How to avoid courier fee in EU when buying Blizz gear

General
I think a lot of us have been stung by now, the added charge couriers (namely Fedex above others) charge you for delivering your package from Blizz store (or who knows it could be from China or any other country around the globe) to you.

First youll get the item delivered, then you will get a letter in the post detailing Import Tax charges and their lovely added "we did you a favour" charge also known as Clearance Administration Charge / Advancement Fee.

I think we all accept we need to pay the import tax to our respective governments, but this additional fee applied by the courier PER PACKAGE is just beyond taking the urine.

The courier, to the best of my knowledge, has NO LEGAL standing or grounds on which to apply this fee to you. Unless they contacted you before time and you entered into a specific agreement with them, this is nothing more than a voluntary service they are providing you with.

I ordered a shadow plush for my wife on the 9th Dec, it was Dispatched on the 11th and arrived on the 13th Dec. 6 days later I got one of these very letters.

See link below for a copy (minus sensitive info)

https://imgur.com/a/pyozn

I was not going to take this fee laying down. As I live int he UK for me the tax was £5.99 and they wanted another £12 on top for....being special I guess ? So I took to the web and figured out what I can do.

I used the following email and sent it to their given email address (it may be different for other EU countries and Couriers, but all the core principles should still work) ukinvoicequery [at] fedex .com

And here is the email I sent (minus sensitive info)

Dear FedEx,

This is in reference to invoice #xxxxxxxxx.

After having bought WoW Shadow Plush Toy from the USA, I understood there would be the possibility of VAT due on receiving them.

I was however surprised to see an additional section for a clearance administration charge of £12.

Since the USA is outside of the EU, I of course will pay the VAT due.

However, I refuse to pay the clearance admin charge of £12, since at no point was I made aware of, nor did I agree to, any terms and conditions which clearly stated that I would be liable for any such charges.

At no point in the transaction and subsequent delivery was any contract for a clearance administration charge made between FedEx and myself.

I paid the supplier for delivery, and would expect that any international clearance fees be factored into the initial cost of such a shipment.

If you want to pursue further charges for delivery or administration or the terms upon which goods are shipped, I suggest that you take it up with the company who shipped the goods initially.

Therefore, I request that you update this invoice to reflect no admin fee, and once that has been done I’ll make immediate payment.

Please let me know when this has been done.

Kind Regards,

Healkicks


This should be good to use as a template, off course needing you to change the various bits to fully fit our situation.

I sent this email yesterday at 16:00 and TODAY got this in response:

Dear Sir or Madam,

Thank you for your query regarding invoice# xxxxxxxxxxxxx.

Having reviewed the above mentioned invoice, we can now confirm that a partial credit of 12.00 GBP has been raised, leaving an amount still due on the invoice of 5.99 GBP.
FedEx will not issue a revised invoice and therefore we look forward to receiving payment for the remaining balance on this invoice.

Thank you for your assistance with this matter. If you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact us on.

Yours Faithfully,

Sathiya Narayanan K


So there you have it. Give it a go and post your results below.
We should be able to purchase and show our support for our favourite developer and game without being penalised by courier companies.

Credits for information etc go to
https://eu.battle.net/forums/en/wow/topic/16824852400
& a big thanks to Adam Owens Blog.
I find it hilarious how predictable they are. Pure chancers. Glad you got it sorted out.

For future reference, in the UK at least, orders totalling under £15 (I find it easier to aim for £14 since they use weird conversion rates that aren't based in reality, and the pound is obviously screwed atm) will be exempt from VAT upon import. If the item costs over £15, the price of postage will be included in the calculation for VAT. Not sure how HMRC get away with this, but it happens every time without fail. Gifts are limited to £35 IIRC, but you cannot purchase and send to the address registered on the card as a gift, because.. reasons.

Side note: Whilst you can get out of paying the "handling" amount with FedEx quite easily, Royal Mail will not afford you the same courtesy. They will post a slip demanding payment before they will release your delivery. This includes £11 administration, even if the VAT is mere pennies. They are yet to, in my experience (using contract law), waive this fee. It's always worth trying, but don't get your hopes up. UPS also require full payment before releasing the delivery, but will arrive at your door with the expectation that you carry change in order to make the transaction there and then. If you can't give them the money, they will leave with your delivery and attempt again the next working day.

EU gear store can't come soon enough!
28/12/2017 14:09Posted by Oniyate
Side note: Whilst you can get out of paying the "handling" amount with FedEx quite easily, Royal Mail will not afford you the same courtesy. They will post a slip demanding payment before they will release your delivery. This includes £11 administration, even if the VAT is mere pennies. They are yet to, in my experience (using contract law), waive this fee. It's always worth trying, but don't get your hopes up. UPS also require full payment before releasing the delivery, but will arrive at your door with the expectation that you carry change in order to make the transaction there and then. If you can't give them the money, they will leave with your delivery and attempt again the next working day.

