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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 5:28 pm 
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Location: Tucson, Az.
I have the "pleasure" of regularly dealing with customs concerning imports, as well as the different shipping companies and how things are processed, so I'll share what I've learned over the years.

Destination state does not matter in terms of duty amount. It's based on the category it falls into in the HTS as well as the country of manufacture. Most but not all bike parts fall under the 8714 heading. The reason there is so much variation in the duty depends on the person that enters it into the computer at the shipping company. The general misc category for bicycle components is 10%. Some items are lower or even duty free depending on their country of manufacture and their code. For example a "freewheel" is a duty free item but may still be charged duty. The reason for this is the person at UPS entering it into the customs forms only has the shipping invoice to go off of. So he sees something that says "Dura Ace cassette" When he searches in the hts he doesn't find anything specific about bicycle cassettes so he enters it as misc and it gets a duty attached. However most of us know that a cassette, while not exactly the same as a freewheel is for custom purposes the same thing. So if the shipping had listed the item on the invoice as "freewheel sprocket wheels" or list the actual hts code which would be 8714.93.70 then the agent would have entered it as such and the item would be duty free.

There is a lot of variation in the agents and their attention to detail, especially from company to company. For example on imports, fedex will usually contact us for clarification on an item if they don't know exactly what it is. However DHL will rarely ever, they tend to just put everything in as misc and apply the duty across the entire invoice. What's worse is that most times they'll automatically pay the duty to U.S. customs prior to delivering the package. Once they've done this they will require you to pay the duty in full and then afterward you can dispute it with U.S. customs in hopes of getting a refund. If you can catch it before they pay the duty you can give them better details and get them to change the items that are entered incorrectly.

Some shipping companies will deliver a package with duty due, and then send a bill for it. It's not that uncommon. Some will require it to be paid prior to delivery.

Shipping into Canada from the U.S. seems to be one of the worst in terms of additional brokerage fees. Most of the time shipping companies delivering to Canada will add an additional brokerage fee from $25-$50 on top of the custom duty. However this is also dependent on the service. For example, with Fedex this fee only applies to ground shipments. Shipments that are sent air are exempt from additional brokerage fees, duty still applies, but brokerage fees are waived.

Dealing with customs processes can be quite challenging and requires a lot patience and practice. I've had requests for samples of every item in an order, this would have been 100's of items and we were instructed that samples would not be returned. We've also had agents who have translated invoices so poorly that our $50,000 shipment of "human bones" was scheduled to be destroyed and took days spent on the phone trying to sort it out.

Basically what it all comes down to is the agent on any given day.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 10:06 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:36 am
Posts: 256
Quote:
I also got slapped on fees by AirCityPost for the PBK order that I placed last week.

Product: SHIMANO DURA-ACE CS-9000 BICYCLE CASSETTE - 11 SPE, CONTINENTAL COMPETITION 22 TUBULAR ROAD TYRE BLACK
Shipper: THE HUT GROUP
Declared Value: $565.96
You are required to pay the following United States Customs Duty and related fees in order to clear customs and have your parcel shipped to you:
Customs Duty: $1.96
Advancement Fee: $6.50
Handling Fee: $15.00
TOTAL: $23.46


Strange - I only paid $311, but why the declared value is $565?
I have ordered parts from PBK, Wiggle, CRC in the past and this is the first time I have to pay fees. For anyone in USA who recently ordered stuff from PBK, could you share your experience? I would like to know whether I was just being lucky this one time or whether this will be a consistent trend.

Same thing happened to me today on a D9000 cassette, but the declared value was $231.00.
Customs Duty: $0.80
Advancement Fee: $6.50
Handling Fee: $15.00
TOTAL: $22.30

I'm pissed.


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Posted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 10:06 pm 


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 2:01 am 
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Location: Back in the saddle...
This seems to be quite the trend. Guess I'll be taking PBK out of the loop. Too bad.

FWIW, I just received some items from Ribble with no issues.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2014 4:52 pm 
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Posts: 256
I had the import company return my DA9000 cassette and am getting a refund from PBK. As a long time PBK user, I'm disappointed, but I won't be buying from them anymore.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2014 9:27 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2012 10:04 pm
Posts: 55
kop89 wrote:
Strange - I only paid $311, but why the declared value is $565?
I have ordered parts from PBK, Wiggle, CRC in the past and this is the first time I have to pay fees. For anyone in USA who recently ordered stuff from PBK, could you share your experience? I would like to know whether I was just being lucky this one time or whether this will be a consistent trend.


