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Import fees on USA guitar to USA?

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Am I required to pay import fees on a USA Gibson being shipped from Canada, back to the US? Seller used UPS. I wouldn’t expect that, but they’re trying to hit me up for $133.45, which I feel is insane. Should I be able to contest this? Please advise. Thanks. 

Dave

Edited by Hamer Dave

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You are required to pay for brokerage and any clearance or document fees charged by UPS - you are also (depending on state) required to pay state and/or federal sales tax (which is usually collected by the carrier) and duties as assessed by CBP (USA). Even though the guitar was USA made, unless it is cleared and claimed as a USA guitar (and a special form that deals with the return of a USA made items to the us from Canada has been used) Customs might be blind the the origin being USA and call it a Canadian good -- the good news there is that NAFTA means duty free for Canadian goods so in your case you wont pay duties.

It is expensive to ship from Canada -- and shipping anything (no matter what it is) across an international border costs money because it involves clearing it through customs.  You won't pay duties -- you will pay tax and customs and brokerage fees.  There's nothing to contest. UPS charges fees for their services (brokerage/clearance) and will collect the required sales tax for Uncle Sam as well. There's nothing unusual about it and it is not in any way in the control of the seller - you are not getting ripped off.

Edited by Dasein

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On 10/27/2017 at 10:32 PM, Hamer Dave said:

Am I required to pay import fees on a USA Gibson being shipped from Canada, back to the US? Seller used UPS. I wouldn’t expect that, but they’re trying to hit me up for $133.45, which I feel is insane. Should I be able to contest this? Please advise. Thanks. 

Dave

                                           Had the same deal when I got that last  Black 79 Hamer Sunburst from a store in  Edmonton....................no import fees but a "Brokerage " fee of about that same amount from UPS.I was happy when the guitar arrived safely [Not a mark or tear anywhere on the box and it came from Edmonton to Minnesota! ] so I just chalked it up to what it took to get the guitar and no regrets what so ever.:)

Edited by ARM OF HAMER

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Thanks for replying Dasein, and ARM OF HAMER. I’ve gotten via parcel post in the past without fees if I recall, so didn’t expect this. Best I suck it up and enjoy a beautiful instrument I suppose. 

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On 10/27/2017 at 10:47 PM, Dasein said:

You are required to pay for brokerage and any clearance or document fees charged by UPS - you are also (depending on state) required to pay state and/or federal sales tax (which is usually collected by the carrier) and duties as assessed by CBP (USA). Even though the guitar was USA made, unless it is cleared and claimed as a USA guitar (and a special form that deals with the return of a USA made items to the us from Canada has been used) Customs might be blind the the origin being USA and call it a Canadian good -- the good news there is that NAFTA means duty free for Canadian goods so in your case you wont pay duties.

It is expensive to ship from Canada -- and shipping anything (no matter what it is) across an international border costs money because it involves clearing it through customs.  You won't pay duties -- you will pay tax and customs and brokerage fees.  There's nothing to contest. UPS charges fees for their services (brokerage/clearance) and will collect the required sales tax for Uncle Sam as well. There's nothing unusual about it and it is not in any way in the control of the seller - you are not getting ripped off.

No duties fee? Calling UPS int'l, they are telling me 79.95 duties charge, the rest broker fees. I'm questioning the duties as you mentioned should not apply. Let's see what happens? That would bring fees down to a more plausible 50 some odd dollars. On hold while he's checking. Wish me luck!

dave

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He's calling the broker to see what can be done. Said a 'NAFTA statement' has to be included by the shipper? He did see that duties fees 'may be reduced or eliminated' with it's inclusion.

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The problem with duties is the seller not properly filling our the shipping paperwork.

I have never paid a UPS brokerage invoice and they have never stopped delivering to me, nor followed up on their initial mailing. 

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38 minutes ago, Hamer Dave said:

No duties fee? Calling UPS int'l, they are telling me 79.95 duties charge, the rest broker fees. I'm questioning the duties as you mentioned should not apply. Let's see what happens? That would bring fees down to a more plausible 50 some odd dollars. On hold while he's checking. Wish me luck!

dave

It very possible they are giving you the wrong info on the phone (as in a lazy phone rep using the word duty when she/he means brokerage).  That said, goods over $2000 being re-imported (returned) to the USA should be declared as USA manufactured goods using form 3111 (link) or the goods are at risk at being charged duty.  Goods of any value must be declared as products of the USA on your commercial invoice and customs entry if they are USA made and they must clearly be marked as USA made on the item (a refinished guitar might not have such marking anymore).

What happens when a good is not correctly identified?  Often custom's will assign a country of manufacture to the item (usually the same as the country you are importing from). In your case this could be Canada.  Well all goods from Canada (guitars/musical instruments) are duty free (That's what the NAFTA agreement is). On the off chance you could see the goods assigned to Korea (if customs googled Hamer and found them to be made in Korea for example).

