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Parcelforce clearance fee's (C&E duty etc)


Dick Emery
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I've done some searching but could not find anything on the forums about this. I feel it's relevant.

 

OK if you have some time I would like you guys to read the following thread below.

 

Moneysupermarket.com - Parcelforce Clearance Ransom Charge

 

You will see it's about 'clearance fee's' charged by Parcelforce for 'releasing' imported goods. Apparently according to the postal act of 2000 sections 83,84 and 104 it is 'illegal' for a courier to hold a parcel in lien of payment. Yet this is EXACTLY what Parcelforce are doing on a daily basis! They are charging a fee for having to deal with C&E. C&E make their VAT and duty charges on your imported goods. They pass it to Parcelforce and Parcelforce SHOULD deliver it to you and invoice you for any additional administrative fee's. I have experienced this with another delivery company who invoiced me later on (Twice by mistake actually) but they did not delay delivery of my goods.

 

C&E wash their hands of it as they say it's not down to them to decide on any additional fee's once it is passed over to Parcelforce. C&E have NO easy way for myself and many others to pay the VAT and duty charges to them directly. Do they care? Of course not it's the bloody government and we all know how civil servants work (Or don't as the case may be).

 

So what should WE be doing to get this out in public and publicised so as to cause as much embarrasment to Parcelforce (and C&E too because they should make it much easier for us to pay directly)?

 

I have a parcel that is now being 'appraised' by C&E I imported from Japan and I expect to be charged a large fee.Plus the delay PLUS having to collect it from the local depot. I am wondering if it would be best to just collect the goods and pay the fee then try to claim the clearance fee back?

 

P.S. This is being paid for by a relative but that's not the point.

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I used to work for the Royal Mail and frequently dealt with the 'Duty to be paid items'

 

Whilst Im not 'up' on the legalities surrounding this I do know that we were not allowed to hand over any item until the duty was paid. The posties do not take the items out, they cannot collect the money. Instead a card was sent from the delivery office informing the customer that a parcel was waiting and that duty was to be paid on it.

 

One point though, if a letter is sent with underpaid postage it is not usually delivered, it is held at the office and the customer is informed that it is waiting for collection with payment due. Now I cant really see a difference. Why should you expect a delivery to be made when a fee is due on it. Why is it not acceptable to just pay the fee?

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Just to add, Im not saying we should blindly pay out without question whenever someone decides to charge a fee. I think I may have come across wrong the way I have written the last paragraph of my previous post. What Im trying to say is that I dont see how it cant be construed as 'willful delay of mail' if the service hasnt been fully paid for.

 

 

Just to add that really what should be happening is getting Parcelforce or Royal Mail to justify the charge as with the bank charge debate. It does cost money to handle the C and E items but the charge is extortionate compared to the cost they incurr.

Edited by 1stlifeline
mis spelt
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Because postage HAS already been paid. Your argument is that if the wrong amount is paid in postage so they hold the letter/parcel until correct postage is paid. In this situation correct postage costs HAVE been paid. The additional fee is 'unsolicited'. The customs duty and VAT should be invoiced and collected DIRECTLY. This does not occur and they ask the courier to collect it on their behalf. Then C&E wash their hands of it. C&E have NO agreement with the courier in regards of charging a clearance fee. The clearance fee is added by the courier of their own accord. I can understand why of course. But this should not be the case and the fee seems excessive. The courier will not say why the fee is so high and will not give a breakdown of the cost upon request. Please read that thread in it's entirety if you do not understand why this is being disputed.

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Clearly nobody is interested in this. Oh well. Suck it up as usual seems to be the case for most Brits. I was hoping there would be more interest in this. Perhaps I am one of the few people who give a damn.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Clearly nobody is interested in this. Oh well. Suck it up as usual seems to be the case for most Brits. I was hoping there would be more interest in this. Perhaps I am one of the few people who give a damn.

 

 

I couldn't agree more, this is disgusting!!!

 

I've just had to pay 26.69 - 13.50 of which were fees from ParcelFARCE.

 

And that's not even including the price of the original postage, which seems to just have made it to the CUSTOMS OFFICE!!!

 

 

Someone needs to do something about this, urgently. I have no problem just paying the VAT but all that crap which costs more on top is CRAZY.

 

 

BOYCOTT PARCELFARCE

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We all have to pay C&E duty on parcels from abroad, whats the problem! its all based on the value of the goods declared by the seller. sometimes you can get away with it by them declaring its a gift or sample useually works on the smaller items.

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Someone needs to do something about this, urgently. I have no problem just paying the VAT but all that crap which costs more on top is CRAZY.

 

 

BOYCOTT PARCELFARCE

 

And do what instead? Use an alternative carrier who also charge fees?

 

In any event your plan is somewhat flawed, as if you're importing items you don't normally get a choice over which carrier is used.

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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We all have to pay C&E duty on parcels from abroad, whats the problem! its all based on the value of the goods declared by the seller. sometimes you can get away with it by them declaring its a gift or sample useually works on the smaller items.

 

I don't mind paying duty and VAT but the amount of money for fees is just crazy. £13.50 to do what, them to push a button to let the package on it's way? To fill up the owners wallet with our hard earned money?

