I think this is the most frustrating part when you buy something from oversea.

You paid the products and you paid for shipping. And a week later the postman rings your door bell with the question to pay another amount of money.

I’m sorry, he says, but you need to pay for duty costs, sales taxes and clearance costs.

And there goes your happy feeling, replacing with a bad taste of being screwed…

Custom duty and sales taxes are levied by your country’s customs. And for the handling of these costs, the expedition company asks another amount. They call these clearance costs. These costs arise in your country because of the legislation in your country.


Is there anything you can do about it?


Almost nothing!

Sales taxes are levied above a certain amount of the total value of your purchases. In Europe this is 22 Euro. Custom duties are levied above 150 Euro. Clearance costs are only levied when the shipping company must administrate these costs for you.

For the exact amounts that apply in your country, I need to refer you to your country’s customs. Google them with the terms: ‘Your country name’ and ‘import taxes’

The easiest way to avoid these costs is to order your products in smaller amounts. Especially when you order with free shipping this is very well possible.

For example. When you want to buy multiple pieces of clothing, divide this order in multiple packages. If you can lower the total value of each package to 22 Euro. You pay no taxes or duty at all.


Do you always have to pay for these costs?

Randomly yes or no.

The strange thing with these costs is that they are levied at random. Most packages get passed the customs with no problem. There are so many small packages that transferred world wide, that most customs test these packages at random. If your package is selected and the total value is above the appropriate amounts of money. They will send you a fee for this.


Why does the Chinese store doesn’t pay for these costs?

The answer is simple. They don’t have to. The Chinese store sells the product in China. It’s your customs that levies the taxes. So if any costs are involved for clearance, the Chinese store does not bear responsibility. You can read this in the terms and conditions a Chinese store has at the bottom of their web page.


SheIn – an exception to the general rule

SheInIn the last few years many new online Chinese stores popped up. They sell niche products, give huge discounts, free shipping. Anything to gain you as a new customer. And so does Sheinside.

Sheinside is a Chinese store for the trendy lady. With categories like dresses, tops, bottoms, shoes, jewelry and accessories they have a great collection to dress you up.

Exclusive deal Sheinside

But it is not the clothing why I like to mention them today.

SheIn offers to pay the duty and taxes (in Europe)

This is what SheIn writes on their site:

 When you shopped on Sheinside website, there is no VAT (Value Added Tax) or any other tax you need to pay. The price you saw on each products is the final price you need to pay. When your order shipped and arrived EU member states, Sheinside will do the customs clearance, and pay the VAT tax. Therefor, the package will be directly shipped to your door, and you do not need to pay any VAT or duty.

I haven’t seen this on any other site before. It should be an example to all the other Chinese stores that declare you must pay for these taxes. (And in fact they are right you must pay it. But you don’t want to be confronted with these costs afterwards)


SheIn offers free shipping above US$ 30

freeshipping300Another great advance SheIn has, is the flat rate or even free shipping costs. Sheinside offers free shipping above US$ 30. Below this you pay a flat fee from 6 up to 15 dollars depending on your country. Well, you’d better order for at least 30 bucks and have free shipping, than pay another 15 for your order of 25 dollars.

If you order above US$ 99 Sheinside offers even free express shipping for fast delivery.


Less frustrations on the shipping process!

Sheinside distinguishes themselves from other Chinese stores by taking away two of the main frustrations from buying in China: high shipping costs and unexpected of unwanted sales and duty costs.

Last question to you

Avoiding sales taxes, low shipping costs, high discounts. It almost sounds too good to be true. The main questions is: Are their products worth the money?

I really like to know if you have experience with SheIn. What did you buy? Are you satisfied with your products. Please write it down in the comment box below.

 This is it. Don’t forget to press the like button and share this blog!

CU next time!



Founder of StartBuyingInChina. It all started as an hobby. I liked to categorize the few Chinese stores I knew. After 6 years over 150 blogs were published. I created a wonderful online course about Safe buying online in China, and served over 1.000.000 people. Thank you for being here!

    1 Response to "Who pays for Custom Clearance?"

    • ChuckP

      My wife ordered some products at Sheinside a while ago. No problems as I remember.

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