A Little Moan About… Import Duty and Delivery Charges

I know there are many that wont sympathise with me at all on this one but I’m still going to have a damn good moan about ridiculous Import Duty and Delivery charges none the less.


A Knock at the Door – It’s Some Import Duty and Delivery Charges….

So a couple of weeks ago I ordered a new 3D printer. I won’t go into naming any names as I’m not here to blame anyone or shame anyone. I just wanted to let off some steam.

It is a relatively new design of 3D printer that comes with a few extras thrown in with it. Unfortunately I couldn’t find anywhere in England that stocked it at the time so I went ahead and ordered from a website selling stuff directly from China, where it’s made.

Well yesterday I had a knock at the door from a delivery person holding a large brown goody box in his hands. I opened the window and looked out and the friendly chap stood at the door immediately informed me it was a cash on collection delivery. I said “okay, no problem, how much?” Well I nearly fell out of the window I was leaning out of when he said “£39”.

“How much??” I replied, utterly gob-smacked. “I don’t think so” I said as I recovered from the stunning I’d just received.

So I pretty much turned him away and asked him to return it as it just wasn’t worth the cost.


Why Such High Import Duty and Delivery Charges?

So at this point, some of you are thinking, what a tosser. Why not just pay the £40 and be done with it and enjoy a nice shiny new 3D printer toy?

Well first let me just explain that the value of this 3D printer is £160 so effectively I am being expected to pay a further 25% on top of what I’ve already paid. And secondly, last year when I ordered my Oscilloscope costing almost £300 from China, I was only charged around £15 by the same delivery company and that included having the package opened by customs to check the contents – which included a nice little official sticker on the back of the package stating that it had been opened and checked.


So What’s Your Point – Ignorance is No Excuse??

I accept that ignorance is no excuse and that it is my responsibility to check what I need to do and pay prior to ordering from places like China. But in my defense, I had previously ordered a fully functioning and assembled electronic item worth almost £300 so I really wasn’t expecting an item that’s basically a box of parts costing half as much to end up costing twice as much for shipping / customs or whatever. It just defies all logic to me.

I mean it’s not even a 3D printer until I physically assemble it into one. It’s a kit or basically a box of parts. Am I being pedantic and splitting hairs? I really don’t think so.

I honestly and truly don’t understand how they arrived at the figure of £40 to be paid on delivery and I’m not just playing dumb here.

In terms of ordering from China, I really mainly only ever order small stuff. Components, modules etc. Stuff that normally comes in small envelopes or packets by regular mail – without additional charges attached. The only big, high value items I’ve ever ordered or had experience ordering from Mainland China are my Oscilloscope and this 3D printer so excuse me for being a little naive here.


What to do Next….?

Someone is ultimately going to get shafted in this scenario and I guess it’s going to have to be me.

It’s not fair of me to reject the item and put the seller through crap because the UK has some greedy system that likes to milk everyone it can, every way it can. And it isn’t fair to expect the delivery company to take the blame either since they are just doing their job (assuming the costs are fair and just). So I’m just going to have to suck it up and pay up – begrudgingly and reluctantly of course.

I know one thing. This will be the last time I order large and relatively expensive items from outside of the UK. Once bitten and all that.

A few months ago I purchased a perfectly reasonable Prusa I3 Pro-B Ebay Clone from eBay that came from the UK and performs quite well. I knew shortly after ordering this new 3D printer that I should have just ordered another one from eBay. I just had this horrible gut feeling.

Oh well, we live and learn. Time to get the wallet out again………


In the meantime, perhaps some kind individual could explain to me how the figure of £40 was arrived at. It might make me feel better if I understood and could justify it.

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