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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I bought two winter clothing items of from a UK a UK retailer. Right now they are "held" at New York customs for since about 2 weeks ago. Getting any info from USPS/Customs/ParcelForce is to no avail.

So my question is where does the responsibility lie with items getting stuck in customs, the buyer or seller?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sorry I didn't mean taxes, I understand that the buyer would pay that. But I was told it would be normal for packages to take a month or longer to clear customs. Possibly 4-8 weeks before you even get a customs letter.

Considering they are winter specific items, that would suck.
 

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Since the items are in

US customs, then I don't know what you wold expect the shipper to do? Recourse would be to leverage whatever you can in the US to free up the merchandise. A b*mb threat isn't wise no matter how much you want your stuff. Maybe a call to some of your representative politicians?

Do the math: if you shipped a box of X to the UK and the British Customs held it up, you'd certainly understand there's nothing you could do (in the US) to speed things up, it becomes the issue of the host country/recipient.

Jim
 

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Ah, sometimes my former career comes in handy. I'm a licensed US Customs broker (although not in the biz for the last 8 years).

All shipments go through Customs, of course. Realistically few get held up beyond the declaration, which technically is the importer of record's responsibility, Customs does do detailed spot checks of the merchandise and/or documentation/declaration. Until Customs releases such a held shipment everyone else is powerless, even getting actual status can be difficult simply due to the huge volume of imports into the US (and the secretive nature of police work).

Responsibility is determined by the terms of sale. If the shipper has sold you the goods on a delivered to your door basis, he usually arranges the declaration and clearance and pays for all costs including duties/taxes (unless he has specified he is not responsible for those, or other specific costs such as the Customs clearance or delivery beyond port of arrival, etc). The carrier/shipping company often stands in as importer of record in such cases to make it easiest on the buyer. If the goods are of a certain type or sufficient value, the procedure goes from an informal one to a formal one and you the buyer may need to get involved even if the shipper is responsible for the charges.

It's hard to know what the problem is with yours but clothing sometimes takes on certain problems documentation-wise due to country of origin (as opposed to country of export or sale). We have some weird laws and requirements on the books once intended to protect US industry, but now it serves the bureaucracy more than anything else.

I can only advise you to be patient, you really have no rights under Customs law to demand much of anything until they release it....
 

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As Bikinfoolferlife has stated, the clearance is determined by the terms of the sale, usually reffered to as Incoterms. In this case, if the vendor charged your for freight or used their freight carrier (or postal service), they will be responsible for customs clearance.

Most likely there will be no duties or taxes, however, as stated above, clothing is especially tricky and cotton of all things, can be the worst of all.

Good news is this, since the vendor is responsible to have the order shipped to your door, you can get your money back if they can't show proof of delivery....
 

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bloodyknee said:
As Bikinfoolferlife has stated, the clearance is determined by the terms of the sale, usually reffered to as Incoterms. In this case, if the vendor charged your for freight or used their freight carrier (or postal service), they will be responsible for customs clearance.

Most likely there will be no duties or taxes, however, as stated above, clothing is especially tricky and cotton of all things, can be the worst of all.

Good news is this, since the vendor is responsible to have the order shipped to your door, you can get your money back if they can't show proof of delivery....
Ahh, good ol' (or rather fairly new) Incoterms...but then you should know freight charges alone don't have a lot to do with Customs clearance. All moot since likely shipper and buyer didn't actually discuss any terms...but assume these are DDP or DDU as that's most likely. Here's a nice chart of basic terms FWIW http://www.iccwbo.org/uploadedfiles/Bookstore/IncotermsExImportBM2008.pdf?terms=ddp

Just curious, what background do you have to need Incoterms? Whole lot of people I dealt with who did lots of international trade never even heard of them...
 

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Director of Transportation and Logistics for the North American operations of an IT integrator, service provider and consulting firm (US, Canada & Mexico). I have a dept underneath me that is dedicated to import/export compliance. We ship about 500 orders internationally a month. Not a huge international volume (our domesitc is about 120,000 shipments/mo), but enough to get yourself in trouble if your not careful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the replies, I appreciate it. Here is the latest update, so I'm probably not being patient enough...

