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Received Notice of Seizure from HM Revenue & Customs


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Hey all, ordered 3 packs of 200 cigarettes from euro-cig.com a while ago, and they just shipped them on 18th August. Today, I received this letter through. I can't scan it but here it is, word for word, exactly how it appears:

 

HM-Revenue-and-Customs_F.jpg

Detection London

 

Post Seizure Unit

Mount Pleasant Postal Depot

Farringdon Road

London

EC1A 1BB

 

ROBIN ALEXANDER

XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

XXX XXX

Tel 0207 239 2448

 

Fax 0207 239 2325

 

Email

 

Date 28/08/08

Our Ref XXXXXXX

Your Ref

 

NOTICE OF SEIZURE

 

 

Dear Sir/Madam,

 

The goods below have been seized under section 139 of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979:

 

600 CIGARETTES.

 

as liable to forfeiture under section 49(1) of the Customs and Excise Management Act and section 16 of the Postal Packets (Customs and Excise) Regulations 1986.

 

This is without prejudice to any further action that the Commissioners of Customs and Excuse may take against you in connection with this seizure. In addition, if any further detections are made which result in excise goods being seized from you this may lead to prosecution under section 170 of the Customs and Excise Management Act. A person found guilty under this section may be liable to an unlimited fine and/or up to seven years imprisonment.

 

If any contents of this consignment do not fall under the regulations described above, they are also deemed forfeit to The Crown as being goods mixed, packed or found with goods liable under Section 141 (1)(b) of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979.

 

Condemnation Proceedings.

 

If you believe that we did not act in accordance with the law and wish to claim that the seizure was incorrect you must, within one month of the date of this notice of seizure, give notice of your claim in writing; please read the enclosed publications entitled "Goods and / or vehicles seized by Customs and Excise" (Section 2 refers). If you do not lodge a written claim as above within one month your good are automatically forfeit and will be destroyed in due course.

 

Paragraphs 3 and 4 of Schedule 3 of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 give details of your legal rights. In response to your claim in writing Customs will initiate Condemnation Proceedings in a Magistrate's Court (local to the address from where this letter was sent). These are civil rather than criminal proceedings at which you or your legal representative should be present to show cause why the goods should not be forfeited. It will then be a matter for the Court to decide whether or not the goods are liable to forfeiture. The Court, that is wholly independent of Customs, will also decide the question of costs. In deciding whether the goods are liable to forfeiture your "guilt" or "innocence" will not be relevant to their decision.

 

Restoration.

 

You can ask us to consider returning the goods even if:

 

* You accept that they were properly seized; or

* You are challenging the seizure; or

* You have already challenged the seizure and a condemnation hearing has confirmed that the items were properly seized; or

* The time limit for challenging the seizure has expired and ownership of the items has automatically passed to Customs/

 

This process is called restoration. Notice 12A, Section 3 explains how to ask for restoration of your goods. Customs will consider all such requests on their individual merits and all relevant facts will be taken into account. However, normally it is Customs policy not to return (restore) seized excise goods such as alcohol or tobacco products.

 

You may wish to consult a lawyer and obtain independent legal advice immediately upon receipt of this letter and its enclosure.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

Officer of HM Revenue & Customs

 

Enc: Notice 12A, Goods and/or vehicles seized by Customs & Excise

 

_______________________________________________________________________________

Information is available in large print, audio tape and Braille formats.

Type Talk service prefix number - 18001

investors_in_people.jpgdisability_equality_scheme_pli.gif

 

Enclosed, is this booklet: http://customs.hmrc.gov.uk/channelsPortalWebApp/downloadFile?contentID=HMCE_CL_000854

 

I plan to claim both condemnation and restoration on the basis that the cigarettes were shipped from the Netherlands, thus in the EU, and therefore there is no limit on the amount of cigarettes you can import for personal use. However, I am "particularly likely to be asked questions if I have more than 3200 cigarettes", to quote the Custom's website.

 

I'll post back here with any developments. :)

This post does not reflect the professional views of any DCA; it is purely the poster's own opinions and personal advice.

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I would say that is an illegal seizure, (but not for the reason you are stating). What it is tantamount to is that you are not allowed to import anything from anywhere, which is wrong.

 

The regulations (tobacco and alcohol) state:

 

Provides that excise goods acquired by private

individuals for their own use and transported by them

shall be liable to excise duty only in the Member State in

which they are acquired

 

The customs is puting reliance on the words "and transported by them". Postal delivery is classed as not being transported by you.

 

However, I would say that seizure is wrong in that they should have been held in bond and you given an opportunity to pay the required duty.

Obviously they could not be used for commercial purposes as those must be stamped "UK duty paid" before they are allowed on the shelf for resale.

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Do any of these from the cigarette site make a difference to the legality of the seizure?

 

Q. Do duty taxes always apply to imported cigarettes?

A. As long as only one carton of cigarettes (200 cigarettes) is imported, you are not subjected to duty tax. In order to ensure that no duty taxes are applied, we ship out each carton separately to our customers.

