Find your diamond
Find your jewelry
shape
carat
color
clarity

Sent to collections - not my fault!

Arkteia

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
7,565
OK, here is the sad story. Last summer I ordered something from a jeweler from one neighboring country. The item was mailed me by Fedex. Apparently, Fedex paid $ 711.13 customs due. The invoice states that the "delivered value" was $ 13,000.000. Now the history becomes murky - the jeweler states that the Fedex worker misread the invoice (added "1" in front of the declared sum), Fedex says that 13k was the declared sum. Usually the sender keeps copy of the receipt. When I asked the jeweler to fax me the copy, I got nothing.

Now much as I happy with the item, I am not happy with the way this whole issue has been handled. I sent several e-mails to the jeweler to which I got no answers. Finally, when I threatened to discuss the situation on the PS, I got an e-mail indicating that she had called the FEDEX and the matter had been cleared. One year later, I am sent to collections by the FEDEX. Of course, there is a percentage now so I have to pay $ 810.69 but this is not the only issue. Apparently, FEDEX had paid the dues. And apparently, there was a mistake in the declaration. (If you look at the item... the price is not even close to $ 13 K!). And given the fact that I got no copy of the FEDEX receipt from the jeweler evokes certain thoughts... I am not the most organized person in the world, but I always keep copies of FEDEX receipts if these are business expenses!

Now I guess I'd better pay the money because the sum is only going to increase. And also, I am not happy that I have been sent to collections - it does spoil my credit record. But what can I do with the jeweler? She did not want to reimburse me, nor pay the Fedex. Merely said that the matter had been cleared. Just disregarded me. Now it has been "cleared" the worst way for me.

So what do I do to get my money back? Take her to small claims court? Report her to BBB? There should be an analog of BBB in Canada...I mean, someone must have been in such situation before.

If only it were the best jeweler in the world! She is good, but I probably could have gotten the same quality of work from any good local jeweler! PS is full of good names...
 

Barrett

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 26, 2009
Messages
2,218
That really sucks. You don't want anything to affect your credit that wasn't your fault and you shouldn't have to. What you need to do is call Clark Howard here in Atlanta. You can either get some help from his message board or his help team of 150 people will steer you in the right direction. You can call them and get help here...it's free help
Clark Howard/team clark
Atlanta: Call 404-892-8227.
We answer your questions Mon-Fri 10am-7pm ET

website
http://www.clarkhoward.com/s/help-advice/
 

Arkteia

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
7,565
Thank you, AMguy.

I read my post and realized that I missed the most important point - the value of the ring was less than 3 K. Someone added "1" in front of 3. The jeweler says the Fedex clerk misread it and the Fedex says that "13" is what the declaration said. I asked the jeweler for copy of the declaration/insurance/whatever papers to prove that it stated "3K" and she said she could not find it. Hence all the proof is lost. If there was the proof...

But the jeweler said she had cleared matters with the FEDEX last summer. So I was sure things had been squared out till I got slammed on the head with this thing. I guess I have to go to Clark Howard... whatever. I just do not know if I have to pay first because it is now on me...
 

Aoife

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 23, 2010
Messages
1,779
Oh, wow, I'm sorry to hear this, Crasru. I hope it all gets cleared up soon.
 

VapidLapid

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 18, 2010
Messages
4,267
Do you have a credit card receipt or paypal? even if you did a wire transfer your bank should be able to pull that up. This happens routinely with fedex.
 

Arkteia

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
7,565
That is a good way. I do not remember if I paid by a CC or by a check (I remember it was not Paypal) but at least I can trace the check. The burden of proof that it was the same item of course, lies with her, but I never thought of it! Thank you.
 

erinl

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 22, 2011
Messages
741
I was going to recommend the same thing-- find your receipt for payment, be it a check, credit card statement or other method. I also think you might want to speak to the collections agency where this was reported-- I think there are ways to contest it, or at least have a note made on your record regarding the false info and why you were reported to collections. I definitely would not pay the money without filing or following through first-- I would be very fearful that you will not get it back if and when this is rectified.

This sounds like a huge pain-- I am so sorry!
 

JewelFreak

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 3, 2009
Messages
7,768
Crasru, I don't have any smart advice to add to what has already been given. Did want to say I hope this gets straightened out & you are off the hook. What a pain & kind of sleazy thing! Dust for you.

--- Laurie
 

tyty333

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
22,089
Doesnt Fedex still have a copy of the receipt? Try to get a copy from them...or is this going to say $13k?
 

Arcadian

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 17, 2008
Messages
7,289
Wow thats crazy! start with the receipt for sure. The jeweler should have worked it out and gotten a letter confirmation from Fedex about this (I wonder why she didn't get something in writing??)

