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Are Amazon overcharging import fees?

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  • 23-06-2021 4:15pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 12


    This one is for the more money-minded

    I bought a few thing on Amazon recently and noticed that their import fee deposit calculations seem to be off on items they sell as with a discount. From what I understand, import VAT should be charged at 23% of the invoice total, but they are using the price before the promotion is applied as the basis for the calcs.

    To give an example: I bought a saw for £28.33 (without UK VAT). The original price of the same was £56.66 and they had a 50% promo applied to it. The fee on this should have been the Euro equivalent of £6.52 (23% of £28.33), but they charged me £13.03. All of these are detailed on the invoice.

    I checked with An Post and Amazon declared the value of the order as £56.66, so they wouldn't have picked up the error in the calculations.

    I noticed the same issue on several other orders also, so it seems to be across the board. It is worse for items with an original price of over the €22 import VAT threshold, as Amazon will calculate the import fee on the original price, when it should be nil. (this exemption will go away next Thursday anyway, so only impact on existing orders + whatever is bought over the next week, or so)

    Am I right in my logic here? I know that it's only a small amount per order, but could impact a large number of orders (especially with their Prime Day just gone).

    Tried contacting Amazon several times about this, but the customer service reps couldn't really follow the issue and kept repeating that the fee is a government fee and is automatically calculated, so must be correct.


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,684 ✭✭✭✭Samuel T. Cogley


    I frequently get automatic refunds from Amazon for items I've purchased as they overcharged (slightly) on fees. This is separate to the Prime Day deals issues.


  • Registered Users Posts: 12 jeti24


    Hi Samuel

    Yes, I got some small refunds before too (couple of cents at a time), I'm assuming that this is due to changes in the EUR-GBP rate over the day, or 2 it takes to ship to Ireland.

    Agree, this is separate.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,418 ✭✭✭con747


    jeti24 wrote: »
    Hi Samuel

    Yes, I got some small refunds before too (couple of cents at a time), I'm assuming that this is due to changes in the EUR-GBP rate over the day, or 2 it takes to ship to Ireland.

    Agree, this is separate.

    Have a look at this thread https://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=2058194506&page=14 A lot of unhappy people!

    Don't expect anything from life, just be grateful to be alive.



  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    I have received a refund of €54, €37, €12 and numerous refunds up to €3 related to items I bought some months ago.
    I am after buying a large number of items recently, so will see if refunds start coming back on those, though the refunds are normally some weeks after the purchase.
    I do think Amazon are incorrect when applying import fees to items on the original price rather than the purchase price.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,566 ✭✭✭Need a Username


    I frequently get automatic refunds from Amazon for items I've purchased as they overcharged (slightly) on fees. This is separate to the Prime Day deals issues.

    How long have you been getting those?

    In the last few weeks I have been getting emails about refunds of €0.01, €0.03, etc.

    Never got them before but from your post it seems you have been getting them for a long time.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,253 ✭✭✭DaveyDave


    When do they let you know you're getting a refund? I was looking at something that's £25 and the import fee seems to include shipping in the calculation but it's Prime shipping (not a Prime day item)


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,684 ✭✭✭✭Samuel T. Cogley


    How long have you been getting those?

    In the last few weeks I have been getting emails about refunds of €0.01, €0.03, etc.

    Never got them before but from your post it seems you have been getting them for a long time.
    DaveyDave wrote: »
    When do they let you know you're getting a refund? I was looking at something that's £25 and the import fee seems to include shipping in the calculation but it's Prime shipping (not a Prime day item)

    Since Brexit, they happen automatically - they don't give you any warning.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,684 ✭✭✭✭Samuel T. Cogley


    Dear Customer,

    Greetings from Amazon.co.uk.

    We are writing to confirm that we are processing your refund in the amount of £0.23 for your Order XXX from Mi&he.

    This amount has been credited to your payment method and will appear when your bank has processed it.

