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DHL charging customs duty on an antique item?

ean

Shiny_Rock
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Feb 16, 2014
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425
Hello, can someone educate me please, I bought something from Denmark that was shipped via DHL. My understanding was that antique jewelry are duty-free. However, I just received a notification saying that my package is being held until I pay the customs duty on it which is 5.5% on top of a DHL charge. (5.5% is what they charge on new jewelry based on my knowledge.) I am in the US,btw.

I messaged the seller asking him why it wasn’t declared an antique since antique jewelry is duty-free and that was in the description of what I bought.

Here is the reply “ Message:Hello, DHL has no idea about such exampions. They have no section for such codes in customs forms,and they don't have any idea that such codes exist.. You may send them the screenshot of your purchase with detailed description to prove that you bought an antique ring,it may work or not. Anyway,I have no way to control or affect their decisions.”

I am honestly just confused at the situation.
 

YadaYadaYada

Ideal_Rock
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I don’t have any experience with buying outside the U.S. but the seller has a rather flippant attitude here. Normally with an international sale the seller will state that customs fees are the responsibility of the buyer. However it is the seller’s responsibility to correctly label the item.

Do you know what they declared the item? Normally with jewelry it’s “fashion accessory” or some other benign description to not draw attention and avoid theft.
 
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ean

Shiny_Rock
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I don’t have any experience with buying outside the U.S. but the seller has a rather flippant attitude here. Normally with an international sale the seller will state that customs fees are the responsibility of the buyer. However it is the seller’s responsibility to correctly label the item.

Do you know what they declared the item? Normally with jewelry it’s “fashion accessory” or some other benign description to not draw attention and avoid theft.

“Other- of other precious metal whether or not plated or clad with precious metal.”

HS code 7113195090 which is just the regular code for jewelry. He did not classify it as an antique. Which has a totally different code. That being said I feel like I shouldn’t have to pay duties when the seller didn’t label it correctly.
 

YadaYadaYada

Ideal_Rock
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“Other- of other precious metal whether or not plated or clad with precious metal.”

HS code 7113195090 which is just the regular code for jewelry. He did not classify it as an antique. Which has a totally different code. That being said I feel like I shouldn’t have to pay duties when the seller didn’t label it correctly.

Got it. I would contact DHL and see what they say, hopefully they can find some way to help you. I’m sorry you’re having to deal with this!
 
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ean

Shiny_Rock
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Got it. I would contact DHL and see what they say, hopefully they can find some way to help you. I’m sorry you’re having to deal with this!

Called them and opened a duty charge dispute and tried to change the HTS code to the correct one. Hoping I hear something by today or tomorrow. Thank you!
 

lissyflo

Brilliant_Rock
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Do you have to prove the age of the item for customs purposes? Maybe that’s why the seller didn’t disclose as antique - if it’s either old but not old enough (I think customs in the U.K. is 100+ for antiques but I’m not sure about the us) or if it’s not stamped with the year of production maybe it doesn’t qualify? The sellers response is unhelpful in the extreme, but I suppose they feel that import to another country isn’t strictly their remit (they’re missing that by making a customer happy they’re more likely to guarantee repeat business!).
 

ean

Shiny_Rock
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Spoke with DHL today and basically they said that the seller did not declare the item as an antique (they said there are forms for that and is the sellers responsibility)that’s why I was charged 5.5% by customs and the DHL processing fee.

Again, I have nothing against paying customs duties, I just feel like this came as a surprise because when I purchased the item the description and the title says it’s an antique from the 1920s so I expected it to be duty free. The seller has been unhelpful to say the least. This is not his first time shipping to the US either and he deals with antiques so I feel like he should know the protocol and should’ve told me that he’s not declaring it as an antique and to expect to pay customs fees. Just a very disappointing experience.

It’s not my first time buying antique from overseas either and I’ve never been charged before that’s why this whole thing is confusing to me.
 

ean

Shiny_Rock
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Feb 16, 2014
Messages
425
This was the sellers reply after I told him what DHL USA said.

“Our DHL bransch do not bother to care about these codes and I'm not going to make them work otherwise.I have too many other things to do. We are not responsible for any extra tax or other charges,as was stated in the policies of this shop.”


WOW
 

adlgel

Shiny_Rock
Joined
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Messages
218
That is very frustrating. Did you buy this through a platform like eBay or pay via PayPal? Basically can you file a complaint against the seller via whatever platform they used to sell the item or you used to pay for it?
 

marymm

Ideal_Rock
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Can you refuse the item as "not as described" such that DHL returns the item to the vendor and you receive full refund?

i.e., you bought an antique ring but it is not described/labeled/shipped as such?
 

ean

Shiny_Rock
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That is very frustrating. Did you buy this through a platform like eBay or pay via PayPal? Basically can you file a complaint against the seller via whatever platform they used to sell the item or you used to pay for it?

I bought it through Etsy and paid via paypal. I was so excited to receive this because it’s the ring that I bought to commemorate my grandma and now I’m just upset.
 

ean

Shiny_Rock
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Messages
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Can you refuse the item as "not as described" such that DHL returns the item to the vendor and you receive full refund?

i.e., you bought an antique ring but it is not described/labeled/shipped as such?

