Feel free to rant and rave in here, but please no slander or offensive remarks !

Moderators: Little Walter, The Cult Leader, lazyben, NMA, static14, texasvinyl

User avatar
By Bezulsqy
#98896 First: this thread is not meant to bitch about shipping costs. It is simply consumer advice :-)
Second: focus will be on shipping from US to EU.
Third: this post became rather long…

Since some time Mondo and Waxwork have an extra (cheaper) shipping option for international orders. They use DHL instead of USPS for this. My experience is that the DHL option to The Netherlands always incurs customs. I am thinking that going for the more expensive USPS option might actually be the better option in the long run.
But I can be wrong.

So I want to ask your experiences. Did you order from Mondo or Waxwork by using the DHL of USPS option to ship to the EU? Was the correct value stated on the package? Were you charged with custom fees?
I also really want to know when you did NOT get stung by customs.

My experience:

Mondo
All USPS before April 2016: no customs

DHL:
April 20, 2016: charged!
August 10, 2016: need to check (I’ll edit this later) but I think charged, because after this I changed back to:

USPS:
3 order between October 2016 and January 2017 with NO customs.

Waxwork
About 15 orders up until July 2017 with USPS and no customs.

DHL:
July 2017: charged!

(after that one I decided to buy Waxwork releases from Transmission)

One thing I noticed is that on the DHL packages slip the correct value is stated. On the USPS-package slips values of $5 or $10 per item are stated. I guess the DHL values need to be correct because of insurance purposes.

Another thing I notice is that shipping times take much longer (2 or 3 times as long) for DHL opposite USPS.

Also, DHL orders to The Netherlands first arrive in Germany (DHL is/was German) and I think the sticker that customs needs to be paid is attached there. That would be an explanation why Occhionero (living in Germany) doesn’t appear to be stung each time with customs. I think the orders for Germany are more randomly selected to be charged, but all orders that go through the German DHL distribution centre to the Netherlands are tagged.

One more remark to put it all in perspective. If the difference between shipping costs on a particular order is about $20-$30 and you get stung by customs using the cheaper option, the charge you get is about $22-$32. So in the end the difference in total costs is very small.
The exception is when you buy only 1 record and you get to choose between DHL for $22 and USPS for $23,50. Go for the USPS one because that will definitely be a lot cheaper (as in $16 cheaper).
By skeletonbutt
#98900 I've had the same experience ordering from Mondo and Waxwork shipped to Canada. If I pay less up front and go with DHL as the shipping option, there are customs/duties/taxes/fees that I have to pay before I get my package. I've never not had to ultimately pay extra when using DHL. They fucking suck. It's always worth it to spring for USPS and pay a little more upfront than pay a lot when it reaches my door. Don't use DHL.
User avatar
By Mateo Sanboval
#98902 Here's the thing: USPS rules. Full stop. But they almost went out of business and they are no longer the cheapest way to fly. I use them almost exclusively because shit gets where it's going in a timely fashion with a far, far higher success rate than the competition. Even overseas. That's all I got on this.
By chiefbrody
#98908 Really useful information, thanks @bez and others.

Unfortunately I think I'm going to cancel my Jaws/Alien preorders - I simply can't justify the £45 for a record that it would cost with USPS (personal choice, not a criticism). I've ordered with DHL shipping but if an additional charge is extremely likely, they'll cost even more than USPS shipped. Hopefully I'll be able to pick up Jaws in the UK for less than £40 in due course.
User avatar
By Dollarhyde
#98910 Ive found in the UK now everything is going through customs, so it's only if the seller down prices the parcel that I miss the extra duties, or the record is cheap. For the UK the threshold for customs duties is around £15.

If I'm right, someone please correct me if I'm wrong, USPS ends up in the hands of the national postal service when it comes to customs duties.

Whereas DHL do thier own customs service.

If this is so surely USPS varies from country to country at the receiving end.
User avatar
By Bezulsqy
#98911
Dollarhyde wrote:it's only if the seller down prices the parcel that I miss the extra duties, or the record is cheap. For the UK the threshold for customs duties is around £15..


I think you are probably right. Threshold in The Netherlands is €22.
But I am I right in stating that Mondo/Waxwork state the correct value with DHL orders and a lower value on USPS orders?
By skeletonbutt
#98913
Dollarhyde wrote:Ive found in the UK now everything is going through customs, so it's only if the seller down prices the parcel that I miss the extra duties, or the record is cheap. For the UK the threshold for customs duties is around £15.

If I'm right, someone please correct me if I'm wrong, USPS ends up in the hands of the national postal service when it comes to customs duties.

Whereas DHL do thier own customs service.

If this is so surely USPS varies from country to country at the receiving end.


DHL pays for the customs/taxes/duty up front for you. But, when you receive your package, you have to pay all of that back PLUS DHL charges you a fee for them doing all of that for you on top of what you owe.

Things sent USPS get delivered by Canada Post here. DHL, once it reaches Canada, is also delivered by Canada Post.
By chiefbrody
#98917
Bezulsqy wrote:
Dollarhyde wrote:it's only if the seller down prices the parcel that I miss the extra duties, or the record is cheap. For the UK the threshold for customs duties is around £15..


I think you are probably right. Threshold in The Netherlands is €22.
But I am I right in stating that Mondo/Waxwork state the correct value with DHL orders and a lower value on USPS orders?


I can't confirm that, and it might/probably will play a part. If the value is below the threshold (I'd be wary of saying it is under-valued, as there are rules that mean it isn't necessarily retail value), it will come through OK. Where the stated value is above the threshold, I think the additional 'problem' is DHL handling the customs and VAT themselves, which means 100% of cases. With some other services it is more likely to be a 'sample' of packages that is taken. I've had packages come through with $30 as the declared value (threshold is £15, which is less than $20), so it's not entirely value-based. I think what we know is certain carriers/agents will result in customs and handling fees all the time.

