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Old 31.08.2012, 13:34
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Swiss customs disobeying their own rules

Took delivery of a package with a very clear declared value of less than $60, with an invoice inside clearly showing a total price paid including shipping of less than $60 and which Swiss customs decided to value at CHF85 and charge VAT of 6 something and fee of 18.

i.e. they were outright dishonest (this cannot have been incompetence as the value was so clearly stated) and were chancing it and can afford to as there is no comeback on them. If the tables were turned then woe betide us!

A quick call to the Post office who were good as gold and promsied to refund me the CHF25 once I sent documentation to them. My complaint is that this is outright dishonesty from customs and takes time to fix. They ought to be charged a fee to compensate the customer when they blatantly mischarge.

A further annoyance is that the package was obviously delayed whilst they made up their fiction, as it had been in Switzerland for 6 or 7 days. Not very "Schweizer Qualität" - I expect higher standards of honesty here and that sort of behaviour to belong "im Ausland".

Just a warning to all that it seems there is an element within customs who are NOT obeying the rules.
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Old 31.08.2012, 13:40
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Re: Swiss customs disobeying their own rules

i had similar case when they overvalued a painting.... by 3000 chf!!

despite the price tag and invoice on the packaging.. they hadnt even opened the package to see what was inside
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Old 31.08.2012, 13:42
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Re: Swiss customs disobeying their own rules

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i had similar case when they overvalued a painting.... by 3000 chf!!

despite the price tag and invoice on the packaging.. they hadnt even opened the package to see what was inside
Wow that really is extracting a sample. To be honest it is behaviour becoming of hoods, not public servants. Very poor show.
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Old 31.08.2012, 13:44
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Re: Swiss customs disobeying their own rules

Maybe they typed in a bad exchange rate.

Otherwise, was the package insured? CH values on a c.i.f. basis, ie. cost, insurance and freight are all included in the value for customs purposes.
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Old 31.08.2012, 13:48
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Re: Swiss customs disobeying their own rules

No it was not insured - no need on such a low value item!

Also I can't believe that customs inspectors who deal with such things every day are unaware that 1 CHF has a value in excess of 1 USD for the past 2 years.
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Old 31.08.2012, 13:48
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Re: Swiss customs disobeying their own rules

I think the post office do it directly now (though I've no idea whether there's customs people there).

It's clearly in the Die Post's interest to charge duty, otherwise they don't get the 18CHF admin fee.
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Old 31.08.2012, 13:52
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Re: Swiss customs disobeying their own rules

Correct me if I'm wrong, but as far as I know it's Swiss Post doing the customs procedure themselves on all packets that they deal with (it's delegated to them). So basically it's Swiss Post who made a 'mistake' and now offered to refund you if you show the related documentation that proves the real value.

Edit: I see mirfield post (which I only saw after posting mine) confirms my thinking.
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Old 31.08.2012, 13:53
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Re: Swiss customs disobeying their own rules

Well the Veranlagungsverfugung MWST that was enclosed is on headed Eidgenossische Zollverwaltung EZV paper which translates as the Swiss Federal Customs Administration - so no it was not the Post Office that determined the value - they only collected the duty. I wasn't going to argue with the postman as he has no say in the matter and so I just paid him and sorted it on the phone and later by email.
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Old 31.08.2012, 14:01
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Re: Swiss customs disobeying their own rules

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Well the Veranlagungsverfugung MWST that was enclosed is on headed Eidgenossische Zollverwaltung EZV paper which translates as the Swiss Federal Customs Administration - so no it was not the Post Office that determined the value
I assume the heading is EZV because the Post acts for the EZV.
I remember reading a few years ago the Post opened a big customs processing centre north of Zürich and in that article it said that the Post was doing the whole procedure in the name of the EZV.
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Old 31.08.2012, 14:03
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Re: Swiss customs disobeying their own rules

Probably not the case here, but it got me thinking.

If you buy something for 60 CHF with free shipping, how is the total calculated for customs purposes?

At 60 CHF (you've actually paid for the shipping in one way or another)?

