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Shipping expensive lens to US - advise needed
Old 01-08-2018   #1
valdas
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Shipping expensive lens to US - advise needed

I have sold and posted quite many items to US (from Europe), never had an issue. But, most of my previous sales were <100$ transactions. Buyers always got items in 10-14 days, I used regular local postal service (and then it was USPS when reached US). Now I sold something worth >2000 EUR and first question - do you guys pay any import duties on those expensive lenses? Second - what is the reputable global postal service that you trust in US (locally I can probably choose between UPS or DHL if i decide not to use local postal service).
Thanks for your input.

P.S. And now there is a twist to this story. The buyer replied to my message and asked if I could ship to a different address in Hong Kong... I guess there will be no deal...
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Old 01-08-2018   #2
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I haven't had to pay import duty on any items from Europe (or asia either). I haven't kept track of the origin carrier from Europe, but I think it has generally been the local postal service of the originating country. I wouldn't use UPS, but DHL might be OK. But simply using your local postal service should be fine.
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Old 01-08-2018   #3
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I always have to pay import duty when buying used camera gears from US and Japan to EU if the stated value is over a certain number (100 USD i guess?). I think it's the same other way around.
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Old 01-08-2018   #4
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I'm not in USA, but I sold some expensive lenses and else to USA. Don't forget to pay for full insurance on shipping. It is optional, but...
Tracking in USA and full insurance.
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Old 01-08-2018   #5
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I bought a Leica M7 from France and the seller shipped through Chronopost. Unfortunately, this service did not have a customs broker and the package was held up for a few weeks and cost me a lot of time and money. I would stick to UPS/FedEx/DHL since they can get your item through customs the most efficiently.
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Old 01-08-2018   #6
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I have had several items come to me in the U.S. from Japan, Canada, China and have never had to pay a duty fee. However, all of the items were "used" and clearly marked as such on the package and paperwork.

Most of these packages were sent through the postal service of the country of origin as "air mail" and then transferred to the U.S. Postal Service. Luckily, I have never had a problem and the online tracking has worked very well.

As stated above, make sure you request insurance and tracking. If the item is "used" state so on the paperwork and label.
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Old 01-08-2018   #7
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Those of us in the USA do not pay any sort of import tax/duty on foreign purchases.

The only fee I have had to pay was additional postage (something like .50$) for an item that seemed to have gained weight on the trip over.
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Old 01-08-2018   #8
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If you do decide to ship via the postal service, make sure to send it EMS (Express Mail Service, which is treated the same by all countries’ postal departments). In the US, EMS parcels arrive at their destination post offices in separate containers (versus regular air mail, which is piled in with everything else before being sorted for delivery) and are far less likely to be dropped/thrown/or crushed. The carrier also has to sign for it before taking it out for delivery. I worked as a letter carrier myself, and EMS (or Priority Mail Express, if shipped domestically within the US) was always treated with extra care.
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Old 01-08-2018   #9
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If you ship via your postal system, there should be no duties or other fees for the USA recipient.

If you use a private carrier such as DHL, UPS or FedEx, there may be customs brokerage fees to pay.
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Old 01-08-2018   #10
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Thanks all, very valuable input. It seems that local post or EMS is the way to go.
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Old 01-08-2018   #11
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All of the big Ebay sellers in Japan use EMS worldwide.
It's indeed the fastest and safest. Also maybe the most expensive on the surface... it seems worth it for high value items.

In the US, we don't pay VAT or import tax for second hand goods of small value (EU2000 is considered small).
Insure the package at full price and describe it as used/second hand in the custom description area.
Label the package Fragile even though they should know. The word on the box seems to help!
Good luck
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Old 01-08-2018   #12
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Do try a courier comparison site (A UK one is parcel2go.com) as they tend to give more flexibility, and some couriers cost less via 3rd parties

In this instance I would tend to go for one of the big US names as that's where they're delivering and the chance of duty etc is low; perhaps even Fedex.
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Old 01-08-2018   #13
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Well.. it depends.. an used "film" camera does not have import duties/taxes on it. BUT Lenses have a duties/taxes on it. If you ship via Fedex/DHL, there will be more chance to have duties/taxes. USPS somehow does not charge those fees many times when it marked as "USED or Return"..
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Old 01-08-2018   #14
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OK, now the funny part started. The buyer replied to my message and asked if I could ship to a different address in Hong Kong? Hacked account (it is a US buyer with PayPal address in CA will 100% feedback on more than 500 purchases)? Report to ebay, refund and cancel the transaction?
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Old 01-08-2018   #15
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Old 01-08-2018   #16
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Buyer in US wants you to ship to Hong Kong? Fraud.
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Old 01-08-2018   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
I'm not in USA, but I sold some expensive lenses and else to USA. Don't forget to pay for full insurance on shipping. It is optional, but...
Tracking in USA and full insurance.
+ signature confirmation.
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If any doubt, Just call eBay!
Old 01-08-2018   #18
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If any doubt, Just call eBay!

