Author Topic: Why I hate free shipping  (Read 7426 times)

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Offline Bored@Work

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Why I hate free shipping
« on: November 27, 2010, 02:42:41 pm »
[this is mildly related to EEVblog #129, shipping costs and generic government behavior]

Hating free shipping? Sounds crazy, but I do. Let me explain.

So there are all these wonderful Chinese vendors on the Internet and on eBay. And many of them offer this great thing called "free shipping". Great you say? No, because it costs  extra.

I wish they would stop it. I wish Chinese vendors would also stop the stupid practice of declaring everything a gift of $40 value. And I wish Chines vendors would start to include proper shipping papers, including a proper itemized bill with any shipping.

Because, you know, the thing is, my government's Customs is not stupid. And my government's Customs is on a hunt for extra money. Because we have to bail out the stupid Greek and the Irish, because we are the idiots, the laughing stock, in the EU who always pay for every other corrupt, criminal loser government. As if our own government wankers aren't enough. But I digress.

So there is this Chinese vendor, shipping some goods. No proper shipping papers, a stupid "$40 gift" declaration on the green customs label. If you get a tracking number you can easily track shipment. From China to here it takes maybe three days. Then the tracking shows it is handed over to Customs at the airport. And then the tracking shows Customs doesn't process it. Oh no, they put it on hold. Because? Because they aren't stupid. From China? "$40 gift"? No shipping papers? Pull the other one.

Now you get a letter. Please produce shipping papers. Waitaminute, you don't have any. And the Chinese vendor won't produce any for you. Once he has your money you no longer exist for him. Just don't try to get papers from them. You waste your time, and the clock is ticking. Because, after a few days Customs will charge you extra for storage. So you have to hurry.

You take the eBay page and print it. It says free shipping. It lists the total price for the goods. Fine? No, because Customs doesn't believe in free shipping. They don't have to. They pull some rules and regulations out of their arse that shipping costs always must, absolutely must, be detailed separately. If not, they are allowed and do take the whole payment sum as the price for the goods only and add shipping costs on top of it.

Shipping costs? What shipping costs? Hold your braces! They are allowed to invent fictitious shipping costs, if you haven't any detailed proof about the real shipping cost! They just assume you somehow, via some back channel payed some shipping cost, because, you know, no one does shipping for free. Of course, being on the hunt for money they assume the most expensive way of shipping was used, like hand delivery by a flock of virgins.

Why are these fictitious shipping costs important? Because they charge taxes on them. Yes, you got that right. First they invent shipping costs, then they calculate taxes on them, and then they make you pay taxes for non existing shipping costs. On top of the taxes you pay for the goods.

You want to complain? Suuuuure, you can. Do you have any proper shipping papers to prove your case? No? Forget it. Just pay, and save your time and effort. The government is always right and they have the rules and regulations to prove it.

In the end, "free shipping" costs extra, that's why I hate it.


PS: Any recommendation for Chinese vendors that include proper shipping papers, a proper bill, detailing the real shipping cost, don't declare everything as "$40 gift" and accept credit cards (not via paypal)?
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Online Mechatrommer

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Re: Why I hate free shipping
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2010, 03:03:12 pm »
dont hate chinese for that. hate your government. our govern sux too, but yours more sucker. free shipping chinese have been saving loads of my money out of my arse. if they dont exist, i have to buy goods from US which is sucker on the shipping cost alot more. i think you can negotiate with the seller to produced this so called "shipping cost paper" and dont put it as toy or gift.
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Offline tyblu

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Re: Why I hate free shipping
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2010, 04:43:12 pm »
The liberties being taken by your country's customs department make me uncomfortable. I would agree that they do need to make money somehow, but seem to be stuck behind the times and are scrambling to make up for it at your expense instead of reform. Perhaps a weight-based tariff or other tax avenue is in order -- I'm not sure -- but it seems that, with the advent and proliferation of offshore online stores not conforming and taking advantage of their import practices, reform is in order, not, as you put it, to pay for them. Do you think they actually make a profit doing this? 'Suppose we can't answer this, but my inner psychic says no, taking into account wages paid while tracing a package.
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Offline Bored@Work

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Re: Why I hate free shipping
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2010, 05:05:22 pm »
I know my government are wankers, I already wrote that.

But why can't Chinese vendors behave professional? Give me proper shipping papers, like they are used all over the world. Nothing fancy. Even skip the  customs tariff number if they can't find the right one, and forget about stating the correct Incoterms. And stop this "$40 gift" defraud tax evasion attempts.

And no, my attempts to negotiate with Chines vendors didn't work. They don't reply, or reply gibberish.  But the worst are those who agree "Of course Sir, we can do that", take your money and then ship without papers. I have yet to convince a single one to do it proper.
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Offline Bored@Work

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Re: Why I hate free shipping
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2010, 05:09:10 pm »
Do you think they actually make a profit doing this?
Customs? I found a figure for 2007. They made 4 billion Euro after cost, so that's 4 billion "profit".
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Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Why I hate free shipping
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2010, 05:40:53 pm »
The problem is the Chinese don't know the right value to declare to get below the duty-free threshold. It's particularly annoying when the clearance/brokerage fee exceeds the amount of VAT payable.
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Offline Bored@Work

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Re: Why I hate free shipping
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2010, 06:33:43 pm »
I don't want to be have a declaration artificially below the duty-free threshold. My Customs anyhow don't believe such declarations from China. Even the opposite, it is a warning sign for them.

