Am I being overcharged for import duty on a pedal?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by R.C.Moran, May 25, 2015.

  1. R.C.Moran

    R.C.Moran Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,116
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2013
    Location:
    Bossier City
    I think this is relevant enough to ask here. I recently purchased a pedal from an Italian retailer, cost 490 euro, importing to the US. Their shipping method is DHL (30 euro shipping fee). I received a message this morning requesting I pay duties on the pedal, which I had expected, however the charge was $158.29 USD. I can't seem to find a clear answer, but I was under the impression import duty on most pedals was only around 3%, and even with applicable handling fees, considering shipping was already paid for, it seems like I'm being taken for a ride. Does anyone have any experience to speak to the validity of the charge? I'm unsure of the package size, but the pedal is the size of a Strymon Timeline or Boss double treadle pedal, and it doesn't weigh more than a couple of lbs. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. 1198SP

    1198SP Supporting Member

    Messages:
    603
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2014
    Location:
    Bentonville, AR.
    There is probably a handling fee, a brokerage fee and then the duty. If you are going to collect the item look at the invoice and make sure they are not overcharging duty. No way around the other fees sadly.
     
    R.C.Moran likes this.
  3. Flyin' Brian

    Flyin' Brian Member

    Messages:
    29,314
    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2005
    Location:
    K7C 4K8
    "Currently, the United States has imposed a 100 percent rate of duty on certain products of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, The Federal Republic of Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the Ukraine. If you should bring more of any of these products back with you than fall within your exemption or flat rate of duty, (see below) you will pay as much in duty as you paid for the product or products."

    http://www.cbp.gov/travel/international-visitors/kbyg/customs-duty-info
     
  4. PurpleJesus

    PurpleJesus Gold Supporting Member Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    7,623
    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Wow, that seems steep. I got a pedal from Van Weelden in Holland shipped over here for about $45, but he did use the Dutch Post, so maybe it's a DHL thing. Sucks, dude. I've heard some import duty "horror stories".
     
  5. R.C.Moran

    R.C.Moran Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,116
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2013
    Location:
    Bossier City
    Oddly enough, the invoice is not broken down, and I think that may be why I am questioning this. It simply sums "DHL Duties, Taxes, and Fees for your delivery." And I was expecting to pay those things, but not an additional quarter of the cost. I appreciate the responses so far, and I thought better to pay, get the pedal in hand, and then see if there is recourse. All in all though, yes, it seems very high to me. I'll check the DHL website, and if it does prove the charges valid, I'll take it on the chin and try to avoid ever receiving from them again.
     
  6. scotth

    scotth Member

    Messages:
    1,156
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2012
    Location:
    Morden, MB
    I'm willing to bet, that if they broke it down, you'd find that DHL took an unusually large cut for "duties and fees"

    It seems to be the way it goes whenever a corporate company doesn't disclose/isn't clear about their billing. (i.e. my cellphone bill)
     
    Black_Label likes this.
  7. Empros

    Empros Supporting Member

    Messages:
    10,036
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2012
    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    I'm in Canada, so I know a thing or too about these fees. DHL overcharges like a mofo. Not much you can do about it. FedEx has the cheapest next to using postal service.
     
    Black_Label and Flyin' Brian like this.
  8. R.C.Moran

    R.C.Moran Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,116
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2013
    Location:
    Bossier City
    I'm sure it is DHL taking a ridiculous cut, but I want the product... If I've ever sold in the emporium shipping to Canada, I've always used the postal service, so I feel a bit better if that is the more reasonable route for cost. Same still, when I received my Evolution from Buffalo FX, it was shipped via post, and I was not hit with any additional charges, but I suppose the postage cost took care of that.

    Also, for anyone interested the pedal is a Gurus Echosex 2 LTD, purchased from Spaghetti Guitar Tools, and while we only spoke via email, Giuliano was incredibly friendly and courteous. Other than possibly requesting a different shipping method if possible, if anyone's looking for an LTD I think they still have some available, and I'd shop there again. Now the downside, I'm on the road right now and won't even be home to try it until mid June :/ bummer.
     
