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Making Transactions to China

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Howard_S View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Howard_S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Making Transactions to China
    Posted: 10 January 2021 at 17:21
For better or worse I ordered via eBay a Monster LA-VE1 adapter from 'John', the guy behind this and the Monster LA-EA4r adapter. The thing has shipped with SF Express and arrived in London where VAT and handling fees are due.

I heard via John that SF Express were looking for payment of the fees and via him SF Express have now sent an invoice (from China, in Chinese). Through trial and error and Google Translate I can see three options to pay - WeChat Pay, AliPay, and SF Financial. None of these appear to let me go further and make a transaction with my credit card.

I am yet to hear from SF Express re contact details for the office or agent in London that holds the package. (eBay tracking says the package is in London, is through customs, and is being held 'for forwarding - please be patient'.)

John offers to take money from me and make the payment directly to SF in China.

I think it is safer to deal with someone in the UK regarding the demanded VAT and fees.

So my question is - has anyone been in a similar position, and how was it resolved for them? John seems trustworthy to me, but beyond his courteous handling of the order and his general standing with the LA-EA4r adapter I don't have a great deal to go on.
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dCap View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote dCap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 January 2021 at 17:41
If the eBay item stated that VAT/customs fees would be due (and they should be due) - then make all your communications with 'John' using eBay's messaging system. Do not do any private emails. eBay should then protect you if 'John' decides not to send you your toy. eBay then also have full vision of your conversation.

How 'John' invoices you this charge is unclear - I would ask him/her to create an eBay lot for the fees so you can pay directly via BIN eBay/PayPal. And get him/her to message you via the original item and include reference to the new 'import fees lot'.

And/Or - contact eBay directly to see if they can offer an alternative way for you to pay this (that they are prepared to protect). If you are contacting eBay help then the first question needs to be 'please transfer me to an import expert', the first person you are connected to will not have the faintest idea what to do and you will end up repeating to the 2nd agent.

If 'John' listed this items as being sold 'from the UK' then the situation would be a little different - he needs to deliver it to you for the price you've paid and should have factored in the import fees into the list price. Others do exactly that and 'invisible to you' they get invoiced for your import directly from the courier. But that doesn't sound like the case here, he is asking for payment.

If 'John' listed the item on "eBay HongKong" for example, then the courier should be invoicing you directly really - and it might just be stuck between courier hand overs? The 'be patient' might be that handover that you don't normally get to see.

- - -

I've imported from Japan in the past, on eBay. And as I'm sure many other have, you get invoiced directly by Fedex or by Parcel Force (and pay to collect your item).   Other items I've had bought have been labelled as 'guaranteed VAT paid' and I got an invoice for one of those (from e.g. Fedex) once which the seller then refunded to me directly via 'issue partial refund' in PayPal. This was easier then when PayPal was owned by eBay (or the other way around?) which is no longer the case.

I've looked into WeChat before and it looked a bit complicated to set-up if you weren't native Chinese. Not sure if Alibaba offers accounts to UK people (not used them myself) - setting up an account first would be the logical step, but if this is a one-off kinda not what you want to be doing.

Edited by dCap - 10 January 2021 at 17:45
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dCap View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote dCap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 January 2021 at 17:52
If you do decide to pay 'John' directly - I'd use PayPal from "cleared PayPal funds". Upload the required amount to PayPal first as a seperate transaction.
Don't pay via direct bank transfer.

And pay to the same email address as for the original item. That can be a little tricky to find out but is there in your PayPal account ... and you could contact PayPal support and ask them if there is any protection they offer you for this (expected additional charge). Then there is a log in your PayPal of that conversation with support where you can mention the seller's real name and email.

PayPal support are significantly brighter people than eBay's help team.
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Howard_S View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Howard_S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 January 2021 at 18:38
Thanks very much - some useful tips there.

Yes, there was fair warning about the possibility of fees and what is being asked seems right (VAT and handling).

The goods have reached the UK and have cleared customs according to the track and trace site. They started out from Beijing. eBay advise delivery from 12 Jan to 03 Feb, so it seems odd that the Chinese shipper is getting jumpy.

I tried setting up an AliPay account using a British card (via their app) but it didn't recognise my card despite being with Barclaycard, who have a relationship with AliPay (mostly to enable Chinese tourists to buy stuff here, I suspect).

The only way I could make any progress was by using my Smartphone and Google Translate and Google Lens on screengrabs - remarkable Tech really.

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neilt3 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote neilt3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 January 2021 at 20:31
Originally posted by Howard_S Howard_S wrote:


John offers to take money from me and make the payment directly to SF in China.

I think it is safer to deal with someone in the UK regarding the demanded VAT and fees.

So my question is - has anyone been in a similar position, and how was it resolved for them? John seems trustworthy to me, but beyond his courteous handling of the order and his general standing with the LA-EA4r adapter I don't have a great deal to go on.


