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Author Topic: The Mods need your opinion! Help!  (Read 3180 times)

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Offline Skeen

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Re: The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« Reply #15 on: May 31, 2017, 09:08:04 PM »
I think this solution in the case I mentioned was because the partners were in a round swap, and the receiver wasn't the person who sent something to the sender.  Receiver, in this case, got nothing at all until the fee was paid (she had already sent a different person a box and paid int'l postage on it), while sender had gotten her package from her other partner and was, technically, out nothing since the package she got was of equal value to the one she sent.  It wasn't exactly the same situation, but the question of who should pay is the same.   

I don't necessarily have an opinion, I just wanted to say this isn't the first time this has happened and since it has happened before it's a good idea to have swap organizers specify who is going to pay customs fees up front, one way or the other (if not made into an Arena-wide rule, that is). 

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Re: The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« Reply #16 on: May 31, 2017, 09:42:54 PM »
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My question is did the receiver send back the package WITHOUT discussing options with the host and/or mods beforehand?

Unfortunately, yes.

Quote
Is the receiver ok with the risks involved with marked below value if/when package is resent.
Not really. Swapper Fabulous marked it appropriately for the skill and materials, not to mention cost of replacement.

Quote
And was $50 overvalued? 

No.


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

We are actually thinking this may be incorporated.



I think the community donation/fundraising may be an ultimate solution, but it would have to be a one off. We cannot ask the community to do this everytime! ;)
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Offline Libelle

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Re: The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« Reply #17 on: May 31, 2017, 10:41:07 PM »
Loa, were you able to find out whether the 35 € had been calculated correctly? I imagine there must be a mistake. Within the European Union, VAT must not exceed 25% (the average is, I believe, 20%). 
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Re: The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« Reply #18 on: May 31, 2017, 10:46:25 PM »
Wow, what a complicated and unfortunate situation.  One of the hurdles is that the assumption in swaps is that everyone is getting / sending things worth about the same amount, and therefore everyone spends about the same amount of money.  But with international shipping thrown in, the receiver (who probably had to pay international shipping to ship their own swap creation) was essentially asked to pay twice (?) as much as everyone else.  But it's understandable that the sender marked their item with the appropriate $$ amount too.

If I were the receiver in this situation, I would probably ask the sender to undervalue the pony on the customs form and send it again.  (Maybe the sender and receiver could each pay half the shipping this go around?  I dunno.)  Yeah, there is a risk that it would be lost in the mail, but really . . . that hardly ever happens.  At least the receiver would have a CHANCE of getting something, whereas right now they have nothing.  ROLL THE DICE.  As the receiver, I would also agree not to go after the sender if (worst case scenario) the custom WAS lost or damaged in the mail.

If the receiver isn't willing to take such a risk, then I'm not sure what is to be done.  It's not fair that they might get hit with customs fees, but it's also not specifically anyone's fault . . . It's not fair to ask the sender to pay the fees.  It's not really fair to ask the sender to cover the entire cost of shipping again either, IMO.

I do think laying out ground rules for this kind of situation in advance, for future swaps, is a great idea.
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Offline banditpony

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Re: The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« Reply #19 on: May 31, 2017, 11:39:56 PM »
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My question is did the receiver send back the package WITHOUT discussing options with the host and/or mods beforehand?

Unfortunately, yes.

Quote
Is the receiver ok with the risks involved with marked below value if/when package is resent.
Not really. Swapper Fabulous marked it appropriately for the skill and materials, not to mention cost of replacement.

Quote
And was $50 overvalued? 

No.


If the receiver wants it valued at the same price then they are likely to get hit with the same fees AND the sender has to pay $$$ for the shipping! What sense did that make? Even worse, return shipping for items are more likely to get damaged/lost.

But I agree with Libelle and it seems like the charges seem strangely high...

ETA:
I guess in my opinion, the receiver should pay for cost of re-shipping it... and they should pay whatever fees they incur. It's not nice, but the sender didn't do anything wrong. And the receiver should know they are responsible for fees of importing items of a certain value into their country.

