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Old 24.07.2020, 13:04
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Ripped off - hidden import duties when shopping on a Swiss website

Hello everyone,

I recently bought some kitchen equipment on a .ch website for around CHF 80, fully expecting this to be the full cost. Today I received a bill for an additional CHF 60 for import duties, admin fees, Vorlageprovision etc...... surprising, to say the least.

I seem to recall that any foreign firm selling goods on a .ch website, and giving a very clear impression that the goods are being purchased in Switzerland, is not allowed to charge the buyer for importing the goods into Switzerland.

I feel mislead and plan not to pay this additional amount, if possible. I did a quick google search and a look on the English Forum, and cannot find anything. Does anyone have any experience in this area?

If this is, in fact, a legally acceptable practice, remember to be 100% sure that you are really buying on Swiss website, otherwise you might be in for a big surprise!!

Thanks and regards
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Old 24.07.2020, 13:08
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Re: Ripped off - hidden import duties when shopping on a Swiss website

AS long as they mention it somewhere where you could notice it, there is no problem in what they did.

Do you have the name of the shop?
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Old 24.07.2020, 13:22
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Re: Ripped off - hidden import duties when shopping on a Swiss website

This is unfortunately a recurring issue (check out the unhappy customers of a shop that operates as Party.ch, it happened to me too about five years ago. There is an article about it here (German only).

It is not acceptable to mask the fact that a website is not actually operated out of Switzerland but there have not been any legal provisions made to that effect, at least not to my knowledge. While there is no legal provision specifically for the situation you are in, there are laws surrounding the communication of prices for a Swiss company. The price shown on the website (or, at the very latest, when you go to pay) has to be the actual total including all taxes and duties. If additional duties may be due, this has to be indicated clearly on the webpage.

As a general rule, you should check the terms and conditions as well as the "Impressum" of the webpage. If there is no proper Swiss address including a contact phone number, it is very probable that they are actually operating from abroad. There is no law against a non-Swiss entity having a .ch address but they are not allowed to hide the fact that you may be liable to customs duties.
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Old 24.07.2020, 13:25
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Re: Ripped off - hidden import duties when shopping on a Swiss website

https://www.intergastro.ch
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Old 24.07.2020, 13:28
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Re: Ripped off - hidden import duties when shopping on a Swiss website

A .ch-Website alone is no indication that the shop is in Switzerland.

I always check further details such as terms and conditions, place of jurisdiction, domicile of company, and if an UID / MWSt-No. is listed. If I am super suspicious I will crosscheck the information on www.zefix.ch and www.uid.admin.ch .

Nevertheless I would be good to know it the relevant ordinance, the Preisbekanntgabeverordnung, also applies to foreign based .ch shops, advertising in CHF, and o what extend the listed prices must contain import clearance fees and MWSt.
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Old 24.07.2020, 13:34
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Re: Ripped off - hidden import duties when shopping on a Swiss website

Unfortunately it seems quite clear that they are a German company and on their delivery page (where they tell you about deliveries and where you can collect from in Dortmund) they make it pretty clear that delivery companies will charge MwsT, Zoll and handling charges if appropriate (and it's not, as you claim, the seller that's making these charges)

Lots of companies have different country domains for different markets, you may feel cheated but really I very much doubt there is anything you can do about it, just be careful in future and check where the goods are coming from.
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Old 24.07.2020, 13:40
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Re: Ripped off - hidden import duties when shopping on a Swiss website

First warning bell: German telephone number on the top.
Second: Odd CHF prices.
Third: Domicile in Dortmund, Germany.
Fourth: B2B only (which means the Preisbekanntgabeverordnung does not apply!).

It has an imprint according the German law (unfortunately Switzerland has no similar law) https://www.intergastro.ch/impressum-cms-page.Impressum

Terms and conditions can also be easily found, They are open that they are a German based shop and that place of jurisdiction is Dortmund.
https://www.intergastro.ch/allgemein...n-cms-page.AGB

It clearly states that the stuff is shipped from Germany, import VAT is not included in the prices, and import clearance fees will be charged by shipping company after delivery. https://www.intergastro.ch/lieferung...tandardversand


In conclusion: The error is solely on the side of EF-User Wollerau. I do not see any deception by intergastro.ch . All relevant information has been available. Your bad.
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Old 24.07.2020, 13:41
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Re: Ripped off - hidden import duties when shopping on a Swiss website

Thank you everyone for your feedback.



