Entrepreneurship & Small Business

Do customers usually pay for the customs/duties on products they've bought online?

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  • May 9th, 2011 12:01 pm
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[OP]
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Feb 9, 2009
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Do customers usually pay for the customs/duties on products they've bought online?

I'm receiving a couple of complaints from customers not wanting to pay for customs/duties. I was wondering if it was common for online retailers to cover those charges.

Thanks.
15 replies
Deal Expert
Aug 2, 2004
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East Gwillimbury
It has nothing to do with the retailers

They just ship it.

Generally the duties are minimal. The complaint should be to shipping company (UPS, FedEx)

They charge $40 to just file the paperwork.
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Sep 27, 2010
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Parkhill, ON
and the quickest way to lose customers. you need to find a way to get it there without charge unless you don't care if they are return customers
jeff
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Oct 4, 2006
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Duties and Taxes are around and typically are the customers job to cover. There is no point in you paying because they're across the boarder. I know if I did that I'd make no profit on any product I sell.

That said you also want to make sure you're sending in a way that will not impose a brokerage fee. UPS and FedEx have these along with other groups often its $30.00 just for them to process the paperwork. What you want to do is talk with your preferred shipper and find out how to avoid the brokerage fees. I believe the break down is service sent by air doesn't have brokerage fee's added to it while services by ground will. It's pretty easy to just ask which services offer what and go with that to save your customer that extra amount of money.
[OP]
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I've received quite a couple of complaints from our non-US, non-Canadian customers. They are being charged somewhere around $30-40 dollars just to have their parcel released! I think customers get a good shock when they go and pick up their parcels.

What do I have to do to eliminate this extra cost for them? Pay for brokerage fees? Are they expensive?
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Jan 11, 2004
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dogxray wrote:
Mar 8th, 2011 11:19 am
and the quickest way to lose customers. you need to find a way to get it there without charge unless you don't care if they are return customers
jeff

not really, UPS/Fedex aren't the biggest in the world because they make businesses lose customers.
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Dec 12, 2006
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pkpower wrote:
Mar 7th, 2011 11:07 pm
I'm receiving a couple of complaints from customers not wanting to pay for customs/duties. I was wondering if it was common for online retailers to cover those charges.

Thanks.

If they refuse, items will eventually be sent back to you.

As almost ever internet states, customs fees are responsibility of the buyer receiver. I do not knwo of any company paying customs for its customers, if it did they would go belly up.
[OP]
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theguyz wrote:
Mar 8th, 2011 2:34 pm
If they refuse, items will eventually be sent back to you.

As almost ever internet states, customs fees are responsibility of the buyer receiver. I do not knwo of any company paying customs for its customers, if it did they would go belly up.

I understand that, but is there a way to reduce the fees or possibly (crossing my fingers here) eliminating the fees altogether?

It really sucks for customers abroad to have to pay for so much..
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Feb 25, 2004
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pkpower wrote:
Mar 8th, 2011 2:43 pm
I understand that, but is there a way to reduce the fees or possibly (crossing my fingers here) eliminating the fees altogether?

It really sucks for customers abroad to have to pay for so much..
Duties are charged by governments upon importation of goods into the country aka customs.
Brokerage is charged by the shipping company to cover the "service" of dealing with customs.

Shipping companies (like UPS and FedEx) usually upfront the costs of both to get the goods into the country then charge the purchaser.

For internet sellers, it would be EXTREMELY beneficial to outline these charges to their customers BEFORE checkout so that customers know what they are in for.

Both shipping companies provide "premium" services (something like UPS worldwide express) that MAY include having the shipper (you) pay brokerage / duties, etc. You will have to call them to find out. Don't let your jaw hit the floor on the price quotes.
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Dec 13, 2007
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Toronto
It is their responsibility to pay duties. However I can see their frustration when they see the unexpected charge. If you ever had anything delivered to Canada by UPS Ground, you'd know what I mean.

So it is in your interest to educate customers of what to expect.
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Sep 27, 2010
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Parkhill, ON
send them by mail and the problem will disappear
jeff
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Dec 12, 2009
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GTA
When shipping by air with FedEx for example, the brokerage charge is included. If you choose DDP (deliver duty paid) option for billing of duties and taxes your customer will not be asked for any payment. You can calculate the duty amount in advance and build this into your selling price. This works much better if you have a very good discount on Express shipping.
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Jun 20, 2006
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when you import (buy) goods, many countries charge taxes
specially if shipped with FedEx, you'll pay on top a brokerage fee
these can range from $5-$6 to 50% of the goods (depending on the country)
as a buyer ppl should be aware of their country's laws
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[OP]
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Feb 9, 2009
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redkid wrote:
May 6th, 2011 1:56 pm
when you import (buy) goods, many countries charge taxes
specially if shipped with FedEx, you'll pay on top a brokerage fee
these can range from $5-$6 to 50% of the goods (depending on the country)
as a buyer ppl should be aware of their country's laws

And if you ship by other couriers the receiver of the package might not have to pay duties/taxes? What about shipping via USPS?

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