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FastFreddy2

Apparelsave - US retailer

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FastFreddy2    216

It's been a while since I imported anything, excluding £5 worth of sintered diamond drills from China ....

For some reason I had remembered (incorrectly) anything under the value of £34/£35 didn't attract any form of duty. It doesn't if the item is sent as a gift, but retail purchases aren't gifts, and laws in the US have stiffened to be be quite punitive if retailers lie. (Which used to be quite common - I understand).

When Apparelsave offered an ankle boot with a minor blemish at £21 plus £5 delivery, and since I'd almost made a purchase of the same style when it was at the discounted price of £50/£60, I bought the boots.

While I wasn't overly happy at being (rightly) charged £5 VAT on the imported goods, I was completely frustrated at the £8-97 charge for 'processing' (paying) the £5 VAT charge. Highway robbery? Oh yeeees.

 

The boots were advertised as a UK8 and US9½ which I know Nine West can be. They are not however, they are at best a UK7½ and I think closer to a 7. They have a 5 inch heel, which is why I liked them, and how far would I usually walk in a 5 inch heel? I'm hoping that damp-ish feet, might help change the shape enough to allow my right foot to become comfortable in them. My left foot, which is slightly smaller, sits in the left boot quite happily. The right boot needs a little more effort. I've had this several times before, and I put it down to a toe that curves under another on my right foot. A bit extreme, but if I had a choice, I'd only have 4 toes on that foot. Honestly, I don't need 5 and that toe is going to cause me problems when I get older. (Get older? :rolleyes: :D)  

I think I might be keeping them, rather than selling them on an auction site.

 

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I would recommend Apparelsave.

Comms were not fast, as a query I had on another style took 3 days to get a reply, but I did get a reply.

The dispatch of my boots was fairly prompt, if the courier was not quick. At £5 for carriage, I'm happy with the delivery timescale. I'm not happy with the 'processing' charge though, as I can't see being more than the actual VAT being justifiable. That 'processing' fee might seem more acceptable if the purchase value was £100+ I suppose.  

 

Edited by FastFreddy2

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Puffer    204

I agree that the flat-rate 'clearance charge' is excessive and totally disproportionate when the item value is low.   I don't think the country of origin is relevant as the declaration is of interest mainly to the customs authority in the destination country.   That said, false 'gift' declarations may rebound and get dealt with under the local law, e.g. by the benevolent US regime in this case.

No duty is payable if the goods value (exc shipping) does not exceed £135, and in any event many items are not dutiable - I think footwear from US is exempt.   But VAT is chargeable if the value (goods plus shipping) exceeds £15, so you were rightly charged £5 on a £26 consignment.

My MJ boots (from Mexico) were marked as a gift and escaped VAT.   I believe that quite a lot of lower-value items (even if above £15) escape VAT simply because they are not detected on importation, but it must be a lottery.   I've bought several trivial items for a pound or three from China etc and they go through without any problem as the value for both duty and VAT is too low.   (How some of these Chinese sellers make a profit, I do not know - the postage alone is often almost as much as the purchase price.)

I like your boots; they are not dissimilar to my MJs (apart from the trim strap) and good for male street wear.   I hope you get them to fit better and can wear them outside as intended.

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FastFreddy2    216

In the great scheme of things, the VAT isn't and wasn't a problem, but the servicing fee was disproportionate in this instance.

When US exports were a bit more lax on the "gift" theme, I know of many instances where any Duty/VAT was unpaid, as you indicate. Where I've imported, I have always insisted the real value be declared for insurance purposes. How could I claim £400 compensation on a lens, if the exporter declared it as a £15 gift after all.

In the last 4 or 5 years there has been a growing reluctance in the willingness of US exporters to go along the 'gift' route though. I suspect a shift in the ITAR regulations has had a downstream effect on the gift procedure, and has thwarted the 'abuse' it once had. I'm told they go for jail sentences for people who break ITAR regs, over fining, and no retailer wants jail time in America. I've even noticed some retailers specifically mention they won't ship as "gift" in their T+C's. 

 

My leather M+S boots have loosened up over time, and I'm sure these will too, though how much time I spend walking around in 5 inch heels remains to be seen. I have another style already with a 5 inch heel, that I enjoy wearing, but they very definitely change how I walk. Not that I walk particularly badly, but I have a very obvious sway to my gait that makes me look like a girl wearing heels. It has drawn some attention in the past. :huh: 

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Puffer    204

The point about having the same declared value for duty/tax and for insurance etc is a good one.   I did not mention it before because I was assuming low value shipments which, if insurable (or eligible for compensation for loss/damage) at all, would probably be within minimum limits anyway.   But items of, say, £150 plus would be worth thinking about.   There was a major legal case some years ago when the importer was estopped from claiming full compensation when he had insured for the full value but had grossly under-declared the value for duty.

