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Sat Aug 22 2015 18:45:39

To Lie or Not to Lie,... on Customs Forms

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
I just endured a couple of weeks of angry emails from a fellow in another country who bought something from me at eBay (a $200 Japanese tin toy, probably a bargain at the price).

Before he bought the Thing, he asked me if I'd falsify the customs declaration on the package so he could avoid some duties in his country. I promised him that I would not do that.  

He bought the Thing. When he paid, he asked me to reconsider - he explained that his duties would be expensive. I again informed him that I would be accurate in my declaration for a variety of reasons including my reputation for honesty and my desire for the customs declaration match the insurance amount I was buying.

About a month later I received an impatient where-is-it question. I looked at the same tracking that was available to him and told him the package had arrived in his country four days after I mailed it, and it was being processed by customs. I suggested that he might want to contact them, since that action has shaken loose other packages in other countries when the same thing has happened (I have sixteen years of experience in International shipping). 

His anger escalated - he could not be bothered with all that. He paid, he didn't have it, he was unhappy. Next came the PayPal claim which disintegrated when I provided the tracking information.

Today, he let me know he was on his way to his post office with $75.00 in hand to rescue his package. He's still mad. He'd just like me to know that "maybe a next time you can do a little bit better with offer lower price." 

I was surprised to discover there isn't a category for that problem in the eBay report-a-buyer system. 

I don't see a lot of discussion about folks like him, although I quit using eBay forums five years ago. If eBay is truly concerned about being a little kinder to sellers, I have a suggestion to make...
Sincerely,
Steve




Comments (23) | Permalink

Readers Comments

To Lie or Not to Lie,... on Customs Forms   To Lie or Not to Lie,... on Customs Forms

by: abprules This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Sat Aug 22 20:50:54 2015

Actually, you can report a buyer for asking you to falsify the customs report.
Click on "report buyer" and choose "other problems." There is a radio button to choose "buyer requested false information on customs forms."

To Lie or Not to Lie,... on Customs Forms   To Lie or Not to Lie,... on Customs Forms

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Sat Aug 22 23:31:57 2015

Steve (OP) writes: "If eBay is truly concerned about being a little kinder to sellers,...."

You do realize you're talking about eBay, who hates small sellers, and who has proclaimed they are not about happiness. Just be thankful that you didn't lose your money and your toy.

To Lie or Not to Lie,... on Customs Forms   To Lie or Not to Lie,... on Customs Forms

by: Saintsteven This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 23 01:51:52 2015

Yeah, I know they hate small sellers.  I like to think of myself as a ''medium'' seller, although I'm not sure where the cut-off lies.  At one time I was a ''Category Voice'' until they hated Category Voices.  And thanks, abrules, I certainly overlooked that button and I see it now.  Probably blew my big opportunity there.  They acknowledged my report without using that button, but we all know where that goes............

To Lie or Not to Lie,... on Customs Forms   To Lie or Not to Lie,... on Customs Forms

by: blackmail This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 23 07:41:12 2015

it is actually a felony to lie on customs forms USC chap 18 , and it is also against eBay policies if the message was received in the messages on this venue all low ratings and or bad feedback will be removed, at least that is what they say??,
reporting them will only possibly be noted I doubt that eBay will do anything to the buyer..

the international buyers have been doing this for years nothing new

OP should spend some time and notify eBay of the issue be sure to write reps name and sr# for future reference

To Lie or Not to Lie,... on Customs Forms   To Lie or Not to Lie,... on Customs Forms

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Sun Aug 23 08:50:35 2015

You are dealing with a dishonest customer.  Brace yourself for what might come next. I hope you don't have any issues, but when you are dealing with dishonesty, nothing should surprise you.

To Lie or Not to Lie,... on Customs Forms   To Lie or Not to Lie,... on Customs Forms

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Sun Aug 23 10:08:57 2015

Easy solution:

Don't sell out of the USA!

It's just not worth all the problems that can arise, eBay's hard enough the way it is. . .

To Lie or Not to Lie,... on Customs Forms   To Lie or Not to Lie,... on Customs Forms

by: edneff This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 23 11:59:15 2015

easy answer

is he your best friend? no
then don't lie for him.
if you get caught you are kicked off wherever it is you sold the item from
is that worth it? no

that's why we no longer ship to England as their duty has gotten ridiculous. the last time we got an inquiry from there we explained that to them and they checked and thanked us because they had no idea that it had changed. we ship to Canada and Australia and that's it

To Lie or Not to Lie,... on Customs Forms   To Lie or Not to Lie,... on Customs Forms

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Sun Aug 23 14:56:07 2015

Germany has high duty as well on imported items.

