question about marking as 'gift'

mere girl

O.G.
Aug 12, 2008
7,239
696
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United Kingdom
Hi - if I sent an item from the UK to US and marked on the customs form that it was a 'gift' is this ok?
I would still declare the full value of the item but TBH what difference would it make if I marked it as a 'gift' either to me as a seller or to the buyer?
The item is quite high priced so I am sending it by parcelforce so that I am fully insured if the parcel goes missing, but the buyer has asked for it to be declared as a gift in order to reduce import fees.
It's not a scam at all - I trust the buyer impeccably - I just don't want to do anything 'illegal' or anything that may invalid the insurance.
many thanks,
 

LouiseyPeasey

naff
O.G.
Mar 29, 2006
1,649
32
It's not just illegal, it's useless. The duty free limit for gifts in the US is LOWER than the limit for merchandise.
 

Loony

Purple Love
O.G.
Oct 25, 2006
2,002
3
UK
I think that marking a high value item as a gift is pretty pointless anyway since anything over a certain amount (which is pretty low) is liable for import and duties, anyway, gift or no gift.

Now, I don't know if it applies to items coming into US but for items coming to UK from abroad, IF the item is not brand new then clearly declaring it as used (i.e. putting "used bag" rather than just "bag" on the declaration form) normally means that the charges will be lower since I think that second hand items are exempt from either VAT or some other import duties. If the rules in US are similar then you might want to consider doing that since you are helping the buyer without doing anything wrong.
 

mere girl

O.G.
Aug 12, 2008
7,239
696
52
United Kingdom
thanks everyone for your help.
The buyer is happy for me not to mark it as a gift...I usually mark items as 'other' and always put 'used leather *** handbag' in the description.
Your help, as always, is much appreciated!
 

northerndancer

What, me worry?
O.G.
Dec 30, 2007
5,072
698
The Cool Cool North
All good and accurate advice.

I don't know if the *** in your last post is intended to specify the brand of handbag (e.g. Balenciaga). I don't think it is necessary to specify brand and there has been some suspicion that certain coveted brands are more vulnerable to foul play while in transit. IMO, the more generic you can be in the description, the better.
 

mere girl

O.G.
Aug 12, 2008
7,239
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52
United Kingdom
^ oh that's interesting! yes i usually do put the brand actually but I will leave it off in future if you think it could therefore be susceptible to foul play...thanks!
 

noshoepolish

Labrador Lover
Authenticator
O.G.
Oct 4, 2006
9,817
119
And you risk customs seizing them if you mark it as a gift and don't have proof.
 

vagabag

O.G.
Dec 31, 2006
2,666
2
how do you politely tell a buyer who paid and is now asking that the item be marked as a gift and declared very low that you just can't do that? any advice?
 

northerndancer

What, me worry?
O.G.
Dec 30, 2007
5,072
698
The Cool Cool North
^^^ Just tell her that you are not willing to do that. No need to be righteous about it - just say it is not legal and you are not comfortable doing it. You can add that you want to insure it for the full value and you cannot do that if it is underdeclared.

Undeclaring items for customs purposes is not uncommon and some buyers take it for granted. Some people think it is a big deal, others don't. It does put sellers at risk if the item cannot be fully insured.

It is o.k. to say no and ebay will back you up. In the future, to protect yourself, it would be a good idea to specify in your listings that you will not underdeclare an item and that you will not specify "gift".
 

vagabag

O.G.
Dec 31, 2006
2,666
2
Thank you, N! But, i don't think i can insure it anyway. My understanding is that if i use priority mail international, USPS will not let me insure it. That's what they told me last time when I sent something (to canada). Correct me if I'm wrong, please! If i can't insure it, how do you think I should decline the buyer's request? just say it's illegal?

^^^ Just tell her that you are not willing to do that. No need to be righteous about it - just say it is not legal and you are not comfortable doing it. You can add that you want to insure it for the full value and you cannot do that if it is underdeclared.

Undeclaring items for customs purposes is not uncommon and some buyers take it for granted. Some people think it is a big deal, others don't. It does put sellers at risk if the item cannot be fully insured.

It is o.k. to say no and ebay will back you up. In the future, to protect yourself, it would be a good idea to specify in your listings that you will not underdeclare an item and that you will not specify "gift".
 

northerndancer

What, me worry?
O.G.
Dec 30, 2007
5,072
698
The Cool Cool North
Thank you, N! But, i don't think i can insure it anyway. My understanding is that if i use priority mail international, USPS will not let me insure it. That's what they told me last time when I sent something (to canada). Correct me if I'm wrong, please! If i can't insure it, how do you think I should decline the buyer's request? just say it's illegal?
You can insure Priority Mail, just not flat rate envelopes and boxes. From USPS.com:

323 Priority Mail International Insurance

323.1 Description

For a fee, the sender may purchase insurance to protect against loss, damage, or missing contents for Priority Mail International parcels containing merchandise. Insurance may not be purchased for the Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelope or Small Flat Rate Box. Compensation varies according to the fee paid. For parcels delivered to the addressee in damaged condition or with missing contents, payment is made to the addressee unless the addressee waives payment, in writing, in favor of the sender.
323.2 Availability

Insurance is available only for Priority Mail International parcels and only to certain countries. See Individual Country Listings. Insurance is not available for the Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelope or Small Flat Rate Box.
323.3 Coverage and Fees

Merchandise insurance coverage — up to the maximum amount allowed by the country (see the Individual Country Listings) but never to exceed $5,000 — may be purchased at the sender’s option. See the Individual Country Listings for insurance limits. The insurance fee is in addition to postage and other applicable fees and is based on the insured value. See Notice 123, Price List, for the fee schedule for optional Priority Mail International parcel insurance coverage.
 
Jan 31, 2010
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vagabag, if the buyer you're talking about now is in Canada, you might want to let them know as well that the gift exemption for Canada is only $60 anyway, so marking things as gifts does not make much of a difference with regards to taxes/duties.