Customs declaration

One more post… I’d appreciate it if you could declare items to their full value (and not as gift), at least when shipping to Switzerland.

I got hit with outlandish fees that were a multiple of duties payable.

Thank you in advance!


I would personally prefer to keep shipping items as gift, it made me save a lot of money. Thanks! :wink:

In some countries customs scans every package (even those sent as registered or unregistered mail) above a certain weight/size.

In many countries (i.e. EU) there are no custom duties on most products sold by Seedstudio. For this in most cases only import tax (usually the same as VAT) applies to shipments from China or Hong Kong. Most professionals and companies are excempted from VAT and import tax when purchasing goods. So they must pay import tax they can deduct it in their monthly VAT declaration (effectively not paying it).

Some private buyers don’t want to cheat customs for various reasons - one being that if you have no custom declaration/shipping list and a matching invoice included customs will charge you far more than if the papers are correct!

Since import tax usually doesn’t matter to professionals/companies and some private people don’t want to run the risk of getting into trouble with customs I suggest that Seedstudio offers their customers an option to have the orders shipped as

a) gifts (like it seems to be the standard procedure tody) OR
b) commercial goods and includes 3 copies each of a
- shipping list showing each item and the quantity in the shippment and a matching
- commercial invoice with an international custom code and the actual price for each item

when they place their orders.

The last three orders/shipments to arrive this year have been put on hold by
customs here in Germany. Full import/customs procedures were required and
the last shipment got completely stuck at customs now for following reasons:

  1. the shipment contains no commercial invoice and no shipping list!
  2. the shipments contains no paper/imformation about the order # at/from Seeed
  3. the address of the sender is not Seeedstudio but some address in Hong Kong

For above reasons customs does not accept the printouts of the Seeedstudio
order form and product descriptions (with pictures) from the Seeedstudio
online shop I presented when attempting to collect the shipment!

Customs has informed me that the only way to clear the shipment and to get
it through customs will be an official custom validation process that is aimed
at establishing the exact custom code and value for each item. The process
can take up to one year and the cost can be up to US$ 3000 for each item.
The cost will not be reimbursable (like import tax), so it would be tax detuctable
for a commercial entity (company etc.).

I will try to talk to a different custom officer next week (after easter) and
hope that I will somehow succeed in convincing them to accept the printouts
of the invoice and product descriptions from Seeedstudios online shop.
However, it seems to become impossible to import anything that is declared
as a gift and shipped to a company in Germany but does not contain proper
commercial shipping papers that list the contents and the value of each item
including the standardized (international) custom code!

Because of this development I urge Seeed to consider my above suggestion
and provide a choice of gift or commercial shipment when placing an order.
The trouble and possible expenses I am facing now make further orders from
my side very unlikely unless an option for commercial shipping will be made available.

P.S. This is not an April 1st fool joke :wink:

We are sorry to see the trouble from this, but custom are quite different in each country… Please comment while you are placing order about the requirements, we will support as much as possible. Thank you so much for the feedback and suggestion!

I also prefer the way it’s been done so far. I’m amazed no other company has had the foresight to scale the customs taxing to a more reasonable limit.
I consider it an extra display of customer service. For every 3 orders I place, I save enough to place another order.
Which is personally what I prefer to do.

I just received a package from Seeedstudion this morning. It was declared as Gift with a value of USD 6. There were no customs fees, the package was not opened either.

For Switzerland for packages valued less than CHF66 (ca USD 57) the import duty is waived. Otherwise you pay the VAT (7.6%) on the total value of the shipment (including shipping costs) and a handling fee of ca $15. This is for properly declared shipments. If the shipment is held, because it is not properly declared (missing invoice) then additional delays and fees apply. I suppose customs check suspicious, as ‘gift’ declared packages occasinally and hold them if they think the declaration is wrong.

I suppose, if I ask when ordering Seeedstudio could declare the shipment properly, instead of declaring it as gift.

After talking with Seeed, we have established a simple procedure for proper declaration of registered mail shipments that works well for Germany:

  1. When placing the order I enter the requirements into the comment field:
    • declare contents with real value/total amount of invoice on the custom slip/form and mark as commercial shipment
    • include 2 copies of the invoice
  2. When I receive notification from the postal service here in Germany to collect the shipment at the customs office I
    • fill out the custom declaration slip that’s attached to the notification (including the proper tax codes for the items)
    • take copies of the Paypal payment and the Seeedstudio order confirmation eMails and a screenshot of the invoice/order from the Seeedstudio online shop “My Account Information” --> “Previous Orders” and collect the shipment at the customs office - as a company you need a custom ID number (Zollnummer) as well.

No more problems since we established this procedure - most if not all items I have ordered from Seeed so far have no customs fee anyway, only import tax (19% for Germany atm).

Again, many thanks to Eric & Fan for their cooperation! :slight_smile: