Welcome to Laser Pointer Forums - discuss green laser pointers, blue laser pointers, and all types of lasers



Laser Pointer Store

Customs and Fed Ex

tsteele93

New member
Joined
Dec 27, 2011
Messages
2,065
Likes
98
Points
0
I ordered about $110 in hosts from Wholesale Flashlight - LED Flashlight, Rechargeable Flashlight, Led Torch

Fed ex called and said that the company is known for declaring low values to avoid customs duty. (Don't they ALL?)

So I have to fill out a bunch of forms and wait and see. I can't tell for sure if they did this or not. My retail was $109 plus shipping, and they valued it at what looks to be $89. Not sure if that is some tipping point?

I guess that I will find out soon. The customs people at Fed Ex have been unusually terse and even a little unhelpful. I've had at least one email go unanswered during the process.


"Hi tsteele93,

Per our conversation, attached please find the Original Commercial Invoice we received from A&A Worldwide, a blank Pro Forma Invoice, a Value Verification Form and a 5106 Form.*
*
Please be advised that U.S. Customs in Anchorage, AK will no longer accept commercial invoices from A&A Worldwide, as they are a freight forwarding company.
*
In order to clear this shipment through U.S. Customs, we need the following:
*
1 – A copy of the Original Commercial Invoice from the actual seller of these items OR the attached Pro Forma Invoice completed in its entirety by you
*
***Please note that the shipper’s address listed on the original invoice is actually the address of A&A Worldwide. We cannot accept a new invoice with this address.***
*
2 – Attached Value Verification Form completed by you
*
3 – Attached 5106 form completed by you
*
You can either email the forms back to me, or fax to 716-871-3XXX with awb 509384757728 on each form.
*
Best Regards,


Frank W. Woodward
Sr. ECO Import Coordinator
FedEx Trade Networks Transport & Brokerage, Inc.
Hours:* Mon-Fri 8-4:30 EST
1.716.505.8XXX TEL
1.716.871.3XXX FAX
E-mail:* frank.woodward@fedex.com
**
*
Are you aware that FedEx Trade Networks offers international freight forwarding, air & ocean transportation, customs brokerage, trade and customs advisory services, and other value-added services?* FedEx Trade Networks can help increase your supply chain efficiency and drive down your overall costs.* If you would like to learn more, please e-mail a FedEx Trade Networks Representative at FTN_CS@ftn.fedex.com."
*
 

tsteele93

New member
Joined
Dec 27, 2011
Messages
2,065
Likes
98
Points
0
So clearly no one cared about this post. :D I'll follow up anyway.

I sent Fed Ex a copy of the invoice from the website, and signed some documents, sent my ssn, and they wrote back and said they needed to be PDF or something I didn't have.

I had a couple of emails that weren't even replied to!

Finally I wrote a letter that basically said that I had NEVER been treated this way by fed ex. Nothing about the experience was the way I'd become accustomed to being treated by fed ex and asked to speak to a manager.

I told them to open the package and see that it was 9 flashlights and nothing special, etc...

I finally got a manager to write back and explain they were trying to follow the rules for US Customs, but they were able to use my information after all and the package should be on the way shortly.

The manager was very helpful, and I am happy with fed ex again - but of you get a supplier who Customs doesn't like, it can be a real hassle to get your shipment to clear.

What is so crazy is that I had nothing to hide, and I think the vendor under-declared by $20 maybe (which I did not ask for!) - but there really wasn't anything really significant going on that made this worth customs time or trouble.

Anyway, hopefully I will have some cool hosts here soon...
 
Last edited:
Joined
Mar 16, 2011
Messages
472
Likes
13
Points
0
it boils down to money, cutoms tinks they are being shorted on duties, and they are, but paying full or in the next bracket, eats in to money on the other side, its a puny amount but over a long time.....
 

InfinitusEquitas

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 27, 2011
Messages
16,032
Likes
909
Points
113
Just saw this thread...

Question. Who initiated this process? Customs or FedEx itself?

Depending on your answer, I think I may add FedEx to the list of companies absolutely not to use in future orders.
 

tsteele93

New member
Joined
Dec 27, 2011
Messages
2,065
Likes
98
Points
0
I don't know, but I've never had had this happen with DHL. That could just be coincidence though. If Customs initiated it, then that is fine with me. But I felt like Fed Ex was putting the entire paperwork hassle on me. Which annoyed me because I'm sure they are used to all those forms and could have pre-filled most of them out in short order.

In the end, I'm ok with Fed Ex because the manager I asked to speak with DID step up and do the work for me. I was frustrated that I had to escalate things in order for it to get taken care of properly.
 
Last edited:

sinner

New member
Joined
Oct 27, 2011
Messages
2,571
Likes
330
Points
0
Problem arises when the US Customs contracts with companies like Fedex, and fedex has to go through a new set of rules specifically designed to irritate customers!!! Well its nobodies fault but those who abuse the international trade systems , and trust me on this one some businesses actually rely on the "holes" in the custom policies.. which time to time get caught and a new rule is born with a blacklisting update..
 

DTR

Well-known member
LPF Site Supporter
Joined
Jun 24, 2010
Messages
5,607
Likes
950
Points
113
I am trying to figure out why they care about the declaired value? US has no VAT that I am aware of. At least I have never paid one.:thinking:
 

tsteele93

New member
Joined
Dec 27, 2011
Messages
2,065
Likes
98
Points
0
I am trying to figure out why they care about the declaired value? US has no VAT that I am aware of. At least I have never paid one.:thinking:
Your govt at work...

Determining Duty Rates - CBP.gov

"The Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) provides duty rates for virtually every item that exists. The HTS is a reference manual that is the size of an unabridged dictionary.


Experts spend years learning how to properly classify an item in order to determine its correct duty rate. For instance, you might want to know the rate of duty of a wool suit. A classification specialist will need to know, does it have darts? Did the wool come from Israel or another country that qualifies for duty-free treatment for certain of its products, where was the suit assembled, does it have any synthetic fibers in the lining...."

Here is a FAQ

http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/trade/basic_trade/internet_purchases.xml

Reading that FAQ REALLY makes me wonder why they were giving me such a hard time. The actual value of my whole order was something like ~$120 I think?

It seems like $200 is their starting point and mostly $2,000 and up is on their radar. I guess my supplier was on their blacklist and they wanted to prove a point. It is funny, if it has been lasers I would have been sheepish, but since I was doing nothing wrong I was very indignant!

Edit: $108
 
Last edited:

vk2fro

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 30, 2009
Messages
1,301
Likes
135
Points
63
I could just see that hand grenade being quite dangerous. Kind of like the laser basketball discussed on another thread (or was it irc).

The grenade once the pin is pulled (I know, theres no pin!), counts down the time set in its base, then shoots out 120 1.2W 445 beams for 5 seconds in all directions. Thats as long as it will go as powering 120 diodes would be murder on the installed battery, which then proceeds to explode, just like a real grenade.

Seriously though, the grenade host actuall does look very similar to a WWII pineapple grenade. :)

You'd be forgiven for thinking it looks like a mini submarine as well :)
 

Geezer

New member
Joined
Jan 31, 2012
Messages
6
Likes
0
Points
0
I am trying to figure out why they care about the declaired value? US has no VAT that I am aware of. At least I have never paid one.:thinking:
The declared value is used to determine the amount, if any, of custom duties. Custom duties (or tariffs) have nothing to do with VAT. Custom duties are thousands of years old while the first VAT was introduced in 1954 in France. The first U.S. custom duty was imposed in 1790. Before 1913, over 95% of the U.S. government’s income came from custom duties. Besides being a source of income for the government, customs duties are intended to discourage the purchase/importation of foreign goods and encourage the manufacture/purchase of goods domestically. The U.S. has custom duties on hundreds of thousands of products (but not lasers).
 
Joined
Nov 8, 2006
Messages
656
Likes
67
Points
0
The declared value is used to determine the amount, if any, of custom duties. Custom duties (or tariffs) have nothing to do with VAT. Custom duties are thousands of years old while the first VAT was introduced in 1954 in France. The first U.S. custom duty was imposed in 1790. Before 1913, over 95% of the U.S. government’s income came from custom duties. Besides being a source of income for the government, customs duties are intended to discourage the purchase/importation of foreign goods and encourage the manufacture/purchase of goods domestically. The U.S. has custom duties on hundreds of thousands of products (but not lasers).
You're correct on all of this except the last sentence, there are duties on lasers imported from most countries, China being one of them.
There is a 3.1% customs duty as well as other extra little fees from DHL, fedex and UPS.
You can verify this by looking it up in the HTS.

I wouldn't blame fedex as they are just following the rules, cause if they don't it will cause big delays and fedex and other shippers make their money by moving packages, not sitting on them.

What happened here is that either the seller or the customs broker that the seller used has gotten busted in the past for value or contents description and once they do, customs gives everything they ship a raised red flag that ensures a closer inspection of their packages and paperwork verification.
 
Last edited:

tsteele93

New member
Joined
Dec 27, 2011
Messages
2,065
Likes
98
Points
0
bootleg2go said:
What happened here is that either the seller or the customs broker that the seller used has gotten busted in the past for value or contents description and once they do, customs gives everything they ship a raised red flag that ensures a closer inspection of their packages and paperwork verification.
That is exactly what Fed Ex told me, but why they chose my $100 flashlight package to make a federal case over is beyond me. I told them, "just open it and look!" which they never did.

I know this because it arrived today.

It is missing at least one flashlight, so I think that their declaration of $89 may have actually been correct too.
 

Geezer

New member
Joined
Jan 31, 2012
Messages
6
Likes
0
Points
0
There is a 3.1% customs duty as well as other extra little fees from DHL, fedex and UPS.
Correct, my error. A rural postmaster told me erroneously that there’s no duty on laser pointers, laser sights or demonstration lasers. The USPS customs collection fee is $5.35.
 
Joined
Nov 8, 2006
Messages
656
Likes
67
Points
0
That is exactly what Fed Ex told me, but why they chose my $100 flashlight package to make a federal case over is beyond me. I told them, "just open it and look!" which they never did.

I know this because it arrived today.

It is missing at least one flashlight, so I think that their declaration of $89 may have actually been correct too.
Hi tsteele93,
It sounds to me like the seller didn't include a copy of the original invoice, just a description and value....or if they did customs wanted to double check and get a copy of the invoice from you the buyer to cross-verify because the seller or their customs broker is in on a watch list.

This has nothing to do with fedex, they are just the shipper, they are not the US customs service. When customs asks for more information, they tell fedex what is needed to clear the shipment and then fedex contacts the shipper or receiver to get that information.

Fedex cannot open packages to look inside, only customs inspectors can do that and when they do, you know it because the tape it back up with official customs inspection green tape that says the package was opened.

When it comes to customs, it is a federal case and everything no matter the value, if it gets flagged, then everything is much more closely checked.

It's like with law, a cop will arrest someone for stealing a 50 cent candy bar or $10 CD just the same as they will for stealing a $30,000 car.

Geezer: That $5.35 collection fee is what they charge you as a sort of handling fee for paying the customs duties on your behalf. It doesn't include the 3.1% duties themselves. kind of like interest charged because they use UPS, USPS or fedex money to pay the customs duties to get the package released from customs, then UPS, USPS or fedex charges you extra fees.

I'm pretty sure USPS probably requires you to pay for the package before they will give it to you.
UPS and fedex will send you a bill in the mail anywhere from 1-3 weeks after you get the package if there were duties that need to be paid depending on what day of their billing cycle it came in on.
 




Top