  9. PurpleJesus

    PurpleJesus Gold Supporting Member Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    7,623
    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2014
    The longer I buy/trade/sell pedals the more I think postal services are the best way to ship. They seem to clear customs quickest, tend to be the cheapest option, and I've yet to get hammered by any import duties. But, I will say, for all the Effectrode stuff I've bought over the years fedex has gotten it here from England in about a week and without crazy fees. However, in the U.S. It takes fedex a week to ship something cross country and USPS 2-days. :dunno
     
  10. Dave Fox

    Dave Fox Senior Pedalmaker

    Messages:
    667
    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    Wayne NJ
    About 2-3 years ago a guy from Canada sent me a pedal to mod or repair (which I should not be paying tax on). I think it came via DHL. I got a bill from US customs saying I owed quite a bit - like $60 or so. I had to jump through hoops to make it go away. Had to write letters, sign and fax things and hope they accepted it, which they eventually did. Could have earned $100 in the time it took go save $60.

    Then - about a year and a half ago a similar thing happened but it was a repair sent from the Europe. The bill looked kind of weird, like it was from some cheesy collection agency and they wanted $96. They even spelled my company name wrong. I kinda forgot about it and so far haven't heard back.
     
  11. msnes335

    msnes335 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,243
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2014
    Location:
    There ain't no place I'd rather be
    Interesting. I bought a Count To 5 from Montreal Assembly, obviously from Canada, received back in February. I was worried about getting hit with a customs bill, but so far so good, actually just pre-ordered another hopefully will not get charged on that either. I also bought a Miku Stomp (I know, I know) from Amazon, but it was shipped from the US, so no customs fees, and even better, no sales tax for some reason. But, I have heard these stories about these fees before (on the pages of TGP), and it's why I won't buy pedals from abroad, unless they are coming from a dealer over here.



     
  12. R.C.Moran

    R.C.Moran Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,116
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2013
    Location:
    Bossier City
    Very strange indeed. I will say I would feel a bill from the customs office is more legitimate (whether correct or not) than arbitrary charges DHL may apply. In your case, perhaps there needs to be a better way for customs to figure out that it's repair work, not purchase of a product, and just avoid the whole mess from the start. It's also bad from a business and consumer end. I understand the need for tariffs and seeking to take care of a nation's own economy, but in seeking goods that may not be domestically obtainable, or especially services, such as pedal/amp repair, it is unreasonable to create an environment where neither the business or consumer are in a win win situation.
     
  13. SpiritShooter

    SpiritShooter Supporting Member

    Messages:
    854
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2012
    Location:
    United Seat 3B
    DHL sucks. They charge huge fees and don't ever try to collect from them in the event of damage or a lost item. Even if you paid for insurance they will jerk you around until you're so frustrated you will give up.

    Not a shipping company I will ever use.
     
  14. 9520575

    9520575 Member

    Messages:
    4,089
    Joined:
    May 26, 2011
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Broker fee, yup.
     
  15. The Jungles

    The Jungles Smuggler of Funk

    Messages:
    54
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2015
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    The answer to your question is: YES.
     
  16. Semitone

    Semitone Member

    Messages:
    897
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2012
    I've imported multiple items over the last decade, in excess of $5000. Never had to pay duty on any item for personal use regardless of what it is. ( I was told by customs there in no duty on items for personal use in the U.S..) I have on the other hand been bent over and vigged for inumerable fees, most of which I still can't figure out what the were for.

    FedEx sent me a $40 invoice seven years ago for a customs charge or other. I threw it in the trash. Last I heard from them. There is a lot of shenanigans when it comes to international shipping. E.g. outrageous storage charges, "cash only", dozens of fees for unloading... If I imported on a regular basis I'm sure I would figure it out, but when I only do it every other year, I get screwed constantly.
     
  17. R.C.Moran

    R.C.Moran Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,116
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2013
    Location:
    Bossier City
    It's the same for me, I don't really do much in the way of buying from retailers not in the US, so while I feel like I got screwed here, I really don't have any motivation to worry about it. This was the first time I ever had a problem like this though, and I hope to avoid ever receiving from DHL again it I can help it. I have imported and received packages via USPS and have never had any issues.
     

Share This Page