My opinion is neither right nor wrong.  >_<
« Last Edit: May 31, 2017, 11:47:12 PM by banditpony »
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Re: The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« Reply #20 on: May 31, 2017, 11:57:41 PM »
Yes, you can all see why Mod wages are paid in chocolate and wine!
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Offline banditpony

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Re: The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« Reply #21 on: June 01, 2017, 12:12:32 AM »
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Yes, you can all see why Mod wages are paid in chocolate and wine!
:wine: :choc: :wine: :choc:

I hope the sender/receiver are able to come up with a resolution. It's a no win situation for both parties, that's for sure.
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Offline tulagirl

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Re: The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« Reply #22 on: June 01, 2017, 12:23:06 AM »
I even with reading can t seem to get a clear picture of what this swaps max spending limit was.  I think this is key.
 Okay so am I to understand that for certain this swap had a spending max of 50.00 set by the swap host before the swap began?  If it was not set by the host at 50.00 and was less, then the custom should be marked at the swap maximum. The recipient should then be aware of fees before joining such a swap. I feel if they knew beforehand the max to be spent making a custom, they should pay their fees. If the max was not 50.00 and the sender feels their custom is worth that they should keep in mind the swap limit and not send a pony over the swap set amount.  This is my thought if this swap had a limit at all which it should have had.

  If I was the sender I would not pay to resend a swap box that was sent back to me over a value problem. That is not fair. The receiver should have gotten their box and then notified a mod for help with the customs and taxes.  Honestly. When you get in a swap you have to be willing to accept what comes with it.  If a recipient rejects their swap box and, it is determined the sender did not over value based on swap levels then to me..the receiver has rejected their swap box of their own choice and it should not have to be resent.  I know this sounds harsh, but the problem here is a box was rejected before a resolution could be made. That was the receivers decision.  The forum should not have to donate funds for this.  We have shipping to do all over again here.  If sender wants to ship again, receiver should help with this cost because, they rejected their box.  If they did not know it was a swap box then I am at a loss.  If there was not a limit on spending for this swap then i would say yea..then maybe the forum should help as there were not guidelines set for those making customs and the values of each custom made.  If you put a price on your own custom and have that kind of freedom in a swap then this can happen.  It is not fair for a receiver to have to pay for an expensive custom when there was no guideline for them to know ahead of time what would happen with customs and taxes.  Especially so if any given custom could be valued at any given amount in the swap.  So a limit should be a guideline and should be set on all swaps.


 Also, I was thinking that if this is the first time just this set of circumstances have occurred in this way without any forum rules set, then that would be another reason that at this one time some help from the forum could be useful.  Then rules can be set so that if it happens again everyone in a swap will know the guidelines.

I usually help with fees in my private swaps, but not in forum swaps.  A gift isn't a gift if you have to buy it, but in a forum swap you would discuss your customs max.  I always have in forum swaps. Sorry for both as I hate this situation and know my opinion will be unpopular.  I am very sorry for both of these people involved.  I hate it when a swap has issues and people are unhappy, but in this situation no one is going to really be super happy with the outcome unless someone is totally willing to eat it for the sake of their swap and do what they don't want to do. :huh:  So, I think I read someone said that basically there were two options before with a swap problem.  I think those two options do still fit in this case too depending on how the swap was set up in the first place.

I admit I have never done a customs swap and levels of experience make this hard to set a limit, but don't  you think that having a limit just open to everyone's interpretation however accurate it may be can cause issues? Ugg and here we are with one. Sigh -_-

If you are in a situation where two people don't want to do anything to fix this and are stuck in their position then, what can you do?  A compromise should be expected depending on the facts.

If I am just posting something others have posted it was not intended. These are my thoughts.  If they are similar to someone else's then that was minds thinking alike I guess.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2017, 12:52:27 AM by tulagirl »
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Re: The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« Reply #23 on: June 01, 2017, 01:05:51 AM »
I like the idea of setting down rules to prevent this sort of thing in future, that sounds like it could come in handy.

I will say though, that whenever I buy internationally, I accept that there's a chance I'll have to pay extra. The two swaps I've entered, I did so with the knowledge that I might have to pay more to ship overseas. IMO if you're not okay with either of those, then don't enter swaps that involve international shipping.

Just.. gah, this is such a tough situation to be in, for everyone involved. :( Why do things like this have to happen...
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Re: The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« Reply #24 on: June 01, 2017, 05:13:18 AM »
I think the problem is that with a custom swap, people don't expect a custom to be worth so much money. And IMHO, it should not be marked as such on the customs form. A custom is only worth what people are WILLING to pay for it, and as it was a swap and the recipient has not really ordered a specifically priced pony from a famous customizer, in my opinion it was the sender's mistake to write this amount on the form.
If I had been in the shoes of the recipient, I would have refused to pay too.
It's a very different situation if the recipient had actually ordered a pony knowing the value was 50 USD and that would have been the price he or she had paid. Then it is the recipient's responsibility to pay further custom charges.
But in this case, I totally understand why he or she is so upset and refused to pay.
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Offline banditpony

