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Old 08.04.2015, 18:35
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Package being held hostage by private shipping

Hi all,

I've been living her a long while now, so please don't give me some "you've been Switzerlanded" eye-roller. I need a bit of advice concerning package custom fees.

I ordered a ~500 Euro package from Germany that is supposed to be delivered to Zurich. 60 Euro on top of that for shipping to Zurich. Like a good boy that did his research, I had the company remove any German MWST and what I thought was an overly large 55 Euro inclusive customs fee. According to my precise calculations with the help of the Swiss customs informative web-platform, I was expecting something along the lines of 40CHF plus 8% MWST.
Plus, I wasn't convinced this 55 Euro customs charge on their side would actually cover what it was supposed to and might have to end up paying on my side anyway.

So, I'm not sure which company they used to ship it here but I was just contacted via email by some third party logistics company "Gebrüder Weiss AG" asking to pay CHF 147 in advanced before they send it from Pratteln.

I was really expecting to be contacted by the normal Post service and to only have to pay the customs fees. Shouldn't the delivery fee I already paid cover this supposed partner company's fees?? Should I take it up with the shipping company or the original seller?

Below are the fees. I guess the 40,30 is what the company has tacked on for no reason:
Einfuhrzollabfertigung CHF 65
E-Zoll Zuschlag CHF 12
Einfuhrsteuer Abfertigung CHF 10
Avisgebühr CHF 5
E U S T Lt. Bescheid CHF 40,30
Vorlageprovision CHF 5
Fixe Taxe CHF 5

Thoughts?
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Old 08.04.2015, 18:46
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Re: Package being held hostage by private shipping

The Einfuhrzollabfertigung is probably the cost of preparing the paperwork for customs, not the actual duty/vat charge. I agree very high but that is the way....
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Old 08.04.2015, 18:50
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Re: Package being held hostage by private shipping

Did the seller say they would cover all the customs charges? If so go back to them and get them to sort it out.
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Old 08.04.2015, 18:54
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Re: Package being held hostage by private shipping

If the seller arranged the shipping and advised the fees, I would take it up with them
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Old 08.04.2015, 18:56
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Re: Package being held hostage by private shipping

I had the same issue with DHL. In that instance they also screwed up the normal customs - so I ended up with the total MWST being charged on each of the two packages. All I could do was cough up and dispute afterwards. Eventually they refunded me the extra MWST, but the admin charge they put on was most galling.

You've not been "Switzerlanded " as such - you've be caught by suppliers who use third party shippers who don't provide value for money cross-border. I now see who's doing the shipping before ordering, if I want it shipped to Switzerland.
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Old 09.04.2015, 08:50
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Re: Package being held hostage by private shipping

You were right on the 40 CHF import tax - that's what you've highlighted.


The 65 CHF seems absurdly high to fill in the import form - the Swiss post charge something like 25 CHF and I always think that's unfair.


Not sure there's anything you can do about it unless you have something written - you did ask them to send it through a different mechanism, and if they normally expect 55 CHF it's not far off the normal rate.
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Old 09.04.2015, 09:00
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Re: Package being held hostage by private shipping

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Hi all,

I've been living her a long while now, so please don't give me some "you've been Switzerlanded" eye-roller.
Well, I've been living here for nearly 10 years and I still get caught out on the odd occasion, despite considering myself to be wise to the way things are done here.

I think your only option is cough up the cash and treat it as a lesson learned.
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Old 09.04.2015, 09:12
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Re: Package being held hostage by private shipping

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Below are the fees. I guess the 40,30 is what the company has tacked on for no reason:
Einfuhrzollabfertigung CHF 65
E-Zoll Zuschlag CHF 12
Einfuhrsteuer Abfertigung CHF 10
Avisgebühr CHF 5
E U S T Lt. Bescheid CHF 40,30
Vorlageprovision CHF 5
Fixe Taxe CHF 5
The EUST appears to be some German tax (http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Einfuhr...Deutschland%29) why this is applied to your package is unclear. Accordingly some of the other fees would appear to be related to the German tax (i.e. Einfuhrsteuerabfertigung, etc.).
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Old 09.04.2015, 10:40
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Re: Package being held hostage by private shipping

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third party logistics company "Gebrüder Weiss AG" asking to pay CHF 147
...
Thoughts?
Very transparent billing, apparently very professional service by the logistics company who did the work, it seems.

The EUST is the "Einfuhrumsatzsteuer" (into Switzerland!) - which would be 8% of CHF 503.75 (itself comprising of the cost of the goods and any auxiliary cost such as shipping and handling charges).

Your surprise is likely based on the fact that it was not Swiss Post acting as a logistics company but some other company. That's simply due to how the sender arranged matters.

Obviously, logistics charges differ widely across providers. That is something you need to take up with the sender of the package.

Lesson learnt: When shipping items across the border into Switzerland, do make sure to have full transparency on which logistics provider is being used. The logistics provider has a massive impact on the overall cost of importing, as you noticed.
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Old 09.04.2015, 10:49
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Re: Package being held hostage by private shipping

You could refuse to pay anything to "Gebrüder Weiss AG" as you have given them do direct instructions. They would then send the parcel back to the seller.

You could next order the item again and have it delivered to a parcel service on the German border. You can then collect it and bring it into Switzerland with the first Fr 300,-- being duty free.
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Old 09.04.2015, 10:50
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Re: Package being held hostage by private shipping

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You could refuse to pay anything to "Gebrüder Weiss AG" as you have given them do direct instructions. They would then send the parcel back to the seller.