    This refund is for the following item(s):

    Item: YOCOWOCO aptX Wireless Bluetooth 5.0 Adapter for Bose QuietComfort QC 15 with Mic/Volume Control, Black
    Quantity: 1
    ASIN: B08KZYF79T
    Reason for refund: Export fee reduced

    The following is the breakdown of your refund for this item:

    Import Fee Deposit Refund: £0.23

    Your refund is being credited as follows:

    Example, yoke was about £25.


  • Registered Users Posts: 12 jeti24


    Since Brexit, they happen automatically - they don't give you any warning.


    They told me it would arrive within 90 days.


    That only happens though if they correctly disclose the value of your order on the custom declaration, and that doesn't seem to be happening.


  • Registered Users Posts: 12 jeti24


    I do think Amazon are incorrect when applying import fees to items on the original price rather than the purchase price.


    I'm glad I'm not the only one!


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  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 14,910 Mod ✭✭✭✭whiterebel


    Revenue want charges calculated on actual value, not discounted value.


  • Registered Users Posts: 598 ✭✭✭pioneerpro


    whiterebel wrote: »
    Revenue want charges calculated on actual value, not discounted value.

    Who the hell are they to say what the RRP and standard listing price is? Most of the time its marketing/price rhetoric and no one pays close to the listed price.


  • Registered Users Posts: 12 jeti24


    whiterebel wrote: »
    Revenue want charges calculated on actual value, not discounted value.




    This is from Revenue's customs manual:


    https://www.revenue.ie/en/tax-professionals/tdm/customs/valuation/valuation.pdf



    1.6How is the customs value calculated?There are 6 methods for calculating the customs value of goods. However, the normal method of valuation is method 1 – the transaction value method.


    3.1What is the Transaction Value?The transaction value is defined as the price actually paid or payable to the seller, for the goods being imported, when they are sold for export to the customs territory of the EU, subject to theadjustments detailed in paragraph 3.8.


  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 14,910 Mod ✭✭✭✭whiterebel


    That manual is for Traders - Importer/manufacturers and customs clearance, and not for private individuals importing from the likes of China or Amazon. If some traders had their way they would show 90% discounts.

    It actually does address discounts in the manual you linked : Discounts. These can only be left out where they relate to the imported goods being valued and there is a valid contractual entitlement to the discount at the material time for valuation. Discounts (such as contingency or retroactive discounts) related to previous importations cannot be claimed in full on the current importation.

    In business you would earn a discount for fulfilling criteria, such as volume buying. It goes on to say that these discounts must be inline with standard business discounts - they probably won't be 50% or more.

    There was very clear guidelines under the personal import section, which I cannot find any more. Not unusual as the situation seems to keep changing due to Brexit and the change next week.


  • Registered Users Posts: 12 jeti24


    whiterebel wrote: »
    That manual is for Traders - Importer/manufacturers and customs clearance, and not for private individuals importing from the likes of China or Amazon. If some traders had their ay they would show 90% discounts.

    It actually does address discounts in the manual you linked : Discounts. These can only be left out where they relate to the imported goods being valued and there is a valid contractual entitlement to the discount at the material time for valuation. Discounts (such as contingency or retroactive discounts) related to previous importations cannot be claimed in full on the current importation.

    In business you would earn a discount for fulfilling criteria, such as volume buying. It goes on to say that these discounts must be inline with standard business discounts - they probably won't be 50% or more.

    There was very clear guidelines under the personal import section, whi hi cannot find any more. Not unusual as the situation seems to keep. Hanging due to Brexit and the change next week.

    Surely, once it's on the invoice, you have a contractual right to the discount. After all, once you purchase a good, or service you automatically enter into a contract.

    The manual covers individuals also, not just businesses. see:
    11.2 Private Importations
    In the case of goods imported for the private use of the importer and not for sale, whether
    imported in accompanied baggage or otherwise, the customs value is established using the normal customs valuation methods.

    From reading this document and the comments on the thread con747 linked to, it looks like Amazon will be processing refunds for weeks to come.


  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 14,910 Mod ✭✭✭✭whiterebel


    jeti24 wrote: »
    Surely, once it's on the invoice, you have a contractual right to the discount. After all, once you purchase a good, or service you automatically enter into a contract.

