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Posting goods to the UK


#1

Following Pam Chott’s enquiry about a UK gallery, it may be useful
to know about posting goods to the UK:

Customs & Excise rules in the UK mean that anything over the value
of UKP35 (GBP) attracts taxes of 15%, plus the postman takes the
cash, so the post office levies a charge of about UKP8 or so for
collection, on top.

I have sent work to a gallery and to customers and friends in USA,
and nearly always put “gift” on the customs declaration, with a value
of less than UKP35 declared. The well established gallery suggested
"original works of art, small table sculptures" as a description for
2 rings & a necklace!!

This does of course negate your insurance, but for lowish value
parcels this can save you money.

Tamizan


#2
I have sent work to a gallery and to customers and friends in USA,
and nearly always put "gift" on the customs declaration, with a
value of less than UKP35 declared. The well established gallery
suggested "original works of art, small table sculptures" as a
description for 2 rings & a necklace!! 

Isn’t that considered “mail fraud”? By law aren’t we required to list
the actual description/price for all pieces? We are often asked by
customers to do just this when shipping merchandise, but we explain
that while we appreciate their business we aren’t willing to “do
time” for it. :slight_smile:


#3
Customs & Excise rules in the UK mean that anything over the value
of UKP35 (GBP) attracts taxes of 15%, plus the postman takes the
cash, so the post office levies a charge of about UKP8 or so for
collection, on top. 

I have sent dozens of small parcels to the UK and received hundreds.
Our policy is to break up shipments into parcels of value of under
200 GBP and send them UNINSURED and declared as what they are.
Business to business shipments are addressed to the proprietor by
name rather than the name of the business. There is nothing
fraudulent about this because we fill out all the forms and tell the
truth. For some reason, most of the time there are no taxes collected
going either to or from the UK. Maybe it is just lazy customs
inspectors. Perhaps 10 to 20% of the packages will have a tax charge
added. It is a similar percentage each way.

Uninsured is a little scary at first, but here is my experience. I
have had insured parcels go missing and WAS NOT SUCCESSFUL
COLLECTING the loss! Insured packages are always taxed also. Do the
math! If insurance and taxes add 20% (or more)to the cost of goods,
if you loose less than one in five parcels you will come out ahead.
Postal service between the US and UK is very cheap and reliable for
small parcels. My losses for uninsured packages sent this way over
the last 12 years are approaching 0%. My wife insists we did actually
loose one package, bit I am not convinced it was actually sent.
Uninsured, you cannot prove it, which is why I usually will insure
more expensive pieces to retail customers, who are strangers.

Some of my UK suppliers refuse to ship this way. They just cannot
get comfortable with it. But in the end I then have to ask myself if
it is worth it to bear the extra cost. 20% is a lot.

Stephen Walker


#4

I’ve been involved in import/export and jewelry design shipping for
nearly 40 years. I’d say there are two parts to this question:

  1. VALUE should be the actual value. While shipments valued at less
    than their real value may get through the customs/tax gauntlet at the
    other end without problem, I’ve had to defend valuations 2-3 times
    with officials. When that happens, you almost always get an inspector
    who knows her/his job well.

  2. LOSS CONTROL: What you call the merchandise is always open to
    debate. My suppliers rarely mark parcels as “gems”, that would not be
    smart. Sometimes they use official international category numbers
    (*available from customs)or material names, or “handcrafts”, etc. If
    the value is correct, then what you call it can be any logical,
    non-valuable description to avoid theft in mail.

The most reliable way to ship from UK, US, Canada, etc. is post
office registered/registry. Costs most and you cannot usually insure
for actual value, but never lost a registered parcel in 40 years.

Ray Gabriel
gems to excite your imagination - since 1975
raygabriel.com


#5

On a related topic of shipping. I have a package to mail from US to
Switzerland. WITH box it weighed 4 oz. FEDEX and UPS both wanted
something like $75. The USPS is charging $4.60! I have never had a
problem w/ them. The USPS ROCKS. What is with FEDEX and UPS?

Esta Jo Schifter


#6

Actually - it’s over 18 pounds sterling for commercial items, and 36
for personal gifts. receiving deliberately misdeclared goods is
probably defrauding customs and excise - I’m not placing value
judgements here, just stating a case :wink:

sending to the States from the UK isn’t an issue…

sophie
www.duckduckgoosestuff.co.uk


#7

A couple of years ago we insured and mailed a package to Canada via
USPS, the package was stolen, and THEN our postmaster told us that
even though we paid for insurance, the US Postal Service would not
cover jewelry mailed outside the U.S. The cost difference is terrible
but the risk is too great for us to try that again.

Chris & Sandy Boothe
Exotica Jewelry


#8

There’s quite a lot of helpful on this whole subject on
the HM Revenue & Customs website.

Denice


#9

Hi Chris and Sandy,

A couple of years ago we insured and mailed a package to Canada
via USPS, the package was stolen, and THEN our postmaster told us
that even though we paid for insurance, the US Postal Service would
not cover jewelry mailed outside the U.S. The cost difference is
terrible but the risk is too great for us to try that again. 

We too have had very bad luck mailing to Canada. In fact MOST of our
lost shipments have been to Canada. FedEx never looses them, but it
costs pretty dear. Too bad because it is a big market for my Celtic
jewelry, my barrier to entry being an unreliable postal service or an
expensive alternative. I thought NAFTA was supposed to make it easier
to trade.

Glad to hear from you. I remember you well from Art fair days at
Three Rivers.

All the best,
Stephen Walker