Buying item from USA (Customs)

Seen a PC that is half the price of France or UK. Postage is less than £50. What's the chance of not playing customs in France, but if so, how much do you think is likely folks?

We had some curtains made in China. Thank goodness the delivery was free. When the courier arrived with the parcel he needed 89 Euros (and he could not take a credit card), cheque only. This was what the company had had to pay the French customs. Apparently there is a site that you can access (it is in Belgium) and it gives the prices you must pay to customs in EU countries when importing goods from outside the EU. I am trying to find out the web address. But I have been told by a retired importer that you must be careful with French customs. He overpaid several times and had to get the money back.

If you can get the seller to ship via USPS International Priority Mail and declare the item used and a gift, you are home free. If they ship via a private carrier (UPS, FedEx, etc) you pay.The private carriers are licensed to do business in France on the condition that they collect duty for Champs Elysee.

I am afraid that they make up their own rules. I am going through the process of trying to get a unique car through the test and registered in France. The car is brand new. In order to get the document from the Maison des Impots that states that no tax is due I needed to pay TVA which I had already paid in the UK as VAT. I argued that as VAT had already been paid in a member state of the EU there was no need to pay it again. They got the rule book out and shewed me the relevant paragraph, saying that I should not have paid VAT in the UK and the vehicle should have come into the country sous douane. British Customs said that was out of the question as it was not being exported outwith of Europe and that VAT is paid one time for the good in the country of purchase and cannot be charged twice.

It then transpired that no tax was payable in France if the car was considered to be second hand. The definition of that is if the car has clocked 6000km and is also six months old (since it's first registration) Luckily it was registered in the UK as a result of going through the very stiff test for a unique vehicle, so I have put kilometers on it and it is now old enough. But really the whole thing is just a bag of caca. They make their rules without reference to the European standards.

Last year i was sent a present from a friend, 24 pocelain mugs. The douanes asked 120 euros before they would allow the package to be shipped, which i paid. My friend soon after asked if id recieved the gift, and was i pleased? he was shocked at the cost and wanted to reimburse me, but i said no need. Cest la vie. or as we americans say, S... happens!

I have had similar experiences where I had a painting and some headlights separately shipped from the USA and had to pay VAT on each. In fact I'm not sure that the VAT on the painting (about 50 years old) was correct but to reclaim would have been a huge hassle and two long journeys to the Douanes to reclaim so I didn't bother. Shippers were used in each case and they wouldn't let me have the goods without paying as the Douanes had already charged them. They accepted cheques at the door.

I believe that you will be charged the VAT rate against the insured value. US computers work just fine here on French current. Make sure the QWERTY keyboard agrees with you.

Agree with Dominique

I have recently had two seperate packages from the Channel Islands opened by the French customs that contained SOAP! (agreed it was a special kind) and was forced to pay 21€uros on each (including that wildly excessive 15€ collection charge). There is definitely a much tighter customs inspection of recent times, plus the desire to charge TVA at 19.6% on everything.

I have used a PC bought in the US in both France and the UK and had no problems whatsoever. All you need is a plug adaptor to fit in the local plugs.

Oh Maria,wy jesteście straszny (straszliwie) ale lubię was !! (or as Dick Emery would say, "You are awful....but I like you!)

Oh man! I got a kick out of the fact people just answered your question as though everything was normal. Great pic!

FYI -- Most have a switch at the power supply box 110/220v. The major difference will be the operating system that ships.

On retrospect, maybe it's not the best idea. If a PC isn't in a position to change from 110v, it'd be a no goer anyway. Thanks anyway.

Infos douanes Service au 0 811 20 44 44 ring the Douanes they will give you the pukka info.

I think it is the equivalent of the VAT on the type of article + 15 euros expenses of post office.

I just had one parcel stopped by custom, it was an antique spoon and the VAT on it was 7% but for a computer it is more likely to be around 20%.

It isthe first time I had a Parcel stopped but I think at the moment the French are weary of the US and need money...