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  • 4 weeks later...

Agreed. Customs could just send a postcard stating the vat and excise duty owed, once paid send it on via the normal postal service. The cost of the postage (at bulk postal rates) coul dbe recouped by adding it to the duty.

 

I do not see any requirement for ParcelForce to pay it on my behalf and then charge me an admin fee for doing so.

 

UK carriers are not out of pocket, as postage to delivery address has already been paid (in my case to USPS), iirc this is covered under the uniform postal rate.

 

What is clear is that there is no contract between PF and myself, I never entered into any such contract, nor asked to provide such a service. I'm told the £13.50 fee is because I have used USPS Express service. Express? It took USPS a couple fo days to get my package 6000miles to the UK. On Aug 15th the tracking service shoed it as "attempted delivery". It took PF until the 29th to tell me they had it... express service indeed.

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I know that feeling... paying a hefty DOOR TO DOOR postal charge upfront, accepting you will have additional C&E to pay if they decide it's warranted, but then to be charged additional postage costs from the airport to your door, is just nasty! The original postal charge ( paid upfront ) was DOOR TO DOOR not their door to the Uk airport! Phffff. oh dear.

 

I'm none too happy I had to pay that parcelforce 'fee' for a painting my friend in OZ sent me for my birthday last year. It was my birthday present! she paid for door to door delivery, and I ended up paying this daft additional fee

( happy birthday, pay me £14 extra and I'll give you your present lol )

:(

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  • 3 weeks later...

I know how you feel. Got stung by them with a £19 DVD I ordered from Japan. I paid £10 Shipping for Door to Door service.. doesn't get past Milton Keynes and is held hostage until I pay the V.A.T (£5.72) and their £13.50 fee. I have no issues with the VAT but I ain't paying PF a penny since I paid for postage once.

 

(And to Psycho Bob.. I know how you feel on the Paying for a Birthday Present.. PF stung me for £25 on a present from my BF before I knew about this place. )

Edited by Shadowmaru
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  • 8 months later...

Royal Mail have broken the law and must surely be aware of this.

 

I built on the good work of the initial poster and did some strategic research into this fee. It

 

would indeed appear to be both illegal and unreasonable.

 

So I took them to the small claims court and they settled, in full, out of court. They took my

 

case very seriously however their lawyer Mandy Talbot tried to, in my opinion, deliberately

 

mislead me. I wasn't having any of it. I encourage everyone to take them to the small claims

 

court, eventually they will do what the banks did (i.e get fed up and/or not be able to afford

 

it). I don't fancy their chances as they are solely relying on a thread to justify £8 is the

 

actual cost to them of clearing through customs. I bet it certainly isn't.

 

The fee is also unlawful because you cannot hold a parcel to ransom. Royal Mail seem to know this

 

hence why they intentionally delay your parcel by leaving it at the depot free from arguments.

 

This is point no.1. Royal Mail cannot defend this ground. Launch a small claims as I did and they

 

will offer to settle out of court.

 

The international Postal services union make clear this charge must be reasonable and a fair

 

reflection of the charges. £8 is far too high. This is point no.2 and like bank charges I suspect

 

anyone would win a small claims here. They must deliver your parcel and bill you for it later, of

 

course then don't pay it by ignoring any demands from DCA's (debt collection agencies) etc as

 

their fee will be most unlikely to stand up in civil court.

 

Section J

Customs matters

Article 18

3 Postal administrations which are authorized to clear items through the

Customs on behalf of customers may charge customers a customs clearance

fee based on the actual costs.

http://www.upu.int/acts/en/3_parcel_en.pdf

 

Until enough people do small claims (judgements which are only binding to you alone) or someone

 

uses a different court track then they will continue getting away with murder. Note you do feel

 

for them as courier companies do this, and despite trying to pass parcels to Parcel Force in yet

 

another hazy move of avoiding the Postal services act, Royal Mail are contrained by the Universal

 

Postal regulations above. However, this does not condone illegal behaviour and deliberately

 

misleading letters where they attempt to pass off the £8 fee as theirs and also advise the sender

 

they "ATTEMPTED DELIVERY ABROAD" when they blatantly did not (point no. 3).

 

What is really worrying is because I stated "Bill" Not "Act" in my letter, Mandy Talbot senior

 

legal counsel at Royal Mail deliberately tried to mislead me by ignoring the fact she was breaking

 

the law. She didn't mark her document private so ask me for a copy if you want it.

 

My advice - pay the fee then use small claims moneyclaim.gov.uk to get it back and cost them £25

 

plus admin work in the process. Eventually if enough people do this it will cost them, make them

 

rethink their policy or scuttle over the fine points of the Act (or lobby for it to be changed as

 

Ms Talbot seems to suggest) to try and find a loophole. At the moment, they haven't yet found a

 

way out SO SUE THEM!!

