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Old 23.04.2014, 08:17
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Why would the Post Office charge me for a parcel?

I got a notice from the Post Office yesterday that there`s a parcel from USA (family member) for me ....... and I need to pay Sfr33 to uplift it!

I emailed my daughter asking WTF ....... she wrote back she has no idea ... she paid the postage, filled in the customs declaration, and its a gift.

Now I need to go ask at the PO. Scary. As the lady there always makes out she doesn`t quite understand my German speaking efforts (when it suits her, it seems)

Any ideas WHY there should be this extra charge?

I`ve received parcels before without any of these problems.

PS. Its just face-creams she makes herself - I never pay Sfr33 for face-cream! Landi supplies my needs
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Old 23.04.2014, 08:43
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Re: Why would the Post Office charge me for a parcel?

If they opened it and considered it to be more than 100CHF guess they applied a fee for their services plus all the usual VAT etc.





K
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Old 23.04.2014, 08:45
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Re: Why would the Post Office charge me for a parcel?

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If they opened it and considered it to be more than 100CHF guess they applied a fee for their services plus all the usual VAT etc.





K
And don't forget the postage!

Anyway, you can always refuse it.

Tom
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Old 23.04.2014, 08:47
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Re: Why would the Post Office charge me for a parcel?

Yeah, we all go through this experience once...
Sometimes it passes without any problems, sometimes you have to pay.
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Old 23.04.2014, 08:50
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Re: Why would the Post Office charge me for a parcel?

Thanks you two for your replies.

Seems my "super intelligent" daughter over there has put a value of USD155 on her home-made creams - and this is my birthday present!

Really, her "value" of her creams does not reflect their true value.

Can I just refuse to pay, and leave the parcel with the Post Office?

She`s sent huge boxes of assorted stuff before and I`ve never had to pay anything - do you think this is because of her inflated "value" of her hand-products?
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Old 23.04.2014, 08:53
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Re: Why would the Post Office charge me for a parcel?

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Yeah, we all go through this experience once...
Sometimes it passes without any problems, sometimes you have to pay.
Ja, I remember reading these problems here before, but on using the search function couldn`t pull them up!

Still want to know ........ can I leave the parcel with the Post Office - if I don`t pay the dough? What`s the drill if one doesnt pay?
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Old 23.04.2014, 09:01
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Re: Why would the Post Office charge me for a parcel?

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Ja, I remember reading these problems here before, but on using the search function couldn`t pull them up!

Still want to know ........ can I leave the parcel with the Post Office - if I don`t pay the dough? What`s the drill if one doesnt pay?
Yes you can leave it at the post office and once the deadline for collection has passed they will send it back to where it came from ( and I believe the sender has to pay for the return postage).
I've done it before.
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Old 23.04.2014, 09:16
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Re: Why would the Post Office charge me for a parcel?

This has happened to me a few times.

My dad sent me his old MacBook as a present. Wrote "gift" on it, even wrapped it in birthday wrapping paper, but I still got taxed. Once I lent a friend a DVD box set, he posted it back to me, from France..... I got taxed, on my own property!

So annoying!
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Old 23.04.2014, 09:18
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Re: Why would the Post Office charge me for a parcel?

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Thanks you two for your replies.

Seems my "super intelligent" daughter over there has put a value of USD155 on her home-made creams - and this is my birthday present!

Really, her "value" of her creams does not reflect their true value.

Can I just refuse to pay, and leave the parcel with the Post Office?

She`s sent huge boxes of assorted stuff before and I`ve never had to pay anything - do you think this is because of her inflated "value" of her hand-products?
You could try to explain exactly that, including a letter of explanation from your daughter - and maybe, just maybe, you'll get a sympathetic hearing.

I had a similar experience. My mother sent me a box of old family photographs - and put a value of a gazillion dollars on it, because memories are more precious than diamonds.

(I can't remember the actual amount, but it was something ridiculous, in the 5-6 figure range.)

