Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Old Turkish Bizarre

Some of you probably think running a mail order business from home is a bit of a doddle. Yet every transaction has the potential to turn into a nightmare of worry and bad feedback, particularly the 30% which are sent abroad.

Take, for example, a recent shipment of heavy vintage photographic equipment to Turkey.

This weighed around 8kg and was not particularly valuable (around £25) so after much research we found the cheapest shipping cost which was by road transport across Europe for £35. The customer duly paid and the courier collected.

A few weeks later the courier company rang to say the goods were at a customs warehouse in Turkey and the customer had refused to collect them. Several emails later it transpired that the Turkish Customs would not release the goods without payment of £60 import duty which only applies to road imports - if it had gone in by air freight there would have been no duty at all.

Reluctantly we had to refund the customer his payment for goods and shipping costs and asked the courier not to expend another £35 returning the goods because of their low value.

Yesterday we received a bill for £45 from the courier which Turkish customs had charged for "destroying" the goods.

13 comments:

Z said...

EBay is a slightly dirty word in this house at present. I'll steer the Sage clear of Turkey, particularly over Christmas.

Scarlet Blue said...

I feel your pain. And will make a note to be careful if ever sending calligraphy abroad.
Sx

Rog said...

Z: He hasn't gone vegetarian has he?

Scarlet: You could always send it with a note.

Z said...

We beef it up over Christmas. Or sometimes I cook his goose.

Mike and Ann said...

I think I'll stick to the more traditional ways of selling antiques.

Nota Bene said...

If they don't get you one way, they'll get you another...

Rog said...

Z: He was nearly stuffed when you found the bidding error.

Mike & Ann: I think you are probably logical, particularly in matters horological.

Nota: Yes it's Catch 23 alright!

gabriellebryden said...

I wouldn't think it a doddle - I have difficulty sending Christmas cards once a year ;) 45 pound to destroy it - wonder what they use (dynamite!).

Magwitch said...

By "destroying" I guess you mean a customs official took the stuff home and probably sold it on to your customer for a slightly reduced price.

And of course HMRC will be happy for you to reclaim the VAT and post this (pun intended) as a legitimate business expense - as if!

Rog said...

Gabrielle: It was worth more dead than alive - like so many popular singing stars :-(

Magwitch: Hey...welcome back! Perceptive and spot on as usual!

letouttoplay said...

I think running a mail order business must require lots of methodical discipline and efficiency and that doddling would lead swiftly to disaster. And I'll make a mental note never to send anything to Turkey.

Pat said...

'Some of you probably think running a mail order business from home is a bit of a doddle.'
Not this gal. I only have to see the weary queues at the P.O. in the Coop to be frightened off getting rid of excess books to Amazon.

Rog said...

Mig: It's not all bad! And it only applied to very heavy stuff sent overland.

Pat: I'm no stranger to Weary Queues!