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Old 05.10.2011, 15:13
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Swiss Post Fees (Rant and clarification)

So I have read the posts on here about the import duties and VAT tax ETC. I understand that if you are buying a new item, you have to pay VAT and duty. Here is what I do not understand at all. I had some winter clothes shipped over here from the US. Clothes I have had for a few years, but never used because I was in Florida. They have no taxable value. My folks spent nearly 80 USD on the shipping cost to send it here. Once it got here I got nailed with a 42 CHF CHARGE. WHAT THE HELL AM I PAYING A CHARGE FOR? I JUST DON'T GET IT. If I were to take the exact same box of winter clothes, go to Die Post and spend money to ship it back to my parents, it would cost me about the same as it did for my folks to send it here. THE DIFFERENCE IS THAT MY PARENTS WOULD NOT OWE ANYTHING TO THE USPS WHEN IT ARRIVED. Why does a shipment get charged TWICE (charged to send and charged to receive)? Every place I have EVER been has cost the shipper money to send and then it is DONE. But here they screw you to the wall. On top of that, my folks were told by the USPS that it costs a bit more on their end to ship to Switzerland because of how their postal service runs. SO IT COSTS MORE TO SHIP TO CH THAN OTHER COUNTRIES AND THEN YOU HAVE TO PAY TO RECEIVE THEM. I feel like I am being robbed every time I get sent anything. How is it that people stand for this? For a country that seems to really have their financial act together, this seems like a total rip off. You are held completely hostage by DIE POST. I guess after paying more than 30 chf each time I get a package, I m a bit irritated. Rant over.
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Old 05.10.2011, 15:17
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Re: Swiss Post Fees (Rant and clarification)

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So I have read the posts on here about the import duties and VAT tax ETC. I understand that if you are buying a new item, you have to pay VAT and duty. Here is what I do not understand at all. I had some winter clothes shipped over here from the US. Clothes I have had for a few years, but never used because I was in Florida. They have no taxable value. My folks spent nearly 80 USD on the shipping cost to send it here. Once it got here I got nailed with a 42 CHF CHARGE. WHAT THE HELL AM I PAYING A CHARGE FOR? I JUST DON'T GET IT. If I were to take the exact same box of winter clothes, go to Die Post and spend money to ship it back to my parents, it would cost me about the same as it did for my folks to send it here. THE DIFFERENCE IS THAT MY PARENTS WOULD NOT OWE ANYTHING TO THE USPS WHEN IT ARRIVED. Why does a shipment get charged TWICE (charged to send and charged to receive)? Every place I have EVER been has cost the shipper money to send and then it is DONE. But here they screw you to the wall. On top of that, my folks were told by the USPS that it costs a bit more on their end to ship to Switzerland because of how their postal service runs. SO IT COSTS MORE TO SHIP TO CH THAN OTHER COUNTRIES AND THEN YOU HAVE TO PAY TO RECEIVE THEM. I feel like I am being robbed every time I get sent anything. How is it that people stand for this? For a country that seems to really have their financial act together, this seems like a total rip off. You are held completely hostage by DIE POST. I guess after paying more than 30 chf each time I get a package, I m a bit irritated. Rant over.
It must be to do with the customs declaration from the US, due to the contents and the value of the declared package. Many parcels can get in un taxed. On this basis you WOULD be charged into the US if USPS pick up on the contents value, some times they do sometimes they don't same as the UK.. here they ALWAYS look at the goods and the value and charge The highest amount usually being the damn processing fee...
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Old 05.10.2011, 15:20
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Re: Swiss Post Fees (Rant and clarification)

The value was put at zero because it is literally a bunch of used winter clothes that would be cheaper to ship than re buy. The woman who rang my doorbell told me I was paying a handling and processing fee. IT COSTS 42 CHF TO LIFT UP A DAMN BOX?
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Old 05.10.2011, 15:23
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Re: Swiss Post Fees (Rant and clarification)

a bit annoying, but most people avoid it now by not sending anything. not sure if you can appeal it somehow, but probably easiest to just pay up and not do it again.
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Old 05.10.2011, 15:25
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Re: Swiss Post Fees (Rant and clarification)

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The value was put at zero because it is literally a bunch of used winter clothes that would be cheaper to ship than re buy. The woman who rang my doorbell told me I was paying a handling and processing fee. IT COSTS 42 CHF TO LIFT UP A DAMN BOX?
Nope - it costs CHF 42 to fill out a form or 2. Lifting up the box was included in your shipping charge
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Old 05.10.2011, 15:26
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Re: Swiss Post Fees (Rant and clarification)

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The woman who rang my doorbell told me I was paying a handling and processing fee. IT COSTS 42 CHF TO LIFT UP A DAMN BOX?
(Are we allowed to say 'You've been S***********d' any more? )

Just be thankful that the box came through the Post rather than DHL or Fedex; their admin charges are quite a bit higher.