I had an issue like this. The declared value was 10x what I actually paid. It took a week of emailing back and forth for them to correct it and issue a proper amount. I'm curious if others are seeing this too. I think in my case it looked like a clear case of user error somewhere.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2014 9:32 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2012 10:04 pm
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madcow wrote:
I have the "pleasure" of regularly dealing with customs concerning imports, as well as the different shipping companies and how things are processed, so I'll share what I've learned over the years.


Do you have any suggestions for how to pay duty in a more direct way, as a consumer just buying something internationally? When you look at most of the summaries for Air City Post (or whatever they are) the biggest component is usually their $15 processing fee. The duty itself is pretty small. I wouldn't mind just paying it up front and being done, but having packages held up mid-way and paying through the nose like this is frustrating.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2014 6:14 pm 
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Location: South Florida
Saga continues to this date. I originally emailed AirCity about returning my package tot he sender as I was not going to pay any fees. Never even got a reply. After the daily emails (telling me a countdown of days left before items would be sent back to sender) ended, I never heard anything for a while. I contacted PBK as I did not see a refund on my account. They tell me they have to wait for AirCity to send them the package, which can take several weeks. Today, the mailman leaves at my doorsteps the shipment. I haven't open it yet, and in all honesty I may send it back unopened. I will demand they post a refund in my CC as I have already ordered the same items from another company and have no use for doubles!


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 6:35 am 
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Posts: 84
the stress that this might caused to you is maybe more than 23 bucks custom fees that they're asking,,well I had the same scenario today and just paid it off just to get my stuff and avoid the hassle,,I still saved big bucks anyway compare to other sellers in the US, but from now on my favorite UK seller for 6 years is already Dead..RIP PBK ..,,sad.. :cry:

dgasmd wrote:
Saga continues to this date. I originally emailed AirCity about returning my package tot he sender as I was not going to pay any fees. Never even got a reply. After the daily emails (telling me a countdown of days left before items would be sent back to sender) ended, I never heard anything for a while. I contacted PBK as I did not see a refund on my account. They tell me they have to wait for AirCity to send them the package, which can take several weeks. Today, the mailman leaves at my doorsteps the shipment. I haven't open it yet, and in all honesty I may send it back unopened. I will demand they post a refund in my CC as I have already ordered the same items from another company and have no use for doubles!


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2014 10:50 am 
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dgasmd wrote:
I originally emailed AirCity about returning my package to the sender as I was not going to pay any fees. Never even got a reply. ...Today, the mailman leaves at my doorsteps, the shipment.


While I still prefer/want delivery (groupset), I would be willing to ignore AC entirely and wait it out.
In YOUR case, I wonder if PBK simply "ate" the expense.

Dgan wrote:
Do you have any suggestions for how to pay duty in a more direct way, as a consumer just buying something internationally?

I have the same thought/question.
How to avoid the middleman for fees that total NINE TIMES ($21.50) the Customs Duty ($2.44)?
My suspicion (conspiracy alert) is a comfy AirCity "arrangement" w/PBK. AC absorbs some of the actual physical delivery expense (aka a legal kickback depending on where and how you itemize expenses for delivery). This allows PBK to reduce (recover) some of their "free shipping" expense and turns a blind-eye to the ransom charged by AirCity.

Another thought: I wonder if by selecting TRACKING (it was a free option) it elevated the likelihood of being run through AirCity and customs.
I have not purchased from PBK since they were acquired by The Hut. But the tracking option was never an option when my orders totaled $400 (tires) or $300 (chains, cassette, etc).

Cento wrote:
the stress that this might cause you is maybe more than 23 bucks custom fees that they're asking

I can see (and respect) your logic. However I would be comforted knowing if there was a way to avoid the extra fees. Like many, I see little (none) "value" provided by AirCity.
Website is bereft of info. Almost to the point of being a "front". For the fee I am paying for "Handling", will I receive a confirmation from the USA, that the Duty was in fact paid?


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2014 12:07 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 11, 2009 10:38 pm
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Location: Toronto
Quote:
My suspicion (conspiracy alert) is a comfy AirCity "arrangement" w/PBK. AC absorbs some of the actual physical delivery expense (aka a legal kickback depending on where and how you itemize expenses for delivery). This allows PBK to reduce (recover) some of their "free shipping" expense and turns a blind-eye to the ransom charged by AirCity.


I have had the same thought. Although the deal could be with PBK's shipper rather than them directly.

The question I ask is "why would a shipper hand off to a broker rather than handing off to USPS?"

The obvious answer being that there is some form of kickback.

Perhaps not in the US, but here in Canada we have an almost blanket 13% sales tax in addition to duty, which we are escaping in the majority of cases at present with purchases from Europe.

Sadly I'm thinking that eventually governments are going to realize the amount of duties and sales taxes they are missing out on and will start directing all imports through brokers who can then act as private tax collectors (presumably getting a commission on that too).

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