Contest prize stuck in customs

I was recently shipped the Photography Tips and Tricks contest prize,, it got stuck in customs in India. I've received a few prizes in the past without any problem but it probably got stuck this time because of its high value.

After a discussion with the FedEx folks, the total amount including custom duty(around 25-30%) will be around 34% of the total prize value, even after I told them I'm an individual and this is a contest prize. I understand that the contest rules state that I have to pay all custom duties and any other cost incurred.

Any authors here who have faced any problems with customs and if this is the expected custom duty in India(seems a tad too high)? Any declaration(such as gift or prizes) which can help reduce the duty amount?

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petachock1 year ago

A similar thing has happened to me in the UK too. I won 3rd prize in the maker olypics value of prize was around $120. A week after I received it from Fedex i got an invoice for around $65 (£50), there was duty on the $120 prize, duty on postage which it said was around $100 (I guess they made that up) and a £12 Fedex fee!

I am in the process of complaining at the moment. I have had the fee removed by saying that I had not entered in to any legal contract with them so I never agreed to pay the fee. I am still waiting for them to tell me about the postage cost I queried.

I have received other prizes before and haven't had any duties to pay but they have always been lower value items...and it may be luck of the draw.

If I win a prize again I will be tempted to decline it if it's one I'm not particularly bothered about maybe just ask for the t-shirt or mug!

I also wonder if a contest is not sponsored, like the current glue competition with an ipad as a prize, if Instructables/Autodesk could get it sent from a local (to the winner) distributor. I would have thought this would be possible for such an international company.

Same here! Two prizes from two contests. Value for both arournd 700USD.

Custom duties 450 USD! Fee for fedex employees 170USD. OOps!

Sad to hear this and sad that the same courier company is still used for this.
Highway robbery based on hidden fineprints in their contracts is bad enough to seek a different service to deliver prices.
Fedex and UPS are well known for these tactics and I know from own experience that they are also partly responsible for excessive import duties.
When they want your extra money and hold the delivery in customs they also report the item to the tax office - I can only assume here but they must get more than a "thank you" in return for this.

Unless the sponsors and Instructables can come up with a service that avoids highway robbery I can only suggest this to anyone entering a contest from outside the US:
Check you import requirements in terms of how much value is allowed in for free and for what items you might be charge a lot.
Tools are usually quite cheap, "luxury items" can cope up to 50% of their value in extra import taxes!
If you happen to win a big (in volume) or valuable price in a contest and already know you might be slabbed with extra import taxes contact the support and offer a delivery service you organise.
A lot of small, local parcel services work together with the big companies, meaning the they use them for the overseas stuff but once in the country they take over.

I had to order some car parts for a friend twice from the US.
First time I did not ask and did not bother and for $300 in parts on the bill we had to fork out $110 for Fedex and another $75 for import taxes.
Next order the company was asked to simply state "car spares" on the tax form instead of listing all items by value and to accept a pickup from our choosen courier company.
They said no problem but we won't be responsible for loss or extra delivery time.
Instead of two weeks and a lot of extra costs one carby with matching inlet manifold and air box plus a NOS regulator, values at all up $2300 arrived a week later in the workshop for a simple signature upon receiving the stuff.
Just shows that you can be lucky with import taxes but also that not all companies use a delivery to make extra money without any justification.

Yeah I know, sad story! I don't really care paying for import taxes, thats something we all need to do but 170 usd for fedex employees is way too much. For me at least! Its also sad because it makes me think if it worths to enter in a contest anymore. But thats something noone made me do I guess.

It is adding a bad taste to "winning" something isn't it?

Yes, it is like I bought my prize. No more contests for me I guess.

that is really wierd. I never had to pay any money to FedEx employees. My experience with them has always been great.

Depends on the country, they love to do in countries where certain things are hard to come by for various reasons.

Rahul - S1 year ago

Is it necessary to submit Hard copies of documents to address given in mail??

Did anyone of you do so?

Your personal details would be checked during the actual delivery if at all.
In some cases customs or the shipping company go a bit nuts and demand confirmation prior to delivery.
This usually happens for a first time international shippment that has a value declared on the customs form.
Once you are in their system they won't ask again (from my experience anyway).
In the end it comes down to money.
Delivering to find out the person does not exist is wasted money, asking for a confirmation costs nothing.

Just checked and with the latest increase in "terror acts" many international shipping companies have to play it safe.
Claim is to ensure sender and receiver details are correct to prevent a misuse of the system - whatever that might mean in real worlds LOL
If in doubt then send them a copy of some bill that states your name and address, something that is a recognised document in your country, like a power bill for example.
Again, you should only be asked for such documents if the content of the shippment is unclear, poses a risk (can be anything from a lithium battery to chemicals) or falls under some import restrictions.
Also keep in mind that some countries have very strict rules on documents required for import of goods.
Here in AU you could go crazy after checking what you can't send here without further documents or simply not at all.

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