EU gear store can't come soon enough!

Agreed, EU store would be the ultimate best solution.

As for royal mail I have had this once before, and I simply refused and went back to the store I bought from and asked for a full refund.
Thing is end of the day you should be given a choice to sort your own vat out etc for Customs or not. All these companies are doing is assuming you are more than happy to pay them to do it for you. The reality is that filling the form out and paying the cost would take you mere minutes. The downside you have to wait a little longer for it to be cleared by customs. Personally I can live with that though, rather wait another few days than line the pockets of companies who think you owe them something.

As for the shipping being taken into account by HMRC, I think this is done intentionally so that it pushes a lot more into the over £15 bracket so they can cash in. Dishonest if you ask me, but hey ho.
28/12/2017 16:31Posted by Healkicks
Thing is end of the day you should be given a choice to sort your own vat out etc for Customs or not. All these companies are doing is assuming you are more than happy to pay them to do it for you. The reality is that filling the form out and paying the cost would take you mere minutes.


I'd read that you'd have to go down to customs yourself, which for a lot of people just isn't possible.

28/12/2017 16:31Posted by Healkicks
As for the shipping being taken into account by HMRC, I think this is done intentionally so that it pushes a lot more into the over £15 bracket so they can cash in.


I think you misunderstood. They only take the shipping cost into consideration when calculating VAT if* your item is already over £15.
I find FEDEX in particular are arseholes when it comes to charging extra. I refuse to deal with companies that use them now.
28/12/2017 17:34Posted by Oniyate
I think you misunderstood. They only take the shipping cost into consideration when calculating VAT if* your item is already over £15.


Oh, yeah I misunderstood then. But this makes even less sense o.O

I'd read that you'd have to go down to customs yourself, which for a lot of people just isn't possible.


But surely it is possible to fill out an online form and pay the VAT charge as per your deceleration?
This has to be possible cause I cannot see other companies having people fill out individual forms by hand and process stuff manually per item.
28/12/2017 17:54Posted by Healkicks
But surely it is possible to fill out an online form and pay the VAT charge as per your deceleration?


Erm.. if you arrange your own carriage, I imagine it could be. But I can't think of any consumer level web stores that allow the customer to arrange their own carriage. They often have contracts with couriers, and send orders in bulk. To do as you proposed would require far more communication (and time) with a company than is realistically possible. And then of course you'd need to get yourself down south, regardless of where you live, to collect your package from customs.

28/12/2017 17:54Posted by Healkicks
This has to be possible cause I cannot see other companies having people fill out individual forms by hand and process stuff manually per item.


A slip is printed along with an invoice. The invoice is placed inside the package, and the slip is (usually) placed in a plastic cover on the outside of the package. But yes, customs do actually hand process all imports.
Dont even bother buying from "Blizzard Gear Shop" if youre outside of Americas, seriously.

I get 20-50 pounds extra for VATs/unexplained fees from buying in a USA website.
They never tell you how much you would have to pay upon buying the item because "its not our company or country's responcibility".
Way to attract foreign customers.

I am sure if Blizzard would enjoy extra cow cash grabbing, they would open an EU shop that would solve pretty much the problem even for people over eastern Europe.
So much fun when a 30 euro plush ends up costing you over 90 euro in total in the end because of all the taxes and fees involved.
28/12/2017 18:41Posted by Naaura
I get 20-50 pounds extra for VATs/unexplained fees from buying in a USA website.
They never tell you how much you would have to pay upon buying the item because "its not our company or country's responcibility".
Way to attract foreign customers.


That is true, though.

VAT in the UK is set at 20% for the most part. As I mentioned earlier, if your purchase costs less than £15 you should avoid any charges. For websites that list in dollars, or any other currency, you can use xe.com to find out the conversion rate. If your purchase costs more than £15, add the postage cost, divide the whole amount by 5, and then add around £12 for "administration" and that's how much extra you'll be paying once it enters the country.

Edit: This is, of course, for importing from outside of the EU, and may change substantially once the UK leaves the EU. Just for any future people who search and find this.

28/12/2017 19:35Posted by Saldura
So much fun when a 30 euro plush ends up costing you over 90 euro in total in the end because of all the taxes and fees involved.


It's the reason I've not bought any of the newer stuff. It's a shame, for Blizzard, as I'm what they would consider a whale. I blew 2 grand in HOTS buying every skin/bundle/hero on release before the switched to the new loot box model. I'm sure there are many more out there just like me, too.

We want to give you our money, Blizz. Mmmm, money.
28/12/2017 18:41Posted by Naaura
I am sure if Blizzard would enjoy extra cow cash grabbing, they would open an EU shop that would solve pretty much the problem even for people over eastern Europe.


They did this for extra cash grabbing! Think it was Xmas 2012 when they announced Blizz EU physical store was temp closing for a revamp never to return.

