One of the most frustrating aspects of buying from China is the uncertainty of duty and clearance costs.

Who must pay these costs? We discussed this in this blog too.
Follow this link: Who pays for custom clearance?

Now Lightinthebox and Miniinthebox offer an elegant way to solve this discussion!

What are these Custom Duty, sales taxes and Clearance costs?

In all the countries I know there is some kind of sales tax. On all the products you buy in this country, some percentage of the sales price will go to the government. No matter if you like this or not. In Europe the sales taxes are around 20 percent.

No more duty costs

When you import a product yourself, these taxes are levied when the product enters your countries borders. Most of the times there is some free amount that you are allowed to import (In Europe €22, around $24). If the total value is above this amount your customs will levy the sales taxes.

Above the sales taxes are duty costs. These costs are levies by countries to protect their own market. They don’t want to be flooded by cheap products… So on all products there is some kind of percentage for duty costs. This is often above a certain amount (In Europe €150, around $170). The percentage is unclear. This depends on the kind of products you order.

Third are the clearance costs. These costs are levied by you postal office or company. To handle all the inconveniences of these taxes, they add another 10 to 15 bucks. This is called service L.

To know what the costs are in your country, please refer to your countries customs or check a site as DutyCalculator.com (I’ve no connections with this site, just an example).

Why must YOU pay these costs?

These costs are levied in YOUR country. That’s why you must pay them.

Most Chinese stores have a disclaimer that you cannot hold them for these costs.

It’s just a gamble.

You never know whether your parcel will be checked by your customs. There is so many parcel traffic, they cannot check all the packages. Sometimes your package will enter your country with no problem, sometimes you must pay the bill.

And you can imagine this is a real dumper. Having bought a great product, for a great price… And then paying an extra 20%, 30% maybe 40% at your doorstep.

There are many ways to avoid these costs. In my course I cover a whole training session on this subject alone.

Lightinthebox and MiniInTheBox came with a solution

This week I was ordering some products at MiniInTheBox (the little brother of Lightinthebox). These companies used to have a disclaimer, saying you must pay for the clearance costs and taxes.

But now they have a new elegant solution!

Lightinthebox pays the duty costsWhen you are at the check out page, you will find a check box to get insurance for the duty and taxes. This is their offer:

If you buy Duty & Tax Insurance and your package is charged additional duties and taxes upon delivery, please contact our Customer Service and we will compensate the duty and tax you have paid

The extra amount is around 4% of the total price. Lightinthebox must have calculated that most parcel will not be charged at the borders, and with this insurance fee they can cover the parcels that are charged.

For me this is a great solution. The uncertainty that I must pay another 50 to 60 bucks on a $200 order was a reason not to order some products. If I can have a guarantee that my order will be no more than $208 (total value + 4% insurance). This will be a no brainer for me.

So, hat off to Lightinthebox and MiniIntheBox to come with this solution!

Disclaimer: I haven’t tested it yet, and I don’t know how fast Lightinthebox or Miniinthebox will send you your money back in case this happens. Second maybe there are other Chinese stores too, that offer this service, but I haven’t seen it yet.

My Question for you

Have you ever dealt with customs duty yourself
and would you welcome a service like this for your future purchases?

Please write you comment down in the comment box below.

Wishing you safe purchases!

Bastiaan.

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    19 replies to "Lightinthebox pays the Custom Duty!"

    • Evodia Mpuru

      Hi Batiaan

      I bought goods at Light in the Box.com and they responded by saying Shipping

      What does shipping means?

      • Bastiaan

        Hi Evodia, it means your products are somewhere between China and your home. I hope you got them by now?

    • ABEL AUGUSTO PAIVA (PORTUGAL)

      HELLO

      I HAVE A PROBLEM BECAUSE PORTUGUESE COSTUM ASK FOR AN INVOICE WITH EVERYTHINK DETAILED . EVERY PRODUCT AND CORRESPONDENT PRICE PLUS THE SHIPPING PRICE .
      COSTUM REFUSE A PRINT OF THE ORDER I GOT FROM INTERNET I THINK BECAUSE THEE IS NO INDICATION OF THE DATA FROM THE SAILING COMPANY

      LIGHTINTHEBOX SEEMS NOT UNDERSTAND THAT AND NEVER SEND THE INVOICE LIKE AN EUROPEAN COMPANY
      THE MOST EXPENSIVE ITEM COSTS AROUND 17.00 EUROS
      IS MY ORDER NUMBER 6 I HAVE ALREADY IN ANOTHER ORDER PAYED SOME TAXES BUT THEY NEVER ASKED FOR AN INVOICE
      ANYWAY I’M OBLIGED TO RETURN THE PACKAGE FOR CHINA OR I PAY EVERYDAY STORAGE
      COULD YOU HELP ME ?

      • Bastiaan

        It seems the Portugese customs doesn’t trust the parcel or the added prices. Why not send them the invoice?
        I hope this is solved?

    • STEFANY

      is this still available? to which countries does it work?

      • Bastiaan

        Hi Stefany,
        Yes it’s still available. Just Checked. But I cannot find if it is limited to some countries. I saw some other sites that only offer this service to European Union countries. You’ll find this option when you check out just before you pay. So you can check it yourself with no harm. Please let us know if it works and what country you live in. Good luck.
        Bastiaan

        • Stefany

          Hello Bastiaan,
          thanks for your answer. That’s a great info that i couldn’t find in any other website, sad that this option doesn’t work for Brazil.

          • Bastiaan

            Too bad… Maybe you can send them a request?

        • Floris

          What other websites are you talking about? And does AliExpress, wish, DHgate, GEEK, offers this option to avoid import taxes?

          • Bastiaan

            The sites you mention are markets. You do not deal with one company but with independent sellers. So, probably no, they will not pay the taxes.

      • Luke

        Received a letter from TNT courier company around 2 weeks after my items had arrived asking for import tax payment. I had taken out shipping insurance with miniinthebox (same company). I contacted them with a photograph of the letter and they, without any hassle reimbursed the amount, which I transferred into my PayPal account. Very impressed with the service and how quickly it was dealt with.

        From the UK.

        • Bastiaan

          Hi Luke,
          That’s the way it should be! Great to hear.

    • Brian

      Would just like to say that it works!!
      Tried it 2 times. Their homepage is very easy to use.

    • Libuseng

      wow, I will try next week to see if this really works because I buy at lightinthebox and eventhough im satisfied with the quality of their good, im always discouraged by vat and customs duty, i hope this works! i will be back with feedback

      • Bastiaan

        Lightinthebox is one of my favs too. Let us know how it works for you.
        Thanks!

    • Terna Daniel

      Thank you very much for the info. Pls can you do a course on hot in demand products.

      • Bastiaan

        You’re welcome. What do mean exactly with a course for hot in demand products?

    • victor

      M in Nigeria. Do they operate in Nigeria too??

      • Bastiaan

        Please go to the check out page and find out. I cannot do this for you from where i live.
        Good luck

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