Got the customs bill, fainted from shock and then went to speak to the nice lady at the local post. I showed her my mother's letter recounting family stories accompanying the pictures, the lady saw that the contents clearly had nothing but sentimental value. We had a chat about mothers and the things they do for love of their children and then she called 'someone' and sorted it out.

Result: No custom's duty, just an administrative fee. Which the nice Post Office Lady rather appologetically said she had no choice but to charge. Fine by me, alls well that ends well.

I don't know if your daughter's creams would be seen in the same light, as $155 is not an unheard of price for Hochpreisinsel Schweiz... but certainly worth a try.

Good luck!
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Old 23.04.2014, 09:40
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Re: Why would the Post Office charge me for a parcel?

If you refuse to collect it, it may either be destroyed or sent back (at a charge).


If you prove the value is less, you may get away with not payign the VAT but they will still charge you the admin fee for the work they did (which I understand since they had to do the work due to the amount declared)


I think that is around 19 CHF.


IMHO you should just collect it^, explain it all to your daughter so it doesn't happen again and just chalk it up to "things that happen in life"


We have all gone through it at some point or other....





K
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Old 23.04.2014, 10:03
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Re: Why would the Post Office charge me for a parcel?

It'll probably cost your daughter more than 33chf if it is returned. Just pay the 33chf and learn for next time!
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Old 23.04.2014, 10:14
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Re: Why would the Post Office charge me for a parcel?

A friend ordered a dress for me from a UK website as a very welcome and unexpeted Easter gift. She had it sent to her in the UK so she could check it and not only opened the parcel but gift wrapped it, then slipped it back inside the original packaging. She carefully filled in the customs declaration declaring the cost (£48) and that it was an Easter gift ... But... i still got charged as it was over the personal import level of approx 63chf. If she had just wrapped it in her own box and brown paper, I wouldn't have been charged. I went to the post office to explain (even showing them the note she'd slipped in and the gift wrapping) and they couldn't have been more disinterested if they'd tried. So good luck with getting them to change their mind.

I now don't know what to say to my friend as she was so pleased with her idea of posting me a surprise gift that it seems highly likely it will happen again. I like surprise gifts. I don't like surprise custom's charges.
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Old 23.04.2014, 10:15
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Re: Why would the Post Office charge me for a parcel?

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I got a notice from the Post Office yesterday that there`s a parcel from USA (family member) for me ....... and I need to pay Sfr33 to uplift it!

I emailed my daughter asking WTF ....... she wrote back she has no idea ... she paid the postage, filled in the customs declaration, and its a gift.

Now I need to go ask at the PO. Scary. As the lady there always makes out she doesn`t quite understand my German speaking efforts (when it suits her, it seems)

Any ideas WHY there should be this extra charge?

I`ve received parcels before without any of these problems.

PS. Its just face-creams she makes herself - I never pay Sfr33 for face-cream! Landi supplies my needs
This is definitely a challenging thing to get used to living here... The Post charges for any gifts valued over 100 CHF. Allegedly, it's a protectionist measure to prevent people from buying things overseas and have them sent in, and adversely affecting the economy. (like super cheap cotton in the US, or sports brands, like North Face and Marmot which are more than half the cost less in the US as they are here). If the customs invoices aren't clear, they'll open the package, assess the contents and then charge for the action of opening the parcel, in addition to the levied Duties.

If it helps anyone in the future, here's the link to the CH Gov't Customs site:

http://www.ezv.admin.ch/zollinfo_pri...x.html?lang=en

On the side of the page is a list of all the other things that get taxed, the pages of explanation and the rates...
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Old 23.04.2014, 10:26
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Re: Why would the Post Office charge me for a parcel?

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I now don't know what to say to my friend as she was so pleased with her idea of posting me a surprise gift that it seems highly likely it will happen again. I like surprise gifts. I don't like surprise custom's charges.
Say nothing about the extra charges. No point in spoiling it for her.

