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Author Topic: The Mods need your opinion! Help!  (Read 3148 times)

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Offline LoaTopic starter

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The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« on: May 31, 2017, 12:31:08 AM »
Hi everyone,

We need some help resolving an issue.

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The Arena recently ran a customs swap.

Swapper Fabulous was sending to Recipient Amazing.
Swapper Fabulous marked her customs label as being worth $50.
When Recipient Amazing went to collect her parcel from the Post Office, there was a charge of 35 Euros ($40 USD) to collect.
Recipient Amazing refused the charge, understandably, and asked for the box to be returned to sender.

The Mods have been attempting to work this situation out.
Obviously, Recipient Amazing has nothing in hand.
But, the custom cost a lot of money to ship, which Swapper fabulous will now be out of pocket again. They are also concerned that if she marks lower than $50, and it gets lost or damaged, then no one will get money back from insurance.

We have suggested:
* Halving the costs of shipping between both parties
* Working it out between both parties

We are now at a stalemate as neither has worked.

Both parties are naturally very upset, and we would like some opinions on how we can settle this fairly.
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Offline nhal039

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Re: The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2017, 01:33:58 AM »
Ugh what i headache, i can understand both points of view. In hindsite custom forms should have been laid out in the rules of the swap, values etc

At this stage there has to be some give from both parties otherwise no one is going to win. Really spilting post costs and writing a low value on the declaration is the only way i see forward. That way costs are known in advance, the reciever also knows and therefore accepts resoniblity that should damage occur (assuming the custom is packed apropiately) that there is no insurance and that is there loss.

There is no win solution here without involving others. Depending on countries you could see if someone is heading to that part of the world (ie my dad goes r
To the uk frequently so i give him parcels to post for me in the uk) so could post the parcel within the recieves country but this is complaicated and places risk on the 3rd party too
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Offline jrr74

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Re: The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2017, 02:54:10 AM »
What an unfortunate situation.  What is it that the receiver wants? 

I agree with what nhal039 says foremost, but there are other possibilities I guess.

1) auction/sell the custom and give proceeds to Recipient Amazing

2) with regards to splitting the cost, I am going to take an educated guess that it was $22.50 to ship.  To ship again, we are now talking $45.00 total which is a crapload of money.  What if we take up a collection to help right this situation?  I would throw in a few dollars.  I buy stupid things all of the time so why not put it towards a good cause.  It would be my good deed for the day.  With that being said, mark item as a gift, because that's what it is.  Everyone involved traded gifts basically.  Then value it at $9.00 for cost of materials.  I realize if it gets lost, you are out the value of your work but it is not going to happen any other way.  If its against arena rules to do a collection, we are back to splitting the difference, but I would take into account the amount that Recipient Amazing paid to mail his/her custom.  And done *exit stage left*

Actually, not done.  Just a little note, you can ship two pounds worth of items for the same price as anything greater than 8 ounces. Of course we still run into the value of item for insurance purposes but if you stick to some cheap baits or whatever your guilty inexpensive pleasure is, then hopefully not much money would be lost if said package was to get lost.   

« Last Edit: May 31, 2017, 02:59:45 AM by jrr74 »
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Offline Juliepants

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Re: The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2017, 07:22:50 AM »
Hmmm.... really we as recipients should pay our own customs fees. Sorry if that's not the answer the recipient wants to hear but it is the truth.

Jules x
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Offline Libelle

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Re: The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2017, 08:11:57 AM »
Here is my opinion, i.e. the opinion of somebody located in Germany/Europe who has to deal with import duties and taxes regularly where swaps and purchases are concerned. ;) 

I'm guessing it's a parcel sent from the USA to Europe. Looking at the list of participants, the recipient must be located either in Spain or in Belgium.

I'm a bit surprised about the amount of 40 USD. With a maximum VAT of 21% (for Spain and Belgium) the shipping costs would have had to have been 150 USD to generate 40 USD of taxes. If, like jrr74 guessed, shipping was only 22.50 USD, taxes would have been 15.23 USD. Adding charges for handling and storing the parcel, the amount should have been around 20 USD.

I've done a bit of online research: Apparently, in Spain, there are added charges of 23.22 Euros to manage a DUA (Unique Administrative Document). This would explain the discrepancy. I haven't been able to find out what a DUA is. However, if the DUA is a regular requirement, then those charges should have been something that the recipient should have expected just like the taxes and handling fees.

In this case the recipient should have accepted the parcel and paid the charges in the first place. As hard as it is, any costs that have now arisen should be settled by the recipient.


In my opinion, there is only one reason why the recipient should be allowed to refuse a parcel and not be required to pay the charges, namely when the sender has exceeded the swap limit in a manner not to be expected by the recipient. (That being said, a huge problem that I see is that there is no mention at all about swap limits or values in the rules of this particular swap.)

