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Author Topic: The Mods need your opinion! Help!  (Read 3149 times)

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Offline lunar_scythe

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Re: The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« Reply #30 on: June 02, 2017, 01:48:52 AM »
Was the recipient aware that they may be paired with an international shipper?  If they were, then to me, they should be aware of the possibility of customs fees.

Did the sender mark the package as a gift?  Swaps *are* essentially gifts, as no money is exchanging hands, and it helps keep fees down to a reasonable amount.


As far as solutions go, how about  a raffle or a pair of auctions to raise the funds? the prizes could be two customs, one from each of the 2, and anything extra after the cost of re shipping the custom and paying the fees could either be split between the two, or donated to the arena?  That way neither one is out extra money,  just time and the resources(I am assuming a basic custom, no sculpting, just repaint and rehair) to make the custom.

Maybe the Arena could even give them permission to do the Arena Pony?
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Offline tulagirl

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Re: The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« Reply #31 on: June 02, 2017, 02:35:57 AM »
It is expensive to ship.  Like I spend just 22.00 to ship a light weight item to the UK.  The reason is here in my neck of the woods anything over 1/4 inch tall at any point in the mailer goes box rate.  Then you have the weight and it determines the price also.  Then you have the issue of feeling like in a swap you must send with additional tracking besides just the customs form to cover yourself.  This includes extra insurance.  When you are in a swap the last thing you want is for the item to not get to your partner.  It is very difficult.  If extras were included which I don't know it could have been over 25.00.  I have easily sent swap boxes to people in other countries and paid 50.00 or more USA dollars to send them.    So, it is very expensive.  No one is going to ship a swap pony without care..especially a custom as they can be ruined easily.  I would have to guess that this sender used a box.  That is only a guess. I totally agree with what has been said about the refusal of the swap box. This is worth consideration. Then again this all  boils down to guidelines and was there any and did this member know about their customs fees and such?  How long have they been swapping?  There are so many things we do not know.  So, that is why it is hard for me to know just what circumstances were going on with this recipient.  Maybe they just flat didn't have that extra money.  Maybe they had no choice but to let it go. I have been there.  It is just that when one enters a swap they need to know they will have customs taxes in fees.  There is so much money involved in swaps that is not what the upfront costs are when you enter the swap with a maximum amount.  It is crazy what shipping costs now.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2017, 02:51:58 AM by tulagirl »
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Offline Stormy31685

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Re: The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« Reply #32 on: June 02, 2017, 02:57:38 AM »
As someone who ships internationally on an almost daily basis, here are my thoughts:

Any insurance purchased through the USPS is honestly not going to cover a customized my little pony.  Last I checked, you need to have extensive, verifiable proof (from a professional appraiser of toys) that an item is worth what it is insured for.  Based on that, if I were the sender or receiver in this swap, I would be willing to agree to this:

Sender and recipient agree to split the cost of the reship with the understanding that the sender will mark the customs form so as not to incur any additional fees and ship without insurance.  And recipient will agree that seller is relieved of any responsibility due to damage or loss in transit, but that sender may agree to remake said custom if damage occurs for a discounted amount.

It is a shame this happened because for all the trouble it seems like it might have been more cost effective to just split the customs fee.

I am sorry for both involved and hope this gets worked out.
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Offline jrr74

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Re: The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« Reply #33 on: June 02, 2017, 03:09:27 AM »
Has the issue been resolved yet?  How badly does the recipient want the custom; is he/she willing to pay any sort of fee?  If so, what would be an acceptable amount?  Is that amount doable/fair to the sender?  Is the sender even willing to help cover fees (re-shipping, taxes)? Since it sounds like there were no clear rules laid out, neither party can be held accountable for this dilemma.  The whole situation, as stressful as it has been to the involved parties, should be chalked up to experience with no hard feelings between the two (hopefully).  Neither were being malicious.  We have had very little knowledge to go off of but I feel every aspect and angle has been touched upon.  I really don't think there are any more options out there, and so this must go back to the involved parties to decide what they want to do.  There is no wrong or right here, just a lesson to be learned. 
 
Good luck you two!
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Offline Libelle

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Re: The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« Reply #34 on: June 02, 2017, 10:13:29 AM »
In my opinion, when you swap internationally, there is a duty of care involved on both sides. I have a written list of the steps I need to perform when preparing / receiving a swap box. Based on that, I have drawn up a list of possible guidelines for future swaps. The necessary steps are in chronological order. What do you think? Any feedback is welcome! ^.^ Dear mods, feel free to stop the discussion if you believe this is getting off topic. ;)

Both sender and recipient:
  • ... need to educate themselves about international shipping charges as well as any taxes and duties (= customs fees) prior to signing up for a swap.
  • ... must not sign up for a swap if they are unsure whether they will be able to meet international shipping charges or customs fees.
  • ... need to take care to provide their names and addresses accurately when signing up for a swap.

