Thursday, 6 June 2013

A tad disappointed...

Instead of opening a box of bright shiny 28mm interwar Swedes tonight I have found a card from the P.O instead wanting £17.80 before they will deliver them - customs it say.Humbug I say!
I have to say that Historgfigs emailed me back very quickly when I informed them.They said this-
Hello Alan,
Not sure what to say on the customs duty problem. This hasn't been an issue/problem with other shipments to the UK. Of course the mysteries of customs duties are hard to unravel (not sure we know anyone, here or overseas who fully understands them).
In any event, what we can do to help with the problem is this: Issue a refund for the amount of your shipping charge. We realize this won't make up for the full amount of the customs duties, but it should help.
We will go back and do more research on how best to document our shipments to the UK, so as to help reduce any duties issues on the receiving end. We don't want to break any laws, but we do want customers to not have unexpected duties to pay.
We are sorry for the inconvenience, and hope that the refund of shipping charges will help offset the unexpected expense. Pleas let us know if we should proceed with the refund of shipping charges.
Thank you,

 Mike & Alison Taber

All in all most helpful but I remain a tad mystified and very fed up with our Post Office.Can anyone explain?


  1. Hi Alan
    as far as I am aware customs (and the handling fee) should only be charged on imports from non-EU contries. I got stung the other day an a figure from America. There was 67p tax to pay and £8 handling fee. Since the installation of our delightful government it has been noticeable that the customs officers are screwing everything they can out of our post and many more parcels are being held. If your figures were from outside the EU then there is a limit of about £17 value. Anything above that will be taxed. Sometimes the sender will mark it less or as a gift, but I have noticed many Americans (quite reasonably) are reluctant to do this, presumably there are draconian fines if caught.

  2. I also have been stung like this with orders from the U.S.A. , it seems to be how the parcel is described on the label as Springinsfeld says .

  3. The folks at Historfigs have just given me a fifteen dollar refund- jolly quick service I say!

  4. Tradgardmastare,

    Good old Historfigs! They were under no obligation to do anything, but full marks to them for doing what they have done.

    What I object to is not paying any import duty that might be due BUT the charge the Post Office make for collecting it! It always feels like I am having to pay to pay tax.

    All the best,


  5. Hi Trad,

    I was told that goods equal to more than £18 attract customs - calculated using the exchange rate set at the end of the previous month. I was over on one item once by 16p and had to pay £11 - despite the fact that the next day the rate had moved in my favour!

    Full marks to Historifigs though!

    All the best,


  6. Thats very good of historfigs there Alana but I am sorry to hear what the post office or rather customers here have done. What a royal pain

  7. It's gratifying to see that Historifigs is carrying on Jack Scruby's tradition of providing excellent service to fellow members of the hobby. When they first acquired Jack's business I was afraid they might be making a mistake (given the huge amount of other stuff available now), but they seem to be doing very well indeed.

    Best regards,

    Chris Johnson

  8. Sorry to heare about the extra customes fees, we have them here in Sweden to on all orders from outside EU.

    Very kind approach by Mike & Alison at Historifigs !

    I still hope you will like the Swedish interwar minis :)

    Best regards Michael

  9. I've been caught on my last three overseas parcels, one from the US and two from Oz. Perhaps the GPO and Customs are tightening up. We just have to fork out and lump it!

  10. Annoying, to be sure. My wife had to pay 20 GBP tax for a parcel intended for my stepdaughter while we were in the UK for Xmas. It's good to see Historifigs are on the ball and give good customer service.

  11. Collected figs from P.O and paid their "ransom" they look great by the way!

  12. Yes, if you buy products from outside the EU, in theory you may be liable for VAT and Import Duty on the value of the goods (which if I recall correctly includes the postage!). This doesn't always happen though even if your goods are over the £18 level David mentions above. Presumably Revenue and Customs don't have the resources to open every single package and take a sample or pick certain items (no doubt according to some criteria of some sort).

    I recently bought some figures from the US for about $200 and wasn't charged any VAT or Import Duty. :-)

    The Royal Mail fee doesn't seem unreasonable to me bearing in mind that they've already paid the VAT and Import Duty on your behalf. They also run the risk I suppose that you might not claim your goods from them! :-)

  13. I use to do lot of airsoft and a lot of my purchases were from Hong Kong and I was always getting caught out by this. The annoying thing was the inconsistency, sometimes I would go two or three parcels and no 'duty' and then the next parcel would disappear in transit for a month before I got a card from HM Customs (usually stuck at Heathrow). Some how they always seemed to know which was the more expensive parcel that would garner them the most 'duty'! My sympathies.

  14. Just to dampen the mood...
    The value limit has recently decreased from £18 to (IIRC) £15 for any mechandise/goods imported into the UK. Above this limit attracts VAT & MAY attract import duty depending on the nature of the goods.
    The PO does not pay the VAT until you do (AFAIK) & charge a very heavy "administration" fee.
    Gifts have a higher value limit, but bear in mind an international customs declaration is a legal document.
    Whether a parcel is "intercepted" is often arbitrary, but ordering over £15 value of goods is a risk. Note the declaration ask for the value of the goods; the postage probably should not be included in this figure for calculation of the import value.

    1. >>The PO does not pay the VAT until you do (AFAIK) & charge a very heavy "administration" fee.

      I didn't realise that they only pay the VAT when you pay it.