I just want to have a correct declaration, and I want to have a simple bill itemizing product and shipping costs. So I have less hassle and cost.
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Offline eliocor

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Re: Why I hate free shipping
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2010, 03:57:37 am »
@BoredAtWork
Just for curiosity: are you Italian like me?
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Offline allanw

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Re: Why I hate free shipping
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2010, 04:33:25 am »
For those of us in the US that don't have these problems, the free shipping is good, obviously.

Why don't you just tell the Chinese sellers to bill you $10 extra for the shipping and put a legitimate customs declaration in for you?

edit: sorry, didn't see your post above. I've had good experiences with ebay sellers since generally they're very concerned about their positive feedback. Just threaten them with negative feedback if they take your money and your shipment gets held up.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2010, 04:36:09 am by allanw »
 

Online Mechatrommer

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Re: Why I hate free shipping
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2010, 06:46:07 am »
you must clearly indicate your problem to be faced if they dont produce proper shipping paper... hence -ve feedback will be given for non compliance.
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Offline arcom

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Re: Why I hate free shipping
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2010, 07:09:39 am »
After reading your post I think I will stop complaining about Croatian Custom's office ;D
They do believe in free shipping if you bring them a printout of an eBay page but they don't believe in free items! I once ordered a couple of samples from Maxim and got a letter from the Custom's to bring the invoice. What invoice?!? It's free! But no, as they said to me "there are no free things in the world" so I had to convince them that I actually haven't payed a single cent for the ICs. Well...I actually did - in the form of bunch of papers I had to print, toner and electricity spent on priting them and loosing my time and mind in the process. Not to mention that the package had valid shipping papers from Maxim, stated that the total amount was 0$ and that the package contains free samples.

As for the shipping costs I always get annoyed when they charge tax on the shipping cost but even then, with all that, I still save up to 60% compared to the price in local shops.
 

Online EEVblog

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Re: Why I hate free shipping
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2010, 07:32:08 am »
That sucks.
Thankfully I have not heard of this happening in Australia.
If your package is under the magical $1000 mark then customs usually don't care.

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Offline eliocor

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Re: Why I hate free shipping
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2010, 08:34:56 am »
Just to show the situation here in Italy:
Two days ago I was contacted by Federal Express Italy about the Renesas development kit RX62NRDK offered for free (see one of the EEVblogs).
They asked me to:
- confirm the value of the SDK: 245 USD (instead of 99USD as stated in their contest page)
- describe in detail the contents of the SDK!
because they have to make me pay for the customs duties...

I told them (giving them several links) that the value is 99USD, but I got it free...
Let's see tomorrow (Monday) when FedExp will deliver the package, how much I will have to pay...

Unfortunately this is not the first time I have to pay much higher sums than the right one.
Just as an example, for two different shipping of the same device (same USA vendor, same value declared but sent in two different boxes for shipping costs reasons), I paid for customs duties 32.73 Euros and 47.12 Euros...
None at customs was able to explain me the reasons for the difference!  >:(

Just not to mention the packages lost during mail transit...
Lots of eBay vendors do not want to ship to Italy except if you are using registered post or shipping methods like UPS, FedExp, ...  :( :(
« Last Edit: November 28, 2010, 08:38:49 am by eliocor »
 

Offline Zero999

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Re: Why I hate free shipping
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2010, 09:24:51 am »
I've never had any problems, there again I don't order much from China. I had a PIC programmer from Malaysia which came with the value marked as zero on the packaging. I'm surprised customs make much from small things like this because the administrative charges must be high compared to the tax collected. Shipping wasn't free though.

I like free shipping from UK based RS components because it saves me lots of money.
 

Offline the_raptor

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Re: Why I hate free shipping
« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2010, 09:58:00 am »
Of course, being on the hunt for money they assume the most expensive way of shipping was used, like hand delivery by a flock of virgins.

Man us colonials are so uncivilised compared to Europe. I wish we had that for a shipping option locally ;)

Luckily we haven't been hit as hard by the results of the Mass Banking Corruption of 2008 (well I lost my crappy IT job and went back to uni), though there was talk recently about taxing online purchases* which would result in our customs becoming "efficient" like BoredAtWork's.

* Mainly because with the current AUD to USD exchange rate you would have to be stupid to buy anything over a $100 locally. I was mighty annoyed when I went to buy a Ten-Tec kit last week and found they refuse to sell from the US if they have a local distributor, it cost me over $50 extra.
 

Online Mechatrommer

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Re: Why I hate free shipping
« Reply #15 on: November 28, 2010, 11:35:54 am »
I had a PIC programmer from Malaysia which came with the value marked as zero on the packaging.
man, i try not to buy anything Made in Malaysia. we have a local ee online shop here selling 3rd party programmer, but i made pickit2 travel all the way from Europe.
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Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Why I hate free shipping
« Reply #16 on: November 28, 2010, 11:50:51 am »
A related thing... When you order from Digikey from the UK, although the shipping is free  over £50, the VAT invoice you get from UPS when it's delivered includes VAT on the notional value of the 'free' shipping, i.e. what UPS charges DK.
Not a problem for me as I'm VAT registered but it took a lot of phone calls to find out why the amounts on the invoices were higher than 17.5% of the goods total!
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