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Old 10.06.2018, 22:59
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Purchasing items online (from Wish, etc.) customs and taxes

Hey everyone. New to the forum.

I know these kinds of questions have been asked a million times (I've been going through countless posts and website links all day, but I still have a few questions where I'm unclear on certain things). This post may be a little long, but I'll be super grateful if you can bear with me

So I recently decided to make 2 purchases on some apps (Wish and Joom) and I'd just like to prepare myself for any surprises in the form of having to pay more than I've already paid for.

Now, I've already read up on Swiss Post's CHF16 clearance fee +3% surcharge plus a possible extra CHF13 wherever or whenever that may happen. I've also read up on the horror stories of items arriving with DHL or similar companies and a few weeks later a lovely bill arrives (this apparently has happened to my dad when my step mother made a Wish order for baby clothes and clothes for herself, I can't get much info out of them as they actually don't really even know what exactly happened and don't really ask questions). Apparently back in South Africa they started doing a single charge of 24ZAR no matter the value of the parcel to cover the import duties, but the post office there is extremely unreliable which is why I wanted to try these apps while I'm here visiting my dad for 3 months.

Out of the total of the 31 items I've ordered overall, the most expensive item I've ordered is from Wish was skirt for CHF6 with CHF3 for shipping and Joom was a dress for CHF7 with free shipping (all items on the app have free shipping). The other items range from CHF0. 80-5.70 with shipping that's either free or at most CHF3. Oh yeah, I definitely used PayPal when paying after reading a reply on some post somewhere on the forum, thanks to that member! (P.S. I am very much aware of the "You get what you pay for" thing - which is why I can live with having to decline something due to "extreme" extra charges and it won't be the end of the world if it doesn't arrive, would be cool to receive everything with no hassles though )

I know they ship with various different methods/couriers due to the nature of the site. So my parcels are currently with companies like China Post, LaoPost, Yanwen Express, SF Express, Yun Express, Sunyou Express, Taiwan Post and KWT. So far they've all been easy(ish) to track so far on an app I've found.

So on to the questions:
1) Who is most likely to get the parcels once the reach CH?
2) If a company like DHL were to deliver my parcel, am I allowed to "demand" to know what amount they'll invoice me for the parcel in a few weeks time so I can turn the parcel away at delivery if it'll be a ridiculous amount considering my most expensive parcel only originally cost me CHF9 including shipping?
3) What happens in the case of me not being at home for delivery and a company like DHL just leaves the parcel right there and the delivery guy "signs" for the parcel and I can't decline the parcel and then receive a invoice saying I have to pay whatever ridiculous amount?
4) What costs, if any, could I expect to possibly pay in relation to customs and VAT?
5) If you've ordered from either app, what was your average waiting time from order? We do live in a slightly "remote" area (Bassins)
6) I've read up on the whole CHF62 VAT thing, but I'm still rather confused here. What all will they decide makes up the possible 62? I know the item and the shipping cost then clearance fees such as the CHF16+3% surcharge and possible CHF13 from Swiss Post?
7) If the parcel doesn't reach the CHF62 limit, I don't pay VAT and custom duties as far as I think I've learnt, would the custom duties be things like the CHF16+3% and CHF13 for example?

Sorry if a question seems ridiculous or it seems like I'm worried about nothing, I just want to make sure I don't receive any nasty surprises when receiving a parcel, I'm not keen on those kinds of surprises

P.S: These two orders were just a "testing it out" kind of thing. I want to make a purchase from a company in the US next month and would just like to see how the system works here first
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Old 11.06.2018, 08:16
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Re: Purchasing items online (from Wish, etc.) customs and taxes

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Hey everyone. New to the forum.

I know these kinds of questions have been asked a million times (I've been going through countless posts and website links all day, but I still have a few questions where I'm unclear on certain things). This post may be a little long, but I'll be super grateful if you can bear with me

So I recently decided to make 2 purchases on some apps (Wish and Joom) and I'd just like to prepare myself for any surprises in the form of having to pay more than I've already paid for.

