Import from China to Germany - HELP/ADVICE needed

28 posts in this topic

Hi everyone,

 

I'm in desperate need of some advice.
I recently purchased a bike from China. The manufacturer asked for 300$ shipping fee to Berlin and I was told that I would only have to pay tax/import duties on this item in Berlin.

 

I received a bill this week from a shipping company in Hamburg looking for a total of 633 euros for things like  Hafenkosten Hambur, Importabfertigung,  Zollabfertigung  etc. Apparently this is on top of any import duties/taxes I'm going to have to pay once the item gets to Berlin.

In other words I thought this was costing me:
Bike - 1270$

Shipping fees (1.7 cbm) - 300$

Tax/import duties - TBD ?

 

But now it seems like it's going to be:

Bike - 1270$

Shipping fees (1.7 cbm) - 300$

Transport handling fees - 700$

Tax/import duties - TBD ?

 

Those extra 700$ are a big bad surprise. Anyone have any experience with this? Do I have any options? 
The shipping company in Hamburg also informed me that if I didn't pay this , I'd have to pay destruction costs which would be more...

 

This is pretty much my worst nightmare for importing stuff from China...

 

HELP

 

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Oh dear, it seems that as you have not done your research then things are going to get even worse for you!  But we will come to that in a minute.

 

 

If you want the goods then you will have no choice but to pay the shipping company in Hamburg.  The only option you have is then to complain to the company in China that you expected the $300 for shipping to include all such costs as per their previous indications.  Be insistent and complain a lot, sometimes they will give in and pay you some or all of this money back, other times they will not care, point to some text in the small print and that is it.

 

 

Now for the really bad news!

 

For importing a (push)bike into Germany the import duty is normally 15% (e-bikes = 6%, motorbikes = 6% - 8%).

However, there is currently an additional "anti-dumping" import duty which is being applied for bikes purchased from China (only).  This is an extra 48.5%

 

And on top of this you will have VAT.

I think in some cases they may also include the cost of shipping as part of the cost of the goods (so then you will be charged even more).

 

So it seems like now you will be charged (assuming worst case scenario of shipping in duty calculation)

(assuming currency rate of 1 USD = 0.85 euros)

 

Bike :           1080 Euros

Shipping      255 Euros

Transport handling fees 633 Euros

Import tax    847 Euros

VAT              414 Euros

 

Grand total:    3229 Euros

(Or ~500 euros cheaper if shipping is not included in the total cost)

 

 

Now you know why the bike was so cheap!

 

Reference:

https://www.zoll.de/DE/Privatpersonen/Reisen/Rueckkehr-aus-einem-Nicht-EU-Staat/Zoll-und-Steuern/Ueberschreiten-Reisefreimengen/beispiele_zollsaetze.html

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, student_4_life said:

HELP

 

Take this as a life lesson: be very suspicious of cheap things. And don't be a smart ass.

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@dj_jay_smith: Thanks for the info.

 

I've attached the bill of lading which indicates "Freight and Charges payable by shipper" but I guess that, contrary to what it seems, it doesn't mean all fees are theirs? 

 

Also, on the original bill it states the sea costs to a warehouse in Berlin are covered but I guess that's very vague :-/

 

You might also notice that the manufacturer changed the description of the goods to avoid this anti-dumping duty and reduce taxes.

 

 

Bill of Lading- Berlin - questions.jpg

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Well if this states that the freight and charges are payable by the shipper, then you should definitely point this out to both the shipping company (i.e.  Why the hell are you chasing me for the money!) and the seller (i.e.  why the hell have you not paid this!).

 

 

The shipper having 'manipulated' the description to try to avoid such fees is no guarantee as the customs people are allow to inspect goods if they suspect anything suspicious.  Like the fact that an "extendable trolley" weighs 159 KGs and the fact that there are also the word "Trike" and "...Electronic bucycle Co, Ltd" stated on the front.

If this makes them suspicious and they then x-ray the product and see that there are two wheels and a handle bar then you can be expected to be charged accordingly.  Of course you might get away with it, but it is your risk.

 

It is very common for sellers, especially in China, to state deliberately incorrect information on shipping receipts to do this.  And customs are aware of it.  They will also look for an invoice to determine the value of the goods, and if this states something different then it will also raise a suspicion.  

 

 

 

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Looks like you'll just have to pay up.

But why did you buy direct from the manufacturer in China in the first place? Was it just because you thought it would be cheaper? Obvious questions I know, I just don't get it, simply seems to be a dumb idea - however, maybe I'm missing something 

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People watch YouTube videos and learn about Alibaba and co. and think it is a good idea to order things from there because they are super cheap and the guy in the YouTube video said it was awesome.

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You should have bought local and saved some money. Probably an original product and not a fake too.

Oh well, lock the stable after the horse has bolted and don't do it again.

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Er, why didn't you go to the local bike shop?

 

Someone's been listening to Tim Ferriss. Shoot that man.

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I have ordered often and successfully from China with no issues.  You have to be careful of the source.  Of course nothing as large as a bike.  Usually you can find the exact same larger on items for sale on Ebay with shipping from Poland or some such.   Not as cheap as you thought it would be directly from China, but without the hassles and a lot less than it will actually be from China.