Going through the purchase process on their website, and seeing the wording on the checkout page, and then the invoice, definitely gave the impression that we would not be taxed any further. The small print also says "Sofern Sie über eine Umsatzsteuernummer verfügen kommt die Einfuhrumsatzsteuer nicht zum Ansatz oder kann zurückerstattet werden." As we bought the goods through our company and gave them our Umsatzsteuernummer, there was added comfort that all was paid.



Anyway, as you say Grumpygrapefruit, there is probably not a lot we can do about it.A good lesson for us and for others.
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Old 24.07.2020, 13:47
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Re: Ripped off - hidden import duties when shopping on a Swiss website

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The small print also says "Sofern Sie über eine Umsatzsteuernummer verfügen kommt die Einfuhrumsatzsteuer nicht zum Ansatz oder kann zurückerstattet werden."
Which is not incorrect. As a company you can do a Vorsteuerabzug.
https://www.kmu.admin.ch/kmu/en/home...portation.html

But you are still shafted with the all the import clearance fees charged by the shipping company. If not mistaken you can list them as business expenses.
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Old 24.07.2020, 14:12
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Re: Ripped off - hidden import duties when shopping on a Swiss website

Alas, the German phone and address are a giveaway.

Tom
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Old 24.07.2020, 14:33
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Re: Ripped off - hidden import duties when shopping on a Swiss website

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If this is, in fact, a legally acceptable practice, remember to be 100% sure that you are really buying on Swiss website, otherwise you might be in for a big surprise!!
May be, just may be, if you read the terms and conditions and in particular the note where it says customs on fees are not included.... you'd avoid such surprises rather than making assumptions....
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Old 24.07.2020, 14:50
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Re: Ripped off - hidden import duties when shopping on a Swiss website

To be fair to the OP, it's NOT super obvious if you missed the +49 at the very top. You REALLY have to look to notice:




Fr. 10 for shipping does NOT seem like international shipping. Unless you missed the "to Switzerland" in the hover-over remark.




It's misleading, to say the least. At least I would have probably missed it as well.
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Old 24.07.2020, 15:16
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Re: Ripped off - hidden import duties when shopping on a Swiss website

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To be fair to the OP, it's NOT super obvious if you missed the +49 at the very top. You REALLY have to look to notice:


Fr. 10 for shipping does NOT seem like international shipping. Unless you missed the "to Switzerland" in the hover-over remark.



It's misleading, to say the least. At least I would have probably missed it as well.
- Your picture mentions clearly that customs duties and such are not included in the price.
- Shipping without VAT is another strong hint.
- They are very clear that it be send according to the T&C and provide a clear link.

Can't blame the store if people don't read.
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Old 24.07.2020, 15:49
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Re: Ripped off - hidden import duties when shopping on a Swiss website

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Can't blame the store if people don't read.
Don't read? And how much are you supposed to read and how many government websites and pages of law are you supposed to know before they put a warning sign to say that customs duties WILL BE DUE? How much does that hurt them?

This border lines on fraud on my book. It's a clear user anti-pattern to lead the shopper to buy without indicating that the item will be sent from abroad and that custom duties are to be paid.

Quote:
- Your picture mentions clearly that customs duties and such are not included in the price.
- Shipping without VAT is another strong hint.
- They are very clear that it be send according to the T&C and provide a clear link.
- And where does it says that it ships from the EU and not from Switzerland? On another page, right...
- And how are you supposed to know that/how much VAT is due? Are you a tax consultant and know the swiss tax rules by heart?
- And they couldn't just say "Customs will be due" and be nice to their customers instead?

This kind of "you should have known that, have expert knowledge of the swiss customs book, the shipment fees of various couriers and all the business regulations / tax deductions / whatnot before you place an order on a FSKING website" is getting really old. Just take an second to admit that this is not a correct or sensible way to treat your customers, anywhere
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Old 24.07.2020, 16:02
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Re: Ripped off - hidden import duties when shopping on a Swiss website

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Don't read? And how much are you supposed to read and how many government websites and pages of law are you supposed to know before they put a warning sign to say that customs duties WILL BE DUE? How much does that hurt them?

This border lines on fraud on my book. It's a clear user anti-pattern to lead the shopper to buy without indicating that the item will be sent from abroad and that custom duties are to be paid.


