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US customs fees?

wintermute

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 12, 2021
Messages
1
Hi, I hope it is OK to ask this here (sorry if not!). I am located in USA and notice a lot of nice pearls from other countries. I understand there are generally no customs fees for purchases under $800, but am having trouble understanding what happens for purchases over that amount - do you pay state sales tax plus an extra fee, just one or the other...?
Can anyone who has made a purchase over $800 from overseas explain the fees? I'm in MA if it matters. Thanks!
 

eloisegirl

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 20, 2011
Messages
161
I am in Canada and got dinged on a purchase from the US. I try to purchase from Canadian vendors as much as possible (see Trusted Vendors thread). However if you find that just-gotta-have-it piece from elsewhere, I rationalize the customs and duty fees into the overall price on a cost-per-wear basis. Waiting for some things from China which will take a couple of months due to pandemic restrictions.
 

MakingTheGrade

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Mar 2, 2009
Messages
12,100
I think I will eventually get a bill from fedex and will let you know when I do. Reading the website it sounds like I would owe 3% on the value for anything over 800$ or 1600$ ( couldn’t quite tell which from reading it). My ombré strand came from japan but I don’t know what the store declared as the value so we shall see I guess
 

pearlsngems

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 4, 2010
Messages
1,483
I'm in CT. The full value of my pearls costing well over $800 was plainly declared on the Customs form, but I wasn't charged any Customs fees.
 

molinePDG

Shiny_Rock
Trade
Joined
Mar 28, 2020
Messages
111
The only real answer is it depends.

If you're importing loose materials like gemstones and so forth, sometimes the fee is $0

Sometimes, finished jewelry or precious metals is billed at a much higher rate. -- up to 10% or so in my experience. The real issue is just that places don't necessarily know what HTS number to put on a declaration- and getting into an argument with customs is lengthy and usually not worth it.

It probably doesn't relate to state tax (or at least, it doesn't here). The shipment courier will send you a bill for whatever it is you are owed, and what that is depends on what the place of purchase declared the items and their value at. The courier also adds their own fees.

If something is grossly undervalued, customs will take note and give you a hassle about it. Be careful about when you order something - if you don't totally trust the place of purchase to fill out the customs forms for you, ask to fill them out yourself. If something is REALLY wrong customs can permanently confiscate your package (just happened once to me, so don't mean to spread fear, but just be careful).
 

AnastasiaBeaverhausen

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 11, 2013
Messages
1,022
I think I will eventually get a bill from fedex and will let you know when I do. Reading the website it sounds like I would owe 3% on the value for anything over 800$ or 1600$ ( couldn’t quite tell which from reading it). My ombré strand came from japan but I don’t know what the store declared as the value so we shall see I guess

Oy. I bought something earlier from AUS that is finally making its way through US customs. It's less than the $1600 threshold but over $800. Hope I don't get hit with a bill later either! *fingers crossed* for us both.
 

katbran

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Mar 4, 2011
Messages
787
I've found that customs/duty has to be paid before they will release an item to continue it's journey. So if I order in items eventually I'll get a telephone call or email asking me to [pay 'x' amount of duty. Once that's done it continues on it's way. You shouldn't receive a bill after you get it .
Some countries are very diligent. Canada almost always picks up a package , England seems to as well but the USA has never stopped one of my packages...knock on wood ...
 

MakingTheGrade

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Mar 2, 2009
Messages
12,100
Just to follow up I did get a FedEx bill for customs. Tax rate was 5% on jewelry FYI. And then fedex processing fees. Not bad compared to other countries! I love my ombré strand though so no regrets. But worth factoring in if you’re comparing prices
 

AnastasiaBeaverhausen

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 11, 2013
Messages
1,022
Just to follow up I did get a FedEx bill for customs. Tax rate was 5% on jewelry FYI. And then fedex processing fees. Not bad compared to other countries! I love my ombré strand though so no regrets. But worth factoring in if you’re comparing prices

Aw fiddlesticks. Was hoping you got away from a FedEx bill!
 

AnastasiaBeaverhausen

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 11, 2013
Messages
1,022
Haha me too but is ok. I loooooove my ombré strand so totally worth it. I wasn’t going to find anything local at that price point even with fedex customs factored in!

Glad to hear you love your ombre strand so! That's the most important thing. And finding it at a great price is just icing on the cake!
 

MakingTheGrade

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Mar 2, 2009
Messages
12,100
Glad to hear you love your ombre strand so! That's the most important thing. And finding it at a great price is just icing on the cake!

Yeah I looked online and couldn’t find anything readily available that was of that quality at the price. And I figured if it had to be custom, might as well go with someone I’ve already worked with and felt comfortable with in terms of quality and communication.
 
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