 

I would love to support the local businesses, but don't see the reason to when I can get it for 1/3 the price and the local business is just selling the same Chinese product.  I used to turn my nose up at "cheap" Chinese products, but I can't anymore.  The quality is much better than 10 years ago.  The Chenglish manuals still suck.  If the Chinese start making acceptable quality cars and industrial machines and finally learn how to write a decent manual, then we are all screwed.  

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12 minutes ago, BradinBayern said:

II would love to support the local businesses, but don't see the reason to when I can get it for 1/3 the price and the local business is just selling the same Chinese product. 

 

If the Chinese start making acceptable quality cars and industrial machines and finally learn how to write a decent manual, then we are all screwed.  

 

So is your job.

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I would love to support the local businesses, but don't see the reason to when I can get it for 1/3 the price 

 

The reason would be that free riding is not sustainable.   If we want the societal benefits of the investment in and proceeds of top quality German products, then we may well expect to pay tariffs if we select cheaper ones.  Can't have cake and eat it.   We might not be able to expect to come here and obtain all of the benefits of the German economy - but then opt out when it suits us.

 

As soon as we all adopt that consumption model, our German lifestyle that is totally reliant on those high margins disappears.

 

And so our children slide back into working 80 hours a week, often in poor conditions with lower standards,  to deliver our economy - just as the children of the Chinese currently do to produce your "cheaper" bike.   That bike costs no less than one made here.   And so there are also good ethical reasons why rich nations should use tariffs.  No reason for us to live off some of the world's poorest.   I don't want some dirtpoor Chinese flogging just so I get a bike.

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1 hour ago, swimmer said:

 

The reason would be that free riding is not sustainable.   If we want the societal benefits of the investment in and proceeds of top quality German products, then we may well expect to pay tariffs if we select cheaper ones.  Can't have cake and eat it.   We might not be able to expect to come here and obtain all of the benefits of the German economy - but then opt out when it suits us.

 

As soon as we all adopt that consumption model, our German lifestyle that is totally reliant on those high margins disappears.

 

And so our children slide back into working 80 hours a week, often in poor conditions with lower standards,  to deliver our economy - just as the children of the Chinese currently do to produce your "cheaper" bike.   That bike costs no less than one made here.   And so there are also good ethical reasons why rich nations should use tariffs.  No reason for us to live off some of the world's poorest.   I don't want some dirtpoor Chinese flogging just so I get a bike.

Since I also brought over my life savings I am not feeling too guilty about buying a couple of Chinese mail-order trinkets as opposed to buying Chinese trinkets that have been marked up by the local German shopkeeper.  Since the highest expense that people have is 1) housing 2) transportation and 3) health care I doubt that my shopping habits will be the death of the German economy.  If you want to feel like a hero and fight against the Chinese go right ahead.  It will really not make one bit of difference.

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I agree with Bradin

 

I feel no guilt whatsoever buying a product direct from china when:

 

a) there is no reasonable German-made equivalent

b ) it's not expensive enough for me to care that much if it gets swallowed up by the Zollamt or I fall victim to a shady seller

c) it's not a product that has any chance of poisoning me (eg I'd avoid bento boxes or food containers, made of who knows what kind of plastic, etc.) 

 

buying tchotchkas that are made exlusively or even predominantly in china in the first place, direct from china...no this is not "cheating" germans and their hard work.  it's apples and oranges IMO.

 

 

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1 hour ago, swimmer said:

The reason would be that free riding is not sustainable.   If we want the societal benefits of the investment in and proceeds of top quality German products, then we may well expect to pay tariffs if we select cheaper ones.  Can't have cake and eat it.   We might not be able to expect to come here and obtain all of the benefits of the German economy - but then opt out when it suits us.

 

You talk all funny. Are you from Birmingham?

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1 hour ago, lisa13 said:

I agree with Bradin

 

I feel no guilt whatsoever buying a product direct from china when:

 

a) there is no reasonable German-made equivalent

b ) it's not expensive enough for me to care that much if it gets swallowed up by the Zollamt or I fall victim to a shady seller

c) it's not a product that has any chance of poisoning me (eg I'd avoid bento boxes or food containers, made of who knows what kind of plastic, etc.) 

 

buying tchotchkas that are made exlusively or even predominantly in china in the first place, direct from china...no this is not "cheating" germans and their hard work.  it's apples and oranges IMO.

 

 

In addition the Chinese tchotchkas were probably made with German industrial machinery.

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16 minutes ago, BradinBayern said:

In addition the Chinese tchotchkas were probably made with German industrial machinery.

 

With parts assembled in Germany but originally built n China.

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10 hours ago, jeremytwo said:

 

With parts assembled in Germany but originally built n China.

Hmm no, not really.  Industrial machinery is not generally bolted together from parts available at Walmart - or Alibaba.  It is very specialized and Germans are very good at making it - including all the bits and pieces.  Actually Chinese machinery is likely to have high German content.    

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