Now, I've already read up on Swiss Post's CHF16 clearance fee +3% surcharge plus a possible extra CHF13 wherever or whenever that may happen. I've also read up on the horror stories of items arriving with DHL or similar companies and a few weeks later a lovely bill arrives (this apparently has happened to my dad when my step mother made a Wish order for baby clothes and clothes for herself, I can't get much info out of them as they actually don't really even know what exactly happened and don't really ask questions). Apparently back in South Africa they started doing a single charge of 24ZAR no matter the value of the parcel to cover the import duties, but the post office there is extremely unreliable which is why I wanted to try these apps while I'm here visiting my dad for 3 months.

Out of the total of the 31 items I've ordered overall, the most expensive item I've ordered is from Wish was skirt for CHF6 with CHF3 for shipping and Joom was a dress for CHF7 with free shipping (all items on the app have free shipping). The other items range from CHF0. 80-5.70 with shipping that's either free or at most CHF3. Oh yeah, I definitely used PayPal when paying after reading a reply on some post somewhere on the forum, thanks to that member! (P.S. I am very much aware of the "You get what you pay for" thing - which is why I can live with having to decline something due to "extreme" extra charges and it won't be the end of the world if it doesn't arrive, would be cool to receive everything with no hassles though )

I know they ship with various different methods/couriers due to the nature of the site. So my parcels are currently with companies like China Post, LaoPost, Yanwen Express, SF Express, Yun Express, Sunyou Express, Taiwan Post and KWT. So far they've all been easy(ish) to track so far on an app I've found.

So on to the questions:
1) Who is most likely to get the parcels once the reach CH?
2) If a company like DHL were to deliver my parcel, am I allowed to "demand" to know what amount they'll invoice me for the parcel in a few weeks time so I can turn the parcel away at delivery if it'll be a ridiculous amount considering my most expensive parcel only originally cost me CHF9 including shipping?
3) What happens in the case of me not being at home for delivery and a company like DHL just leaves the parcel right there and the delivery guy "signs" for the parcel and I can't decline the parcel and then receive a invoice saying I have to pay whatever ridiculous amount?
4) What costs, if any, could I expect to possibly pay in relation to customs and VAT?
5) If you've ordered from either app, what was your average waiting time from order? We do live in a slightly "remote" area (Bassins)
6) I've read up on the whole CHF62 VAT thing, but I'm still rather confused here. What all will they decide makes up the possible 62? I know the item and the shipping cost then clearance fees such as the CHF16+3% surcharge and possible CHF13 from Swiss Post?
7) If the parcel doesn't reach the CHF62 limit, I don't pay VAT and custom duties as far as I think I've learnt, would the custom duties be things like the CHF16+3% and CHF13 for example?

Sorry if a question seems ridiculous or it seems like I'm worried about nothing, I just want to make sure I don't receive any nasty surprises when receiving a parcel, I'm not keen on those kinds of surprises

P.S: These two orders were just a "testing it out" kind of thing. I want to make a purchase from a company in the US next month and would just like to see how the system works here first
My advice. If it makes such a big deal for you ordering online then don't do it
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Old 11.06.2018, 09:40
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Re: Purchasing items online (from Wish, etc.) customs and taxes

Inspections and the relevant charges only hit when the MwsT is above 5.00 chufs (of the total consignment including delivery). But, if the sender hasn't completed the customs declaration correctly, or it isn't believable, they can inspect it and charge you.

Also, be aware that if you order copies of branded items you can get very heavily fined.
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Old 11.06.2018, 11:27
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Re: Purchasing items online (from Wish, etc.) customs and taxes

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My advice. If it makes such a big deal for you ordering online then don't do it
You honestly couldn't be less helpful. Like I said, it's a trying it out thing before I have to make my next order from a specific company in the US.

When I lived in New Zealand last year there were no customs and taxes on those packages and the postal system is great/reliable. I can forget about even trying to get something to South Africa. So this is my next possible delivery address, but I'd like to have my questions answer because that could influence my ordering decision, if it's going to be a nightmare here I need to find my next best option.