    The manual covers individuals also, not just businesses. see:
    11.2 Private Importations
    In the case of goods imported for the private use of the importer and not for sale, whether
    imported in accompanied baggage or otherwise, the customs value is established using the normal customs valuation methods.

    From reading this document and the comments on the thread con747 linked to, it looks like Amazon will be processing refunds for weeks to come.

    The customs documentation is all over the place as I said. In the first week of January alone they took down/changed/replaced lots of manuals. As of last week, they have one dated May where they don’t acknowledge the change coming on July 1st.

    The private importation above would refer to a company employee bring it in as part of a company importation I.e. they still have to value it as the normal methods. They reference bringing it in even in their personal luggage.

    Do you think that because a Company gives you a 90% discount, customs will accept it? In business you may get 2-3%, maybe up to 10. My partner had a battle royale with customs in January about a discount on a huge order from Asia, and the officer wouldn’t accept it, despite sending through backup payments paperwork, bank documentation, bank statements etc. If you read through the manual you linked you will see it is entirely business related, and you go through the trader section to get it.

    https://www.revenue.ie/en/customs-traders-and-agents/importing-and-exporting/customs-valuation/index.aspx


  • Registered Users Posts: 12 jeti24


    whiterebel wrote: »
    The customs documentation is all over the place as I said. In the first week of January alone they took down/changed/replaced lots of manuals. As of last week, they have one dated May where they don’t acknowledge the change coming on July 1st.

    The private importation above would refer to a company employee bring it in as part of a company importation I.e. they still have to value it as the normal methods. They reference bringing it in even in their personal luggage.

    Do you think that because a Company gives you a 90% discount, customs will accept it? In business you may get 2-3%, maybe up to 10. My partner had a battle royale with customs in January about a discount on a huge order from Asia, and the officer wouldn’t accept it, despite sending through backup payments paperwork, bank documentation, bank statements etc. If you read through the manual you linked you will see it is entirely business related, and you go through the trader section to get it.

    https://www.revenue.ie/en/customs-traders-and-agents/importing-and-exporting/customs-valuation/index.aspx

    An employee bringing something in their luggage for their employer wouldn't be private importation. They're just effectively playing the role of the courier in this case.

    Besides, this issue relates to import VAT. If you were to buy anything in a shop that's reduced by 90%, you wouldn't pay VAT on the original price.

    I firmly believe that Amazon just dropped the ball on this one.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,463 ✭✭✭Caquas


    I also recently got a series of partial refunds of the import fee deposits from Amazon for purchases over the past few months but for my latest purchase Amazon are charging me the full UK VAT-inclusive price and adding an import fee deposit of 23% on top.

    If that is there solution to Brexit and Irish customers don't get a full refund of that import deposit, Amazon prices will no longer be competitive in Ireland.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,705 ✭✭✭✭Jim_Hodge


    Caquas wrote: »
    I also recently got a series of partial refunds of the import fee deposits from Amazon for purchases over the past few months but for my latest purchase Amazon are charging me the full UK VAT-inclusive price and adding an import fee deposit of 23% on top.

    If that is there solution to Brexit and Irish customers don't get a full refund of that import deposit, Amazon prices will no longer be competitive in Ireland.

    I noticed that on a few purchases but got the whole import duty figure refunded on one today.


  • Registered Users Posts: 965 ✭✭✭phunkadelic


    Just got a refund of my full Import Fee Deposit from an order placed back in March.

    Item was advertised as £189, my order shows I paid £200 including fees. And they have now refunded me £43. So I got the item for £157.

    Seems a bit mad but I won't look the gift horse in the mouth.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 486 ✭✭HorseSea


    They're at it again, not that I am complaining. I got a few refunds for small amounts around the time this thread was active but nothing for the last year or so, just got a refund of £42 on a purchase from July, that's 100% of the import fee (vat) charged at the time, which I don't understand, but as I said I am not complaining. Just don't understand what they are doing and how it takes over 5 months to resolve.



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,393 ✭✭✭jonski


    Same , I got a refund last week of €40.06 for a Fire tablet I bought on 21 June 2021 !



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