I have successfully avoided paying the admin fee on all Duty/VAT owed USPS Parcels handled by ParcelForce AND international packages via FEDEX in recent years.
I simply go to collect the parcel then say that I am happy to pay any Dut and VAT owing but refuse to pay the admin fee. In the past PF have waived it when challenged. I think this sets a precident which makes all later attempts to enforce the fee invalid. For FEDEX I send them a standard gallic 'non!' letter when they invoice me. The letter explains my grounds for refusing.
Lately, when you challenge them, PF say that they have changed their policy over the fee. They let you pay Duty and VAT, let you take your parcel away but say that their legal department will be in touch. In the most recent case I was simply sent an invoice for the fee and I sent back the standard letter. They then wrote back saying they couldn't identify the 'account' despite showing their invoice number. I thought if they can't recognise their own invoice number then they really are in a mess. I ignored them and nearly a year later I have heard no more on that one.
Personally I have no tolerance for a ransom demand. These organisations bill the shipper (or have a reciprocal arrangement with the shippers in-country carrier) for transporting goods across international boundaries. Therefore they must know that Customs examination is a possibility and should build this into their fee. The fact that they don't rather implies this is a add-on/try-on rather than a genuine charge. Anyway...and I'd be interested in constructive comments....this works for me. Good luck.
Firstly dispute the bill - it sets the scene and they can't bully you.
Grounds for refusingto pay/disputing are:-
I am not the shipper and therefore have no contract with ParcelForce.
They and their internation partners have entered into a contract to deliver the parcel. Parcel Force have/will be paid to assist in the carrying of goods across international boundaries. They are therefore contractually obliged to deliver the parcel at that fee.
By 'agreeing' to carry any parcel from abroad they must have been aware in advance of possible Customs handling and so should have charged at the point of agreement.
ParcelForce have previously waived this charge to me on all other occasions, and despite any recent policy chances they have not pursued a bill after I have disputed it. Therefore a precident is set.
I have this is in a standard template and just print it off with a second class stamp 30 seconds of effort adn tremendous satisfaction. Think of the millions they cream off a year!
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.
To go back to the beginning of this thread. I recently tookdelivery of a parcel from Japan on which I paid £5.00 VAT (no duty) plus £13.50Parcelforce Clearance Fee. It is not the first time I have been charged. I do not object to the VAT (any more than onenormally objects to this extortionate imposition), but I do object to theClearance Fee, and having read a lot of the other posts on this thread, would addthe following :
1. Japan Post and Parcelforce had, by their reciprocal agreements,already shared EMS (Express) postage of 2400 Yen (= c £20). Most reasonablepeople would assume that this is for getting the package from the sender to therecipient, whatever hazards may lie between (like customs inspections, which they KNOW maybe imposed and should therefore be factored into the total cost, which is alreadyhigh enough, goodness knows).
2. To the best of my knowledge HMRC is financed by my andyour taxes. It is not a PLC, and therefore should not be charging me a SECONDtime for doing its job by contracting out part of its work to Parcelforce at mydirect expense. In this it resembles my Local Authority, which screws me for awhacking great Council Tax to have my ‘environmental bin’ emptied, then chargesme a fee for emptying it. (A trend of our Del Boy times.)
3. There is (as always in this country when jobsworths canhide behind the law and regulations) no redress. HMRC refers those who don’tlike the Parcelforce charge to Parcelforce, as if farming out its work had nothingto do with it, some act of God. Parcelforce whinges about the facilities itprovides for HMRC, the arduous task of pulling out parcels and showing them tothe Customs Officer, paying the VAT on the punters’ behalf and the backbreakingwork of sending out a form letter to recover it, etc, etc. (Why on earth don’tthe customs people, whose salaries you and I pay, levy the damn thingthemselves?) And then, as in the case of my parcel, when Parcelforce failed tolive up to Express 24 Delivery once the charges were paid—wasting yet another ofmy days staying in waiting for them—they refuse me redress on the grounds thatit wasn’t their fault ‘because our system went wrong.’
Big deal. Very big deal. I cannot agree with the apologistsfor Parcelforce. 14 days for Express Delivery and charges not far short of thevalue of the goods! No way! And why do I think that nothing will change, except maybe for the worse . . . ?
There is a very simple way to deal with this, have written on the package for delivery the following statement.DUTY TO BE PAID BY IMPORTER. This means that Parcelforce cannot make any charges on your behalf.HMR&C will contact you and you then make payment direct to them, it can delay the delivery by a couple of days however.I have used this on several occasions for my son and have had it confirmed by MD's office of Parceforce as correct.
Many thanks for this suggestion, whitecraig_wizard, though it does mean drawing attention to your parcel, which might otherwise slip through, as quite a lot do, as noted earlier on this thread. I'll give it a try.
I had 2 seperate parcels sent from two different companies. Both express mail international via USPS from USA.
The 1st parcel that was sent has still not been delivered but I have been told I will incurr a £13.50 charge when It arrives.
The 2nd parcel was sent a day later and has arrived with no charges as it was sent as a gift.
What extra work do parcel force have to do to justify a 13.50 fee?
It seems some people have refused to pay the £13.50 charge. If I refuse to pay this fee would they still give me my parcel? I have no issues with VAT and duty I was just not expecting this clearence fee.
The Parcelforce charge is applied apparently when there is duty and/or VAT to be charged. If there isn't there's no charge (so says the HMRC website, which is a good source of info once you've worked out how to find your way round it). Not all parcels are pulled out and handed to HMRC I gather, especially ones with a small value (maybe because of the huge volume of parcels), so it looks as if one of yours was and the other wasn't. Still a good question, of course, whatever the threadbare justifications. Like most people, I quite often trot round to neighbours with misdelivered mail. There should be some way of imposing a 'handling charge' on Royal Mail for this service (say £13.50?).
I am being charged £165.78 for one parcel and £102 for the second, this is what Parcelforce told me over the phone, the order was from Canada, the items I ordered I could not get in the UK, I could get similar but not what we required, the majority of charges are made by Parcelforce, they are only football medals and ribbon.
£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.
No, Parcelforce do all the work on behalf of customs (see below)
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[/QUOTE]