As sellers we may not like protectionist trade policies like England's, but this country would be better off with anti Chinese protectionist policies.

We probably would if we didn't owe them trillions of dollars in national debt.

To Lie or Not to Lie,... on Customs Forms   To Lie or Not to Lie,... on Customs Forms

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 23 17:11:52 2015

Rule #1 when selling on eBay - PROTECT YOURSELF!

Its not and hasnt been for ages you & eBay vs the buyer, its you vs eBay & the buyer.

When something goes wrong on eBay - and it will (toolguy will one day learn himself), eBay will turn on you.

If you dont protect yourself and your wallet, NO ONE else will.

I agree with everyone here - DONT LIE. Its not worth the profit, its illegal, and if theres ever an issue - eBay will rat you out, turn you in and make you take the brunt of it all.

Not worth it under any means

To Lie or Not to Lie,... on Customs Forms   To Lie or Not to Lie,... on Customs Forms

by: Santini This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 23 18:16:07 2015

You said he asked you to falsify the customs declaration before he bought it. I would have blocked him right then. End of story.

Now we can only hope ebay does the right thing when the shenanigans begin.

To Lie or Not to Lie,... on Customs Forms   To Lie or Not to Lie,... on Customs Forms

by: Motorbike_guy This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 24 00:19:21 2015

In my country as well as many others, the lawgivers have made a reciprocal agreement to protect each others' taxes. If we lie on a customs form, we can go to jail or pay huge fines. I explain this to any buyer who asks, and also that they could possibly go to jail in their country. The bad buyers tend to go away, then.

To Lie or Not to Lie,... on Customs Forms   To Lie or Not to Lie,... on Customs Forms

This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Mon Aug 24 00:59:07 2015

I am all about making the customer happy. However, I refuse to ship any item internationally without full insurance. The customs declaration MUST match the insured value. If they want to pay via wire transfer or Western Union I will do whatever they ask me to do, but if the parcel gets lost they will not get reimbursed. 99.9% of customers are not willing to take that risk.

To Lie or Not to Lie,... on Customs Forms   To Lie or Not to Lie,... on Customs Forms

by: Garcia This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 24 00:59:18 2015

I long ago stopped selling to international buyers.  Tired of being asked to lower the price on the customs forms and tired of angry buyers who refuse to pay VAT or any other customs fees and blame those fees on me.  I'd rather stick to to US buyers.

To Lie or Not to Lie,... on Customs Forms   To Lie or Not to Lie,... on Customs Forms

This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Mon Aug 24 01:00:18 2015

@Ming Agree 100% re: China.  

To Lie or Not to Lie,... on Customs Forms   To Lie or Not to Lie,... on Customs Forms

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 24 02:59:22 2015

I sell international and I put on the label what is in the package--and the value.  Never had a problem.

The only time I have "lied"  is on pre-worn clothing;  which as I understand it can be a BIG problem to SOME Customs (and this is not by country it is by whatever Customs person is working the belt that day).

I had first hand experience of this when I lived  in Israel and relatives and friends tried to send me things;  my mother had an issue sending me winter clothing and had to actually pay the overage on a visiting neighbors luggage to get me the stuff I needed!

So--on every thing BUT pre-owned clothing/shoes--I am "honest"---because I know that the recipient might have a problem on the this other stuff---I am more likely to "fudge".  These things are never really pricey anyways so I doubt that these countries are "losing"  money on my sales.

I HAVE offered to ship within the USA or another country where these people might have friends/relatives who are better versed in their countries shipping and customs;  or are going to visit them;  this has made a few sales for me and less of a headache for them.  

Of course to have to even THINK about this these days I would have to have SALES---

Yes TOOLGUY---I heard you.  You can be quiet and go back in the corner now.  Good boy.  Sit.  Stay.  

To Lie or Not to Lie,... on Customs Forms   To Lie or Not to Lie,... on Customs Forms

by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 24 07:11:43 2015

Think about it.

Ebays gsp takes duty on ALL items and MOST are UNDER the recieving countries threshold- SO EBAY POCKETS IT.

How honest should we sellers remain under this 100% dishonest regime?

While I am getting screwed and ripped off as an HONEST seller I should be concerned that some receiving country gets its taxes from a buyer who can harm me because the platform may not "protect" me??
We are going to honest ourselves right out of our homes- while executives get paid 23 mill just to stay around 6 more months to screw me MORE.

The honesty of all of we sellers eventually is eroded by the regime we are forced to tolerate.