Or 60 CHF + whatever the shipping costs are calculated at?
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Old 31.08.2012, 14:04
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Re: Swiss customs disobeying their own rules

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I assume the heading is EZV because the Post acts for the EZV.
I remember reading a few years ago the Post opened a big customs processing centre north of Zürich and in that article it said that the Post was doing the whole procedure in the name of the EZV.
Well whoever it is did either an exceedingly poor or dishonest job - and in either case it is government.
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Old 31.08.2012, 14:05
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Re: Swiss customs disobeying their own rules

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Probably not the case here, but it got me thinking.

If you buy something for 60 CHF with free shipping, how is the total calculated for customs purposes?

At 60 CHF (you've actually paid for the shipping in one way or another)?

Or 60 CHF + whatever the shipping costs are calculated at?
It is the total including shipping. However in my case the total was comfortably below CHF 60, including separate shipping charges on the enclosed invoice, and the VAT threshold, and thus the point at which they may start charging their money for old rope, is CHF 65 (except on books/food etc.)
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Old 31.08.2012, 14:07
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Re: Swiss customs disobeying their own rules

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Probably not the case here, but it got me thinking.

If you buy something for 60 CHF with free shipping, how is the total calculated for customs purposes?

At 60 CHF (you've actually paid for the shipping in one way or another)?

Or 60 CHF + whatever the shipping costs are calculated at?
It's whatever you have effectively paid for, so if shipping is included then it's not added on top as it's included in the amount you paid.
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Old 31.08.2012, 14:08
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Re: Swiss customs disobeying their own rules

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It is the latter - they always include the total. However in my case the total was comfortably below CHF 60 and the VAT threshold, and thus the point at which they may start charging their money for old rope, is CHF 65 (except on books/food etc.)
Actually, it used to be 65 CHF when MWSt was 7.6%, these days with MWSt. at 8% it's 62.50 CHF.

Basically the threshold is when the MWSt. due is below 5 CHF then nothing is due.
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Old 31.08.2012, 14:09
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Re: Swiss customs disobeying their own rules

they told me if the invoice clearly states shipping is incuded in the cost then they just take the total cost on the invoice
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Old 31.08.2012, 14:09
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Re: Swiss customs disobeying their own rules

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Actually, it used to be 65CHF when MWSt was 7.6%, these days with MWSt. at 8% is nearer to 60CHF.
Still shouldn't have been charged
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Old 31.08.2012, 14:14
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Re: Swiss customs disobeying their own rules

Would sva please care to explain why they felt it necessary to groan my original post?

Seems a bit unfair - do you work for Swiss customs? Can you justify their behaviour? If you are going to groan at a genuine grievance then at least have the good manners to explain why.
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Old 31.08.2012, 14:15
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Re: Swiss customs disobeying their own rules

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Still shouldn't have been charged
I agree, that's why they offered you to refund you if you show them proof.

The Post is certainly no worse than the private couriers, I have gotten several times wrong customs invoices from couriers (I mentioned that in some other thread here already) and not just in CH, I had similar experiences in the UK.
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Old 31.08.2012, 14:15
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Re: Swiss customs disobeying their own rules

This is interesting. I didn't think of it earlier, but my dad sent me an item, a VGA to HDMI converter, with a value of $60 USD. When I looked at the documentation on the parcel from customs here it said CHF84. My wife had already gone to the post office to pay the taxes and all (CHF25), but now I'm thinking of going back and seeing if I can get the money back. This was a couple of weeks ago, and we may have lost the receipt though.

Something to watch out for in the future though, definitely. Thanks for bringing it to our attention!

Last edited by guyc; 31.08.2012 at 14:15. Reason: added info
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Old 31.08.2012, 14:17
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Re: Swiss customs disobeying their own rules

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This is interesting. I didn't think of it earlier, but my dad sent me an item, a VGA to HDMI converter, with a value of $60 USD. When I looked at the documentation on the parcel from customs here it said CHF84. My wife had already gone to the post office to pay the taxes and all (CHF25), but now I'm thinking of going back and seeing if I can get the money back. This was a couple of weeks ago, and we may have lost the receipt though.

Something to watch out for in the future though, definitely. Thanks for bringing it to our attention!
It's CHF 60 including all the postage. If the article was worth CHF 60 any additional postage would have pushed it over the limit.
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