Inbound Into Customs
Inbound International Arrival, December 14, 2008, 9:23 am, ISC NEW YORK NY(USPS)
Foreign International Dispatch, December 10, 2008, 9:51 pm, COVENTRY PARCELFORCE, GREAT BRITAIN
Origin Post is Preparing Shipment
Foreign Arrival at Outward Office, December 09, 2008, 10:22 pm, COVENTRY PARCELFORCE, GREAT BRITAIN
Foreign Acceptance, December 09, 2008, 2:36 pm, GREAT BRITAIN
 

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You;re probably right. It took about 10 business days to recieve my order from GB. Mine routed through Kansas City on the way to Dallas. FYI, the delivery requires a signature, or at least in my case it did.
 

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helexia23 said:
Thanks for the replies, I appreciate it. Here is the latest update, so I'm probably not being patient enough...

Inbound Into Customs
Inbound International Arrival, December 14, 2008, 9:23 am, ISC NEW YORK NY(USPS)
Foreign International Dispatch, December 10, 2008, 9:51 pm, COVENTRY PARCELFORCE, GREAT BRITAIN
Origin Post is Preparing Shipment
Foreign Arrival at Outward Office, December 09, 2008, 10:22 pm, COVENTRY PARCELFORCE, GREAT BRITAIN
Foreign Acceptance, December 09, 2008, 2:36 pm, GREAT BRITAIN
I thought you said two weeks? This is the second working day...
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Bikinfoolferlife said:
I thought you said two weeks? This is the second working day...
Sorry, meant from when I ordered it. The only things which is stressing me out is I've ordered the same thing a few times before and have gotten it in a couple days.

The Company is great, I just have never had to deal with customs before. All my other packages did not say Inbound Into Customs.

So I guess my original question should have been who has to deal with customs when a problem arises.
 

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helexia23 said:
Sorry, meant from when I ordered it. The only things which is stressing me out is I've ordered the same thing a few times before and have gotten it in a couple days.

The Company is great, I just have never had to deal with customs before. All my other packages did not say Inbound Into Customs.

So I guess my original question should have been who has to deal with customs when a problem arises.
You probably won't have to deal with Customs this time, but if they do want to hear from you they'll let you know. Let the postal service do their thing....you spent far more time waiting for them to ship your order than Customs is taking...
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Well it's official, I'm impatient.

On Route to Customer, December 16, 2008, 9:04 pm
Out of Customs, December 16, 2008, 7:28 pm
 

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Lets hope my carbon fork is sprung from the clutches of Customs soon...

Inbound International Arrival, December 13, 2008, 9:32 am, ISC NEW YORK NY(USPS)

Not that I'm going to be riding any time soon with all the rain we've been having here.:mad:
 

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I am in the same situation, I bought some brakes from UK (Merlins) and it's been sitting in LAX customs since Blackfriday. I order from UK in the previous years, it typically only stay in Customs for 24hrs. I'm not sure if policy had changed or what.

edit: oops, i replied to a 10yr old thread. :madman:
 

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I am in the same situation, I bought some brakes from UK (Merlins) and it's been sitting in LAX customs since Blackfriday. I order from UK in the previous years, it typically only stay in Customs for 24hrs. I'm not sure if policy had changed or what.

edit: oops, i replied to a 10yr old thread. :madman:
I had that problem with Merlins too. I never had that issue with CRC.
 

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I bought a dropper from CRC a few weeks ago, cleared right away. Then I bought a remote from CRC. It's been sitting in NY since Nov 30th, still in NY on the day it was supposed to be delivered to me in Atlanta. But I think it might be an issue with the USPS rather than customs as they show it "in transit".
 

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Not an expert here, but I have ordered quite a few bike parts/accessories from the UK in the past. The delay through customs was highly variable. Most often just a couple of days but there were times it was 10 or even 15 days. I saw no discernible pattern. If it's something I need sooner rather than later, I'll try not to order internationally.
 
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