I will follow all the laws if the Post Office and ebay do too- when they track when they claim an item has tracking and refuse to scan at the counter- when no special deals between OUR usps and china put me at a disadvantage, when ebay takes duty under threshold and then acts like nothing is up- these countries buyers are not being honest with us, our Post Office has secret special deals with the Chinese and ebay- why should we be honest with them- we are at the disadvantage, and we are "unprotected" besides??
Where has the FTC been these last 7-8 years- with all of our reports- should we feel "protected" and loyal to the FTC?
WHO exactly SHOULD we be loyal to, without being stupid suckers??
MH

To Lie or Not to Lie,... on Customs Forms   To Lie or Not to Lie,... on Customs Forms

by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Mon Aug 24 09:28:02 2015

Like I tell customers, I don't know them so why would I send them a gift? I use endicia for postage which helps me set up a customs sticker easily and properly and enclose a packing slip with the cost paid on it. If I wanted to hide the cost of something, to send it as a gift, I would have to change my label to a non-business one, not have any packing slip with real numbers etc. And of course, it is against the law!

I've only run into irate customers a couple of times, one not because of how much she had to pay, but the hassle of going and getting it and paying what is due. another bought a very high priced designer pattern (something on the order of around $50) that I insured via endicia which does not mean you stamp 'insured' on the package. 'Insured' stamped on packages to me is just a flag for thieves that what is in the package is valuable - steal it. Anyhow it hit customs and before she was done it had cost her $80US in total and then she wrote a nastygram about it including the fact that it was so valuable and I hadn't insured it! Well I had at my own cost since insurance protects my wallet not the buyer's, and I never tell a customer since that to me is another flag (especially in the years prior to international tracking) to claim that something didn't show up and then I would have to get the insurance money and turn it over to them. A win-win situation for them! I never answered this woman back since as far as I was concerned, I had sent an insured package with a packing slip and customs label with the proper info on them. It is not my duty to instruct foreign customers on the details of the customs duty and VAT in their respective countries. I'm always surprised when I have bought something from overseas how rarely I get a customs charge.

I still ship internationally, include the packing slip and customs label and since I have no clue where they check these packages out for duty in small countries like the UK, for all I know, they may be vaguely be recognizing my packages at this point after sending many over the years. I think it might look funny if suddenly I was sending 'gifts'. Nevertheless, it is against the law and for that I won't do it, but I doubt if I would actually send anything terribly high priced internationally unless the customer really knows and understands the customs duty and VAT of their country.

To Lie or Not to Lie,... on Customs Forms   To Lie or Not to Lie,... on Customs Forms

by: Biglouis This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 24 10:43:25 2015

I buy many things in the USA including from sellers who dont ship international. There are dozens of companies who will provide non US residents with an authentic looking ''street'' address - actually a bay in their warehouse - to which items can be shipped. Thus the US seller does not know that the item is eventually going out of country. And as soon as the tracking shows it has been delivered to the buyers US address they are off the hook. I have been doing this for years.

My shipper will consolidate all the packages into one box and give me a great discount on courier prices so I can afford to Fedex it over to the UK.

Of course I still have to pay import VAT on the declared total of the merchandise. However most of these companies allow customers to do their own customs declaration. Needless to say I never declare the contents as a ''gift'' but always as merchandise.

To Lie or Not to Lie,... on Customs Forms   To Lie or Not to Lie,... on Customs Forms

This user has validated their user name. by: FEEbay

Mon Aug 24 15:23:31 2015

It gets old.. We put the standard Ebay blurb about not declaring a lower value, that it is the buyer's responsibility to pay Duty and Taxes, etc...etc  in each and every listing. However, not ONE DAY goes by without someone asking for the item to be sent as a gift or at a lower value.
When they ask, we just say NO. I am not risking my business so someone overseas can save a few bucks....no way. Problem is, like everything else, when the buyer gets mad and leaves bad feedback, YOU HAVE TO CALL EBAY TO HAVE IT REMOVED!It seems like we are on the phone with these clown CSR's EVERY SINGLE DAY now for one thing or another. This site has become UNTENABLE to do business on....period.
Folks, do yourselves a favor and start learning SEO and Google Analytics, and working on your own sites.
This is the ONLY way that you will ever regain control over your business, and YOUR business policies.


To Lie or Not to Lie,... on Customs Forms   To Lie or Not to Lie,... on Customs Forms

by: Gina E This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 25 13:12:16 2015

remember;
Martha Stewart didn't go to jail for insider trading, she went to jail for lying to a   federal officer! Is that worth the risk?!

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