Fall September Special
Wholesale & eBay Forum Importing & Customs Dropshipping from China and import/customs fees

Dropshipping from China and import/customs fees


bsavastio
Full Member
  • Posts: 6
  • Joined: 18 Jan 17
  • Karma:
24 Jan 17 04:41:07 pm
Hello, I have been selling on eBay for two years now and am trying to shift my store to a drop shipping model due to space limitations for inventory. I have found a supplier in China via this SaleHoo directory who I would like to work with, but I am extremely confused about import/customs fees. I have read through this community forum quite extensively and I see statements like "the buyer will have to pay the customs fees" but I am baffled as to how that would work. For example, say my buyer orders a dress from my store, and I place the order for the dress from my supplier in China and I give my supplier the address of my buyer. The supplier charges me $15 shipping and ships the dress to my buyer. This shipping fee would have already been listed on my store, so it would be covered by my buyer. Ok, then what happens? The postman shows up at my buyer's door demanding customs/import fees? I don't understand how it physically works or who would be asking my buyer for these additional import fees. How exactly, and when, would these fees be charged, and from whom? Generally I will be drop shipping one item at a time to individual buyers. On my supplier's website, they have different shipping methods to choose from such as ePacket, etc., with the corresponding shipping fees, and no mention of any import/customs fees. Thanks in advance to anyone who can clear this up for me.


fudjj
Site Admin
  • Posts: 6305
  • Joined: 27 Jul 07
  • Karma:
24 Jan 17 07:51:37 pm
Hi Rebecca and welcome to the forum,

Customs are the ones who impose and collect any applicable import duties, so if a product comes into the country owing any duties, it doesn't get past Customs until they are paid. As you have identified, it's the buyer that is subject to the applicable duties, not you as the seller. As far as Customs are concerned in regards to any applicable import duties, as a drop-shipper, you play no role at all. They see it as a transaction between the sender and the receiver only.

Supplier's can't list import duties on their products because every country has different import duty thresholds, so in some cases a product can be sent to one country with no import duty applied by Customs, where it may incur that duty in another country. So suppliers aren't in a position to be able to calculate any duties on their products, that responsibility falls to the drop-shipper to ensure that their buyer is informed.

Now I keep using the term "applicable import duties" and I do that because of thresholds. Not everything that is imported is subject to any import duty. In fact most drop-shipped items come into countries well under any import duty thresholds, so it's not an issue at all. What you need to do is clarify the import duty duty and any restrictions that may impact on products you intend to sell with what ever country/s you intend on marketing in.

Then you should clearly identify any issues that may occur for interested buyers before they make the purchase so they can be forewarned, If there is no issues, then you have nothing to warn any perspective buyer about :)


Mark (fudjj)

Community Manager
SaleHoo.com

Link hidden: Login to view

bsavastio
Full Member
  • Posts: 6
  • Joined: 18 Jan 17
  • Karma:
24 Jan 17 08:19:53 pm
Thank you Mark, so are you saying that a customs officer would call or write to my buyer to ask them for the fee before it gets shipped? I am still confused as to exactly the mechanics of how my buyer on Ebay would go about paying for the customs. What I'm ultimately getting at is that I would not want my end buyer knowing I am dropshipping. So how would I avoid my end buyer knowing that? And even if they had to know, how would they physically pay for the customs fee and to whom would they pay it?


fudjj
Site Admin
  • Posts: 6305
  • Joined: 27 Jul 07
  • Karma:
25 Jan 17 12:50:13 am
Yes, once a package has import tax applicable, then the customer is advised and payment is sought. There is no way of the buyer finding out anything other than what is on the package itself.

This is where you have to be careful how you advertise things, making sure you list where the product is being sent from, not just from where you are located, because customers can react very negatively to that sort of deception.

Will that give away the fact that it's a drop-shipped product, well the simple answer is it should lol For example, if your location is down as the USA and the item is being sent from China, well most people will spot the difference. Of course shipping times will give that up as well in most cases.You don't have to go out of your way to tell people it's drop-shipped, it's just not smart to try and hide it by misleading listing information.


