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Thread: Help with Deutschland Post issue

  1. #1
    Krauser's Shoe Shiner

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    Help with Deutschland Post issue

    I was hoping some native Deutschlanders could help me with an issue. Let me start by saying over the past 20 years of video game trading over the internet I've sent hundreds of packages internationally, and probably a third of those have went from the US to Deutschland. I can count on one hand the number that have been lost or damaged. I understand customs requirements and delays, and also that sometimes shit just happens.

    A few weeks ago I sold a few Mega Drive carts to a guy on eBay. His English is much better than my Deutsch, so that's what we use when communicating. After I sent the carts out he asked about a few more for a friend, so after deciding on a (very low) price he bought those directly from me and I used eBay's postage tool to print out another shipping label (same destination and it saved be about $5 USD).

    So he emails me a few days ago asking about the carts, saying he hasn't received them yet. I checked the tracking numbers and one of them was showing delivered over 2 weeks ago while the other was showing as clearing US customs bound for Deutschland customs. I tell him this and provide links to the tracking numbers.

    Here's where I get lost. Part of it is because of the language barrier, and part of it is because I don't understand what he's talking about. He said he just today picked up the one showing delivered and said: Unfortunately, it is but the first packet from you, which lies at customs. You've attached in the package no invoice, so that the package would have to be cleared through customs again. I have now picked up the package at customs and once again had $ 10 for taxes paid to the customs office, because no invoice in the package was. I'll check with my friend if he wants to pay the extra cost of about $ 10, or if he does not want annemen the package.

    My response:
    When you say no customs invoice, what do you mean?

    I ask because I have never had this happen before. All I include in the past was the postage label given by ebay or the post office that has both addresses, package contents, package value and mark either as gift or merchandise. I always mark the package as a gift with a low value (less than USD $10)


    His reply:

    criticizes the customs that no bill was attached in the package and we now have to once again declare the goods. And that costs about $ 10 for this package.

    So what exactly is going on here? I've sent dozens of MD carts sold on eBay to Deutschland using their postage labels, always filling them out the same way (marked as gift, low value) and never had an issue. The postage provided by eBay is the exact same as the normal customs forms provided by the US post office, or the same label as you would get if bought directly online from the US post office.

    So what exactly is meant by customs not having an invoice or bill and charging you to invoice the package?

  2. #2
    Thou Shalt Not
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    It means that the customs office is being anal (welcome to Germany...). I have this issue all the time because I get a lot of stuff from the US. Once the customs office figures out one gets packages often/regularly (especially if they are marked "gift" or "sample"), they will withhold all packages and ask the receiver to bring a bill for the transaction that lists the items in detail, the price paid and the shipping cost OR he can bring convincing evidence (like E-Mail/PM messages) that he is indeed only waiting for a gift/sample (which can be hard to prove). After opening the parcel under the eyes of a customs officer and inspection of its contents, depending on what kind of goods are in the package and the overall value (including shipping cost!) the receiver will have to pay taxes (value under 22€=no taxes at all; 22-150€=19%; 150€ and over=19%+customs fee).

    This can be avoided if the seller puts a bill with the required information on the outside of the parcel, so that it can be inspected by the customs office. Just filling out the customs forms is often not enough for the German inspectors because they suspect that sellers/buyers are trying to cheat the state out of taxes... If the bill on the parcel convinces the officers the receiver will be charged the taxes by the mailman or can pay at the post office nearest to him. If however a bill on the outside of a parcel is not convincing, the customs office will tell the receiver to stop by with a copy of the bill and go through the process as described above (the bill brought by the receiver better match the one on the parcel...).


    //EDIT: It's stupid, it sucks and it's often quite expensive. There is never a guarantee that a parcel will get through customs without the receiver having to go to the customs office, show documents, answer questions and so forth...
    In my opinion the person who bought from you should've expected this though. It is his responsibility to fight it out with customs - he should have decide if he wants the games badly enough to (risk having to) pay the required fees.
    Last edited by xsq; 01-23-2014 at 04:12 PM.

  3. #3
    Crossed Swords Squire
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    I will try to clear this up because I had in the last half year suddenly similarly problems in two other EU countries. Apparently customs start to get a bit annoying.

    Normally the package has to have attached to it (separately from the normal customs slip) an invoice in a clear plastic bag. Of course at low value and marked as a gift a simple form should suffice but lately they no longer believe what is said on those (especially if the sender is a company rather than a private person).

    If so, the authorities then open up the package and either evaluate the value (it will be a lottery) or contact the addressee for an invoice. The addressee should then be rather transparent and come up with something believable, pay the custom taxes and suck it up. Of course he can try to fight back, but honestly it isn't even worth the effort.

    There really is no mystery behind it. If the second package still hasn't arrived, the buyer should contact customs or the responsible branch from his postal service directly and ask with the tracking number if it sits somewhere around. Customs can have a backlog of over one month, especially now after the holidays.