Whether or not (US) suppliers are really at serious risk when wrongly declaring shipments as 'gifts' is not something I can comment further on.   I'm sure that the primary reason that they profess not to do this is simply to present an honest front to the authorities; in Mandy Rice-Davies';s immor(t)al words: 'Well, they would, wouldn't they?'.   In the same vein, I note that many Chinese suppliers say clearly that they will send as 'gifts'.

I know what you mean regarding one's walk in 5" heels - although with my bigger feet I should manage it better than you.   Bow legs seem to be my problem (with consequential wear/displacement of the heel to one side).

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FastFreddy2    216
2 hours ago, Puffer said:

Whether or not (US) suppliers are really at serious risk when wrongly declaring shipments as 'gifts' is not something I can comment further on.   I'm sure that the primary reason that they profess not to do this is simply to present an honest front to the authorities; in Mandy Rice-Davies';s immor(t)al words: 'Well, they would, wouldn't they?'.   In the same vein, I note that many Chinese suppliers say clearly that they will send as 'gifts'.

Without going into too much detail .... Since this is a public forum ....

I was for a time, involved with a chap who said (though I have no hard evidence) that he was able to import goods without attracting 'attention' from anyone save himself on delivery. Since I was aware of his enterprise, I can say (subject to his telling the truth, which to be honest he seldom did) his orders were of the value of circa £1000 a month. Not a lot by way of sales in a large company, but quite a reasonable amount of business for a one-man band, and a single purchaser.

Referring back to ITAR, there came a time when not speaking the absolute truth became an issue which, and American retailer (not the same one) informed me that to NOT tell the truth, could land you with a 7 year jail sentence. Mindful margins in the US are significantly smaller than in the UK (say 30% vs 10%), there wasn't a great incentive to lie, unless an order with a value of 6 figures was made, and in those circumstances a completely different set of people would be involved. (Federal Departments looking at money laundering, for example.)

The Chinese on the other hand, are interested in getting foreign currency landed on China, so it can be spent buying up the world. (Which is exactly what they are doing.) The Chinese don't give a monkey's about UK taxes, (or indeed UK copyrights ....) Since I can't find my sintered diamond drills, I will be replacing them from China from where I will be shipped at least two items, for probably less than the postage. How is this possible? Ask the British Steel industry... :(   

 

 

2 hours ago, Puffer said:

I know what you mean regarding one's walk in 5" heels - although with my bigger feet I should manage it better than you.  Bow legs seem to be my problem (with consequential wear/displacement of the heel to one side).

You obviously haven't spent enough time, learning to mimic the girls on the Victoria's Secret catwalk.... ;) The secret (if you'll excuse the lazy pun) is to walk with one foot overstepping the other. To explain another way; Imagine your line of direction with two parallel lines perhaps 3 inches apart. The line on the right is for your left foot, the line on the left for your right foot. As you walk, left over-steps right, then right over-steps left. Bow-leggedness is hidden. I've not mastered it myself, and I expect too look like I need two new hips if ever I do, but it works for very highly paid models. ;) :P :D

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Puffer    204
7 hours ago, FastFreddy2 said:

...

You obviously haven't spent enough time, learning to mimic the girls on the Victoria's Secret catwalk.... ;) The secret (if you'll excuse the lazy pun) is to walk with one foot overstepping the other. To explain another way; Imagine your line of direction with two parallel lines perhaps 3 inches apart. The line on the right is for your left foot, the line on the left for your right foot. As you walk, left over-steps right, then right over-steps left. Bow-leggedness is hidden. I've not mastered it myself, and I expect too look like I need two new hips if ever I do, but it works for very highly paid models. ;) :P :D

I am aware of this mode of walking, which you describe well, and have tried it briefly - and awkwardly.   I can't say that it achieves anything useful.   It may disguise a tendency towards a bow-legged gait, but surely it does not stop the shoe/heel from hitting the ground at an angle and thus being susceptible to distortion or uneven wear?   And it must make the wearer look rather too feminine when walking, thus drawing attention that one is trying to minimise? 

This bloke:  https://www.youtube.com/user/loveheels7inches/videos adopts freestyle clothing and wears some impressive heels, and very openly in public too.   He seems to be able to walk very easily in them, with no obvious wobble or hesitation.   

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FastFreddy2    216
3 hours ago, Puffer said:

 And it must make the wearer look rather too feminine when walking, thus drawing attention that one is trying to minimise? 

 

Exactly. Perhaps I didn't make the humour in the suggestion obvious enough? ;) :D

Baggy trousers it is then? ;)

 

Are you aware of;

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More here.

"About" here.

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