Anyone familiar with French customs? Buyer's item is being held.

pr1nc355

Orange Pyramid
O.G.
May 24, 2006
5,008
132
So I listed a pair of used designer shoes on ebay, and a buyer in France contacted me to buy them off ebay so she could pay by WU. I agreed, and she sent me payment immediately. I truthfully filled out the white customs form provided by USPS as I normally do. I specified that the item was "merchandise" and "used women's leather shoes". I've sent items to Japan, Belgium, Australia, and the UK with no problems doing it this way.

A couple of days ago, the buyer emails me a scanned copy of a letter she got from her postal service. It was all in French, and since I don't speak a word of French, I typed in the text into an online translation site. Some of it I couldn't get, but the gist seems to be this: Customs is holding your package, and you need to give us a commercial invoice and a form stating you agree to pay the customs taxes. I have no idea what I need to do about this. I normally send a Paypal invoice, but I don't have one in this case because she paid by WU instead. And the transaction was done off ebay, so there's not one there.

I really don't want this package sent back to me and to have to refund her $...or get in trouble with customs!

Anyone who can help...PLEASE let me know! Thanks in advance.
 

LaMissy

~I Am Addicted ~
O.G.
Sep 7, 2007
3,263
2
Have you contacted the buyer and asked her about the letter? It seems like one of those letters asking for custom charges to be paid.

As for an invoice I would just draft one out using one of paypal templates. All you need to your info, the item and price, the cost of posting and the buyer details.
 

pr1nc355

Orange Pyramid
O.G.
May 24, 2006
5,008
132
Thanks, LaMissy. I'll go to paypal.com and draft an invoice today.

I emailed the buyer and asked her if she could tell me what the letter says, and she told me that you were right, LaMissy, it was a letter asking her to pay her customs charges. She gets charged a flat fee if there's no invoice, so she wants one to prove the value. Then she asked me to pay for part of the charges. I don't think I should have to, but I'm wondering if anyone else in this situation would do it?
 

Magdeline

Crazy in LVoe
Jun 20, 2008
523
1
I would not pay part of the charges, and I can guess that subsequent posters will say the same. The buyer is ALWAYS responsible for his/her own customs charges. You definitely do not have to. I would provide the invoice if at all possible, though.
 

LaMissy

~I Am Addicted ~
O.G.
Sep 7, 2007
3,263
2
yes this happened to me a few times with items I purchased from overseas.

I suggest you draft an invoice and just send it to her so she can send to the French Customs.

How much did you value the item on the customs form when you posted the parcel? usually thats how they calculate the charges.
 

hi-fi

Member
Mar 27, 2008
187
0
She could print out the email from eBay after she has won the item - which gives all the info of the item, price and her name and address. Alternatively you could draft a private invoice of USED SHOE with a lower price (if the auction price is high for customs fees) This should also work.
 

deekai

Member
Jan 30, 2008
737
0
When filling out the customs form, mark "other" and then what it is. In some countries and I believe that France is one of them, if the item is over $300, duplicate invoices need to be included. But, for now just make out a duplicate of your invoice and email it to her.

I include the sentence - buyer is responsible for all VAT/or customs duties - in my ads. You are not responsible and do not need to pay any portion.
 

pr1nc355

Orange Pyramid
O.G.
May 24, 2006
5,008
132
Thank you, everybody. I did a PP invoice and put on there that I credited her with the payment she already made by WU. I also emailed her to tell her that I won't be covering her customs charges and that she should pay them herself and not refuse to pick up the shoes because all sales are final, just like I put in my listing (also that I already used her $ to pay a bill, which I did, so I don't have it anymore) so that she can't demand a refund. It's not gonna happen that I waste my time at the local check cashing place filling out WU forms and paying extra fees to send her back her $:nogood: I know the shoes were sent to her in good condition and carefully packed, so she can't claim that they were damaged, plus the package was fully insured.
 

pr1nc355

Orange Pyramid
O.G.
May 24, 2006
5,008
132
yes this happened to me a few times with items I purchased from overseas.

I suggest you draft an invoice and just send it to her so she can send to the French Customs.

How much did you value the item on the customs form when you posted the parcel? usually thats how they calculate the charges.

I did just this. I valued it at exactly what she paid, $500. I did tell her how bad I felt and sorry I was for the taxes, which seemed high to me, but I refused to lie on the forms, and this is clearly stated in all my listings. Plus, I don't want either of us to get into trouble. Not worth it to save a few bucks.
 
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