Misdeclared value

Misdeclared value

Ever wondered why couriers ask you to confirm the value of your goods when sending a parcel? As you may have guessed, it’s not just out of curiosity or interest.


There are two main reasons behind doing this:

  • For customs clearance purposes

  • For claims purposes


Now let us look into depth at these two points.


Why is the value of my goods important for customs clearance?

It is of utmost importance to understand that goods travelling within the EU are not subject to customs clearance; whereby it is only goods travelling to or from a non-EU country that must go through customs clearance before they can enter a country.


There is lots to consider when sending a parcel outside the European Union. For example, you will need to produce paperwork for customs clearance, declare the value of each item and explain why you're sending it. Customs will then review your declaration and may apply customs import duty and tax charges. These charges are usually paid by the receiver.


If you're shipping gifts or sending personal effects then they may be exempt from customs import charges. This will depend on the value of the items, and the regulations for that particular country. Always remember, it is the law of the land and it entirely depends on customs to decide if your package is dutiable or not.


Customs will decide if any duties and tax charges should be applied, and if so the customs fees will need to be paid by the receiver, along with any admin charges applied by the courier before delivery can be made. Obtaining payment can sometimes delay the delivery process.


Why is the value of my goods important for claims?

This is a simple one to explain. Common sense dictates that if you declare your goods as being worth £10 when booking your shipment online, then you cannot submit a claim for more than £10 if your parcel is lost or damaged in transit.


The same goes for additional laibility cover. If you purchase our additional liability cover then the value that you take out cover for is automatically the highest value that you can claim cover for during transit.


For example, if your goods are really worth £1,000 and you want them to be covered against loss, then you should purchase our liabilty cover to match that value.


One final thing to remember when it comes to claims is that you will need to provide an invoice or receipt to prove the value of the goods that you wish to claim compensation for, just like you would have to if you were submitting a house insurance claim. And of course, the value on the invoice or receipt should match the value that you declared when you booked your parcel online.


How do import duties and taxes work?

  • When import duty and tax are applied it’s often because the goods are either for sale, re-sale or worth more than a certain value, although this can vary commodity to commodity.

  • The value thresholds for import duty and tax also varies from country to country, and some countries will apply import duty and taxes on all shipments, whilst other countries have specific value thresholds in place for when these charges should be applied, and if your goods are valued below this threshold then they can usually enter without any import duty and taxes being applied.

  • To find out what the value threshold is for the country you are shipping to you need to look online on the country’s customs page. Whilst this can be difficult to navigate, often you will find what you are looking for within a reasonable time.


Remember that you cannot declare your goods as worth £0. You must always enter a value. Usually if import duty or tax is applied it is a percentage amount of the goods value that you declare when you book your parcel online. The percentage amount will vary from country to country and from commodity to commodity. The reason for export is important too. For example, gifts, personal affects and samples will in most cases attract a lower level of import duty and tax (if any), compared to goods that are for sale or re-sale.

Customs are part of the government, and declaring false information is essentially fraud. So whilst some of you may be thinking that it’s tempting to under declare the value of your goods, you should know that Customs do regular spot checks on parcels to check the contents and the value of the goods inside, and being caught lying could result in penalty fines, delays with delivery or even prosecution. And nobody wants that.


Here's a quick summary of what happens when you ship outside the EU:

  1. As part of your booking process, we will ask you to declare what you are shipping and why.

  2. Our website will help you to create the required customs paperwork for you to print out.

  3. When your shipment arrives at the destination country, the carrier will arrange the customs clearance, and customs will assess your declaration to determine the amount of import duty that should be applied to your shipment. These charges will as a norm, be billed to the receiver.

  4. The receiver will be contacted and asked to pay any charges. They will also be provided with a copy of your customs declaration as reference.

  5. If you would prefer to pay these customs charges yourself, we can arrange this. This is a popular option when sending gifts. There is an additional charge for this and a deposit is required.

  6. Once any charges have been paid, your parcel will exit customs and be delivered to your recipient.

Related information:

How to send a parcel



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