I'll give you an example of my own where I believe this was the case: In one of the Ornament Swaps I received a box with a value of over 4 times the swap limit and exorbitant shipping costs. I paid even more on taxes than the recipient in this case. There was no way that I could have expected that my partner would go that crazy with spending. (FYI: I was furious, but paid up and didn't mention the incident until now.)

Imported goods always generate VAT and/or duties in European countries once the combined costs of (1) value of the items sent and (2) shipping costs exceed a certain limit. In Spain, this limit is 45 Euros (50 USD) between private individuals.

In my opinion, two questions arise: Was is reasonable to expect the combined costs of (1) value of the item and (2) shipping to go beyond 45 Euros / 50 USD for this swap or not?

With shipping being around 22.50 USD this leaves about 25 USD for the value of the custom. Is a value of above 25 USD reasonable for this kind of swap? If the pony community says 'yes', then the recipient should have been aware of all taxes and additional costs.


Is a value of 50 USD for the custom reasonable for this kind of swap?

If the pony community says 'yes', then the recipient should have expected these exact taxes and carry all the costs that have arisen.


ETA:

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In hindsite custom forms should have been laid out in the rules of the swap, values etc

That's what I'm struggling with as well. (FYI: I've never participated in a custom swap.) What if the recipient was a custom-swap-newbie? Is a value of 50 USD for a custom in a custom swap average or not? If not average, can it be considered as within the limits of a custom swap? *scratches head*
« Last Edit: May 31, 2017, 07:50:03 PM by Libelle »
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Offline jrr74

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Re: The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2017, 12:05:09 PM »
I just wanted to say that I am very impressed with Libelle's thoroughly thought out response.  With that being said, Libelle's opinion will not sit well with the recipient because he/she would now be responsible for the shipping along with any fees associated with the item.  The sender on the other hand, unless they did mark the item for more than the max value allowed (if this does exist) should not hold any further responsibility.   Let's say that you do start a collection to cover the shipping fees, would the recipient be willing to cover fees if the item was marked down in value?  Maybe others in the swap who only had to ship local would throw in a few bucks.  IDK?   
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Offline banditpony

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Re: The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2017, 12:39:35 PM »
My question is did the receiver send back the package WITHOUT discussing options with the host and/or mods beforehand?

Is the receiver ok with the risks involved with marked below value if/when package is resent.

And was $50 overvalued? 
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Offline Libelle

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Re: The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2017, 05:15:59 PM »
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Libelle's opinion will not sit well with the recipient

Sorry! *hides behind sofa* I am not intentionally 'siding against' the recipient. :hug: This is an altogether awful situation. However, in my understanding it is Arena policy that swap-participants are responsible for taking taxes and duties into account before signing up for swaps ...  just like swap-participants are responsible for taking costs for international shipping into account before signing up for swaps.

--------------------------------------

That being said, I made two mistakes in my comment above (I wished Spanish customs had a website in English explaining everything in detail. The info should be You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login, but I cannot find it.):

1st mistake: Forget about the DUA in this case.

2nd mistake: There is a threshold of 45 € (~ 50 USD). 21 % import tax will have to be paid for any gifts send to Spain exceeding 45 € (~ 50 USD) in value. However, contrary to what I wrote above, postage/shipping is not included in the 45 €. (What I wrote above only applies to merchandise/goods.)

If the sender marked the MLP custom as 50 USD in value, they probably only just crossed that threshold of 45 €. (What a bummer!)

But I still don't understand about the 35 € (~ 40 USD) charges? 21 % of 45 € would be 9.45 € (~ 10.50 USD). Add 5 € for processing/handling, and we are at 15 € (~ 16.85 USD). :shrug:

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Let's say that you do start a collection to cover the shipping fees, would the recipient be willing to cover fees if the item was marked down in value?  Maybe others in the swap who only had to ship local would throw in a few bucks.  IDK?   

Oh, I like that idea! Actually, if the item was marked down in value a bit and sent again, there shouldn't be any taxes/duties. If the item was marked down to, let's say, 45 USD ... and the recipient agreed to carry the insurance risk in case the parcel got lost or damaged ... and there was a collection to meet the shipping costs for a second time around ... would this be a solution? In any case, the recipient would need to inquire about taxes/duties beforehand (in order to confirm what I've just written) and instruct both sender and mods to make sure everything worked out fine this time around.

Again, I'm so sorry, this has happened!
« Last Edit: June 02, 2017, 07:59:00 PM by Libelle »
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Offline jrr74

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Re: The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2017, 06:04:06 PM »
Maybe the post office read the value as $150.  Did the recipient question the charges?  I would like to know the breakdown of how a 45 € charge came to be.  You take the value of the gift plus shipping and get $72.50.  That $50 dollars is now 69% of that total value.  Now if it was misread and someone thought item was marked at $150 plus shipping, that additional $50 charge is only *rolls eyes* 29% of the value.  It is highway robbery over there

as for you Libelle, what you wrote is very much true so no need to apologize or hide behind the couch, it is what it is.  I never once thought of you as siding against the recipient.  I simply tip-toe too much around those I don't know.  My friends, if they make a mistake, are going to know about it.  I see it as an learning opportunity.  Unless of course they are down on their luck, then I just minimize the whole thing :biggrin:

Conclusion-with all that was said, we can 1-sell the custom and send money to recipient.  Stupid, and yet, reasonable given the circumstances.  2-resend customized pony at recipients expense  (or do the collection thing) with a decrease marked value to keep under threshold.  This is really only a a no-no when someone is actually purchasing from another individual because it protects the seller.  Since no money was swapped, I see no harm.  And don't forget, if shipping was indeed $22.50, you can mail a package weighing up to 2 pounds for the same price.  That last piece is my silver lining. 