It is being held right now by DHL and won’t be released until I pay for the duties.
 

ean

Shiny_Rock
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425
Most of the items I sell,if not stated otherwise are Antique or Vintage. Many items are not subjects to import taxation as I often deal with original artworks and genuine antiques aged over 100 years.
On buyer's demand Customs forms for such items can be marked with customs codes 9701,9706 that id the contents as Antique / Art related,and not new or mass produced presently / recently.. Thus normally you will not need to pay your country’s import duties upon reception of such items.

> Otherwise: INTERNATIONAL BUYERS – PLEASE NOTE: Import duties, taxes and charges are not included in the item price or shipping charges. These charges are the buyer's responsibility. Please check with your country's customs office to determine what these additional costs will be prior to bidding/buying.


This was his etsy policy. So yes, he knows there are forms to fill out. He knows antiques are duty-free depending on the country, which US happens to be. When I buy something titled antique and described as antique, am I in the wrong for assuming that the seller will declare it as antique with proper documentation for international shipping and customs?
 

Slick1

Ideal_Rock
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Wow! What a rude reply. One that I would be hard pressed to forgive. If it won’t cause you angst and it’s still a good buy for you, I guess get it and leave a concise review. Otherwise, if it’s tainted, I’d send it back! Please out this seller so we all know not to deal with them from the US.
Thank you and much luck.

ETA we were posting together, he states he sells antiques but won’t file the proper paperwork to prove it for shipping?!?! That’s just wrong and lazy!
 

ean

Shiny_Rock
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Messages
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Wow! What a rude reply. One that I would be hard pressed to forgive. If it won’t cause you angst and it’s still a good buy for you, I guess get it and leave a concise review. Otherwise, if it’s tainted, I’d send it back! Please out this seller so we all know not to deal with them from the US.
Thank you and much luck.

ETA we were posting together, he states he sells antiques but won’t file the proper paperwork to prove it for shipping?!?! That’s just wrong and lazy!

Etsy won’t let me file for a case or leave a review until I actually receive the item. I’m planning to go ahead and pay the duties, get the item, and try to get reimbursed for the duties with Etsy as an arbiter because this seller is no help at all.
 

YadaYadaYada

Ideal_Rock
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He then proceeds to tell me that

“You didn’t really buy anything necessary for your survival, but a luxury item of high value and it is okay to be charged 5%”

WOW. I’m speechless.


Wow, yup that would earn him a poor review AFTER I get my item. My goodness what terrible customer service. I’m sorry you’re having to deal with this. Jewelry should be a joy not a stressor!
 

adlgel

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 27, 2008
Messages
218
I agree that the seller’s interpersonal skills are definitely lacking. But the way I read it technically his policy did say that the buyer needed to request that the customs forms be filled out to indicate it’s an antique. Not sure why he would put the onus on the buyer when he knows whether or not what he is selling qualifies as an antique. Is it that much extra work for him to fill that form out for all antique items he sells? I’m not sure whether you would have a leg to stand on to file a complaint given how that was laid out in his policy.
 

ean

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Feb 16, 2014
Messages
425
I agree that the seller’s interpersonal skills are definitely lacking. But the way I read it technically his policy did say that the buyer needed to request that the customs forms be filled out to indicate it’s an antique. Not sure why he would put the onus on the buyer when he knows whether or not what he is selling qualifies as an antique. Is it that much extra work for him to fill that form out for all antique items he sells? I’m not sure whether you would have a leg to stand on to file a complaint given how that was laid out in his policy.

But the title and description of the item is antique but not described as antique during international shipping and customs declaration, so maybe I have ground to file for something?
 

Slick1

Ideal_Rock
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He makes note (quite rudely) about the high value of the item and yet can’t do some due diligence to make sure the proper papers are filed to ensure his customer has an easy transaction?! Nope nope nope!
Very sorry this happened to you. What a tool he is!
 

Beautiful-disaster

Shiny_Rock
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366
Wow. That’s really bad. I’m so sorry this has happened to you. It’s surprising that anyone would treat their clients/customers like that.
 
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VRBeauty

Super_Ideal_Rock
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I’m sorry you’re going through this, especially when you’re buying something to remember your grandmother by.

I have no advice to add... I think you’re following the only course of action open to you. Just don’t expect much help from ETSY, or you may find yourself disappointed yet again.

I’m wondering if you’re the victim of some anti-US sentiment here? Many years ago, back during the “freedom fries” wars, my parents’ neighbors bought some pottery while in France and to have it shipped to their home (in the US). It arrived in pieces, and it was quite obvious that it had been broken before shipping, or deliberately packaged carelessly. Your seller’s comment makes me wonder if the same sort of thing is happening here.
 

Rfisher

Ideal_Rock
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I’m sorry you’re going through this, especially when you’re buying something to remember your grandmother by.

