Patricia Pearl - Small Claims Procedure - A Practical Guide


An excellent guide for the layperson in how to use the County Court - a must if you are intending to start a claim.

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  1. #1
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    Default Parcelforce Fees for Collecting VAT

    I recently ordered an item from the USA. It went through customs and I was liable for VAT on it (I can't complain as I have ordered a few things over the years that have come through without being charged by customs). The VAT payable was only 11.76, but Parcelforce have slapped on a collection charge of 13.50 just for processing this!! Has anyone ever challenged them on it? I intend to write to them and ask for a full breakdown of their costs, but if this is familiar territory for anyone their thoughts would be appreciated.

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  2. #2
    Basic Account Holder graeme1970 Novitiate

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    Default Re: Parcelforce Fees for Collecting VAT

    hi rob, looking at this with interesticon as i intend to do the same, i have had a lot of charges from parcel force and have been very unhappy with there attitude. cant work out exactly what they are charging me for, plus they charge different charges depending on shipping method used. i dont mind the customs charges, i factor that into my purchases, but the parcel force charges seem to be very excessive at times


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    Default Re: Parcelforce Fees for Collecting VAT

    Hi Graeme,

    I'll keep you posted on my progress. I fail to see how they can charge a fee that is higher than the amount of VAT they are collecting. It must be a simple process for them to go through and I can't see the actual cost coming anywhere near that figure.


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    Basic Account Holder graeme1970 Novitiate

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    Default Re: Parcelforce Fees for Collecting VAT

    i dont see what they do different in picking up a parcel that has charges on it, than a one without, surely the whole payment process is automated anyway, the package has to be picked up and delivered just the same. they charge double for a express parcel than a standard delivery parcel. i asked them on the phone why this was, and they couldnt answer.


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    Basic Account Holder StormWarrior Novitiate StormWarrior's Avatar

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    Default Re: Parcelforce Fees for Collecting VAT

    surely the whole payment process is automated anyway, the package has to be picked up and delivered just the same.
    AFAIA, parcels that incur customs charges are taken out the system and dealt with by hand.


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    Basic Account Holder graeme1970 Novitiate

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    Default Re: Parcelforce Fees for Collecting VAT

    but surely each parcel is picked up anyway, everything comes in through customs. so apart from paying the charge what else do they do???


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    Basic Account Holder StormWarrior Novitiate StormWarrior's Avatar

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    Default Re: Parcelforce Fees for Collecting VAT

    Parcels that have no duty to pay are put in a big van to go to thier destinations.

    Parcels that have duty to pay are the put to one side, logged, paperwork generated, duty calculated, details entered into computers etc. then continue on thier way.

    When they get to thier destinations..

    Parcels that have no duty to pay are given to the customer and signed for. End of story.

    Parcels that have duty to pay are offered to the customer, customer pays duty (often at collecions office), signs for parcel. money is then booked into carriers office, entered into a log of duty received, transfered to HMRC, and the paper trail is then tidyed up.


  8. #8
    Basic Account Holder graeme1970 Novitiate

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    Default Re: Parcelforce Fees for Collecting VAT

    Parcels that have duty to pay are the put to one side, logged, paperwork generated, duty calculated, details entered into computers etc. then continue on thier way
    but this is done by customs not parcel force
    Parcels that have duty to pay are offered to the customer, customer pays duty (often at collecions office), signs for parcel. money is then booked into carriers office, entered into a log of duty received, transfered to HMRC, and the paper trail is then tidyed up.
    and this is done by an automated letter from a pc, going into parcel force and paying this takes maybe a minute longer than when you pick up a missed delivery
    basically a parcel comes into the country, i dont know the reasoning but some get charged some dont, hmrc work out the amounts and charge you accordingly, parcel force pay this charge (automated payment) when they collect the parcel. please note that parcel force would be collecting the parcel anyways. parcel arrives at correct depot, a letter is generated from a pc to the parcel adressee advising of a parcel/charge, person receives letter through post, then arranges to pick up parcel/pay charges, or have it delivered and pay charges online. so far parcel force have done 2 things, different to the normal on customers behalf, pay an automated payment, and send a pc generated letter. yes they should be able to charge something, but should it be the amounts they are charging, its n ot as if we have a choice, well actually we do have a choice, pay or parcel is returned to sender. and why is the charge doubled for a parcel that is express delivered?????