Mark (fudjj)

Community Manager
SaleHoo.com

Link hidden: Login to view

bsavastio
Full Member
  • Posts: 6
  • Joined: 18 Jan 17
  • Karma:
25 Jan 17 04:14:48 pm
Hi Mark, thank you. I would never place misleading or incomplete information on any of my listings, which is one of the reasons why I have maintained a 100% positive feedback score since the day I opened my store two years ago. Maintaining this score is important to me, so if customs officials are going to be harassing my buyers about paying additional fees after they buy, I can see that score plummeting rapidly no matter what is written in the listing. So I guess maybe working with China isn't going to be a good fit for me. I do wonder how other sellers handle this. I can't imagine any end buyer being ok with getting a letter from customs demanding additional fees for something they bought off of Ebay. It doesn't make sense and I've never even heard of this before for individual items. Oh well. Back to the drawing board.


fudjj
Site Admin
  • Posts: 6305
  • Joined: 27 Jul 07
  • Karma:
25 Jan 17 08:14:33 pm
Bare in mind that there are duty free thresholds in play here, so most people don't have any issues because they are selling products that come in under the threshold. the only time there will be an issue is when/if you sell something over the duty free threshold.

What sort of products are you considering selling?


Mark (fudjj)

Community Manager
SaleHoo.com

Link hidden: Login to view

bsavastio
Full Member
  • Posts: 6
  • Joined: 18 Jan 17
  • Karma:
25 Jan 17 08:27:36 pm
Hi, I am going to be selling vintage style clothing, and steampunk/goth attire, accessories, and costumes, corsets, jewelry, shoes, etc. Usually the pieces will be ordered one at a time with an average price point of $25-$50.


fudjj
Site Admin
  • Posts: 6305
  • Joined: 27 Jul 07
  • Karma:
25 Jan 17 08:58:39 pm
lol, absolutely NOTHING to worry about regarding import duties.

I'm guessing the US is your market and I'm not 100% sure, but I think the US has a threshold of around 800 dollars. So unless a customer goes on a crazy spending spree with you and blows through that threshold, nothing at all to be concerned about :)

BTW, that threshold is per customer as well. So it doesn't mean you are limited to only selling 800 dollars worth, it means that each of your customers has to spend under the limit or will incur the applicable duty :)


Mark (fudjj)

Community Manager
SaleHoo.com

Link hidden: Login to view

bsavastio
Full Member
  • Posts: 6
  • Joined: 18 Jan 17
  • Karma:
25 Jan 17 09:09:13 pm
Oooooo ok!!! That makes sense. I was SO confused there for awhile! Thanks for clearing that up! Yes, I am marketing only to the U.S. exclusively. Thank you so much for letting me know about the $800 limit. That should never be an issue for me, as I am selling products that will mostly be under $100 the majority of the time and nothing close to the $800 range. Thanks again!


fudjj
Site Admin
  • Posts: 6305
  • Joined: 27 Jul 07
  • Karma:
25 Jan 17 09:34:57 pm
No problems at all, good luck with it :)

If you want to confirm anything regarding importing into the US, you can contact CBP here. Link hidden: Login to view


Mark (fudjj)

Community Manager
SaleHoo.com

Link hidden: Login to view

info.foxiepixie
Full Member
  • Posts: 1
  • Joined: 08 Feb 17
  • Karma:
13 Feb 17 01:40:06 am
Thank you for posting this in the forum. My business will also be importing merchandise from China. How do you advertise that you are located in USA but their items will be shipped from China?

"Your accessory will ship from China straight from the manufacturer to save you money." or something like that since the costs from China and it being drop shipped does in fact save them money? I don't want to sound misleading either.


fudjj
Site Admin
  • Posts: 6305
  • Joined: 27 Jul 07
  • Karma:
13 Feb 17 02:48:34 am
Hi Tabitha and welcome to the forum,

I wouldn't personally go out of my way to highlight that aspect to be honest. If you're listing on a site such as an eBay where you must list the item location, then that is the only mention of it I would make. If I had a customer inquire as to why the item was shipping from China or where ever, then I would have a response similar to what you have there already spooled up and ready to roll out.

There is an art to marketing, you have to hide the negatives in the shade and highlight the positives in the bright sunlight. So you never go out of your way to highlight what is a negative by trying to make it a positive unless you have to because drawing attention to things like that usually just end up biting you in the *(*^%^$&*

:)


Mark (fudjj)

Community Manager
SaleHoo.com

Link hidden: Login to view

 

SaleHoo helps over 137,216 online business owners
find reliable low cost suppliers

Find out how