Like Phil says, it often is not worth it to ship used goods here; I simply bring things back whenever I visit.

(But now that there are all those d*mn baggage fees... )
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Old 05.10.2011, 15:27
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Re: Swiss Post Fees (Rant and clarification)

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For a country that seems to really have their financial act together, this seems like a total rip off.
The more you pay in customs charges, the more likely you are going to look for a Swiss alternative. Therefore more money for the CH economy.

If you send used goods into CH there are usually no customs charges if you state so on the paper work. However they may have opened your box and found that the clothes looked new (due to non use). They therefore charge you customs tax on what they think the (new) clothes would be worth. As it was not just one piece of clothing but rather a large box, then they would very likely charge you customs. It could also be a fine due to bad declaration as per poster before. Although the clothes are not new. Stating they are worth $5 when they are not could also cost you the penalty. To them your parents or you may have bought brand new winter clothes. Taken off the labels and sent them in a box to CH. You are able to contest these cost or ask for explanations.

Customs are very strict in CH. They are also exceptionally clued up, both in the post and at the airport.
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Old 05.10.2011, 15:30
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Re: Swiss Post Fees (Rant and clarification)

Weird. Every time I arrive at the Geneva airport the douane (customs) is a ghost town...

Maybe 'cause I always take the direct flight from Washington that arrives before 8am?

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The more you pay in customs charges, the more likely you are going to look for a Swiss alternative. Therefore more money for the CH economy.

If you send used goods into CH there are usually no customs charges if you state so on the paper work. However they may have opened your box and found that the clothes looked new (due to non use). They therefore charge you customs tax on what they think the (new) clothes would be worth. As it was not just one piece of clothing but rather a large box, then they would very likely charge you customs. It could also be a fine due to bad declaration as per poster before. Although the clothes are not new. Stating they are worth $5 when they are not could also cost you the penalty. To them your parents or you may have bought brand new winter clothes. Taken off the labels and sent them in a box to CH. You are able to contest these cost or ask for explanations.

Customs are very strict in CH. They are also exceptionally clued up, both in the post and at the airport.
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Old 05.10.2011, 15:32
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Re: Swiss Post Fees (Rant and clarification)

"Gifts sent by private persons resident abroad to private persons in Switzerland are tax free up to a value of SFr.100".

You might challenge the Swiss Post's decision on these grounds. We once did and they gave us the money back.
Textiles are subject to higher duty rates, though. Perhaps they did not believe that the value of your clothes was 0.
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Old 05.10.2011, 15:33
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Re: Swiss Post Fees (Rant and clarification)

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Weird. Every time I arrive at the Geneva airport the douane (customs) is a ghost town...

Maybe 'cause I always take the direct flight from Washington that arrives before 8am?

Geneva is the place to fly to then

I have had a couple of friends/work collegues that have received VERY hefty fines from customs in Zurich for not declaring various items.
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Old 05.10.2011, 15:41
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Re: Swiss Post Fees (Rant and clarification)

Fed Ex charged my husband 85 francs in duties for shipping a bunch of dusty old notebooks from undergrad/grad school. All of them were at least 10 years old. This was after these boxes sat at customs for weeks because they kept asking for clarification on these "notebooks"--asking if they were computers. We kept insisting that they were books of notes, not computers (Look inside the boxes, dumba**es. )

And even though Fed Ex acknowledged over the phone that this shipment of personal property had no commercial value, they refused to refund it.
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Old 05.10.2011, 15:49
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Re: Swiss Post Fees (Rant and clarification)

Is this just a Swiss thing? My sister lives in Shanghai and it costs me a bit to ship things to her, but she never pays to receive them. Same goes for my friend in the Cayman Islands. Is this a Europe thing or is it a Swiss thing? If I sent the same box of clothes to a address in France, would they have to pay 42 euros to receive it?
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Old 05.10.2011, 15:52
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Re: Swiss Post Fees (Rant and clarification)

At least your delivery actually reached you! I had a package sent from Australia to me in the UK for Christmas last year. Never arrived, and it just disappeared for a few months. Eventually showed up back in Australia with a note 'not enough postage'. We realised it had gotten to the UK, sat there for a few weeks, and gone back again with no attempt to contact the recipient - me!
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Old 05.10.2011, 16:07
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Re: Swiss Post Fees (Rant and clarification)