 

They publish their £8 / £13.50 fee respectively in the Successor Postal Services Company Overseas

 

Parcel Post Scheme 2001 (section 9) and Successor Postal Services Company Overseas Letter Post

 

Scheme 2001 (section 15(3))

 

http://www.royalmail.com/portal/rm/content1?catId=400147&mediaId=400283

http://www.royalmail.com/link/download?catId=4200004&mediaId=36800672

http://www.royalmail.com/link/download?catId=4200004&mediaId=48500708

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This is fantastic news! I have this thread subscribed to obviously. The next time they try to clobber me for a fee I shall refer to this thread. This is great information and I am so glad you posted it here. The more people who defend against this blatant fraud by the postal service the better!

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tandymalbot, question, did you file a claim after paying the fee or for the recovery of the package?

 

If the former, do you happen to still have the particulars of claim on your computer as it would be useful to me and I'm sure others to know what exactly you wrote in it.

Please note nothing I say constitutes legal advice.

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blatant fraud

 

Care to elaborate?

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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  • 2 weeks later...
tandymalbot, question, did you file a claim after paying the fee or for the recovery of the package?

 

If the former, do you happen to still have the particulars of claim on your computer as it would be useful to me and I'm sure others to know what exactly you wrote in it.

 

The former. I wouldn't worry about the wording as long as you read the above post I made and mention that you were charged a fee before they released the package contrary to the Postal Services Act (the illegal bit) and ALSO that you feel the fee is unreasonable. The first is the most important as it kind of negates the second but you should win on either point.

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Hi, This is my first post as i just found this topic after recieving a letter from Parcelforce saying i owe them V.A.T and a Parcelforce clearence fee before they would send my parcel. Like most people i have no problem paying the V.A.T and i have done this after an argument with them. Now i have recieved a letter for the £13.50 clearence fee. My question is this do i have to pay this fee?

Personaly i can't see what they did for this fee,I had allready paid for delivery to my address and instead of doing this they took my parcel past my house sent me a letter saying i owe them V.A.T and clearence fee held it up for a day and made me collect it from there depot.

So what did they do to deserve £13.50 of my hard earned cash? I am in the process of drafting a letter to find out what they want the money for exactly.

To me this fee would be like me going around to the managing director of Parcelforce house and mowing his lawn (that he never asked me to do) than demanding £13.50 for doing it.

 

Sorry for the rant on my first post.

Thanks,

Bigsi40

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Their fee could easily be held to be 'reasonable'! I get quite a few, and depending on the carrier, you get hit with what their 'standard' clearance fee is. With FeDex, I get billed £22, UPS (never been charged!) DHL was the most expensive at £25, so an abount half this charge is pretty good going. For one-off purchases, this will always be expensive but when importing in bulk, it barely adds much to the costs.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Royal Mail have agreed to settle my claim - no interest, but its not worth haggling over pence, I got the clearance fee plus the court fee back, so that's basically double again its cost them. If lots of people do this, it will really hit them where it hurts.

Please note nothing I say constitutes legal advice.

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I had this with a courier company, I told them that had I known that C&E fees would be payable then I wouldn't have accepted the parcel and it would have been returned to the seller for a refund, as the seller had confirmed that there would be no C&E duty to be paid. Since the courier company had paid these fees they had acted without my knowledge or authority and they should now arrange to return them to the seller or deliver them to me free of charge.

 

They delivered them to me and waived the charge

 

Mossy

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With FeDex, I get billed £22, UPS (never been charged!) DHL was the most expensive at £25, so an abount half this charge is pretty good going

 

Just because other companies charge more doesn't mean a lesser charge is OK. These companies have already been paid by the sender to deliver the goods.

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  • 1 month later...

OK it took a while but I have been hit by the Parcelforce clearance fee.

 

Here is what I want to know.

 

I used the information contained in this thread.

 

Moneysupermarket.com - Parcelforce Clearance Ransom Charge

 

This is what I wrote as the last reply to that thread and hope someone here can also give advice.

 

"I too have just gone through this thread and used the information to phone Parcelforce HQ and told them in no uncertain terms that what they are doing is illegal and unacceptable. They still say that what they are doing is not illegal. I asked that I be able to pay the C&E charge at my local depot and they invoice me for the clearance fee. This they agreed on and I collected my parcel and paid just the C&E fee.

 

Now I wish to dispute the clearance fee when/if they send me an invoice based on the fact that:-

 

1. they never delivered the parcel and I had to go collect it myself from the depot. Thus they broke the agreement of delivery which was made when I ordered the item and postage was paid (I know it was EMS that was paid but surely it also applies to the partners who then deliver the post as they receive a share of payment through their global partners?)

 

2. I was never notified that the parcel was being held. No card through the door. They say they sent one but I never receieved one and it was only after searching for my tracking number online that I was able to find out out that my parcel was being held at the depot since the 10th of August 2009.

 

3. I never recieved an invoice.

 

Now I will just let you know that I am unemployed and have small means to contest in a court of law and in fact am a bit of a dummy when it comes to laws and this kind of thing. However I want to contest this if at all possible as it is an extortion and needs to be exposed as such. I do not wish to be a poster child for this but someone needs to make a stand.

 

Any advice on what I can do if/when I receive the invoice for the clearance fee?"

 

Can CAG legal boffins chip in with any tips too?

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