It'll get worse in the UK post-Brexit, when we'll have additional costs on anything from the EU above £15 as well. I'm not totally against paying duty and VAT, that's just leveling the playing field, but I do object to paying £8-12 for 'handling'.
User avatar
By Spun out of control
#98944 Just to add my tuppence to the discussion... I think in the wake of the Brexit vote and current low value of the pound Sterling (that doesn't seem in chance of getting better anytime soon with the current political climate) that £15 threshold is ridiculously low and needs revision upwards.

Couple of years back when LPs shipped into the UK from the States were costing $20 to $25 and the £ was higher in value, additional customs charges were never an issue (although shipping costs themselves were, and the subject of much moaning on this forum). Now it feels like we didn't know we had it good at the time in comparison with now :)

My own experience with DHL from Mondo is that I always now seem to get charged - and that's when there is no obvious mark on the package as to its value.

I also got stung for £13+ total customs for an LP received from Newbury Comics ($29.99 value) recently (USPS at point of origin), doubtless because they declared the full retail value on the package.
User avatar
By texasvinyl
#98964 Customs is all the fault of the recipient country. And these countries are getting much firmer on the customs fees.

--they have figured out that records can be valuable, sometimes quite valuable

--they are rejecting customs labels and sending parcels back to the sender for missing & inaccurate information. This is per my usps clerks. For example if I put my first initial instead of my first name or leave off my phone # on the customs declaration form and the recipient country customs office will reject it.

--senders that intentionally understate the value of packages or mark "gift" instead of merchandise are committing some kind of tax fraud. For a business that isn't going to be worth the risk

--some customs officers like Switzerland open the parcel and look up the value. So if I send a record marked $10 but it's really a rare library worth €350 they will tax it at 350 unless the recipient can produce an actual invoice.

--tax laws and import duties vary hugely by country. For example in the US you have to be in the hundreds of dollars, I think $300+ before import tax will be charged, and even then it may not be. While others like Brazil it is insanely, insanely expensive, to the point that I won't ship to countries like that whatsoever. It's like a 500% import tax!!

So basically you can't really blame the label or the shipping service. The recipient county sets the rules, and they're cracking down for sure.

Fun fact: in Texas if you buy something from another state or another country you're supposed to fill out a form and remit 8.25% sales tax to the state on the purchase price. But absolutely no one does this or even knows about the rule.
By skeletonbutt
#98971
texasvinyl wrote:Customs is all the fault of the recipient country. And these countries are getting much firmer on the customs fees.

--they have figured out that records can be valuable, sometimes quite valuable

--they are rejecting customs labels and sending parcels back to the sender for missing & inaccurate information. This is per my usps clerks. For example if I put my first initial instead of my first name or leave off my phone # on the customs declaration form and the recipient country customs office will reject it.

--senders that intentionally understate the value of packages or mark "gift" instead of merchandise are committing some kind of tax fraud. For a business that isn't going to be worth the risk

--some customs officers like Switzerland open the parcel and look up the value. So if I send a record marked $10 but it's really a rare library worth €350 they will tax it at 350 unless the recipient can produce an actual invoice.

--tax laws and import duties vary hugely by country. For example in the US you have to be in the hundreds of dollars, I think $300+ before import tax will be charged, and even then it may not be. While others like Brazil it is insanely, insanely expensive, to the point that I won't ship to countries like that whatsoever. It's like a 500% import tax!!

So basically you can't really blame the label or the shipping service. The recipient county sets the rules, and they're cracking down for sure.

Fun fact: in Texas if you buy something from another state or another country you're supposed to fill out a form and remit 8.25% sales tax to the state on the purchase price. But absolutely no one does this or even knows about the rule.


I could place two orders from Waxwork or Mondo, both containing the same items of the same value. The one shipped via DHL will result in additional fees when Canada Post delivers it to me. The one shipped via USPS will not result in additional fees when delivered by Canada Post. DHL sucks, not Canada. UPS also sucks.

This is just my experience. I try to avoid buying from companies/sellers outside of Canada, but the only times I get dinged is when the package is shipped via DHL or UPS.
By thewaystation
#99037
texasvinyl wrote:Maybe DHL and UPS care more about compliance especially since they're multinationals? I was shocked to hear from a buyer that Swiss customs open and lookup value and will ignore declared value on the customs form.


Annoying indeed but the alternative might look like this: When I was living in Germany and ordering a lot from the US there were at least three occasions when I had to show up at the customs office (way out of town, about 90 minutes round-trip), where I had to open the package and even answer questions as to why I had ordered the items from overseas). As the value was usually quite low I would end up paying about 12$ import tax /customs. Always left wondering if my customs officers ('my' as from a citizen's perspective) had not better focus on more relevant matters / cases.
User avatar
By Bezulsqy
#100976 My NOES box from Mondo has almost landed. I do already know I have to pay customs in the amount of 26,41 euro. That is 13 handling fees + 13,41 tax. A very fair amount I would say.
This is by using the USPS option.
Did anyone order this with the DHL option? And did custom charges occur?

Also, can someone tell me if they have ordered past half year from Waxwork with the DHL option? Did Waxwork state the correct amount or did they note the value down a bit?
I am thinking of only getting Friday the 13th part IV during the Cyber Monday Sale, but if they state the correct amount than customs will occur. And that would mean 1 euro tax + 13 euro handling costs on top of what I pay Waxwork. That would simply feel stupid.

So any experiences?