UPS, FDA, customs, and brokerage fees?

Discussion in 'Smokeless tobacco' started by Andtyler2, Jun 6, 2010.

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  1. Andtyler2

    Andtyler2 Senior Member ECF Veteran

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    Uh-oh. Dammit. I'm getting this sick feeling in my stomach as I check out the tracking 'history' of my large order (@ 10 rolls) from snuscentral. I never had to deal with this when ordering ecig stuff (from the UK or China) so I'm feeling a bit like a babe in the woods.

    I only began snusing about 4 months ago--as an adjunct to vaping. (Helps with those missing alkaloids). It took me a while to find out what I liked. And by that time, all the PACT related craziness began. I was hoping to put away enough to last me a while.

    The tracking log looks fine until the package enters Philadelphia. (Sorry for the CAPS)

    PHILADELPHIA, PA, US

    06/05/2010 1:11 A.M. UPS IS PROCESSING SHIPMENT FOR FUTURE SUBMISSION TO THE FOOD/DRUG ADMIN AND/OR DEPT OF AG PPQ /

    BROKERAGE RELEASED SHIPMENT. SHIPMENT IS SUBMITTED TO CLEARING AGENCY FOR FURTHER CLEARANCE

    06/05/2010 8:46 A.M. ARRIVAL SCAN

    06/05/2010 12:28 P.M. PACKAGE DATA PROCESSED BY BROKERAGE. WAITING FOR CLEARANCE

    06/05/2010 12:28 P.M. REGISTERED WITH CLEARING AGENCY / SHIPMENT SUBMITTED TO CLEARING AGENCY

    06/05/2010 1:03 P.M. REGISTERED WITH CLEARING AGENCY /
    BROKERAGE RELEASED. WAITING FOR CLR AGY

    06/05/2010 4:58 P.M. IMPORT SCAN



    Translation? Does anyone know what this is about? I take it my package was sitting around for most of the day. What's not clear to me is whether it's actually finally en route.

    I've heard about problems/issues with UPS--including brokerage gouging. Unfortunately, there didn't seem to be any other option. I paid a few extra dollars for UPS express, partly because I'd heard that some customs fees were included and partly because I was hoping to save time and a little wear and tear on the 'merchandise'.

    Anyone had similar experiences ordering from Sweden? Did you get hit (ow) with a customs bill? And, if so, how bad was it?

    thanks.
    andy
     
  2. crowbartool

    crowbartool Full Member

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    My last order from US to Canada showed up with a $41 brokerage fee on a $100 order. That was the last time I will ever use UPS.
     
  3. Andtyler2

    Andtyler2 Senior Member ECF Veteran

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    Yikes. That's insane. Don't blame you for ditching UPS. With those kinds of fees, a "good deal" suddenly goes way south. The price per can ends up being astronomical.

    This delivery is from Sweden to the US. We'll see what happens if/when it arrives. Thanks for your response.

     
  4. sunset

    sunset Super Member ECF Veteran

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    Andy, I order from snuscentral to US quit a bit and never a problem. So I'm well pleased with them. In fact, I just got an order Thursday and they're shipping another small order enroute now.

    Now I've never followed details like you have, but I bet mine comes into Phila., also, since that's close to me...unless they all come into Phila.

    The only thing is it takes about a week and half or so to get here, but I think that's to be expected since it's coming from Sweden.

    No customs fee in US and I did use USPS, but I still don't think you have a problem. Do let us know, since I haven't used UPS with them.
     
  5. AllCoExPat

    AllCoExPat Super Member ECF Veteran

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    Andy - I haven't had any experience with customs like that, but any time Uncle gets involved in my tobacco habit, I get nervous. Good luck and hopefully you won't find any surprise fees. Let us know how it goes.
     
  6. hittman

    hittman ECF Guru Verified Member ECF Veteran

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    I haven't ordered from snuscentral in a while but haven't seen anything like that before. I just got a snuff order a couple days ago via UPS and had no problems. Please keep us updated as to what happens with your order. I thought no taxes would be applied until after July first.
     