  • So -- #1 --- it could still all be brokerage and taxes --- your UPS rep may have misspoken
  • #2 --- if it is indeed duties then you have two arguments to make here:
  • 2a - They've bungled the import declaration -- there's no way you are paying duty on USA made goods -- that they better fix it because they've either made an incorrect entry and you wont pay for it. The goods are clearly labeled as USA made... etc.
  • 2b - that you also want to dispute paying their brokerage fee given that they bungled that and have caused you all this extra grief etc... Dispute their fees on top of this because their job.

Here's a good link from US Customs talking about internet purchases

Insist UPS send you copies of their entry and the assessment by CBP ---- don't let them brush you off saying get a refund from CBP yourself after the fact -- it's their job to do the entry correctly

BUT -- what I'm afraid of here is that they just read out a line item that groups customs fees duties and brokerage together and that the fee is actually just their fee for brokerage. Non-discounted brokerage fees are usually around $80 (25-85). They can also add fees like $20 document fees, or $10 dollar entry fees --- they've got all kinds of bullshit things they do to obscure this stuff. Ask for the docs -- stick to your guns -- and insist they correct it if they have charged you any kind of duty (after you verify it). You can also actually call the CBP directly and speak to someone about it on the phone. They can be really good and helpful provided you are polite and clear in your own info.

Last question -- do you have the guitar or is it being held up in clearance until you pay?

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1 hour ago, Hamer Dave said:

He's calling the broker to see what can be done. Said a 'NAFTA statement' has to be included by the shipper? He did see that duties fees 'may be reduced or eliminated' with it's inclusion.

NAFTA declaration can be required for formal entries but the goods themselves are clearly labeled as USA made.  They (UPS) just need to correct the entry --- or fill out a form 3311.... a Nafta form is not really what you need here -- not from a used good of the value  this one is.  Also note that for values under $2500 USD it is not considered a formal entry and less documentation is required.

Edited by Dasein

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1 hour ago, Studio Custom said:

The problem with duties is the seller not properly filling our the shipping paperwork.

I have never paid a UPS brokerage invoice and they have never stopped delivering to me, nor followed up on their initial mailing. 

How do you not pay them? They don't request at delivery? I usually pick mine up at the nearby UPS depot.

My call ended up with them suggesting Shipper email them the NAFTA statement, or modifying his initial shipping invoice to include the NAFTA statement, via a check off on the invoice. I sent the seller the message, will see. They gave me an email address to one of the broker/employees to use.

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do you have a copy of the commercial invoice?  If he lists the country of origin as USA on the invoice then this is an informal entry and that's all that would have been needed for UPS to make their entyryu document. If it's not on the commercial invoice then you can equally chide UPS for accepting incomplete/incorrect paperwork.  You can provide a form 3311 to UPS yourself as well which should take care of the issue. Forget about going back to the seller at this point -- too much of a hassle -- push this through using the 3311 and be done. UPS will have to correct/amend their entry.

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35 minutes ago, Dasein said:

It very possible they are giving you the wrong info on the phone (as in a lazy phone rep using the word duty when she/he means brokerage).  That said, goods over $2000 being re-imported (returned) to the USA should be declared as USA manufactured goods using form 3111 (link) or the goods are at risk at being charged duty.  Goods of any value must be declared as products of the USA on your commercial invoice and customs entry if they are USA made and they must clearly be marked as USA made on the item (a refinished guitar might not have such marking anymore).

What happens when a good is not correctly identified?  Often custom's will assign a country of manufacture to the item (usually the same as the country you are importing from). In your case this could be Canada.  Well all goods from Canada (guitars/musical instruments) are duty free (That's what the NAFTA agreement is). On the off chance you could see the goods assigned to Korea (if customs googled Hamer and found them to be made in Korea for example).

  • So -- #1 --- it could still all be brokerage and taxes --- your UPS rep may have misspoken
  • #2 --- if it is indeed duties then you have two arguments to make here:
  • 2a - They've bungled the import declaration -- there's no way you are paying duty on USA made goods -- that they better fix it because they've either made an incorrect entry and you wont pay for it. The goods are clearly labeled as USA made... etc.
  • 2b - that you also want to dispute paying their brokerage fee given that they bungled that and have caused you all this extra grief etc... Dispute their fees on top of this because their job.

Here's a good link from US Customs talking about internet purchases

Insist UPS send you copies of their entry and the assessment by CBP ---- don't let them brush you off saying get a refund from CBP yourself after the fact -- it's their job to do the entry correctly

BUT -- what I'm afraid of here is that they just read out a line item that groups customs fees duties and brokerage together and that the fee is actually just their fee for brokerage. Non-discounted brokerage fees are usually around $80 (25-85). They can also add fees like $20 document fees, or $10 dollar entry fees --- they've got all kinds of bullshit things they do to obscure this stuff. Ask for the docs -- stick to your guns -- and insist they correct it if they have charged you any kind of duty (after you verify it). You can also actually call the CBP directly and speak to someone about it on the phone. They can be really good and helpful provided you are polite and clear in your own info.

Last question -- do you have the guitar or is it being held up in clearance until you pay?

Appreciate you guys knowing your $#i+.

Declared at $2,000.00.

CBP = Customs Border Patrol, or ?.

UPS rep specifically identified 79.95 of the total 133.45 as duties, and the rest being Broker's fees like $40, plus $11, plus $2, I recall mentioned.