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So I have read the posts on here about the import duties and VAT tax ETC. I understand that if you are buying a new item, you have to pay VAT and duty. Here is what I do not understand at all. I had some winter clothes shipped over here from the US. Clothes I have had for a few years, but never used because I was in Florida. They have no taxable value. My folks spent nearly 80 USD on the shipping cost to send it here. Once it got here I got nailed with a 42 CHF CHARGE. WHAT THE HELL AM I PAYING A CHARGE FOR? I JUST DON'T GET IT. If I were to take the exact same box of winter clothes, go to Die Post and spend money to ship it back to my parents, it would cost me about the same as it did for my folks to send it here. THE DIFFERENCE IS THAT MY PARENTS WOULD NOT OWE ANYTHING TO THE USPS WHEN IT ARRIVED. Why does a shipment get charged TWICE (charged to send and charged to receive)? Every place I have EVER been has cost the shipper money to send and then it is DONE. But here they screw you to the wall. On top of that, my folks were told by the USPS that it costs a bit more on their end to ship to Switzerland because of how their postal service runs. SO IT COSTS MORE TO SHIP TO CH THAN OTHER COUNTRIES AND THEN YOU HAVE TO PAY TO RECEIVE THEM. I feel like I am being robbed every time I get sent anything. How is it that people stand for this? For a country that seems to really have their financial act together, this seems like a total rip off. You are held completely hostage by DIE POST. I guess after paying more than 30 chf each time I get a package, I m a bit irritated. Rant over.

UGH I can understand your frustration because when I was still living at the personal house that belongs to the hospital I work for, I had to pay about 27CHF to receive a package from the US that parents sent me. Now that I am living at my own apartment, my bf would use one of those flat rate boxes at the post office in the US to send me stuffs and I havent paid VAT ever since.
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Old 05.10.2011, 16:37
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Re: Swiss Post Fees (Rant and clarification)

Little tip, get yourself a address in Germany and have stuff sent there. I have stuff sent post collect and pick it up at the postoffice without choking at fees.
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Old 05.10.2011, 17:13
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Re: Swiss Post Fees (Rant and clarification)

I suspect that where you went wrong was declaring the goods as zero-valued. Customs took a different view, and assigned them a value.

What you should have done (as others have pointed out) is specified clearly on the paperwork that these were used goods not subject to import duty. That should have avoided the customs charge.
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Old 05.10.2011, 17:18
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Re: Swiss Post Fees (Rant and clarification)

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Little tip, get yourself a address in Germany and have stuff sent there. I have stuff sent post collect and pick it up at the postoffice without choking at fees.
Yes, but I had a bit of a rude shock with the German customs authorities because I didn't realise that while they don't charge duty on items until the value exceeds EUR150, they do charge VAT on all imported items over EUR22, at 19.6%.

There comes a certain point at which it's cheaper to pay the CHF18- SwissPost inspection fee and the 8% Swiss VAT and simply have the item imported into Switzerland. Someone smarter than me, armed with a slide-rule, can work out what the break-even point is. The other advantage is that it's delivered directly to your door in Switzerland, so there's no hassle of having to go collect the package from the depot.

For EU shipments, obviously no duty/VAT on goods shipped to Germany, but on non-EU shipments, it pays to do your sums before you ship.
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Old 05.10.2011, 17:45
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Re: Swiss Post Fees (Rant and clarification)

Not quite related, but I recently bought some bike parts from rose.de (German company - I've used them to ship to the UK too when the pound was stronger).

They have a system where they ship directly to Switzerland, remove the 19% MWST, add the 8% Swiss tax, and add 1% for their own charges, and promise that the goods will arrive directly with no further charges.
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Old 05.10.2011, 17:58
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Re: Swiss Post Fees (Rant and clarification)

If you were shipping to the EU the costs would be far higher due to higher VAT rates. CH is cheaper for once!
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Old 05.10.2011, 18:11
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Re: Swiss Post Fees (Rant and clarification)

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If you were shipping to the EU the costs would be far higher due to higher VAT rates. CH is cheaper for once!
Okay, you've now forced me to get my slide rule out. At an exchange rate of CHF1.225 = EUR1, the breakeven point is EUR126.64

Cheaper than EUR126.64, have it shipped to Germany. The 19.6% VAT will cost less than the Swiss 8% VAT + CHF18- admin fee.

More expensive than EUR126.64, have it shipped to Switzerland. It's cheaper to pay the admin fee plus lower Swiss VAT.

Note: I've had to get out pencil and paper, and perform basic algebra that I haven't used in years. Probably worth double-checking my calculations!

This example obviously excludes any fuel costs / inconvience factor for getting to/from Germany, nor does it include any package collection fees (which are typically charged at third-party receiving services). And it assumes the goods are coming from ex-EU (so no allowances are made for any VAT already applied and/or removed)

Last edited by Village Idiot; 06.10.2011 at 18:37.
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