The sender:
  • ... must fill out a customs form. All details must be provided truthfully. The form must be complete, legible, attached to the front of the parcel and protected against possible damage incurred during transit. *
  • ... needs to make sure the addresses of both sender and recipient are legible, attached to the front of the parcel and protected against possible damage incurred during transit. *
  • ... needs to take photos of the parcel and its contents as well as the address stickers and customs form in case an insurance claim needs to be filed later.
  • ... needs to provide tracking and insurance for the parcel.
  • ... needs to send the tracking info as well as proof of tracking to the swap host.
  • ... must keep proof of tracking.

The recipient:
  • ... needs to check their mail box frequently for notifications about the parcel. This includes notifications about failed delivery attempts as well as notifications from the customs office.
  • ... should follow up with the post office or customs office as soon as possible. **
  • ... must check the bill as well as any additional documentation that the post office or customs office provides for accuracy. If the fees seem unusually high, they need to take the issue up with the post office or customs office first.
  • ... if there is any issue, needs to inform the swap host in order to discuss matters before taking any steps of their own.
  • ... needs to keep all bills and additional documentation.
  • ... needs to take photos of the parcel, address stickers, tracking stickers and customs form before opening the parcel as well as a photo of the contents after opening the parcel in case there will be any issues.

* Sticky transparent foil or transparent plastic bags are your friend.
** Post offices and customs offices might return parcels to the sender after a period of time if nobody has fetched the parcel. (For example, post offices in Germany return parcels after a week.) Moreover, post offices and customs offices might charge fees for storing the parcel. (For example, my local customs office in Germany charges 50 Cent a day for storage.)

Phew. *wipes brow*
« Last Edit: June 02, 2017, 10:16:37 AM by Libelle »
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Offline Carrehz

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Re: The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« Reply #35 on: June 02, 2017, 06:00:39 PM »
I should add - unless I'm mistaken, even if a package is marked as a gift, if the marked value goes over the limit, they'll still charge you. (Postage cost can be a factor, too) So that's not a way of getting around it unless it's marked way under the limit, which, again, neither of them seem to be willing to do :s.

It really is a risk you have to take, though. Like, I bought an itsy bitsy Steven Universe figure off eBay the other day, literally about the size of my thumb, and I got custom charges for that. It sucks but that's how it is when you shop internationally, unfortunately :/.
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Online Taffeta

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Re: The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« Reply #36 on: June 02, 2017, 10:23:16 PM »
As annoying as it is for all of us in countries with import duty and custom fees on buying pony items (yes, it does feel like we are being punished for our location), it isn't the fault of someone living in or sending from the US that the US doesn't have the same fee charging situation that many of our countries do.

I like Libelle's steps, I think they make sense, though most of them are common sense.

Hearing about people refusing packages because of fees also doesn't help us international buyers in the battle to persuade more sellers and traders to ship overseas. It reignites that idea that we are all going to create a fuss over it, which frankly bothers me a bit. It's enough of a struggle to conduct international transactions these days. Bad enough we have to pay the fees -worse though if people stop shipping internationally because they are afraid of drama like this over the custom fees.

It needs to be remembered that the people making the charge are the border force of the recipient's country. It has nothing to do with the sender although the way the sender filled in the custom form may have impacted on why it was noticed or how much the charge ended up being. Gift items do get charges too.

If the recipient had received the item, we would know if the form was marked gift or merchandise or whatever. If it were marked merchandise when it clearly isn't, I think that the recipient would have a case through the mods to get the fee at least partially refunded by the sender. But I don't see why the seller should have to pay another shipping fee on the item. They are not liable to resend an item the recipient already refused to receive. In either case it seems like much more money will have to be spent to resolve this than would have been if the recipient had paid the fee and then consulted the mods for advice.

If the recipient's reasons for refusal were lack of funds, then the above may be a bit harsh, and if that is the case, I apologise for that. Without knowing personal circs, its hard to make any other assessment than a clinical generic one. It is just that I am fed up with people having to write in big letters about international people being responsible for the fees, like they've had trouble over this in the past. I also know there are plenty of people here who do not ship internationally because they think that this kind of drama might erupt over fees. I want to buy and sell internationally without that stigma, so stories like this bother me.

I think it's just common sense that if you receive a package from overseas you might get a custom charge. It's a not fair and not pleasant reality of international trading, and it means we pay a lot more for the same things as most US collectors have - but that isn't the fault of the US collectors. It's our borders and our customs authorities that do that to us, not the people we buy or trade ponies with.

This is not a purchase situation, but if you sent a trade lot and valued it at $50, how would that differ from this example? In that instance, the community wouldn't be footing the bill for shipping or fees, and the recipient would be expected to just take the fees and deal with them. I don't see why it would be different in the case of a swap.

Custom pony values are, as I said before, subjective, and I think fairly irrelevant in this case. If you are international and involved in a swap, custom fees are just part and parcel for me.

So in this instance if the two parties can work together to split the shipping, that would be great. But I am not totally convinced the sender is really enough at fault here to foot the bill for the whole lot.