    To be perfectly clear—you the seller shouldn't have to worry about customs. If you did your thing which normally works fine (especially if the buyer requested it to be down marked) and customs still catch it, it's on the buyer. Just provide him with some semi official looking invoice with values which are believable and he should get his package. Sucks to pay import taxes but that is part of the game.

    EDIT @xsq: You were faster. But yes, there it is. European customs are pretty much the same. It's like a lottery out there.
    Last edited by 6tusBeckmesser; 01-28-2014 at 03:49 AM.

  4. #4
    Krauser's Shoe Shiner

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    Thanks a lot for your replies, that really clarifies things. Being in the US I have only dealt with paying custom duties one time, that was from a gigantic order of merchandise from a factory in China that was sent Fed Ex, and even then the package arrived over 2 months before I even knew I owed a bill. Fed Ex sent the bill directly to me long after delivery, apparently they paid in in lieu of me paying them back.

    Just to clarify one point about this though; on the multiple-copy invoice you can include in the plastic bag... I've used these in the past but it was always for packages that were sent with some type of expensive international shipping option and never just regular air mail. If everything was the same (package marked as gift with low dollar value) but I included the invoice, would the recipient still have to pay these custom fees? I guess it's the case of once customs gets tearing into the package and putting their fingers in the pie, you're bound to pay some amount, and it's just a matter of how much?

  5. #5
    World's Greatest Poster Dr Shroom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azathoth View Post

    Just to clarify one point about this though; on the multiple-copy invoice you can include in the plastic bag... I've used these in the past but it was always for packages that were sent with some type of expensive international shipping option and never just regular air mail. If everything was the same (package marked as gift with low dollar value) but I included the invoice, would the recipient still have to pay these custom fees? I guess it's the case of once customs gets tearing into the package and putting their fingers in the pie, you're bound to pay some amount, and it's just a matter of how much?
    If the value is under 22€ (read: declared on the package) there is a chance that it'll go through customs without any analhurt from them but its not guaranteed. They're especially picky with stuff from the US.

    This may only apply to Germany though, other EU countries might have other limits and regulations regarding a packages declared worth.
    Last edited by Dr Shroom; 01-23-2014 at 09:49 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by christoph View Post
    Is there no moderation, anywhere on this entire site?

  6. #6
    My only regret is that I have... Boneitis! Phyeir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Shroom View Post
    They're especially picky with stuff from the US.
    Why the hate? Is it jealousy over the gallons of our hats?


    Quote Originally Posted by Evil Wasabi View Post
    There is no US security issue more important than making you piss your pants while living in fear.

  7. #7
    Thou Shalt Not
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    A ten gallon hat is often thought to be large enough to hold ten gallons of water. This is not true (unless you have an exceptionally large head). The gallon in "ten gallon hat" derives from the Spanish galón meaning braid. So a ten-gallon hat is a hat with a braiding around the brim.

  8. #8
    World's Greatest Poster Dr Shroom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phyeir View Post
    Why the hate? Is it jealousy over the gallons of our hats?
    Jealous about your guhns and freedum
    Quote Originally Posted by christoph View Post
    Is there no moderation, anywhere on this entire site?

  9. #9
    King's Dry Cleaner
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    Being anal about paying customs, when ordering from the US is kinda stupid. It can and WILL happen.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Shroom View Post
    Jealous about your guhns and freedum
    True. Also Germans don't wear hats, only helmets.

  11. #11
    drunk downunder!
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    Must be something to do with the fascist post.



    For the tunes chat crew!

  12. #12
    Geese's Thug

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    you us guys dont be sad you are not the only ones ;D same shit happens if i order from Switzerland , i had to waste 1h i had to go to the office pay around 8 euros extra to get my 50euro bluray box ,

  13. #13
    King's Dry Cleaner
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    Customs guys can be enjoyable too, if you talk shit like you don't know what you bought.

  14. #14
    Crossed Swords Squire
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azathoth View Post
    Just to clarify one point about this though; on the multiple-copy invoice you can include in the plastic bag... I've used these in the past but it was always for packages that were sent with some type of expensive international shipping option and never just regular air mail. If everything was the same (package marked as gift with low dollar value) but I included the invoice, would the recipient still have to pay these custom fees? I guess it's the case of once customs gets tearing into the package and putting their fingers in the pie, you're bound to pay some amount, and it's just a matter of how much?
    To get back on this: DO NOT include an invoice (inside or outside) if the package is marked as a gift. Once they open up the package and find the invoice both the seller and the buyer are in trouble (it won't come down to a legal showdown but let's just say it will be noted) since you were caught trying to scam customs.

    If they catch a gift marked package and don't believe it, the seller should simply provide an invoice from the buyer (PayPal or some formal note) with a value that seems plausible and tell customs that he doesn't no shit what just happened and that he will gladly pay the import taxes.

    If someone orders regularly from overseas he should find a good mix of gifts, low-valued marked packages and a few "please let me pay my import taxes" during the year. That works great for me. Then again it depends on the kind of goods—printed matters (books, comics etc.) won't be taxed, no matter what the value.

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