Not everyone can afford to pay excessive customs and taxes on items they can only get from one store.
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Old 11.06.2018, 11:30
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Re: Purchasing items online (from Wish, etc.) customs and taxes

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Also, be aware that if you order copies of branded items you can get very heavily fined.
Thanks Grumpy! You're definitely a legend.

None of the items are even remotely like any branded product, so I doubt that would be any concern.
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Old 11.06.2018, 13:33
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Re: Purchasing items online (from Wish, etc.) customs and taxes

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6) I've read up on the whole CHF62 VAT thing, but I'm still rather confused here. What all will they decide makes up the possible 62? I know the item and the shipping cost then clearance fees such as the CHF16+3% surcharge and possible CHF13 from Swiss Post?
You will have to pay VAT if the chargeable VAT amount is more CHF 5.
For books and food (and some other stuff) the CAT rate is 2.5% for the rest which can be shipped the VAT rate is 7.7%.

VAT depends on the value of the shipment which is: The value of the goods itself, the shipping cost, applicable handling fees.

If the shipping cost is unknown, as it was not declared in way bill/ customs declaration it will be assumed based on a predefined table. Here the table
https://www.post.ch/-/media/post/pk/...arkenwerte.pdf
As you can see the assumed shipping cost can be way more than you actually paid.

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7) If the parcel doesn't reach the CHF62 limit, I don't pay VAT and custom duties as far as I think I've learnt, would the custom duties be things like the CHF16+3% and CHF13 for example?
No. Duty is duty. Those at admin and handling fees charged by the shipping company for doing the import process. They are normally charged when VAT or Duty are due, documents are missing, or customs ordered an inspection (I think the later is now only charged in case the inspection shows that something is not in order).

Duty depends on where the product was manufactured and weight (including packaging). Some times also per piece. http://xtares.admin.ch As said if applicable duty is less than CHF 5 it is waived. Lot of stuff from lot of origins are duty free. See and search on http://xtares.admin.ch

One origin from where it is not duty free is the USA. This has nothing to do with the current situation but is to do the mere fact that there is no US-Swiss trade agreement. So for example children shoes up to size 34 (Tariff No. 6403.5910 ) are CHF 1.73 / kg gross.

Be aware that precious metals, alcohol, Tabaco, agricultural goods may have other charges beyond VAT and duty.
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Old 11.06.2018, 14:12
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Re: Purchasing items online (from Wish, etc.) customs and taxes

They also charge you interest on "advancing" the VAT to customs! DHL do not and it only amounts to a few centimes.

Both DHL (and other couriers) and the PTT have to give you a breakdown of the charges, but do you know if the parcel has really been inspected or just put through the x-ray machine and then marked as inspected.

I just hope you don't get hit with 31 separate inspection charges. The PTT love to find ways to increase their revenue!
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Old 11.06.2018, 16:13
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Re: Purchasing items online (from Wish, etc.) customs and taxes

Don't worry, it'll be fine.

I've ordered hundreds of items from wish. Generally low value stuff (less than 20chf per item) . Wife does crafty things.
As you say, it's all normally split up, you order 100chf worth of bits and pieces and it comes from 10 different vendors, each parcel is low value.

My experience :
Normally it comes finally via china post. (physically delivered by your normal postman)
Usually takes 2-3 weeks
Always there's a customs declaration attached
Often there's a WISH logo, probably causes customs to ignore it
Description and value is usually ok
Never had a parcel opened or rejected
Never had an additional bill or charge



EDIT : What to be more prepared for is the stuff being crap We've ordered clothes / dressups for the kids, they are fine for one shot parties but not much else.
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Old 15.06.2018, 15:39
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Duty depends on where the product was manufactured and weight (including packaging). Some times also per piece. http://xtares.admin.ch As said if applicable duty is less than CHF 5 it is waived. Lot of stuff from lot of origins are duty free. See and search on http://xtares.admin.ch

One origin from where it is not duty free is the USA. This has nothing to do with the current situation but is to do the mere fact that there is no US-Swiss trade agreement. So for example children shoes up to size 34 (Tariff No. 6403.5910 ) are CHF 1.73 / kg gross.