You could next order the item again and have it delivered to a parcel service on the German border. You can then collect it and bring it into Switzerland with the first Fr 300,-- being duty free.
Only if it's multiple items costing each less than CHF 300.

Tom
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Old 09.04.2015, 10:56
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Re: Package being held hostage by private shipping

Your mistake, unfortunately (was this Amazon.de?), was to refuse their 55€ offer to handle everything. It's actually a good deal as they remove the German tax, add the Swiss tax and will absorb any additional charges you may get hit with and, in the case of Amazon, I believe will even refund you if the total costs turn out lower.

Another shop, rose.de (bike parts) do something similar but charge a flat 1% on the non-VAT price for doing this work. In other words, you pay their price, -19% German tax, +8% Swiss tax, +1% admin. A bargain in my opinion, and the parcels fly through customs without ever being stopped as they are correctly and clearly declared.
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Old 09.04.2015, 11:21
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Re: Package being held hostage by private shipping

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Only if it's multiple items costing each less than CHF 300. yes, you are correct.

Tom
He buys an item worth €500 in Germany, and collects it from Germany. He declares it at the Swiss border and pays 8% tax on € 500 & he doesn't get the German 19% MWSt removed..

Or if the border guard waves him through, he pays nothing extra, but he doesn't get the German 19% MWSt removed.
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Old 09.04.2015, 12:59
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Re: Package being held hostage by private shipping

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He buys an item worth €500 in Germany, and collects it from Germany. He declares it at the Swiss border and pays 8% tax on € 500 & he doesn't get the German 19% MWSt removed..

Or if the border guard waves him through, he pays nothing extra, but he doesn't get the German 19% MWSt removed.
So if the border guard stops you with 500+ euro worth of purchases at the border, is there some extra penalty on top for not volunteering the goods up front?

I'm also wondering, if you refuse the item and it is returned to Germany, what charges does the sender face? Is it just given back to them free of any charges?
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Old 09.04.2015, 13:27
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Re: Package being held hostage by private shipping

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The EUST is the "Einfuhrumsatzsteuer" (into Switzerland!) - which would be 8% of CHF 503.75 (itself comprising of the cost of the goods and any auxiliary cost such as shipping and handling charges).
Switzerland only has a "Einfuhrsteuer" (i.e. the VAT applied to imports), see http://www.kmu.admin.ch/themen/02395...x.html?lang=de

The Einfuhrumsatzsteuer on the other hand seems to be of German origin. Not only because of the wording (see my link to wikipedia) but also because the amount simply does not make any sense, i.e. 8% on EUR 500 will never work out to be CHF 40,30.
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Old 09.04.2015, 14:24
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Re: Package being held hostage by private shipping

Thanks everyone for your knowledge and constructive advice. What I ordered was a roll of dried cowhide for making a large Japanese drums (taiko), not ordered from amazon.de

I did contact the seller and they spoke to the shipping company. They now say that I don't need to pay the Avisogbuehr CHF the Vorlageprovision CHF 5 and the Fixe Taxe CHF 10.

That's still CHF 127.5 which is a bit more that the 19% German MWST (CHF 96.25) would have been if I just got it shipped to a border region. But I guess it's not so bad, because I don't need to go pick it up.

Bow, they sure don't make it easy for private people to know exactly what to expect when ordering anything.. Is it easier/cheaper for large companies I wonder?

My apologies for the eye-roll comment, but I've asked several questions on this forum before and often got replies or even PMs that are rude, scolding or unhelpful. I'm must say I have avoided using this forum for that reason. Thanks for keeping it light and friendly everyone!
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Old 09.04.2015, 14:44
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Re: Package being held hostage by private shipping

Always always always check if things are sent normal post or by FedEx etc. Courier companies slap on loads of charges and as a principle I refuse to use companies that only send items with couriers
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Old 09.04.2015, 16:46
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Re: Package being held hostage by private shipping

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He buys an item worth €500 in Germany, and collects it from Germany. He declares it at the Swiss border and pays 8% tax on € 500 & he doesn't get the German 19% MWSt removed...
He pays 8% tax on €500 less the MWST added on by Germany.

Or.... he buys an item worth €500 in Germany and tells them he's going to export it. So they ship the item with the green form. He collects the item, and fills in his part of the green form and gets it stamped on the German side of customs. He declares it at the Swiss border and pays 8% tax on €500-German MWST. He then send the complete green form to the supplier who refunds the money on his credit card.

OK - not all will offer this service, but it's technically possible isn't it?

I did recently get stuff delivered to a German address and just paid the tax on the customs side without reclaiming the German MWST. It was still a lot cheaper and quicker than getting the stuff in Switzerland!
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Old 09.04.2015, 17:43
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Re: Package being held hostage by private shipping

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He pays 8% tax on €500 less the MWST added on by Germany.

Or.... he buys an item worth €500 in Germany and tells them he's going to export it. So they ship the item with the green form. He collects the item, and fills in his part of the green form and gets it stamped on the German side of customs. He declares it at the Swiss border and pays 8% tax on €500-German MWST. He then send the complete green form to the supplier who refunds the money on his credit card.

OK - not all will offer this service, but it's technically possible isn't it?

I did recently get stuff delivered to a German address and just paid the tax on the customs side without reclaiming the German MWST. It was still a lot cheaper and quicker than getting the stuff in Switzerland!
About "So they ship the item with the green form"
For Amazon.de and some other suppliers you just ask the Customs to stamp the invoice and then send the stamped invoice to them for a refund.
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Old 09.04.2015, 17:46
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Re: Package being held hostage by private shipping

Yep, no "green form" needed; you just need an invoice made out to you at your address in Switzerland, with the price (and MWST) clearly shown.
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