-A
 

minousbijoux

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 5, 2010
Messages
12,379
Crasru - first off, you do not deserve this and I'm sorry you are going through it. Secondly, it sounds like that jeweler should be trying a lot harder to help out in this situation :nono:
 

Lovinggems

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 28, 2009
Messages
3,448
The jeweller could write a letter and provide the invoice to Fedex to confirm the value of your ring. I thought imports into US doesn't attract duties/taxes? Could someone clarify?
 

Arkteia

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
7,565
tyty333 - they did send me a copy of customs invoice. I do not know whether it is what the sender fills in or not. Usually when I fill in paperwork I do it by hand and get the copy. But the sender told me she did not have the copy and this is something I can not understand. She should have kept it! Each and every one of us who owns a business knows it... Of interest, the only copy of customs invoice I got came from the collection agency, and FEDEX did not send it to me in the summer, although I asked them times and again! But the invoice clearly states the name of the sender and the sum, 13K!

FEDEX is probably not lying in stating that they paid the import tax and now they want their money back. In the summer, the jeweler assured me that the matter had been resolved after she (the jeweler) had sent a letter to FEDEX explaining that there was a mistake (whose? She never told me).

So I do not know what I can prove to FEDEX at this point. FEDEX states that the invoice clearly said, 13K, they had paid the money and want them back. Who made the mistake is impossible to tell since the jeweler "does not have" her copy. I am going to find the copies of the checks (I think I paid in two installments, a deposit before the work started and the rest after it was finished). But I do not know what I can prove since the tax obviously had been paid. If the jeweler had her copy, which would state, 3K, I would have some proof. But without it, I have no foot to stand on.

I can not even lodge a complaint against FEDEX because they own the only copy of the invoice (or at least this is the only copy I have). Personally, I think that the jeweler either has to find her copy or pay the money.

LG - from what I understand, or at least it is true for Canada/US import, there is not tax on items that cost less than 8K. Above 8K, there is a duty. And this is where the problem lies. An extra "1" ended in a disastrous situation.

Everyone else - thank you for your support. You are right, it is crazy and unbelievable.

BTW - you, fellows, have posted many nice stones and rings, and I know I should look at your pictures, but I am so, so upset... I just can not bring myself up to it. I shall look through them later. I feel bad that I am not doing it.

You know what? I yet do not want to attract attention to this item (hoping that the jeweler is still professional enough and will help me in this situation). Everyone who saw it probably understood that in total, everything including and considered, it could not cost 13K! I do not believe it could be 13 K if I ordered it from Leon Mege or Harry Winston! It is a beautiful ring, but not in that category...
 

dreamer_dachsie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 16, 2007
Messages
24,364
I would gather all the evidence you can of what you actually paid. Then call Canada customs directly and talk to them about the issue. You likely have to pay FedEx now and then you can apply through customs for a refund of your taxes. A while back I was looking into importing, and there is indeed a form and process for incorrect collection of taxes. If the jeweler will provide a letter to you stating the value of what they sent you, and you swear to the value and provide evidence, then Canada customs should refund to you the money. But at this point I think you need to take FedEx out of the picture by paying them, and then working straight with customs to get your refund -- because FedEx was only a broker they are really a third party I think and should not be involved. Technically, Canada customs collected the taxes in error, so they are the ones to refund it.
 

dreamer_dachsie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 16, 2007
Messages
24,364
crasru|1307036552|2936301 said:
LG - from what I understand, or at least it is true for Canada/US import, there is not tax on items that cost less than 8K. Above 8K, there is a duty. And this is where the problem lies. An extra "1" ended in a disastrous situation.
You should pay GST/PST/HST on any item you import regardless of value. That is likely the amount that you owe, no?

Honestly, this whole thing is puzzling to me though. FedEx when I have imported will not deliver to me the item until I pay the taxes due. So how did they deliver the item to you when you had not paid the taxes/duties?
 

Arkteia

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
7,565
Well, DD, this is what is strange... They said they had to either deliver it to me or destroy it (??). They could not send it back, they said. They chose to deliver and pay taxes themselves. Makes sense to me, I'd hate this ring being destroyed!

It could be FEDEX's mistake and somewhere in the process, they realized they had made an error. In this case, it makes sense to pay the dues without correcting the error (for prompt delivery) and then try to collect the money from the recipient leaving the burden of proof with her. Which is exactly what they are doing now.

I am very unhappy with the jeweler, though. First, she did not answer my e-mails and bothered to answer only when I switched over to threats. Then, she said that the matter had been resolved when it was not (maybe it was not her fault, but you are right, she should have forwarded copies of the letter and whatever documents she sent to FEDEX to me as well). Instead, she did her job, shipped the ring to me, and washed off her hands.

What makes me so unhappy with her is that she can not find her copy of the invoice. I simply do not believe it.
 