I have no advice to add... I think you’re following the only course of action open to you. Just don’t expect much help from ETSY, or you may find yourself disappointed yet again.

I’m wondering if you’re the victim of some anti-US sentiment here? Many years ago, back during the “freedom fries” wars, my parents’ neighbors bought some pottery while in France and to have it shipped to their home (in the US). It arrived in pieces, and it was quite obvious that it had been broken before shipping, or deliberately packaged carelessly. Your seller’s comment makes me wonder if the same sort of thing is happening here.

This hints at what I was thinking and still don’t know how to write exactly what I’m thinking. But it’s not necessarily a negative thought.

what does the 5% fund/go towards in the receiving country?
 

ringo865

Ideal_Rock
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2,690
If you have no restocking fee, etc., I’d “refuse” the item as it was obviously not as described (antique) or it would have been described (i.e., antique) and have DHL send it back. If you have a restocking fee, though, gee 5% is kind of a lot of extra to put out because it’s an item not necessary for survival. Perhaps you decided you don’t need it to survive and therefore are sending it back.
 

adlgel

Shiny_Rock
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Jan 27, 2008
Messages
218
In a way sending it back with a restocking fee is a bit of a win for the seller. He can try to resell the item for the same price as OP paid plus he gets the restocking fee on top of it. But it sucks having to unnecessarily pay the 5% due to his laziness. Not sure what I’d do in this case.
 

peacechick

Brilliant_Rock
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Jun 6, 2013
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As someone in Asia who buys frequently from overseas, I do not think the onus is on the seller to label and categorise their customs declaration to such an accurate degree. I have also bought antique jewellery (Victorian) and none of these pieces were ever marked as antique. In fact, I prefer sellers not to highlight the value if possible e.g. “gold ring” is just asking for theft. My gems are usually marked as “mineral sample”.

In this case, as you would have benefitted from correct labelling, you could have instructed the seller to do so. But you didn’t know then. I think it is unfortunate that you had to pay the 5.5% extra tax and I think you could raise a dispute with DHL. But ultimately 5.5% more is still a lot less than the import taxes I had to pay when I was living in Canada.

I do think the seller was extremely rude to you though. There is no need for such rude behaviour. He could have just politely pointed to his T&C or whatever policy and just added that he will accept a return.
 
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kipari

Ideal_Rock
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I'm so sorry this happened to you and I know that feeling - mislabeled forms or overblown prices on the insurance have cost me a lot of money over the years...


I'd suggest you think about how you wish to proceed now.

Either you still love the item and still want it. Then I'd look into the correct procedure (either pay 5.5% now to get it released, then dispute later or dispute now and wait for resolution).

If the item is tainted by this experience and you want to cancel the purchase you'd need to find out how to do that.


As an aside: the seller's attitude reads super condescending and unnecessarily rude to American customers. The tone doesn't get better due to them writing in a foreign language , I think. And their idea of service of is very European ( I AM from there, it's a fact). The notion of customer service like in the US is nonexistent here. We're covered by European law , which is very consumer friendly ( return for all goods purchased on the internet, good protection, items generally very accurately describe, sellers can be held accountable if not as described) but true customer Service = " the customer is always right" is just not part of the culture at all.
 

ean

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Feb 16, 2014
Messages
425
I'm so sorry this happened to you and I know that feeling - mislabeled forms or overblown prices on the insurance have cost me a lot of money over the years...


I'd suggest you think about how you wish to proceed now.

Either you still love the item and still want it. Then I'd look into the correct procedure (either pay 5.5% now to get it released, then dispute later or dispute now and wait for resolution).

If the item is tainted by this experience and you want to cancel the purchase you'd need to find out how to do that.


As an aside: the seller's attitude reads super condescending and unnecessarily rude to American customers. The tone doesn't get better due to them writing in a foreign language , I think. And their idea of service of is very European ( I AM from there, it's a fact). The notion of customer service like in the US is nonexistent here. We're covered by European law , which is very consumer friendly ( return for all goods purchased on the internet, good protection, items generally very accurately describe, sellers can be held accountable if not as described) but true customer Service = " the customer is always right" is just not part of the culture at all.

I paid the duties and it is released and out for delivery today. I am still thinking about how to proceed at this point.

I’ve seen one recent review (after I had purchased my item) about a customer being disappointed that the item wasn’t as described and had a lot more chips in the bands than what was disclosed but she’s still planning to keep the item as it was a lot of trouble to return it. The seller then messaged her and told her that she was just being emotional as it is the nature of women.The review disappeared, idk if they’ve come to a resolution. I’m beginning to think there’s probably a lot more reviews like this that has since been deleted.

Another review was a person saying that she felt the clasp was flimsy on earrings she bought and that she honestly wouldn’t have bought it if she has seen it in person first. Seller messaged her telling her to never buy from his shop again.

To privately message people after they leave you honest reviews is absolutely DISGUSTING behavior.
 

adlgel

Shiny_Rock
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Jan 27, 2008
Messages
218
That's terrible behavior on the part of the seller. Are there no terms & conditions that he is violating by doing that?
 
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