The sad thing is that the fun element of the swap has now been tainted by all of this, and even if the recipient gets their pony and it is resolved, I wonder whether the whole effort will ultimately have been worth it or not. Whatever we all say here, the most important thing is to find a solution that leaves both parties the most happy, and asking us only goes so far. It really needs to come from the people involved, so that the nice part of the swap feeling can be salvaged and everyone is as happy as is possible at the end of it.
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Offline Libelle

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Re: The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« Reply #37 on: June 03, 2017, 08:10:02 AM »
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Hearing about people refusing packages because of fees also doesn't help us international buyers in the battle to persuade more sellers and traders to ship overseas. It reignites that idea that we are all going to create a fuss over it, which frankly bothers me a bit. It's enough of a struggle to conduct international transactions these days. Bad enough we have to pay the fees -worse though if people stop shipping internationally because they are afraid of drama like this over the custom fees.

Thank you so much for saying this, Taffeta. I completely agree. <3
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Offline tulagirl

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Re: The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« Reply #38 on: June 03, 2017, 01:46:50 PM »
I can relate to this fear you mention Taffeta, but at a personal level.  I have no idea how it affects sellers on a larger scale shipping to these wonderful countries. I use to love doing international swaps.  A few times though there has been a lot of fear on the part of the partners about having to pay a customs fee.  This has been  a concern for me because, if I am in a swap I don't want to cause someone upset or financial strain.  So, I have had to make the decision to forgo international unless I am involved in private swaps.  Those seem to go fine.  If I want to join a swap but have to accept international ; I do not do these swaps anymore.  Between their issues with customs fees and the sky rocketing price to ship it is a big deal.  It does create stress for those of us who care and do not want a partner to have to pay because of something we did. I don't think senders mean to do anything wrong with these customs forms honestly.  They just want everything to get to their partner and compensation if it doesn't.  This is why this situation is quite difficult to come up with a fair solution for both parties.  All I can think is something that is even down the middle.  To me the only thing fair is if neither one has to foot the bill for anything.  That hardly seems fair to members who have sent their swap boxes and received and paid for their customs fees through all the swaps we have had.  Now all of the sudden someone isn't going to have to follow that typical coarse.
I feel for both of these members, my heart goes out to you because I do not know who you are.  I just know you are part of this community.  It is hard that this is out there for everyone to critique and it must be very hard for both of you to read our thoughts.  I hope that whatever the Mods decide to do that all of this has not ruined something that was supposed to be fun for both of you. :hug:
« Last Edit: June 03, 2017, 01:50:33 PM by tulagirl »
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Offline Carrehz

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Re: The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« Reply #39 on: June 03, 2017, 02:23:36 PM »
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Hearing about people refusing packages because of fees also doesn't help us international buyers in the battle to persuade more sellers and traders to ship overseas. It reignites that idea that we are all going to create a fuss over it, which frankly bothers me a bit. It's enough of a struggle to conduct international transactions these days. Bad enough we have to pay the fees -worse though if people stop shipping internationally because they are afraid of drama like this over the custom fees.

-snip-

I think it's just common sense that if you receive a package from overseas you might get a custom charge. It's a not fair and not pleasant reality of international trading, and it means we pay a lot more for the same things as most US collectors have - but that isn't the fault of the US collectors. It's our borders and our customs authorities that do that to us, not the people we buy or trade ponies with.

I agree with all of your post, Taffeta, but especially these two paragraphs. Very very very good points.

If the buyer genuinely couldn't pay the fees, that's a different matter and I can understand that, but otherwise.. y'know, it's just how these things go. It sucks but it is what it is, really :/
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Offline wystearya

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Re: The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« Reply #40 on: June 03, 2017, 03:39:41 PM »
Wow.  I don't think I have anything of use to add, but I will say that I can see both sides of this issue.

I will just ask some questions:

Did the recipient know about possible fees?  (Is this person relatively new to collecting/international shipping?)

Did the recipient know it was possible to get an overseas partner?  (I assume they probably did, but still asking.)

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

I don't know what to suggest for this current issue.  Other than what has already been said - split the fees/shipping and move forward.

I think for the future all swaps should have *very* clear rules about custom and shipping fees. 
Who pays the fees
How much the fees could potentially be.
Etc.   (I think someone earlier posted a lengthy list on this.)

I wish all people involved the best of luck!  I do hope this can be resolved so that no one is -too- upset.  I feel that no one wins here, and maybe the participants can just chalk it up to a learning experience.
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Offline Juliepants

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Re: The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« Reply #41 on: July 04, 2017, 05:01:57 PM »
Was this ever resolved?

Jules x
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Offline LoaTopic starter

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Re: The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« Reply #42 on: July 04, 2017, 10:13:30 PM »
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Was this ever resolved?

Jules x

We are still waiting for the custom to arrive at the senders.
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Offline Juliepants

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Re: The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« Reply #43 on: July 05, 2017, 08:22:55 AM »
Thank you for letting me know Loa. (I wasn't sure if there'd been a place to give a bit of money for reposting it and I'd missed it.)

Jules x
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Offline minamarie

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Re: The Mods need your opinion! Help!
« Reply #44 on: July 05, 2017, 04:02:06 PM »
I always lie about the worth in the customs form to avoid charges but pay a seperate postage fee to insure the parcel up to a chosen worth (2€ insure the parcel for 100€, 4 for 200...) - this insurance isnt labeled on the box to avoid theft.