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    Default Re: Parcelforce Fees for Collecting VAT

    I've never had to pay any VAT on delivery, but the issue I have with this after reading the above is that the recipient has not entered a contract with Parcelforce, and therefore has not had any opportunity to accept/reject the terms.


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    Default Re: Parcelforce Fees for Collecting VAT

    However if you do not pay the VAT required, you don;t get the parcel and it is returned... a bit of an own goal.


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    Basic Account Holder graeme1970 Novitiate

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    Default Re: Parcelforce Fees for Collecting VAT

    its not about the vat or customs fees, purely about parcel farce charges


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    Default Re: Parcelforce Fees for Collecting VAT

    This forum started in relation to bank charges, and has expanded into many other areas. The reason I started this thread was because of Parcelfarces charges. A charge of 13.50 to collect 11.26 in VAT is excessive in my opinion. The VAT charge I can live with, as it is expected, but not Parcelfarce chipping in to rip off the consumer.


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    Default Re: Parcelforce Fees for Collecting VAT

    Actually, the VAT fee has no co-relation to the amount charged. They have a set fee for the paperwork, and 13.50 is the lowest I have ever heard. If they didn't do it, and you had to use your own import/export agency it would cost you considerably more. (Even DHL are now just over 20). So the secret is either not to import, or factor in the anticipated additional costs. It's not particularly rocket science. Yes, I'd like the fees removed, but it ain't gonna happen.


  14. #14
    Basic Account Holder graeme1970 Novitiate

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    Default Re: Parcelforce Fees for Collecting VAT

    what paperwork, its all computerised. bar code scanner etc. as for the fees, what exactly are you paying for? and why is it doubled for faster shipping, when parcel force do exactly the same thing, wether normal or express shipping


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    Default Re: Parcelforce Fees for Collecting VAT

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob S View Post
    It must be a simple process for them to go through and I can't see the actual cost coming anywhere near that figure.
    It is actually quite a complex process (see below)

    Quote Originally Posted by graeme1970 View Post
    they charge double for a express parcel than a standard delivery parcel.
    13.50 is not double 8. I think the reason they charge extra is obvious - it is an express parcel so has to be "fast-tracked" through the customs process, hence extra costs. If they didn't charge extra then the standard cost would need to be higher to compensate for this.

    Quote Originally Posted by graeme1970 View Post
    but this is done by customs not parcel force
    No, Parcelforce do all the work on behalf of customs (see below)

    Quote Originally Posted by Zamzara View Post
    the recipient has not entered a contract with Parcelforce, and therefore has not had any opportunity to accept/reject the terms.
    They have the choice to accept or reject. If they do not wish to pay the VAT and/or handling fee they have the opportunity to reject the item - it will then be returned to sender and no fees will be due.


    Why you have to pay a handling fee:

    The process is quite complex but I will try to explain to the best of my knowledge...

    When you receive an item from overseas, you become the importer by law. This means you could be liable for customs charges before delivery.

    Instead of the items having to go via HMRC, Parcelforce perform work on behalf of HMRC to speed up the process, and also pay the customs charge on your behalf to make things simpler.

    In addition to the customs fee, Parcelforce will levy a 'handling charge' to cover their costs. Some of the work they have to do to process your item includes:

    - operating the postal customs depot
    - handling the package for customs examination
    - (if required) opening, repacking and resealing the package (for example if information is missing from the declaration
    - paying the customs fee on your behalf

    (This list is not exhaustive - just some of the work which I know takes place - there may be a lot more to it in the background which we are unaware of).


