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87 posts

Master Geek
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Topic # 115435 26-Mar-2013 02:19
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My sister had ordered a Nexus 4 8GB from the USA Google Play store and had it sent to her Youshop address. She declared it at a value of $299 USD (I remember reading on here somewhere that a Youshop representative said you only declare the value of the parcel, not including the domestic shipping used to get the parcel to Youshop).

So her package arrives in New Zealand but gets stopped by customs with details on her package being declared at $358 USD (??) and shipping at $20.66 USD (??) with a total value of $437 NZD. It seems they had converted the value twice, seeing as $299 USD -> NZD = $358~. They also stated the Youshop shipping fee in USD. This results in a tax of $108~.

My sister then goes into a customs office with proof of purchase etc to try and sort out this issue. She was told that because she was charged $387.55 (Phone + domestic shipping) on her bank statement, they have to use that value when taking into consideration of tax (even though she had the Google Play receipt which clearly states the phone was only $299 USD) and thus, $387.55 + $20.66 = $408.21 meaning she still gets taxed.

Part of that $387.55 on her bank statement was a $9.46 currency conversion fee (says incl. Currency conversion fee of $9.46 as a transaction comment) and I'm pretty sure that already gets taxed with the bank. Are customs even allowed to charge tax on that fee? Doing so would result in that being taxed twice. If they're not, the total cost would be $378.09 + 20.66 = $398.75 meaning no tax.

They kept telling her that "because $387.55 appears on your bank statement, that is the value we have to use!" and made her pay anyway.

Also, are customs allowed to charge tax on domestic USA shipping services to get the parcel to Youshop? Their reasoning was "If you didn't pay for that shipping, you wouldn't have been able to get it into NZ anyway".

Anyone able to offer any advice on what to do? Seeing as she already paid, the best outcome would be a refund.

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  Reply # 786991 26-Mar-2013 06:30
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I don't think they can include the currency conversion fee as this is a fee that was charged by a NZ company in NZ and applicible tax etc have already been included in this charge.

As far as the domestic shipping in the USA, you might have to live with that.

Here is a free tip, use paypal (if possible) for overseas credit card purchases, paypal charge you credit card in $NZ so you avoid the greedy bank conversion fees



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Master Geek
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  Reply # 786993 26-Mar-2013 06:38
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I see. Even removing the bank tax alone should be enough to not be charged duty.

Also, cheers for the tip, but sadly not every store accepts PayPal :(

 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 786994 26-Mar-2013 06:58
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rule of thumb, customs think they are gods, MAF knows they are.

***MAF are now known as MPI***

You always take a risk importing from overseas, your sister lost this time.

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  Reply # 786996 26-Mar-2013 07:36
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gregmcc: Here is a free tip, use paypal (if possible) for overseas credit card purchases, paypal charge you credit card in $NZ so you avoid the greedy bank conversion fees


Have you compared the PayPal and Visa rates? I did, PayPal rates can be 2% worse than bank rates.




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  Reply # 786997 26-Mar-2013 07:47
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gregmcc:
Here is a free tip, use paypal (if possible) for overseas credit card purchases, paypal charge you credit card in $NZ so you avoid the greedy bank conversion fees


Here's another tip - avoid Paypal's currency conversion at all costs. Their conversion rates are an absolute ripoff.


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  Reply # 786998 26-Mar-2013 07:51
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Etcman:
Also, are customs allowed to charge tax on domestic USA shipping services to get the parcel to Youshop? Their reasoning was "If you didn't pay for that shipping, you wouldn't have been able to get it into NZ anyway".



Customs assess value including shipping to NZ, so I don't see why shipping inside the US to facilitate shipping to NZ would really be any different.

At the end of the day I don't think you're going to get anywhere debating the issue with them. As already pointed out importing things can often be a case of Russian roulette. Sometimes you get lucky, other times you don't.

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  Reply # 787078 26-Mar-2013 10:54
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When you order a Nexus 4 via youshop you have to declare the value in USD.  Did she write USD$299 or USD $358?



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  Reply # 787103 26-Mar-2013 11:23
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Still, its a saving compared with the local paralell importers.



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  Reply # 787120 26-Mar-2013 11:43
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BigMal: When you order a Nexus 4 via youshop you have to declare the value in USD.  Did she write USD$299 or USD $358?




She wrote USD $299. Youshop messed up and typed $358 USD. The form on youshop asks for the value of the package in USD so there shouldn't be any confusion.

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  Reply # 787129 26-Mar-2013 11:54
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So what have Youshop said in relation to this simple mistake?
Did you ask them to provide written clarity for you so you could show the customs guys?

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  Reply # 787131 26-Mar-2013 11:55
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  Reply # 787132 26-Mar-2013 11:57
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They just told her to talk to customs to correct the mistake. Its interesting that youshop asks for the value of the parcel, but customs only care about how much the statement reports. It makes me wonder why youshop doesn't ask the same to declare.



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  Reply # 787138 26-Mar-2013 12:00
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CYaBro: So have you complained to Youshop?


Yup, seeing as they messed up twice (first they enter the weight of the packagee as 4kg instead of 0.4, making it cost $58 to send to nz , taking a week to solve. Now a wrongly declared item that would have passed fine if it was declared correctly in the first place.)


Of course, the complaint is being redirected to different departments at the moment and not really getting solved.

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  Reply # 787196 26-Mar-2013 13:09
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Somebody was complaining about similar on the Trademe forums recently, seems Youshop have a habit of calculating $XX USD to $YY NZD but writing on the package $YY USD; then of course customs does $YY USD to $ZZ NZD when it enters NZ - double conversion.

I'm pretty sure that {currency conversion fee} already gets taxed with the bank. Are customs even allowed to charge tax on that fee?


Financial transactions are GST exempt, so no there is no tax on that fee applied by the bank. And I think it is an entirely valid argument that customs should not be applying GST on that portion of the amount either.

On domestic shipping.... I'd say fair enough for customs to add GST on that (if they catch wind of it).




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  Reply # 787202 26-Mar-2013 13:18
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The thing is that you're still liable for GST on the total cost including shipping (less any GST already paid I suppose, i.e. the bank fee or youshop's postage, I'm not sure there's any GST on either of those).

Regardless of what mistake youshop made, the total cost is over $400 so GST is over $60 so you need to pay it.

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