 

Q. How can the cigarettes on sale at Euro-cig.com be tax free?

A. The cigarettes on sale at Euro-cig.com can be tax free because they are sold from a BONDED WAREHOUSE. This term is used to indicate goods which are not subjected to taxes in the source country. See: General Info Customs for further information.

 

Q. In other words, will I commit a criminal offense if I buy more than for personal use?

 

A. No. Purchasing in itself is not a criminal offense. A regular customs declaration is attached to each parcel stating the contents and the corresponding value. Since these mailed consignments for value, weight and dimensions are not subject to customs, the declaration is a regular importation request.

 

Q. How are legitimate cigarettes sold at such low costs?

 

A. Our prices meet those of duty free prices because we sell them close to production price. Therefore our prices are cheaper than your local retail price. These products are duty paid.

This post does not reflect the professional views of any DCA; it is purely the poster's own opinions and personal advice.

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  • 1 year later...

hi,

i,ve had the same problem, can anyone advise me what to do next, is it worth writing to them? i had 20 pouches of roling tobacco seized, is there any chance of me recieving my goods?

cat:?

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i've no idea how package was marked i ordered off tobacco king, i really don't know what to do, the website mailed me saying they ship from spain, the uk border agency's letter states £81 plus vat plus 15% for duty! for 500g

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Based on what you paid, was it duty free or duty paid? I'd still raise this with the sender for clarification, but I see this on their site. UPDATE.

 

All goods are sent in good faith that the customer has complied with regulations applicable to their country and that they are responsible for compliance with the importation laws of their country and payment of any duties that may be applied. We will send whatever you order.

 

As you paid by Bank Transfer, you're stuffed for a refund or clawback Also, although they do not say so in so many words, these are duty free shipments, YOU being responsible for import duty. I would think that since these are sent not with tax paid, you're being stamped on, hard. They will not have declared it, and as a result the goods have been siezed as contraband

Edited by buzby
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i paid £65 for 10 pouches but they wont reply to my mail now so i dont know, would i be able to pay the duty to the border agency and recieve my goods?

Edited by lottery
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  • 4 months later...

Had same problem from tobaccoonline.co.uk

Has anyone chased this up before? I have a feeling the letter is fake, and they probably never even posted any cigs in the first place.

 

Put it this way - has anyone from the U.k actually EVER recieved cigarettes from an online retailer?

Please no blaggers / online cig company replies.

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Had same problem from tobaccoonline.co.uk

Has anyone chased this up before? I have a feeling the letter is fake, and they probably never even posted any cigs in the first place.

 

Put it this way - has anyone from the U.k actually EVER recieved cigarettes from an online retailer?

Please no blaggers / online cig company replies.

 

 

Well get the number for customs, from somewhere other than the letter and call them with the ref number :)

 

find out one way or another :p

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  • 1 month later...

I have fallen foul to the same [problem]. Went to website www.online-cigarettes-tobacco.com, promised legal EU duty paid cigs, 100% guarantee etc etc. Order (and paid) then 5 weeks later letter from Home Office UK Border Agency saying goods seized. Similar letter to above. This is a [problem], the letter is a forgery, the dept does not exist, the phone doesn't work.

Now I am investigating, like I should have done before, and they are based in Moldova. Also, you are not allowed to have goods posted, duty free is only when you bring them yourself.

 

The reality is they never sent, or intended sending cigs, my only recall is if my credit card can help me out.

 

Warning to others..there is NO LEGAL way of buying cigs via internet from EU or outside EU and avoid UK duty. So do not eben think about it. Learn from my experience.

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The Border Agency has no interest in goods, only people. Can you scan the [problem] letter and link to it? You are incorrect, you can buy tobacco products within the EU tax paid and ship them within the community without problem for personal use.

 

Naturally, you cannot expect to recieve duty free goods, without the duty and VAT being paid on them. For your credit card claim - hopefully they did not use a funds processor (as an intermediary) as this lessens your s75 protection.

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The Border Agency has no interest in goods, only people. Can you scan the [problem] letter and link to it? You are incorrect, you can buy tobacco products within the EU tax paid and ship them within the community without problem for personal use.

 

Naturally, you cannot expect to recieve duty free goods, without the duty and VAT being paid on them. For your credit card claim - hopefully they did not use a funds processor (as an intermediary) as this lessens your s75 protection.

 

I went on HMRC website and it states there that duty free is for "passengers" or "travellers", and def says postal items are not duty free ..

I guess if you are already abroad, and buy some and post them to yourself for personal use, it may be ok.

My cigs were supposedly EU duty paid to be shipped in legal qty of 200, but in reality they were in Moldova..and shipped 400 all at once.

