Seller wants to under value and indicate gift on bag

fashion16

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Apr 15, 2007
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I am in the process of purchasing a bag for $1600 from overseas. I am in the US. This is a trusted and legit seller. She is offering to ship bag as a gift and value it at $1k so it limits my customs obligation. I realize there is risk of doing this for the seller but se claims this is what she always does. Am I as the buyer at risk?
 

jaijai1012

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Jan 25, 2012
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That's dishonest, it's lying to customs. Also, are you opting out of buying insurance? Because then she won't be able to buy insurance for $1600 if she's calming under 1k
 

fashion16

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So this came about b/c I told her due to the expected customs fees, I offered her a lower price. She claims the bag will come with insurance and tracking...she just claims it as $1k b/c her us buyers prefer that and t has always worked out. This is the most expensive overseas purchase I have made so naturally I am a little nervous. I have never encountered customs before but I just have a feeling that with the value on this one, it is inevitable.
 

jaijai1012

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Jan 25, 2012
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But insurance is bought through the post office, how can you buy $1600 worth of insurance when she's only claiming $1000? I'm pretty sure that's not possible. When I get packages from overseas the value of the package is written on it so its not like the postal workers don't know.
 

fashion16

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So I believe she would get insurance for only $1k but that is a risk she is taking right? I thought that if it is lost, it is the seller who is at a loss unless they can prove it was lost after it was delivered to the final destination.
 

jaijai1012

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Jan 25, 2012
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Ummm I'm going to hope others with more advice can chime in but my understanding is that insurance is always the buyers responsibility. Once the seller has shipped the package out and have the tracking number as proof, they are not liable for what happens to it.
 

kemilia

the boonies of illinois
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Ummm I'm going to hope others with more advice can chime in but my understanding is that insurance is always the buyers responsibility. Once the seller has shipped the package out and have the tracking number as proof, they are not liable for what happens to it.
I thought it was seller's responsibility (insurance).
 

BeenBurned

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I am in the process of purchasing a bag for $1600 from overseas. I am in the US. This is a trusted and legit seller. She is offering to ship bag as a gift and value it at $1k so it limits my customs obligation. I realize there is risk of doing this for the seller but se claims this is what she always does. Am I as the buyer at risk?
As a buyer, you are at risk also. I had a buyer in Canada several years ago who I explained that I couldn't undervalue the customs form. She told me that she'd never make that request because she had a Canadian friend hit with fines for accepting an undervalued item.

So this came about b/c I told her due to the expected customs fees, I offered her a lower price. She claims the bag will come with insurance and tracking...she just claims it as $1k b/c her us buyers prefer that and t has always worked out. This is the most expensive overseas purchase I have made so naturally I am a little nervous. I have never encountered customs before but I just have a feeling that with the value on this one, it is inevitable.
But insurance is bought through the post office, how can you buy $1600 worth of insurance when she's only claiming $1000? I'm pretty sure that's not possible. When I get packages from overseas the value of the package is written on it so its not like the postal workers don't know.
Maximum insurance can only be for the value. If the package gets lost, only $1k can be paid out.
Ummm I'm going to hope others with more advice can chime in but my understanding is that insurance is always the buyers responsibility. Once the seller has shipped the package out and have the tracking number as proof, they are not liable for what happens to it.
Absolutely NOT! It's the seller's responsibility to get the package to the buyer. Proof of shipping is NOT proof of delivery so if the package is lost enroute and the buyer files INR, the seller will lose the dispute. Tracking must show delivery.

It's this reason that ebay doesn't allow sellers to charge buyers for insurance; either seller includes it in the shipping price, pays for it or takes the risk if something happens.
 

fashion16

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I am a little embarrassed that I am even considering her offer , it is just that I really want this bag and it is finally available in my budget...but if I am assessed the 9% customs fees which will total around $150, I am screwed b/c I cannot afford that. So in this case I feel like I either walk away, go along w/ her offer which makes my stomach hurt or tell we to claim the full amount and pray it goes through customs without a hitch.
 

BeenBurned

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I've never been assessed customs charges though I've never bought an expensive item from an international seller. As I understand, duties aren't assessed on every item and there's a good chance you won't be charged. But in the event that you are, you'll need to be prepared for it.

IMO, if it's an item you really want and don't think you can find it domestically, I think you should go for it. Consider that if you keep the item for 10 years, that $150 charge would only be an extra $15/year. That's not bad for something you want! :smile:
 

northerndancer

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I am a little embarrassed that I am even considering her offer , it is just that I really want this bag and it is finally available in my budget...but if I am assessed the 9% customs fees which will total around $150, I am screwed b/c I cannot afford that. So in this case I feel like I either walk away, go along w/ her offer which makes my stomach hurt or tell we to claim the full amount and pray it goes through customs without a hitch.
For countries which get hit hard with customs it is not uncommon to fudge the numbers on the customs forms. It is flouting the customs rules but it is a risk that many people seem to be willing to take.

The US is a customs-friendly place to live. Many would consider $150 on a $1.6K bag to be nothing. Some countries would bill three times that amount for customs.

If going along with her offer makes your stomach hurt you should definitely not do that. So either walk away or go ahead with it understanding you could be billed another $150.

ETA: I just noticed the gift thing as we. Aside from the legal implications, marking as "gift" on a US shipment actually lowers the threshold before customs apply. In most other countries it raises the threshold. International sellers shipping into the US should never mark "gift".
 
Last edited:
Apr 15, 2007
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I am a little embarrassed that I am even considering her offer , it is just that I really want this bag and it is finally available in my budget...but if I am assessed the 9% customs fees which will total around $150, I am screwed b/c I cannot afford that. So in this case I feel like I either walk away, go along w/ her offer which makes my stomach hurt or tell we to claim the full amount and pray it goes through customs without a hitch.


Fairly recently I made a purchase coming from London.. I had no problem
with any duty but I was prepared in case there was & I wanted the item
& made the decision to ask the seller to ship it. I was fortunate ..
She did not mark it as a gift & insured it fully.

Its really a crap shoot. The luck of the draw whether your package
gets opened and or inspected.

To many,its worth a shot..You can only decide that for yourself

If this is going to make your stomach hurt & you really can't afford
the extra $150 in duty , then I think you have answered your own dilemma.
 

lorihmatthews

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I am a little embarrassed that I am even considering her offer , it is just that I really want this bag and it is finally available in my budget...but if I am assessed the 9% customs fees which will total around $150, I am screwed b/c I cannot afford that. So in this case I feel like I either walk away, go along w/ her offer which makes my stomach hurt or tell we to claim the full amount and pray it goes through customs without a hitch.
You've paid $1600 for a bag and you're worried about paying an additional $150? That doesn't make sense to me.

If you have her value the bag at $1K, then she can only buy insurance at $1K. If the bag gets lost, you would only be reimbursed $1K, not the $1600 you paid.
 

BeenBurned

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You've paid $1600 for a bag and you're worried about paying an additional $150? That doesn't make sense to me.

If you have her value the bag at $1K, then she can only buy insurance at $1K. If the bag gets lost, you would only be reimbursed $1K, not the $1600 you paid.
That's not true. Buyer would get reimbursed for the INR. It's the seller who would be out the $600.