the lack of choice and transparency.

    This is usually because items I have imported have been low value (£50-£100) and the courier admin fees have been disproportionate. I have had one item, cost £50 and the courier added £10 VAT (fine with that) and £15 for their admin fee (not fine with that).

    My objections are:

    Lack of transparency - you rarely get advised in advance that this will happen, you certainly aren’t advised up front what the courier admin fees are, and even if you went searching on the courier’s website, this information is usually very difficult if not impossible to find.

    Lack of choice - I don’t get to choose the courier, nor do I get the choice to say “thanks for the offer, but no thanks, I’m not in a hurry so don’t mind the delay, let me pay the import taxes directly.

    It is certainly a money maker for the couriers, often the ‘admin fee’ they receive is larger than the postage they charged so you can see why they are so keen to do it.

    And sometimes it isn’t even the original courier that gets the fee. I’ve experienced where a international post office has been transported 1000s of miles, only to be picked up by Royal Mail to do ‘the last hundred yards’ and it Royal Mail that charge the admin fee - fantastic little earner for them.

    I don’t mind paying import taxes and personally, I would like to see a system where you can declare those and pay them up front.

    Cheers,

    Nigel

  37. #37
    Grand Master JasonM's Avatar
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    Ive just done a very basic Google search and FedEx at least is very easy to find https://www.fedex.com/en-gb/billing/duty-tax.html
    Last edited by JasonM; 7th July 2021 at 08:13.
    Cheers..
    Jase

  38. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by nheather View Post
    I’ve had an invoice some time after the event too.

    I understand the argument that by doing this the courier is limiting the delays and getting the package to you as quickly as possible but what I object to is the lack of choice and transparency.

    This is usually because items I have imported have been low value (£50-£100) and the courier admin fees have been disproportionate. I have had one item, cost £50 and the courier added £10 VAT (fine with that) and £15 for their admin fee (not fine with that).

    My objections are:

    Lack of transparency - you rarely get advised in advance that this will happen, you certainly aren’t advised up front what the courier admin fees are, and even if you went searching on the courier’s website, this information is usually very difficult if not impossible to find.

    Lack of choice - I don’t get to choose the courier, nor do I get the choice to say “thanks for the offer, but no thanks, I’m not in a hurry so don’t mind the delay, let me pay the import taxes directly.

    It is certainly a money maker for the couriers, often the ‘admin fee’ they receive is larger than the postage they charged so you can see why they are so keen to do it.

    And sometimes it isn’t even the original courier that gets the fee. I’ve experienced where a international post office has been transported 1000s of miles, only to be picked up by Royal Mail to do ‘the last hundred yards’ and it Royal Mail that charge the admin fee - fantastic little earner for them.

    I don’t mind paying import taxes and personally, I would like to see a system where you can declare those and pay them up front.

    Cheers,

    Nigel
    As already posted same amount of work in getting something through customs, whether £10 or £10000.

    How could you choose the courier? That's down to the sender, they might give you a choice but down to them.

    The admin fees aren't very different between couriers, normally £10-£12.

    It's a money maker (they're not a charity) but doubt a large one.

    Whoever deals with HMRC will incur admin costs and charge the fee. No matter someone else has transported your package 1000s of miles, they've already been paid for that.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by nheather View Post
    I’ve had an invoice some time after the event too.

    I understand the argument that by doing this the courier is limiting the delays and getting the package to you as quickly as possible but what I object to is the lack of choice and transparency.

    This is usually because items I have imported have been low value (£50-£100) and the courier admin fees have been disproportionate. I have had one item, cost £50 and the courier added £10 VAT (fine with that) and £15 for their admin fee (not fine with that). ........................................ etc

    I don’t mind paying import taxes and personally, I would like to see a system where you can declare those and pay them up front.

    Cheers,

    Nigel
    From a previous post of mine:-

    If you don't want to pay this fee all you have to do is ask the seller to state "Goods to be customs cleared by the importer" on the customs declaration form accompanying the package. Border Force will then contact you direct to claim VAT/duty. Good luck.

    More info here:-

    https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/con...importing-post

    However, the pertinent part is:-

    Declaring the goods yourself

    As the importer you can carry out your own Customs procedures. If you want to do this, you will need to ensure the sender clearly marks the Customs declaration form (CN22 or CN23) 'goods to be Customs cleared by the importer'. Do not write on the wrapping. If the Customs declaration form (CN22 or CN23) is not marked in this way by the sender, the goods will be cleared by customs in the normal way; once goods have been Customs cleared you cannot then retrospectively apply to self clear them.

    For items that have been marked for clearance by the importer, a full declaration will be sent to you to complete and return to the appropriate customs postal office.


    They will calculate any import charges and write and advise you of your tax liability.


    When you have paid this and the funds have been cleared, your goods will be released for delivery.


    However, as a manual procedure there could be a considerable delay in the receipt of your goods.
    You can obtain copies of the import declaration form and further information on the HMRC VAT Helpline on Tel 0300 200 3700.

  40. #40
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    I have a watch on order from Japan. Shipped on Wednesday, arrived at Heathrow yesterday and forwarded on to the DHL East Midlands facility the same day. I got a text from DHL yesterday confirming what I needed to pay (just under £386). I paid that after receiving the notification. It was still cheaper to buy from Japan. I should receive it by Monday.

  41. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by RickS View Post
    From a previous post of mine:-

    If you don't want to pay this fee all you have to do is ask the seller to state "Goods to be customs cleared by the importer" on the customs declaration form accompanying the package. Border Force will then contact you direct to claim VAT/duty. Good luck.
    Might work for a private seller but good luck getting a seller like Amazon to do this.

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