Be aware that precious metals, alcohol, Tabaco, agricultural goods may have other charges beyond VAT and duty.
Thanks a ton aSwissInTheUS! Your whole message did help clear up some of the foggy-ness.

I'll definitely research any and all possible tariffs before I think about placing my order with the company in America.

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They also charge you interest on "advancing" the VAT to customs! DHL do not and it only amounts to a few centimes.

Both DHL (and other couriers) and the PTT have to give you a breakdown of the charges, but do you know if the parcel has really been inspected or just put through the x-ray machine and then marked as inspected.

I just hope you don't get hit with 31 separate inspection charges. The PTT love to find ways to increase their revenue!
I doubt any of my items will possibly have a VAT charge after all the reading and info I've received. A few packages have arrived already, all having a green Swiss Post - Customs sticker on, am I right to assume I won't need to pay anything else for them?

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Don't worry, it'll be fine.

I've ordered hundreds of items from wish. Generally low value stuff (less than 20chf per item) . Wife does crafty things.
As you say, it's all normally split up, you order 100chf worth of bits and pieces and it comes from 10 different vendors, each parcel is low value.

My experience :
Normally it comes finally via china post. (physically delivered by your normal postman)
Usually takes 2-3 weeks
Always there's a customs declaration attached
Often there's a WISH logo, probably causes customs to ignore it
Description and value is usually ok
Never had a parcel opened or rejected
Never had an additional bill or charge



EDIT : What to be more prepared for is the stuff being crap We've ordered clothes / dressups for the kids, they are fine for one shot parties but not much else.
That's really cool to hear/read! Yeah, I'm always hunting for bargains, but if I'm going to spend more than CHF10 on something I'd want to see it in person before paying for it.

I still have a tendency of converting amounts back to SA Rands (1CHF = roughly R13.50), so everything here seems super expensive to me and I rarely spend any money when in Switzerland (I suppose it's a good way to save?). But there are certain things here that, when on sale, are cheaper than they'd be in SA, then I spend pretty much everything I've saved and have a summer wardrobe for when I go back South

The things I've purchased on Wish and Joom are things I'd like (but don't necessarily need) and cost 10+ times more here and even in SA. So it's a fun test.

Results so far have been good. 5 of my parcels have been delivered (1 at 8 days and 4 at 10 days!), 5 landed in the country last night and 2 are sitting at the post office sorting center near by but their "friend" that arrived in the country, I'm guessing on the same flight, arrived today so I suppose they'll be here soon. There are likely more in the country as the parcel that arrived at 8 days was a shock because the tracking stopped once it got "transferred to the airline" and I really didn't expect that to be the first to arrive. All parcels have the little green Swiss Post Customs sticker and are unopened, which makes me happy

So far the items I have are better than I expected. Some pretty decent quality stuff that I actually might have paid more for had I seen them first - I suppose it really does depend on the type of things you are buying (also really helps going through countless numbers of the same items and looking for the best reviews - for both the store and the product).

Last edited by 3Wishes; 11.03.2021 at 22:51. Reason: merging consecutive replies
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Old 15.06.2018, 18:23
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Re: Purchasing items online (from Wish, etc.) customs and taxes

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I doubt any of my items will possibly have a VAT charge after all the reading and info I've received. A few packages have arrived already, all having a green Swiss Post - Customs sticker on, am I right to assume I won't need to pay anything else for them?
If your postman dropped it in your mailbox, you're done, no more bills will come.
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Old 11.03.2021, 18:12
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Re: Purchasing items online (from Wish, etc.) customs and taxes

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My advice. If it makes such a big deal for you ordering online then don't do it
amazing advice! exactly the same thought from me.
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