Quote:
Originally Posted by valdas View Post
OK, now the funny part started. The buyer replied to my message and asked if I could ship to a different address in Hong Kong? Hacked account (it is a US buyer with PayPal address in CA will 100% feedback on more than 500 purchases)? Report to ebay, refund and cancel the transaction?
The buyer, not you, should arrange the shipping to Hong Kong from the U.S. address. And I assume it is a verified PayPal address in the U.S.

If you have any doubt, just pick up your phone and call eBay. They actually answer and will steer you right: NOT to ship to an address other than that of the Verified PayPal Account address.

...And make sure that payment clears before shipping!
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Old 01-08-2018   #19
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I am in the USA, and have never been charged duty from Canada or Japan. I think those are the only countries I've bought photo gear from. The highest price was probably about $1800.

I prefer USPS for shipments I receive from outside the country. FedEx charges a customs brokerage fee. For doing nothing, best I can tell.
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Old 01-08-2018   #20
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Much incorrect info in this thread.

Import duties depend on the item(s), search the harmonized tariff schedule for commodities.

That said, shipments to individuals in the US often do not incur duties when shipped via post, even if duties are supposed to be collected.

Shipments to businesses and by freight companies such as UPS and Fedex will usually incur brokerage fees and duties on those items that are dutiable.
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Old 01-08-2018   #21
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I have just cancelled the transaction using "something is wrong with the buyer's address" reason, but thanks for all the input (useful to have that knowledge for the future). I thought that even if he changes his mind and asks me to ship to the verified Paypal address I still would not want to do it, it was too suspicious. I'll keep my summicron for now
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Old 01-08-2018   #22
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This input is probably redundant now given the cancellation but I have one piece of input on an experience using eBay that impressed me and is worth passing on.

I live in Australia and last year I bought an item of clothing (A lovely and rather expensive Barbour waxed cotton coat I had been lusting for) from a private seller in the back blocks of England - a little village in the Midlands. He shipped using eBay Global Shipping (I think that's what they call it) and while it was comparatively rather expensive (about $50.00 US from memory) I was OK with that as it was a quite expensive item (though I happened to get it cheaply due to lack of bidding from others) and it was a biggish parcel. And I wanted that surety.

The clothing arrived on my doorstep from the other side of the world within one week and I got virtually daily SMS message updates on where it was at every point in its journey from that village to my front door. In fact when I got the delivery I got another message telling me it had been delivered before I made it back into my house from the front gate. Lovely - courtesy of those fantastically efficient German folks DHL. I like being able to log in to get shipping updates on my parcels. But getting regular, sometimes twice daily SMS messages unbidden giving me that info at every step of the journey was the cream on the cake.

To compare that experience, a couple of weeks later I bought a liner for that same coat also on eBay from a seller in another Australian state no more than 800 kilometers from me. He used ordinary delivery and it took two weeks to get to me via ordinary delivery and without tracking. There was no comparison.

My take away from this is if you are selling (or buying) an expensive item it makes sense to opt for the best delivery option (and there is no doubt, that eBay Global Shipping option seems the best to me) with all the bells and whistles. It will do wonders for your piece of mind no matter which end of the transaction you are on.
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Old 01-09-2018   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by valdas View Post
OK, now the funny part started. The buyer replied to my message and asked if I could ship to a different address in Hong Kong? Hacked account (it is a US buyer with PayPal address in CA will 100% feedback on more than 500 purchases)? Report to ebay, refund and cancel the transaction?
I have eBay register-address in China but shipping address in Sweden.
Changing register address requires uploading additional paperwork which does not really make sense, so I leave it be. I guess many people does so as well.

It is fishy that he asked you to ship to another address through message since he can just change shipping address in eBay setting or every time he pays for an item.
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Old 01-09-2018   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nukecoke View Post
I have eBay register-address in China but shipping address in Sweden.
Changing register address requires uploading additional paperwork which does not really make sense, so I leave it be. I guess many people does so as well.

It is fishy that he asked you to ship to another address through message since he can just change shipping address in eBay setting or every time he pays for an item.
Well, I got the sale cancelled and final fee credited by ebay, but now buyer asked me to relist the lens saying that now he would pay from his confirmed address in HK. I am not sure I want to do this - never shipped to HK before, shipped to China once and had some problems (buyer asking for partial refund due to lens rear cap being generic) so my general approach is to keep business within a certain geography (not that I am stereotyping or something, simply being more risk averse).
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Old 01-09-2018   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ecnarongi View Post
I'd still don't trust him. Probably I'd tell him, if he's *actually* in Hong Kong, he can highly probably buy the very same item at that certain shop that belongs to our famous Russian/Ukrainian/German/Austrian friend Boris (Mr Yamchtchik), or Mr Yamchtchik's (ex) wife or Mr Yamchtchik's cousin (or whatever strange tax evasion construction they've invented) ...
It's funny you mentioned them... Because I googled the buyer based on his HK address, he is from http://www.mkkcamera.com/ Hopefully reputable business?
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Old 01-09-2018   #26
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IMO. Even if buyer has no bad intentions, if it is getting too complicated, better to avoid it.
eBay is all about simplicity (this is why they charge this much). Buy it now - pay by PayPal. This is it. PayPal has verified shipping address. If you'll try to ship by not verified address, I think, it will gives some trouble.
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