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Advice Around charges from a courier company


bensonby
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Usual disclaimer noted - can I have some advice please from anyone who has experience with getting things delivered from abroad?

My other half has recently ordered some good from the USA which total about $700, the order appears to have been split down into smaller component parts at $334 worth of goods have arrived in the country and are now down the local depot of a courier firm (big international courier firm). With the "while you were out" card also came an invoice for the tax due. Obviously, we have no problem paying tax because that is a legal requirement: what I do have an issue with is that they have seen fit to impose a handling fee/brokerage surcharge. Googling this fee it seems that it is their fee for paying the tax on our behalf before charging us for it. Frankly, I feel that this is a bit of a cheek - we have entered into no contract with the courier company, our contract is only with the seller. We didn't ask the courier company to pay anything on our behalf and feel that the amount being asked for is a bit steep for merely a "handling fee" etc.

Do people reckon this fee is legally enforceable? I'm minded to go down to the depot and offer to pay the tax amount but not the fee and to suggest that if they want to pursue me/my mrs for the fee then they can take me to a small claims court.

Also, my reading of the postal services act 2000 (ss.83-84 and s.104) is that they cannot refuse to release the item as that would delay the post (ss.83-84) which would be a criminal offenece and they are not allowed to hold goods in lien of payment (s.104).

Does anyone have any experience of these charges? Am I correct in my understanding of the law? Does anyone have any suggestions? Or should I just swallow it and pay the charge (also, bearing in mind that these charges will probably be multiplied several times as the supplier appears to have split the order)?

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My understanding of contract law is that they might be able to claim as a third party- if the contract between you and the seller can be seen to confer a benefit to the third party they can make a claim- I'd take it up with the seller, review all your contract thoroughly and then work out what would cost you less- letting them take you to court or just paying the extra cost- pay whatever costs less. There's always a chance that if you challenge them they'll let you off.

I'm sure someone will be along with the standard disclaimer soon but that applies for me too :p

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Did your other half pay by paypal? That's an item not received if ever I heard one.

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she paid by credit card: obviously there is an option of raising a dispute and asking the bank to withhold payment. I have another issue in that she paid for the goods and paid a (hefty) amount for the item to be delivered and it is unfair, if not made clear in the contract, to require extra unannounced fees: it should have been covered in the money already paid to have it delivered.

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I've got quite a bit of experience of paying these fees, which are grossly overinflated (even over 10 years ago it was more than a tenner with Parcel Force - dunno what it is these days?) - I've also got experience of being ****ed off by them, but unfortunately no experience of actually challenging them... I always just paid, accepting it was standard practice.

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what is the most annoying thing is that the order appears to be split up into several (perhaps as many as 6) different parcels. If it was one "handling fee" I'd probably grumble and say to pay it - if it is 6 it would be an outrage.

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If i was cynical, I might suggest that this was done intentionally to extort more money from people...

... Oh, that's right. I am cynical.

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When you purchased these items you entered into an agreement between you (A) and the seller (B). B said they would send you the products. I assume they did not add that they would use a courier company © and that they may impose terms and conditions.

B has promised you the goods and send them to you when you have paid. If B has used a courier then C should claim their expenses off of B. That is because you have not employed them or asked them to carry out any work on your behalf, i.e. deliver the product.

So in answer: you have nothing to pay, it's the seller that does - unless, of course, they added clauses into their agreement with you (which I doubt they did).

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Why not just say to them that you'll pay if they can show you the small print etc that backs up their charge?

You never know they might just forget about it...

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