Do couriers lie?

Question from one of our subscribers:

Probably been asked a million times – but do the couriers lie?
I am attempting to import 1 small/light item from China with a purchase cost of 10usd
I paid shipping costs for DHL to the Chinese supplier of 25usd.
Today they say I ‘owe’ vat of £16!!!! The paperwork states:

Suppliers invoice value £16.15 (lie)
Freight Value £30.55 (lie)

Vat value adjustment £6.25 (BS ; as this is just a new made up tax)
Admin fee by courier £5.41 (go and sing for that one)

Now! needless to say this has p*ssed me off some what. DHL won’t ‘talk’ too me so am waiting for a nice email response.
Assuming (as they appear to act fraudulently) this issue is resolved i.e. I pay nothing as I should. Is this a likely scenario? ; if I go into importing larger quantities am I going to have ‘issues’ where the courier artificially inflates the invoice price so they can charge ‘admin’ fee (sic) and also give some to lovely pointless customs.
This is basically fraud and stealing surely???


Hi! This is a complex subject, and rates and regulations vary obviously from item to item, however there are general assessment standards to take after. Importing to and sending out from China for the most part includes three sorts of taxes: Value-added tax; Consumption tax; and Customs duties.

DHL has been used by many importers for years. I think this issue is not a big deal compared to not receiving your parcels.

Cheers and good luck!


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