Arkteia

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
7,565
Found the transactions. Actually, on my credit card. There is $ 19.00 difference but it probably has to do with fees for foreign transactions.

So you think the best idea is to pay the collections (I think so, too, because there is accrued %) and take matters directly with the customs? And also obtain a letter from her/copy of the letter to FEDEX explaining the situation?
 

colorluvr

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 18, 2010
Messages
1,683
I would definitely pay what you need to keep this out of collections. They don't care about your circumstances (whether it is your fault or not) at this point and getting this straightened out could take some time.

My next step would be to contact customs and see if you can recoup at least part of the money that was paid to them by fedex in error, as they are the ones that got overpaid. It seems that fedex is out the money they paid (however, I've never heard of them paying something like this up front, but I don't have much experience with import duties), so I doubt you will would be paid back by them.

Even if the error was made by the jeweler, it appears that fedex is the one out the money and customs is the one that got paid too much, so that is where I would start.

Anything that you have or can get in writing from Fedex or the jeweler, in addition to your credit card records may help.
 

Arkteia

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
7,565
I sent the message to the jeweler. Asked her for the copy of her invoice and the copy of the FEDEX invoice (if she has it and it is correct, which I doubt at this moment). But at least a statement saying that there was an error and copies of her invoices. Because, as DD has mentioned, I have to swear that this is what I paid so there has to be proof on her side.

Also, I asked her to provide me with a copy of the letter she sent to FEDEX in summer, if indeed such letter was sent.

There is no problem in paying to the collections. As you have said, it is not their job to get into the core of events.

So far, I have not been mentioning the name of the jeweler because I do not want to undermine someone's business if it is at least an honest business and we are not sold snake oil. Which I was not. If she does not respond, I have no other choice but to discuss her here and also see what legal rights I have as a customer. I suppose we all do...

Look at our vendors' websites. For $ 800, one could still buy a beautiful stone...
 

MontageCreations

Rough_Rock
Trade
Joined
Apr 17, 2011
Messages
69
I think you need to consult with an attorney, we are not qualified to render a legal opinion, especially on international and customs matters. I know, if you pay it is tantamount to an admission, and you may never recoup your money, so get a legal expert to give you advice first.
 

vinkalmann

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 23, 2009
Messages
231
MontageCreations|1307057034|2936510 said:
I think you need to consult with an attorney, we are not qualified to render a legal opinion, especially on international and customs matters. I know, if you pay it is tantamount to an admission, and you may never recoup your money, so get a legal expert to give you advice first.
+1 on this. If the item is already in collections you may be admitting guilt by paying it. Also, when debts go to collections you may not even be able to pay Fedex directly as they may have sold the debt to the collection agency for a percentage of the actual debt. If, after you talk to someone more qualified, you DO have to pay the collection agency and it can't be transferred back to Fedex, offer the collection agency a portion of the total debt, they will often settle for a smaller amount since they bought the debt for much less than the actual amount.

This whole thing doesn't sit right with me though. I find it really surprising that Fedex would pay that kind of money on your behalf. They're essentially extending credit to you without knowing anything about you. You of course are good for it, but if they did that thing on a regular basis they would lose their shirts with all the people that didn't / couldn't pay. And the bit where they couldn't return something only destroy it? Bizarre.

Good luck with this, not something fun to have to go through :nono:
 

Arkteia

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
7,565
I do not know why they paid and how the system works. All I can tell you is that it is not the first time when a courier pays duties and then tries to collect them. Only the first situation was even weirder, because the stone was a cheap chrysoberyl from Tan and the duties (DHL) was trying to collect were twice as much as the cost of the stone. I made a post about it somewhere here...

This time, I got a call from the FEDEX rep. She asked me "what do you want to do with your package?" Then she said it was "sitting here". Not a single word about 13K or the duties. Actually, the first time I got to know about 13K was from the jeweler, after the FEDEX invoice came, because the merchant's receipt, naturally, did not mention anything like it. ("Just because some woman read 13 instead of 3"...). This is how I got the ring.

My volume of packages may be lower than yours, dear fellows, so you may know how it works, and I do not. All I know is that someone made a mistake and now I have to pay for it.

As to a lawyer... Guys, I do not know what kind of a lawyer I should be looking for. My business lawyer charges $ 400.00 an hour. Are there any cheaper lawyers? Do any lawyers handle such cases?

I wonder if the economy hit FEDEX and DHL as well and if some people were laid off. If brokers being overworked could explain the situation.
 

colorluvr

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 18, 2010
Messages
1,683
I just wanted to clarify that I meant to pay collections (if it has already been sent there) not fedex. However, I would call the collections company and explain to them that the bill is in error, but you don't want it to go against your credit rating and ask if there was a way you could clear the account without admitting guilt. If this company works like the one we used to turn our late accounts over to, they would go for the full amount and the company (in this case Fedex) would get a percent and the collections company would get a percent, so it was important for the collection company to collect, as that was the only way they got paid. Perhaps if they realized you weren't a deadbeat, but are rather someone who wants to work this out they might work with you. A phone call wouldn't hurt, but if they do offer anything, I would get it in writing.