By having one sales and distribution centre based in Delaware or somewhere they save a bundle on logistics (and US taxes) as customers pay the overheads instead.

Activision did launch it's own toy division at the start of this year hoping to partner with big cats like Walmart so things may yet change in the future, doubt it though, they ain't Disney!
28/12/2017 13:47Posted by Healkicks
The courier, to the best of my knowledge, has NO LEGAL standing or grounds on which to apply this fee to you.

1). They have every right to charge you whatever they want for the service they provide, now whether you're willing to pay it, is up to you.

2). You should have an issue with Blizzard and not the courier, Blizzard should've been the one to inform you of any additional charges you may incur later on, beforehand.
I avoid every extra charge by not buying anything from the gear store. Nothing there is worth twice as much as the price listed, which would be the final price for me. Why can't Blizzard arrange a retail partner, like Amazon? They sell their books through Amazon, why not the rest?
I wish they would bring the EU store back. They would get so much more people buying merch if they did so not sure why they took it away.
First time I bought something since the EU store was removed was with the spring sale this year. 2 plushies and shipping was under 25 euros so was able to avoid any extra import/taxes.

Check some import/gov site for what your country allows, most will allow up to a certain amount without the ridiculous added charges. We shouldn't have to pay extra just to get merch from the US but unless something changes or the EU store somehow comes back, guess there's no other option... (or just don't buy anything at all, which sucks if you like collecting merch...)
29/12/2017 14:52Posted by Canabal
28/12/2017 13:47Posted by Healkicks
The courier, to the best of my knowledge, has NO LEGAL standing or grounds on which to apply this fee to you.

1). They have every right to charge you whatever they want for the service they provide, now whether you're willing to pay it, is up to you.

2). You should have an issue with Blizzard and not the courier, Blizzard should've been the one to inform you of any additional charges you may incur later on, beforehand.


1). The courier (to the best of my knowledge) was already paid to deliver the item to me. At no stage was I made aware I would HAVE TO HAVE an additional service provided. The tax I knew about and was prepared to take on the chin.

2). How are blizzard to know that a courier company suddenly decided to try and screw their customers out of additional cash.

3). I really wished people would stop trying to make out that these couriers (and other companies, eg loot boxes for tiny percentage chances) are the hard done by ones and that customers are the bad lot.
It's ^ this attitude which is getting companies to further take the Urine and bleed people dry ever more giving less for more.

Good examples are what we are seeing more of in shops as of late (reduced contents in package and higher cost incurred).
28/12/2017 18:41Posted by Naaura
They never tell you how much you would have to pay upon buying the item because "its not our company or country's responcibility".

It would be impossible as every country has different tax laws/rates/import duties.
29/12/2017 16:37Posted by Ananda
28/12/2017 18:41Posted by Naaura
They never tell you how much you would have to pay upon buying the item because "its not our company or country's responcibility".

It would be impossible as every country has different tax laws/rates/import duties.


Indeed. But (and heres the kicker) what is predictable is for fedex to give Blizz an accurate price for their overall intended costs.

EG
$10 Delivery & £12 delivery in uk or robbing hood charges

So the item could be listed as
Item - $29.99
Shipping - $26.22
+ Any additional Country Gov import taxes. (In my case £5.99)

Instead thoughFedex tell Blizz itll cost $10 and So I get told

$29.99 item
$10.00 shipping

As well as additional import taxes. Then I get a surprise letter about additional fees from fedex whom ive already paid via the blizz store site.
bumping and calling for a sticky: for customer/blizz sake.

op the hero
28/12/2017 17:54Posted by Healkicks
But surely it is possible to fill out an online form and pay the VAT charge as per your deceleration?


Erm.. if you arrange your own carriage, I imagine it could be. But I can't think of any consumer level web stores that allow the customer to arrange their own carriage. They often have contracts with couriers, and send orders in bulk.


Depends on the company, ofc, but large ones like Amazon usually give you several options to choose from. USPS is usually damn good, reliable and fast enough for me while still affordable. I can't imagine FedEX giving better terms than the USPS, unless it's understood they can collect discounts to customers by gouging the order recipients later.

Now Finland might be different than other countries, but the few times I've had (USPS) parcels stuck in customs I've been able to declare the contents and attach invoices by email, pay any fees online and receive my order in the mail as normal after the customs office was satisfied. They released my parcels back into the postal system upon clearing customs.
29/12/2017 16:37Posted by Ananda
It would be impossible as every country has different tax laws/rates/import duties.


Really? There are websites with algorithms that work out the expected sales and import taxes on an item! If I make a purchase from a seller in a foreign country on ebay I get a forecasted sales price prior to purchase, it's NOT impossible, it's just effort they CAN'T BE AR$SED with.

One of the largest logistical supply companies in the world (based in Germany) runs the Blizz gear store, it's a matter of profit not possibility.....

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