    Therefore I do not believe you will get anywhere with challenging the fee - especially as they are permitted to charge this under Article 165 of EC Regulation (EEC) 2454/93

    Opinions given herein are made informally by myself as a lay-person in good faith based on personal experience. For legal advice you must always consult a registered and insured lawyer.


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    Basic Account Holder babyboo23 Novitiate

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    Default Re: Parcelforce Fees for Collecting VAT

    Hi
    I have a similar problem and would be very grateful for some help/advice.
    I had an item sent from America. I received a letter today from Parcel Force stating that I have to pay charges..they are as follows
    V.A.T = 35.55
    PARCEL FORCE CLEARANCE FEE = 8.00

    Now my issue is with this VAT charge because the item I bought is only worth 35.00 so how the blimmin hell can they justify charging 35.55..thats over what the item is even worth.

    Needless to say I am not paying it without disputing it first. The say I have 20 days before they send the item back to sender. I have tried ringing the HMRC but they are constantly engaged. I have emailed them and got an automated repsonse saying that they have a 10 day backlog and my options are to wait or to pay the charges and then if I wish to try and reclaim them I will have to write to them, or I can have the item re-assessed.
    Has anyone gone through this process? Would be grateful to hear from you if so.


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    Default Re: Parcelforce Fees for Collecting VAT

    As barracad noted earlier, the Parcelforce fee is non-negotiable, however unless things have changed, Parcelforce do not assess the tax, this will be done by HMRC staff working at the depot. The 'VAT Fee' will also include Import Duty which is in addition, as to how the fee is calculated, the sender may have provided an unrealistic price for the goods and this is what was used for the calculation, but by the same token HMRC do know the value of things, so cameras or electronic gear coming in with a value of $20 are often targeted. If there is a genuine error, it might be worth visiting the Parcelforce depot and ask if it is possible to query the amount being charged. You may be lucky and the HMRC staff on site when you visit.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Parcelforce Fees for Collecting VAT

    Oh I really hope they can help me out. The item in question was bought on Ebay for 35 (total paid including postage was 50).The seller has told me she put the value as $375!!!! which is rediculous as it was a 2nd hand item and the value she should have put was the amount I paid as that is all I was asking insurance to cover. I wonder if I was to take a copy of the auctionicon listing printed out showing amount paid then they may be able to reduce the charge? or if the seller was to put it in writing that she made a mistake with the value.
    thanks for your help....much appreciated!


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    Default Re: Parcelforce Fees for Collecting VAT

    Oh dear - what a stupid seller! So the VAT and Tax being charged is calculated on the stated value. Nothing wrong with that, apart from the fact she's made a false declaration on a customs form.

    The bad news is HMCR will not take any other documentation as proof - the stated declaration is binding, irrespective of whether you can show otherwise (as it is much easier to fake putting up a fake auctionicon and doing it the other way where you gain!).

    I would think the best option is to say to your seller the fault is hers, and whilst you don't mind paying any appropriate tax, you're not paying for a value that is incorrect. Say that she'll need to re-send it to you with the correct amount showing on the label, or - as second hand goods - describe them as such with a value of $25. This will allow discretion when it is received again in the UK and Parcelforce will deliver it with no problem.


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Parcelforce Fees for Collecting VAT

    I note Barracad's comments, but my experience has been that I have successfully argued against courier company's handling charges on VAT/Import Duty on items from abroad.

    Fedex delivered two parcels to me; some weeks later I received invoices for duty and handling charges. In each case I wrote back to them, enclosing a cheque for the VAT and Import Duty, but declining to pay the handling fee as their contract was with the sender of the package, and because I was not given an option to reject or accept the package - the driver turned up, handed me the package and said 'sign here'.

    They passed both invoices to a DCAicon in Scotland (the name escapes me, but it wasn't one of the players we see so often on CAGicon); I repeated my position to them. Nothing more heard.



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