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Shipping & Taxes Answered

I previously won prizes on several contests here at Instructables and all of them were shipped to Hungary without any costs on my part, except the last one, I had to pay approx. 40 usd for a prize estimated at 75 usd.
Did something change in Instructables' shipping policies?


No - that will have been your own country's import duties and taxes.

Instructables pays everything in the US, but they can't control what home nations do. For instance, I recently bought some parts from the US - when the package came through the airport, UK customs held it up and charged VAT on the value of the contents. I do often "get away" with it (when I won a high-end PC, UK customs charged me nothing!).

It says somewhere in the T&C that contestants are responsible for any taxes and duties charged by their home nation.

Yes, I've read that part in the T&C, it's just odd that I received 10+ packages without any charges and now I had to pay for this one. Meanwhile I called FedEx Hungary and they said that all parcels with a value of 22 euros or higher are subject to VAT, and the sender may have paid all expenses on my previous shipments, but not this one; hence my original question.

Now I really don't know if I should pull my instructables from contests or risk paying 40 usd for a t-shirt...

That's going to have to be your decision - it seems getting things delivered is a dice-roll in some countries.

Why not enter the contests, but if you "only" win a shirt you just don't fill in the delivery details.

One problem might be the service used.
I got three shipments from FedEx during the last two years, all with great troubles.
Despite leaving a signed note to prod the parcel at the door in the case that I am not home, they never actually get that far.
Only cards left in the letterox stating the delivery was not possible - the second shipment I had to pick up from the depot after 2 weeks of "failed" deliveries.
The last one is actually from Instructables as a thank you for judging contest and after two failed deliveries this week already I called them yesterday to find out when they might be able to reach my door.
Sadly I was told again that no note was left and noone was home and only after offering the footage of my security cams showing the driver filled the card out in the car and never made it past my letterbox they promised a new delivery for Monday.

The second shipment had a value of just $102 US - excluding the postage costs.
When I went to pick it up I was offered the choice of loosing it or paying an additional $65 for "import duties and handling fees" - mind you AU has no import duties on items valued below $1000.
The fees were made up by the FedEx fineprint in their delivery terms and conditions.
So I left, contacted the company that shipped it and explained the problem.
The next morning my parcel was delivered by a supervisor in his own car.....

If I would have a choice I would not accept FedEx for any delivery ever again to anyone in Australia....

Did you check if the fees you paid were from your local customs department or made up fees by FedEx?

Well, the delivery guy said that he doesn't know why I have to pay so I called FedEx Hungary and they said that I had to pay VAT because the value exceeds 22 euros, it just struck me as odd because I never had to pay a dime for the 10+ prizes I previously won, all of which exceeded 22 euros.