My understanding is UPS has the guitar ready for me to pick up (I modify shipping so they hold it at my local UPS depot for pickup). I may go over there to see what happens if I try to pick it up.

All in all, sounds like the 79.95 (at the least) should not be billed being that it is a guitar, Gibson USA manufactured, and NAFTA.

Thanks.

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31 minutes ago, Hamer Dave said:

How do you not pay them? They don't request at delivery? I usually pick mine up at the nearby UPS depot.

My call ended up with them suggesting Shipper email them the NAFTA statement, or modifying his initial shipping invoice to include the NAFTA statement, via a check off on the invoice. I sent the seller the message, will see. They gave me an email address to one of the broker/employees to use.

They drop the box off and then mail the bill later. 

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57 minutes ago, Dasein said:

NAFTA declaration can be required for formal entries but the goods themselves are clearly labeled as USA made.  They (UPS) just need to correct the entry --- or fill out a form 3311.... a Nafta form is not really what you need here -- not from a used good of the value  this one is.  Also note that for values under $2500 USD it is not considered a formal entry and less documentation is required.

Can 'purchase' be an accepted 'Reason for Return'? I looked at the from 3311, not a clue what to fill in some of those fields.

I also asked seller if he stated it was a USA guitar again, as I did ask him earlier on.

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1 minute ago, Studio Custom said:

They drop the box off and then mail the bill later. 

OK, I'm going to go over there and see if they might just let me pick it up regardless.

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If your seller said it was s USA made guitar on his paper work --- that's enough of a declaration. Your UPS people fucked up.  Seriously - call the CBP -- the website I posted has all the contact info.

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6 hours ago, Hamer Dave said:

How do you not pay them? They don't request at delivery? I usually pick mine up at the nearby UPS depot.

My call ended up with them suggesting Shipper email them the NAFTA statement, or modifying his initial shipping invoice to include the NAFTA statement, via a check off on the invoice. I sent the seller the message, will see. They gave me an email address to one of the broker/employees to use.

                                          I had all the NAFTA paperwork [2 copies in fact along with the receipt for the guitar] included in the shipment for the Hamer. The only thing I was told that I was paying for was the UPS "Brokerage Fee" of $135.60.........to be exact.[ And BTW I pick up all my UPS shipped guitars at my local UPS "HUB" as well]..........I looked at the paperwork which I kept again yesterday..............no duties for a guitar made in the USA coming back to the USA from Canada..............or for that matter one made in Canada coming back to Canada from the USA. Oddly enough I had a VERY expensive Yamaha [JAPAN] guitar I sold to a buyer from Canada and when he went to get the guitar there was no fee at all........... [It was shipped UPS at his request]............... he showed them his ID and they handed him the guitar. Hmmmmmm?

Edited by ARM OF HAMER

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I went and picked it up. No questions. I presume I’ll get a bill in the mail?

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There appears to be an invoice on the box. Had to run off to work, will look at it tonight. 

Seller also confirms he stated made in USA. 

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25 minutes ago, Hamer Dave said:

I went and picked it up. No questions. I presume I’ll get a bill in the mail?

                                 Hmmmmmm...................before I could take my guitar the 'Brokerage Fee" had to be paid right then and there, the UPS Hub manager couldn't release the guitar to me until it was paid in full which I did with my Pay Pal credit card.

Edited by ARM OF HAMER

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2 hours ago, Hamer Dave said:

There appears to be an invoice on the box. Had to run off to work, will look at it tonight. 

Seller also confirms he stated made in USA. 

Sounds like UPS fucked up then -- if the invoice and paperwork say made in USA then UPS f'd up the entry -- you should get a rebate on that fee too considering the aggravation they caused you.

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Got to look at invoice. Country of origin has CA, someone screwed up there. I imagine the average person may confuse that for where it’s shipped from?

Edited by Hamer Dave

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2 hours ago, Hamer Dave said:

Got to look at invoice. Country of origin has CA, someone screwed up there. I imagine the average person may confuse that for where it’s shipped from?

This happens all the time, just send them a letter to the address the invoice is supposed to go to, explain the error and forget about it. 

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It's not exactly the same situation. I imported a USA Hamer from Japan. Typically, shippers there will use EMS which is picked up by the USPS once it clears customs. I have never been hit with duties when using EMS/USPS. A couple of times, there was a duties invoice attached to the box, but the delivering post man never collected and I didn't offer.

Anyway, the Hamer came in a pretty big case so the shipping box exceeded the EMS maximums. The guitar had to be shipped via FedEx. The shipping charge itself was about $50 more than EMS, but after it was delivered I received a duties invoice from FedEx for about $160. I dug around a little and found the statute stating that re-importing goods manufactured in the USA were not subject to duties. I called FedEx and they sent me the dispute forms which I filled out and sent in. In the meantime, I did not pay the invoice.I About 6 weeks later, I got a call from FedEx and was asked to submit some additional documentation to support that the guitar was made in the US, including a statement from the shipper that it was a USA guitar since they noted that it was MIJ on the paperwork.

That was it, I never heard from them again and was able to get the duty charge eliminated. 

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