As far as an attorney goes, in the US, sometimes there are paralegals that can help with something like this that aren't as expensive as attorneys, but I don't know if that's the case where you are.
 

MontageCreations

Rough_Rock
Trade
Joined
Apr 17, 2011
Messages
69
The reason I said talk to an attorney is to get good advice. They might still tell you to pay, in which case you are out their fee as well. But if you pay the collector, there will likely be no recourse, for any refund partial or otherwise. This whole thing smells of a scam, as in maybe FEDEX sent it to collections and maybe they didn't, yet another reason to get legal on them.

I would try legal aid or whatever version Canada has for free/cheap legal advice, and at least get them to point you in the right direction. I can tell you I had a similar circumstance to this about a bank error in my business account and it took court action to resolve it, at the time my attorney told me that if I had just paid the fees, it would cloud my claim and since I would have paid, the credit bureaus would not clear the record, since I would have admitted I owed the debt. It took me 2 years to get it cleared up, but when I won, the bank had to pay my attorney fees and damages - even with that the credit bureaus took another 2 years to get it off my records due to the bank and the collectors reporting error's. It was a mess, but if you don't fight it, they can damage your record and you will suffer with little to no recourse.

..... But I am not an attorney, and my advice is to get one engaged, it may just take a severely worded legal letter to put an end to this.
 

Arkteia

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
7,565
Well, as of today, I have not heard back from the jeweler. Which really surprises me. She may be busy with projects of course, but isn't it easy to provide two pieces of paper? A copy of an invoice and Fedex paperwork? And a letter saying how much she charged for the item?

Do I also need to get it appraised? As an additional prove for customs?
 

natascha

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Aug 10, 2010
Messages
644
Have you spoken to customs yet?

Now I am not Canadian but hopefully the process is close to the Swedish one. There are three issues in your case:

1. The incorrect invoice lead to a higher customs. There should be a process for contesting the duty paid, so you need to call customs and ask how the Canadian one works. Hopefully it is sufficient that you send them proof of your credit card payment and your invoices for the item. From their point of view the duty is already paid for so you need them to recalculate the duty and for them to pay the difference.

2. The collections agency. For this you need to get legal advice since, as those before me have explained, it is probable that by paying you are accepting the debt, and you do not want to do that. They do not care about whose fault the debt is, all they want is to get paid. It is probable that they bought the debt from Fedex so it is them you need to deal with. Did Fedex send you an invoice for the duty paid? This might affect your case regarding who should pay for the interest and fees from the collection agency.

3. I believe that this part differs in Canada. In Sweden the collection agency would send the debt to Kronofogden where you could contest the debt and if ruled in your favor it would not affect your credit score. I do not know how this works in Canada so you should as quick as possible get legal advice over how to proceed. Do not believe what the collections agency tells you, it is not uncommon that they will tell you to pay and that you can fix it later.

If it were not for your credit score the easiest thing would have been to do step 1, get Customs to pay you and then use that to pay the collections agency. You would however have lost the interest and fees.
 

dreamer_dachsie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 16, 2007
Messages
24,364
crasru|1307044209|2936382 said:
Found the transactions. Actually, on my credit card. There is $ 19.00 difference but it probably has to do with fees for foreign transactions.

So you think the best idea is to pay the collections (I think so, too, because there is accrued %) and take matters directly with the customs? And also obtain a letter from her/copy of the letter to FEDEX explaining the situation?
That is what I would do. Whether it is the best thing or not, who knows! I just know that customs has processes in place to deal with situations like this. It may take time, but if you can present proof that the item did not cost $13k, and instead cost $3k, then you are fine. The jeweler may have to present a notatized statement to that effect, though if she gives you a receipt for the ring with the correct value, that should be enough.
 

dreamer_dachsie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 16, 2007
Messages
24,364
I would not personally consuly a lawyer over this amount of money, because the fees would be so high. But I would go to the Canada custome website and call customs to talk to someone there before moving forward.
 
Be a part of the community It's free, join today!
    August Birthstones: Peridot And Sardonyx
    August Birthstones: Peridot And Sardonyx
    The Original: Princess Raiyah Of Jordan
    The Original: Princess Raiyah Of Jordan
    Celebratory Engagement Ring Upgrade And Bracelet
    Celebratory Engagement Ring Upgrade And Bracelet

Need Something Special?

Get a quote from multiple trusted and vetted jewelers.

Holloway Cut Advisor



Diamond Eye Candy

Click to view full-size image.
Top