Chances are the next time ( if there is one) and the several times after that probably, your parcel won't be unlucky enough to be one of the ones that are 'randomly' inspected. Loads of parcels come through above the limit without incurring extra charges but every now and again you get unlucky and you have to suck it up and pay.
The most annoying thing is if the 'randomly' check something which is actually below the limit as you still have to pay for the privilege of having them inspect it even though there is no tax to pay.
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Old 23.04.2014, 10:58
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Re: Why would the Post Office charge me for a parcel?

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Say nothing about the extra charges. No point in spoiling it for her.

Chances are the next time ( if there is one) and the several times after that probably, your parcel won't be unlucky enough to be one of the ones that are 'randomly' inspected. Loads of parcels come through above the limit without incurring extra charges but every now and again you get unlucky and you have to suck it up and pay.
The most annoying thing is if the 'randomly' check something which is actually below the limit as you still have to pay for the privilege of having them inspect it even though there is no tax to pay.


Are you sure parcels are "randomly" inspected? I have NEVER once gotten something that should have had VAT applied to it without this happeneing. I was under the impression the Swiss check EVERY single parcel.


K
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Old 23.04.2014, 11:13
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Re: Why would the Post Office charge me for a parcel?

Hi Smoky

A bit surprised to see this from a Forum Legend.

Not sure of values from US, but from within Europe believe value is somewhere between 60 & 66 chf including postage & one has to make allowance for whatever exchange rate. Anything over, if they open one gets loaded with a Post Office Admin fee then the tax or whatever. It is the Admin Fee that is the killer on small amounts.

Guess it is up to you to decide whether 31Chf is worth the value of the cream?

Usually one gets the item, then the bill later.

Happy Birthday
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Old 23.04.2014, 11:13
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Re: Why would the Post Office charge me for a parcel?

I've contested the Zoll charges in the past. Once the supplier actually messed up and put a much higher value, the other, the geniuses at the post confused $ and £.

Both times, they insisted on the 30chf fee (even though it's their own fault they can't read currency symbols), and only offered the "refund" in stamps.

If your charge is CHF 33, you won't be seeing more than 3 as the refund, so no point really.
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Old 23.04.2014, 11:15
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Re: Why would the Post Office charge me for a parcel?

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This is definitely a challenging thing to get used to living here... The Post charges for any gifts valued over 100 CHF. Allegedly, it's a protectionist measure to prevent people from buying things overseas and have them sent in, and adversely affecting the economy. (like super cheap cotton in the US, or sports brands, like North Face and Marmot which are more than half the cost less in the US as they are here). If the customs invoices aren't clear, they'll open the package, assess the contents and then charge for the action of opening the parcel, in addition to the levied Duties.

If it helps anyone in the future, here's the link to the CH Gov't Customs site:

http://www.ezv.admin.ch/zollinfo_pri...x.html?lang=en

On the side of the page is a list of all the other things that get taxed, the pages of explanation and the rates...
It's no different to elsewhere . In the UK, for example, you have to pay customs, excise and import taxes in the same way.
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Old 23.04.2014, 11:29
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Re: Why would the Post Office charge me for a parcel?

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Are you sure parcels are "randomly" inspected? I have NEVER once gotten something that should have had VAT applied to it without this happeneing. I was under the impression the Swiss check EVERY single parcel.


K
You must just be really unlucky then.

I reckon about 1 in 10 parcels that should have had vat applied actually get checked an charged, around here at least, when being sent via the regular postal system. The first year we were here we had loads of things sent which were over the limit and we budgeted for the tax when buying them and not one single one of them was inspected. We were beginning to think it was another one of those myths propagated here on EF until one day when it actually happened. It's been pretty random ever since.

DHL and other courriers is another matter.
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Old 23.04.2014, 12:07
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Re: Why would the Post Office charge me for a parcel?

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it's a protectionist measure to prevent people from buying things overseas and have them sent in
No, it's not.

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If the customs invoices aren't clear, they'll open the package, assess the contents and then charge for the action of opening the parcel, in addition to the levied Duties.
It's almost always just VAT, not customs duties.

Customs duties are levied on very few things, most of which can't be sent by the post.

Tom
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