[CR] Customs charges on ebay items from Europe?

(Example: Framebuilders:Bernard Carré)

Date: Tue, 10 Mar 2009 14:04:01 -0700
From: "Mitch Harris" <mitch.harris@gmail.com>
To: classic Rendezvous <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
Subject: [CR] Customs charges on ebay items from Europe?

Just received a bill from UPS for $90 customs charges for an item purchased from Germany several weeks ago. This is almost as much as the item cost, and I haven't seen a customs charge like this in years of buying from Eurpean sellers on ebay. This was a large dealer/seller on ebay that has very good feedback and for which there was no report of customs difficulties--report was that they handled all this through their bonded shipping. Anyone seen this?

"Merchandise released by customs is done under bond and is subject ot redelivery to customs on demand. Failure to rerturn mehcandise makes the consignee subject to penalty for sull amount of bond..."

Why is the bill from UPS if it's US customs?

Why and how can UPS bill me if I did not contract business with them? Isn't this the seller's obligation if it's part of the UPS service?

Why does it sound like they demanding return of merchandise--just return if payment is not made?

Does this mean that the ebay seller did not pay some part of the duty that he was supposed to according to the shipping charges agreement?

It's weird to pay a bill that you don't know the legitimacy of, especially in these days of scams. Should my next contact be the seller, or UPS, or customs?

Mitch Harris
Little Rock Canyon, Utah, USA