As regards the faked letter, I'm not sure now if it is a fake. The address is legit, and they do have a post seizure unit, but the phone number is wrong and it is NOT part of the Home Office UK Border Agency but part of HMRC. The wording is a bit odd too. I rang a number from the website which was similar to the one on the letter and spoke to a guy who sounded genuine enough but said ring on Monday cos it was after 5pm, which it was. So I'll ring on Monday. If it is ligit, then it kind of changes things a bit...apart from I am not going to get my cheap cigs...

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I went on HMRC website and it states there that duty free is for "passengers" or "travellers", and def says postal items are not duty free ..

I guess if you are already abroad, and buy some and post them to yourself for personal use, it may be ok.

...

 

The term Duty Free was removed quite some time ago.

 

There are only guide lines too what tobacco products you can bring into the UK.

3200 cigarettes is only a guide, you bring in what you like, but anything over HMRC guide lines will be investigated with pure "venom"

 

afraid you not allowed to send any tobacco products to yourself without incurring UK duty.

but if you are within parts the EU you can send tobacco products to a friend , relitive for a special occassion (birthday christmas etc...). not sure how much rolling tobacco, cigarettes approx 1 carton (200) but again you cannot do it often.

 

HMRC do watch very close.

 

 

 

dk

:welcome::rofl::welcome:

 

 

 

 

 

[sIGPIC][/sIGPIC]

 

 

 

:tea:

 

 

 

most of my knowledge is from the school of hard knocks

 

not based on any legal background

 

As quite a lot fellow caggers state seek Legal Advice

 

 

:ranger:

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I have been had as well, by Cheap Cigarettes & Wine Tax Free Store - Free Tax .

 

I ordered 400 Cigs and paid extra tax which they said was to comply with UK laws.

 

I have now recieved a letter from HMRC, which looks suspect to say the least to say these have been seized and I now need to pay £47.00 + Vat to release goods.

 

DO NOT BUY ANYTHING FROM THIS COMPANY.

Never argue with an idiot, they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

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If you buy via internet any cigs from outside the EU you have to pay excise duty, customs duty if value is over £120 and Import VAT..IF you buy from within the EU you have to make sure UK excise duty is paid otherwise goods will be seized.

In both cases the cigarettes MUST be labelled with Health Warning and have a fiscal mark on the packet.

The problem is these rogue websites say they are sending from within the EU and with all duty paid, so they assure you it is legal and legitimate. They do not advertise where there head office or base is, and some say goods are from "bonded warehouses" and say duty is not payable.

It is a minefield and best avoided.

The question as to whether they actually do post the goods and they get caught by the "UK Border Agency Post seizure unit" will be answered when I telephone this unit on Monday.

It does seem the letters are a fake, or maybe there is an arrangement with a contact in the UK. These are alleged possibilities and I am not saying this is the true case.

All I would say is when you see an advert on the internet and go to what looks like a "normal" website with lots of convincing features (eg payment methods) and 100% satisfaction guarantee and guarantee of no problems and all is legal etc etc, it is easy to be duped. No one is trying to break any laws, no one is trying to get away with avoiding paying due taxes, but we are obviously being conned by rogue traders.

If this were a shop in the UK you could have it closed down and prosecuted for misrepresentation, but somehow the internet seems immune from this. There is no governing body which oversees the trading activities of what are basically back rooms in some remote corner of the world. Anyone with a bit of knowledge on computers can set up what appears to be a very convincing shop on the internet.

 

The solution is obviously regulation. It is a scndal that major credit card companies allow their cards to be used as a payment method by these unscrupulous dealers, and that is the arguement I am going to make to my credit card company when I try and reclaim my money.

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I have been had as well, by Cheap Cigarettes & Wine Tax Free Store - Free Tax .

 

I ordered 400 Cigs and paid extra tax which they said was to comply with UK laws.

 

I have now recieved a letter from HMRC, which looks suspect to say the least to say these have been seized and I now need to pay £47.00 + Vat to release goods.

 

DO NOT BUY ANYTHING FROM THIS COMPANY.

 

Does it say on their website where their base is ? Do they have a helpdesk managed by "Denise" ? I have been through a few sites and many seem to be based in Moldova and have a Denise...

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I thought the company was in the US, but after a bit of digging I found this address.

 

Company information:

DUTY FREE DEPOT.COM

C.I.E. Ltd, PO Box 5048, Rishon Letzion75705, Israel.

Phone: +1 (877)-850-0707

www.dutyfreedepot.com/

I do not hold out much hope for any refund or anything.

I will post my letter from Customs up in a bit, it does look very suspect.

Never argue with an idiot, they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

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I have spoken to the Border agency yesterday and it is genuine.

 

They said these companies are all chancers(my words) and almost all imported cigs without a fiscal stamp on will be destroyed.

 

I paid so-called duty on this order and the company I noticed have since taken down the extra duty offer for UK customers.

 

So, basically I have been had and I have no recourse due to paying by Debit card.

 

Unless anyone has any suggestions?

Never argue with an idiot, they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

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