  7. Andtyler2

    Andtyler2 Senior Member ECF Veteran

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    A good-news update: Package was delivered today with no problems. The carton was sort of banged up and barely held together on one side but everything I ordered was there. There were no additional charges upon delivery. I've heard about some folks receiving a nice little bill in the mail later on. I sure hope that's not the case here.

    Maybe I should stop reading tracking details. Maybe I should just dispense with vaping and snus altogether, cry uncle, and take up drinking in excess. Given the relentless barrage of crap we've had to deal with (eg., FDA court/customs battles, public relations nightmares re: ecigs and smokeless alternatives, the tax gouging and sanctimonious vilification of anyone and everyone who ingests nicotine in non BP form, the long line of clueless state legislators voting for bills they frequently don't read and/or understand, government officials concocting regulations/legislation that mostly benefits their biggest campaign contributors, and now-- the impending implementation of PACT) it's a little hard to relax (even with a thunder mini firmly in place).

    I got into vaping and snus because i was looking for a cheaper and potentially less lethal way to get my nicotine/alkaloid fix. The stocking panics have made it just as--if not more-- expensive (at least in the short term). The regulatory panics have kept me up nights reading the forums, writing comments on government web sites, and signing petitions. I'm mad, stressed, tired and more than a little reactive, I guess, to the next bit of bad news.

    On that note ... I think I'll pop another Thunder.

    Many thanks to crowbartool, sunset, allcoexpat, and hittman for your feedback and responses.

    Peace.
    AT
     
  8. hittman

    hittman ECF Guru Verified Member ECF Veteran

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    Andtyler, hang in there. Don't let them beat you. Many of us here have done our best to stick it to them by stocking up on hundreds of cans of snus and pounds of snuff that there will never be any taxes paid on. That's what happened when they pushed us into the corner. We fought back the only way left that we could think of. Even with the new taxes, I would think it would still be cheaper than smoking and a heck of a lot better for your health. When we give up is when they win. Don't give up.
     
  9. sunset

    sunset Super Member ECF Veteran

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    AT, LOL! Now you're getting me stressed again, but isn't that all true.:D

    So glad everything arrived alright.

    Just remember, you've still got time before the deadline to try another order...kidding.
     
  10. Andtyler2

    Andtyler2 Senior Member ECF Veteran

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    Thanks, hittman. Guess I felt the need to rant a bit. A bit better, now that everything is packed in the freezer. Coffee and a Lab01 and I feel saner already.

    [So far, no customs/tax bill in the mail--- though I did get hit with an unexpected 'international transaction fee' that showed up on my cc statement. That's a new one.]
     
  11. hittman

    hittman ECF Guru Verified Member ECF Veteran

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    tyler, don't worry about it. We all need to release some tension now and then. It seems there is more to release now that the pact crap is going on. The fees you talk about are all new to me. I have not seen anything like that. Nice choice on the snus. I like the lab01 too.
     
  12. Andtyler2

    Andtyler2 Senior Member ECF Veteran

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    Yeah, if I think about this stuff too much it tends to make me nuts, Sunset. I actually might try to sneak in another order--a small one for the stuff I won't be able to get (even at inflated and taxed out the a-- prices) Tic. Tic. Tic. Not a lot of time to decide . . . We need a pac(t)man-shaped icon in the smilies section. It should open its mouth and chomp down dollar signs.
     
  13. Andtyler2

    Andtyler2 Senior Member ECF Veteran

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    Final update (I hope). I got a bill in the mail from UPS a few days ago for a delivery that came the first week of June (ordered last week of May). They tacked on an additional 12$ for "1. disbursement fee, 2. duty amount, and 3. IR tax." [IR tax??? ]

    Including the "international transaction fee" I mentioned earlier, total fees-- beyond postage--amounted to around 18 bucks.

    Because I put in a large order, it didn't raise the 'per can' price appreciably. But it's still kind of a nasty little surprise to get hit with these fees after you've forked over the cash and you've got your goods in hand. It'd be nice to know, going in, what it's going to cost.
     
  14. sunset

    sunset Super Member ECF Veteran

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    Wow, that's the first I've heard of that - sorry! What a shock. Come to think of it, all my packages came by the post office and you're right - they stopped that.

    I know I won't order from them again. I had no idea it would turn out like that and I'll avoid anything overseas that comes UPS in the future.
     