To the mods and involved parties, I wish you all the best of luck in that an amicable settlement is arranged
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Offline Galactica

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Re: The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2017, 06:21:42 PM »
I think customs made a mistake and read the value in Euros instead of USD.  I have seen this happen a LOT on a doll group I belong to. If the recipient calls or shows up in person, they will adjust the fee.  I know that is not helpful for the current situation, but in the future the recipient should consider. 

In terms of marking the value of the custom- that's a tough one.  Generally, a recipient should be expected to pay customs fees right?  But where did the $50 value come from?  Was it because the package was insured?  If the recipient wants a value of $0, are they also willing to bear the risk of loss if the package goes astray? I guess that is difficult to work out in advance- but maybe something that could be considered with future swaps that could involve people from various places.

As for solutions? err... I like the idea of selling Custom one and sending proceeds to Recipient.  Or holding a raffle.

Offline Ponyfan

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Re: The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2017, 06:42:42 PM »
This must be a very frustrating issue for both parties. I have also assumed that any import/custom fees on a swap box are the recipient's responsibility but no one likes getting told about extra fees when you go to pick up a package. I wonder if this was the first time both parties had shipped/recieved internationally before and maybe that is where some of the shock and surprise at the extra fees came from. 

Maybe in future swaps there can be a section with tips for completing a customs form if you are shipping internationally.

I don't have any new ideas to try to add. Halving the cost between Amazing and Fabulous for reshipping /fees or taking up a collection for the fees from the other swap participants so that Amazing can have the pony that Fabulous made for them seem like good ideas.


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« Last Edit: May 31, 2017, 06:45:06 PM by Ponyfan »
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Offline Skeen

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Re: The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2017, 06:58:11 PM »
This happened once before in a swap I hosted a few years ago.  After speaking to the mods at the time, it was decided the sender should pay the customs fee or the receiver needed to refuse the package. 



Offline Libelle

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Re: The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2017, 08:13:16 PM »
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it was decided the sender should pay the customs fee

But why was this even considered to be an option? Was the sender at fault in any way (over-declaring an item, failing to provide an accurate/complete/any customs form ...). If not, I don't believe this is fair.

I have never asked any swap partner to pay (i.e. refund) any customs fees / import taxes / duties. Just like I have never asked a seller to pay (i.e. refund) any customs fees / import taxes / duties. If you are living in Europe you know that you will have to pay those, there is no way around it.

Goodness, this sounds terribly harsh. Please, keep in mind that I belong to the group of people having to pay those fees/taxes/duties as well. ;)
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Re: The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2017, 08:20:44 PM »
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it was decided the sender should pay the customs fee

But why was this even considered to be an option? Was the sender at fault in any way (over-declaring an item, failing to provide an accurate/complete/any customs form ...). If not, I don't believe this is fair.

I have never asked any swap partner to pay (i.e. refund) any customs fees / import taxes / duties. Just like I have never asked a seller to pay (i.e. refund) any customs fees / import taxes / duties. If you are living in Europe you know that you will have to pay those, there is no way around it.

Goodness, this sounds terribly harsh. Please, keep in mind that I belong to the group of people having to pay those fees/taxes/duties as well. ;)


I think this is one of those impossible questions to answer, since at this point there is no super "fair" way to resolve the issue.

@Libelle I agree that that solution doesn't sound fair :( If I had any customs fees I would just accept them and pay them.


The only suggestion I can make is that the Sender resends the package with a lower custom value - pays fees, and the recipient splits the cost with them.

And that the recipient pays any new custom fees for the package. (which will hopefully be lower)



I know its too late, but if only they had accepted the package and maybe asked for the customs fees to be split with the sender somehow.

Either way its a impossible situation with no easy answer.

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Offline Carrehz

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Re: The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2017, 08:49:05 PM »
Honestly, I'm with Juliepants on this one. I buy a LOT of stuff from overseas and yeah it's a bummer when something gets hit with customs charges, but I just pay up and move on with life. I get being upset by an unexpected charge but I don't really think there's anything else that can be done at this point - either they accept that they'll have to pay charges OR the sender re-sends it with a false customs declaration and the recipient accepts that they run the risk of something happened to it. Like nhal039 said, _someone_ is gonna have to lose out here, unfortunately :(
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