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Re: The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« Reply #25 on: June 01, 2017, 09:54:07 AM »
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I think the problem is that with a custom swap, people don't expect a custom to be worth so much money. And IMHO, it should not be marked as such on the customs form. A custom is only worth what people are WILLING to pay for it, and as it was a swap and the recipient has not really ordered a specifically priced pony from a famous customizer, in my opinion it was the sender's mistake to write this amount on the form.
If I had been in the shoes of the recipient, I would have refused to pay too.
It's a very different situation if the recipient had actually ordered a pony knowing the value was 50 USD and that would have been the price he or she had paid. Then it is the recipient's responsibility to pay further custom charges.
But in this case, I totally understand why he or she is so upset and refused to pay.

Totally understand where you are coming from. I don't think the package should of been marked more then the bait + materials (time value should be donated/free, as it was a gift).

However, according to Loa, the receiver is not comfortable with the item being marked lower... So they want it marked up at $50.
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Offline tulagirl

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Re: The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« Reply #26 on: June 01, 2017, 01:04:02 PM »
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I think the problem is that with a custom swap, people don't expect a custom to be worth so much money. And IMHO, it should not be marked as such on the customs form. A custom is only worth what people are WILLING to pay for it, and as it was a swap and the recipient has not really ordered a specifically priced pony from a famous customizer, in my opinion it was the sender's mistake to write this amount on the form.
If I had been in the shoes of the recipient, I would have refused to pay too.
It's a very different situation if the recipient had actually ordered a pony knowing the value was 50 USD and that would have been the price he or she had paid. Then it is the recipient's responsibility to pay further custom charges.
But in this case, I totally understand why he or she is so upset and refused to pay.

The thing is though we have no idea what kind of swapper this is.  A lot of us have been internationally swapping for years and, we kind of know that a customs form on a swap should not exceed a certain amount.  What is this swapper does not know this?  There was a time I didn't know.  Then again what if they do and it is because, with the swap guidelines there was no maximum value and customs requirement guidelines set?  Then how is it unfair for an artist to interpret their value and send what they feel is the value?  I agree that we should not include in value our time on a swap, but is that the standard protocol for these types of swaps?  Did anyone discuss this prior to entering the swap?  If it is just a known thing, then how can we assume people should all know it?  Certainly it makes sense why the box was refused if there was no prior guideline.  To me this is what makes this situation unfair at the basic level. 

Now that the sender knows these custom values are too high, the fair thing to do would be to compromise at this point for the sake of their swap box. The sender knows they have fees now so the fair thing to do is compromise and pay some of their fees as it customary in all swaps that involve international shipping.

Sender could offer to pay half the shipping back and half the fees.
The Recipient would then pay the other half of shipping and half the fees.
Both parties refuse to hold either responsible for loss of package.
People on the Arena could certainly offer to help if guidelines were not set by the swap host.  I say this because, I have no idea what kind of custom swap this is, to make a pony or customize a bait.  There are a few different types of customs swaps I have seen on this forum.  I don't know what the rules were on this swap at all.

This is the only equal compromise I can think of.  It is not really fair to me in one sense because, there are still a lot of unknowns about the guidelines and communication with swappers ahead of time about country taxes and fees which we can't assume everyone knows.  It isn't fair to me that anyone have to pay for taxes and fees in a swap-either sending or recipient.  The thing is this has already been done.  Something has to give I guess. 

This is what I would do for my partner and then consider it a lesson learned not to get in a swap where the value on a form can be freely decided by each individual swapper and not set by a guideline (meaning what your spending max so a decision can be made whether to enter or not enter a swap ahead of time due to fees).  Keep in mind it is against the law to lie about value on a customs form.  It is just with a customs swap this is a gray area.  Only the moderators can decide what the guidelines should be in the future for this kind of swap. 
« Last Edit: June 01, 2017, 01:20:23 PM by tulagirl »
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Re: The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« Reply #27 on: June 01, 2017, 04:52:13 PM »
In terms of customs fees in general, much as I hate them, I agree with Juliepants and Carrehz. I have paid two this past month, one for a pony and one for Japanese stuff for my research. But I accept that as part and parcel of buying overseas.

Things that influence the fee include changing currency rates against each other, as well.

It is hard to answer fairly on this without knowing the countries involved (as different countries have different rules) and also the circumstances of the people (for example, did the recipient refuse the item because they could not afford the fee, or was it a case that they didn't think they ought to pay a fee on this item).