  15. hittman

    hittman ECF Guru Verified Member ECF Veteran

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    That really stinks. I can't believe they can charge you after the fact. I was going to get one last roll from them and the shipping charge came up as $26. They can forget that crap. Getsnus shipping is around $12. Guess who's going to sell more snus.
     
  16. ryanmercer

    ryanmercer Full Member

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    I clear international freight for a living for FedEx (work for FedEx Trade Networks)... your shipment came from out of the country... it's snuss, so tobacco product, has to clear ATF... it will also need to have paperwork filed with customs. UPS has an in-house broker, they likely handed it off to them. If they file it correctly, it'll be personal use... they just have to file with USCBP, FDA and ATF, ATF, FDA and USCBP both have to clear it for delivery before it can leave. If UPS is seeing volumes that we are then they are probably getting killed with a lot of international freight. We've been on mandatory overtime for months now because we've had such high volumes of freight to clear.

    If you would have had it come through FedEx, the IOR (presumably you, if it's not DDP [delivered duties paid] and wasn't sent BSO [broker select option, meaning the shipper or you specified a broker] you would be billed at least 25 bucks for us to file for you...

    As far as it flagging for Ag, it won't need Ag clearance unless you've got something in there that does require Ag clearance.
     
  17. ryanmercer

    ryanmercer Full Member

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    we would have hit you for at minimum 25 at FedEx.
     
  18. ryanmercer

    ryanmercer Full Member

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    going from what I see they probably got you for a 7501, and not a cf29 if not they should have.

    The IR tax... you'll see IR tax get charged for alcohol, and tobacco.


    You can access the HTS on a few different websites and get an idea for duty rates before you ever import something. Tobacco is going to be section IV, specifically chapter 24. By Chapter of HTS :2010-01-01 - Basic, Official Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated is a decent site for looking at the HTS without a subscription. It can be confusing, you can sometimes get an idea of where something will classify if you aren't familiar with it on CROSS at CROSS Customs Rulings Online Search System ... snuss I'd probably classify as 2403992090... now since it shipped from Switzerland, I'm going to ASSUME it was manufactured there so it's a NTR country of oirign, so the duty would presumably be 24.7 cents a kg.

    If you want to tell me on here or shoot me a private message of exactly what was in the package and the quantities, I can give you a better idea to let you know if you ended up paying proper duties.
     
  19. Andtyler2

    Andtyler2 Senior Member ECF Veteran

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    Wow. Thanks for the insider's view, Ryan. Interesting to know how the PACT madness may have impacted those who work for UPS and FedEx. No wonder USPS doesn't want to deal with it.

    Thanks for the offer to take a closer look at my invoice from UPS. I think I'll just pay the bill and call it a day. Lesson learned: No more overseas orders.

    I have to hope that, eventually, more shops will offer a wider selection of Swedish snus and not just the General line. But I'm not holding my breath on that one, either. I recently checked out a tobacco shop on the east coast and their selection was nil. They had 3 or 4 cans of Wintergreen and General white portion stored in a very small display fridge. The fridge was unplugged and the door was ajar. I guess they didn't want to bother spending $ on the electricity to preserve only a few cans. [I won't be visiting that store again.] I asked the manager why the selection was so bad and he said he was having a hard time getting any supply in.

    Strange times. I'll check myself into a rubber room and go cold turkey before I'll buy Marlboro or Camel snus. (Is there a 'bite me' icon available?)

    anyway, thanks much for your input.
    AT
     
  20. Kookie

    Kookie Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

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    Ah, yes, I hear ya' there!!! :toast:

    Although, I have already had to quit that! :facepalm:

    I'm in worse shape than you, at least in timing. I've been vaping, only what, a couple months now. The snus I just learned about a couple weeks ago.

    My order of snus (from last Friday) is in some limbo right now. The only fortunate thing for me is I have a locol retailer for General. That has been holding me. If I get some weird shipping cost I may go berserk.

    My question is, wouldn't this affect local retailers too? I don't think they will want to deal with a big hassle for a few fans.

    IDK, I guess I will find out for myself what will happen with my order. (And my retailer.) I'll let you all know if somethings fishy.

    I'm game for a beer though.:D:unsure::facepalm::p
     
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