- And where does it says that it ships from the EU and not from Switzerland? On another page, right...
- And how are you supposed to know that/how much VAT is due? Are you a tax consultant and know the swiss tax rules by heart?
- And they couldn't just say "Customs will be due" and be nice to their customers instead?

This kind of "you should have known that, have expert knowledge of the swiss customs book, the shipment fees of various couriers and all the business regulations / tax deductions / whatnot before you place an order on a FSKING website" is getting really old. Just take an second to admit that this is not a correct or sensible way to treat your customers, anywhere
- When it comes to shopping and VAT the rules are incredible simple and I expect everybody living in this country to know at least the basics.
- They do state in the picture that customs tariffs are due and that VAT will be applied be the delivery service.

So according to your reasoning this shop does everything proper.

If people are unwilling to view a page before confirming the sale it is their own problem and not that of the store or me.

I'm getting tired of people being to lazy and blame the rest of the world for their lack of responsibility.
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Old 24.07.2020, 16:08
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Re: Ripped off - hidden import duties when shopping on a Swiss website

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Don't read? And how much are you supposed to read and how many government websites and pages of law are you supposed to know before they put a warning sign to say that customs duties WILL BE DUE? How much does that hurt them?
It's all in one simple paragraph, which I guess you decide not to read then....

If you decide to commit to a contract without bothering to read the terms that is your problem. We can't require businesses step up a special procedure for adults not will to take responsibility for the commitments.
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Old 24.07.2020, 16:11
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Re: Ripped off - hidden import duties when shopping on a Swiss website

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Alas, the German phone and address are a giveaway.

Tom
Plenty of german companies take care of the taxes for you. I can think of quite a few online baby shops that do this. And the taxes are pre-cleared. Baby-walz.ch/de and windeln.de/ch are two I use to buy gifts for friends that are expecting, there's likely more.
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Old 24.07.2020, 16:12
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Re: Ripped off - hidden import duties when shopping on a Swiss website

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Don't read? And how much are you supposed to read and how many government websites and pages of law are you supposed to know before they put a warning sign to say that customs duties WILL BE DUE? How much does that hurt them?

This border lines on fraud on my book. It's a clear user anti-pattern to lead the shopper to buy without indicating that the item will be sent from abroad and that custom duties are to be paid.


- And where does it says that it ships from the EU and not from Switzerland? On another page, right...
- And how are you supposed to know that/how much VAT is due? Are you a tax consultant and know the swiss tax rules by heart?
- And they couldn't just say "Customs will be due" and be nice to their customers instead?

This kind of "you should have known that, have expert knowledge of the swiss customs book, the shipment fees of various couriers and all the business regulations / tax deductions / whatnot before you place an order on a FSKING website" is getting really old. Just take an second to admit that this is not a correct or sensible way to treat your customers, anywhere
Absolutely not. On the check out page it clearly states that MwsT and handling charges may be charged by the shippers. If there were no warnings anywhere on the site that the goods were not being sent within CH then you may have a point, but for me the site is pretty clear that it's for a German company.
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Old 24.07.2020, 16:12
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Re: Ripped off - hidden import duties when shopping on a Swiss website

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It's all in one simple paragraph, which I guess you decide not to read then....

If you decide to commit to a contract without bothering to read the terms that is your problem. We can't require businesses step up a special procedure for adults not will to take responsibility for the commitments.
Nobody reads the 40 pages of the terms of sales. If anyone did, nobody would shop online.
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Old 24.07.2020, 16:15
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Re: Ripped off - hidden import duties when shopping on a Swiss website

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- When it comes to shopping the rules are incredible simple and I expect everybody living in this country to know at least the basics.
Yes, but you also expect that a swiss website calculates and applies swiss VAT when you purchase online. Nowhere on the page does it say that the VAT quoted is German VAT not Swiss VAT

Quote:
- They do state in the picture that customs tariffs are due and that VAT will be applied be the delivery service.
If you read carefully, they don't say that. They say that "custom duties are not included" which is a different thing. They never say "will be applied". Plus they come to say "there are no custom duties on preferential goods... bla bla bla...", hoping you'll get tired of wasting time reading small print and just buy the fsking thing.

Honestly, the fact that you've been around a while and got used and desensitised to this kind of scam doesn't make them less of a scam.
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