A buyer is liable for their fees. The recipient here is not a buyer. However, the seller was trying to protect the item, and probably didn't know about the fees.

I think the recipient made a mistake by not paying the fee and then challenging it here through the community or moderators to reach an agreement with the sender. The cost of the fee alone is annoying, but doing it this way doesn't negate the possibility of more fees or shipping issues if the item is resent, but also incurs another shipping charge. The only winners in that equation are the shipping companies, NOT the two people who should be really enjoying the swap - sender and recipient. So I think that was a mistake, and I mention that because for future reference it makes things much more crazy.

But the recipient may not have ahd the money for the fee. And that;s why I say it's hard to be really clear.

In any case, I think probably the recipient is somewhat liable for the reshipping cost. I would agree with the suggestion of splitting it down the middle.

For the record, even marking it gift doesn't necessarily omit the possibility of fees. If the sender did mark it gift, and valued it at $50 to protect it, then I don't think they did anything wrong. The value of a custom is subjective and that amount in another country's currency fluctuates according to exchange rates anyway. I have had people mark up things I've bought to almost double the price paid because of their "imagination" of what it is "worth", but this isn't one of those cases. No money exchanged hands here, so nobody can legitimately "value" this item - it has not been sold, thus its value is unproven.

If the recipient had not refused it, it would be much easier to respond to this. I would say that in that case, if the sender marked it as gift, the recipient is liable as they are responsible for the fees at their country's border. If the sender marked it anything other than gift, they are essentially misleading the authorities at the receipient's border (even if not deliberately) and thus they would be liable in my view for the fees.

Refusing the item for me was the biggest issue in this equation. I would suggest that definitely swaps in future have guidelines for this, also how to fill in a custom form legally and responsibly as well as accurately...but that participants be strongly advised in the case of a fee to not refuse the package, and instead to pay the fee and approach moderators if they feel there's something that needs to be settled.
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Re: The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« Reply #28 on: June 02, 2017, 12:33:15 AM »
I'm surprised there were no rules concerning international participants in this particular swap.  All the other active swaps on the Swap subforum (except one, presuming it's the one in question) have explicit rules concerning international shipping - mostly the rule seems to be, if you can't afford to ship or accept the customs fees for your incoming box, then don't join the swap.  I don't know how to word that tactfully. :(  I think this whole opinion of mine is going to be super harsh in the minds of the participants but I have NO IDEA who they are and so these thoughts aren't personal.  Sorry! 

And what collector who lives outside the USA hasn't sadly realized that it's a truly expensive hobby?  Shipping costs, lack of people who ship to your country, insurance and tracking for parcels, customs fees when importing, etc....  It almost feels like international collectors are being punished for not being in the USA.  :( 

And as pointed out, nobody who creates customized ponies is just going to slap it in a thin box and fling it towards the Postal Gods. No, you pack meticulously, you add bubble wrap, you box inside a box, you value the box for its replacement cost, you put insurance and tracking on it.  I would think a value of $50 USD would be a starting point for a customs swap, simply because you're dealing with OOAK art in a very volatile situation. 

What to do now...?  Definitely give Sender positive feedback for this swap, they did not do anything wrong. 

I guess it depends on what Recipient is receptive to - if they promise to pay the customs fees upon re-send, then maybe the community could take up a small collection to re-ship the pony.  Absolutely under no circumstances should Sender be paying ANYTHING a second time!  If they are adamantly refusing that they don't want to pay this fee and it seems to be a circular conversation that they want "FREE PONY", I don't think they can complete the swap to satisfaction. Yes they made a custom and shipped it, but that's only half.  The other half of the swap is not entangling your partner  in drama, not refusing their parcel, and then not letting the mods know that there are issues to be resolved  :( 

I completely agree with others that refusing a package in an international swap should be grounds for not participating in future international swaps.  At the very least, a recipient can find out what the fees will be, then contact the mods and say, "I wasn't expecting a $100 bill to accept my swap box" and you have like 48 hours to refuse the item.  But just flat-out refusing it, sending it back and approaching the swap leaders as if there isn't a problem you need to resolve... yeah don't do that!!!

Taxes, customs and fees are NO FAIR and NO FUN but they are unfortunately part of collecting, especially if you live outside the USA.  :(
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Re: The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« Reply #29 on: June 02, 2017, 12:57:11 AM »
May I ask how much it cost to ship the package? I'm not sure it's fair to ask the sender to pay shipping again with how much it's been raised in the US lately.

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