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Old 26.04.2011, 11:46
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Why am I having to pay additional costs when my mail is delivered from abroad?

Hi,

I have just received my first international mail delivery which was sent to me from my UK office to my home address.

The value of the goods was 46 and was accompanied by an invoice (I assume it was anyway) for what I think is CHF6.90 (8% of MWST Wert: CHF86). My first question is how do I go about paying this?

My second question is, when it arrived I had to pay the delivery person nearly CHF25 which was seperate to the above costs but I have no idea what it was for! Can anyone shed any light on it? I am worried that I am going to have to fork out this kind of sum every time someone posts me something from back home!
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Old 26.04.2011, 11:47
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Re: Why am I having to pay additional costs when my mail is delivered from abroad?

Import duty, VAT and handling charge. Loads of threads already here explaining what it's all about.
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Old 26.04.2011, 11:55
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Re: Why am I having to pay additional costs when my mail is delivered from abroad?

Was it delivered by swisspost or by Fedex/UPS or some other 'parcel' company ?

I find that swisspost mostly don't tax my 'imports' (parcels from Grandma from Australia) but we got hit with that 20-25chf 'handling' charge with deliveries from Fedex...
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Old 26.04.2011, 12:02
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Re: Why am I having to pay additional costs when my mail is delivered from abroad?

Thanks Swisspea. I've just checked and it's from Swisspost. I'm wondering whether it was because I had it sent via 'airsure' which is a trackable service rather than simple airmail. I will perhaps suggest to relatives to just send it airmail in future!
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Old 26.04.2011, 12:13
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Re: Why am I having to pay additional costs when my mail is delivered from abroad?

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Was it delivered by swisspost or by Fedex/UPS or some other 'parcel' company ?

I find that swisspost mostly don't tax my 'imports' (parcels from Grandma from Australia) but we got hit with that 20-25chf 'handling' charge with deliveries from Fedex...

If you can convince the suppliers to declare a value BELOW CHF 65.--, and to send by normal airmail, it will go through free of handling, duty + VAT .
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Old 26.04.2011, 12:15
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Re: Why am I having to pay additional costs when my mail is delivered from abroad?

Thanks Wollishofener, that's really really helpful. Thanks so much for that.
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Old 26.04.2011, 12:43
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Re: Why am I having to pay additional costs when my mail is delivered from abroad?

The value including postage and packing, mind.
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Old 26.04.2011, 17:01
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Re: Why am I having to pay additional costs when my mail is delivered from abroad?

Ah great, another useful tip - thanks very much! I'm still amazed at this handling charge, especially as its based upon value of goods. You would think it would be based upon size or weight as it is in most other countries. Thanks everyone for your useful feedback
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Old 27.04.2011, 15:30
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Re: Why am I having to pay additional costs when my mail is delivered from abroad?

As above. That's what's nice about the EU--they have a customs union so when sending things from the UK to Germany or Spain for example, one doesn't have to pay anything extra.
  • One of the rules about the EU customs union is that the retailer/supplier applies its country's VAT onto an item when shipping within the union. You don't pay anything extra.
  • Conversely retailers/suppliers are not supposed to add its country's VAT onto an item when shipping to countries OUTSIDE of the union--that's when you're supposed to pay your country's VAT on top.
It can work in your favour (or maybe just slightly); with regard to this last point, you'll notice this when buying things from Amazon.co.uk for example--you won't have to pay 20% UK VAT. Instead you'll be liable to pay 8% Swiss VAT (MwST) when it arrives here. What is nice is that most countries have thresholds and for Switzerland, if an item is less than around CHF 30 (I cannot remember exactly--see http://www.zoll.ch for details on types of products and allowances) you are not charged import duties--so in effect you save a quid or two (wow!) even including the postage fees compared to when buying the item in the UK.

If you're getting relatives to send you items. Make sure they don't put a high value in the green customs label they affix at the package. Tell them to write "gift" and value 10 or 15 or something like that.
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Old 27.04.2011, 15:36
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Re: Why am I having to pay additional costs when my mail is delivered from abroad?

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Ah great, another useful tip - thanks very much! I'm still amazed at this handling charge, especially as its based upon value of goods. You would think it would be based upon size or weight as it is in most other countries. Thanks everyone for your useful feedback
It's not a postal handling charge, but a customs handling charge/customs clearance fee - there is the difference.

(Funnily enough, the Swiss customs code/fees itself is still based on weight rather than value, perhaps the only one left to this day..)
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