I bought one of the original batch of Vectis to Sony E adapters off John when he first made them about five years ago .
As I remember , when mine arrived it went to the customs depot before being released to Parcel force to bring to my local depot .
At which point I received a note threw the door informing me I had to pay the usual VAT and handling charge ( as expected ) .
As the depot was local I just called in , payed up , and collected the parcel .
There wasn't any messing around with paying foreign duties etc , as being as though the goods are being imported , payment is to be made to out TAX office .

I don't remember any messing around paying via a Chinese firm to handle U.K customs , though I could be wrong , it does ring a bell for some reason .

When He agreed to make the batch I had him list it on ebay so I could buy it that way and pay via paypal for my piece of mind , rather than paying directly .
Things take a while to come from China , but I was happy with the transaction . If there was anything untoward I would have remembered .

Unless Sony improve the range of cameras the LA-EA5 is compatible with , I'm thinking of getting the LA-EA4r chip from him as well .

Enjoy your Vectis adapter , I still use mine and have all the lenses .
Hopefully you'll have it soon !




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mambo View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote mambo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 January 2021 at 20:44
I bought the first LA-EA4r chip on ebay the day it became available. I had no issues what so ever with the seller. The only problem I had (if you can call it a problem) was some pressure to comment on his bookface account about my experiences. I do not have such an account and had no plans to open one to assist his cause. He shipped with fedex, which collected import taxes.
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dCap View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote dCap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 January 2021 at 21:51
Seems a little odd the process isn't smoother - if he imports from China to UK often then he'd be aware of the steps (none of which have changed re: China/UK) and offer a simpler process than paying via another company.

They might be playing a 'volume and luck' game here (which I'm aware a few importers play). Which is not a topic for an open forum. And not one I support.

Hopefully you can sort this quickly and get your Frankenstein gadget.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote LAbernethy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 January 2021 at 22:58
Ebay's "Global Shipping" in the USA, collects Canadian HST (VAT) and pays Canada Customs with no brokerage fees. USPS/Canada Post Import fees, if any, are paid on delivery with no brokerage fees. For UPS/FedEX/DHL, Taxes and Brokerage fees are due on delivery. Brokerage fees have been the bane of my Ebay experience.
I've never had a Chinese seller collect taxes. If any are due, they are paid on delivery.

Edited by LAbernethy - 10 January 2021 at 23:06
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Howard_S View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Howard_S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 January 2021 at 23:29
Thanks again, guys.

I'm grateful for your comments, Neil, as I remember you were very much an early adopter of John's Vectis adapter (I nearly went for one myself but ducked at the crucial point).

I would expect Parcelforce or similar to be the service that does the final leg of charge collection and delivery here in the UK. Given that eBay project delivery over the next few weeks that seems consistent to me. No problem has yet been flagged by eBay and this situation has arisen only because SF Express chased the vendor.

I see Parcelforce have an online facility for customers to pay customs charges (following notification by letter), and then delivery follows. That seems safer to me.

In eBay we trust ...
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dCap View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote dCap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 January 2021 at 23:35
Yep, I'd wait it out a bit - Parcel Force are used to doing this (everyday) and have a process in place (China-to-UK is nothing new, unlike our closer nations). Perhaps this 'request' is bogus?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Howard_S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 January 2021 at 00:18
I suspect this is about getting money into their hands quicker than would be the case via Parcelforce. Having said that I am surprised that SF Express have any further interest in the matter. They presumably hand off to the UK delivery service who do all the paperwork and collect the fees. What is a Chinese firm doing collecting UK VAT anyway? There's a sum of £11 in handling fees which seems a bit much, but not unusual I suspect. But it seems a lot of fuss for a company to get their hands on 100 yuan.

The worst case scenario is that the adapter isn't delivered, but having got it all the way to London that seems unlikely to me. And if it does go astray I have recourse to eBay and/or the vendor.

I don't want to end up in a scenario where I pay fees to a Chinese company only to have them demanded a second time by Parcelforce or whomever.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote dCap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 January 2021 at 00:26
From memory my handling fees were about £8 to £10 ish (in 2007/8).
£11 sounds about right.

Seller needs to get the item to you or eBay are there to refund you.
eBay is good like that.

Hope it is just a miscommunication. Could be that customs are 'busy' at the moment with a nearer new border which now attracts tax unlike 11 days ago.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote neilt3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 January 2021 at 14:57
Originally posted by dCap dCap wrote:

From memory my handling fees were about £8 to £10 ish (in 2007/8).
£11 sounds about right.



Photographic gear I've imported into the u.k during the last ten years from such as China , Japan and America have all been charged 20% VAT and £16 handling charge at Parcel Force .
So an £11 charge is quite good .

One item from America before Christmas was I think done on the global shipping scheme where I paid all duties in one transaction at the checkout on eBay , so there were no further charges to be made when it got here .

For some reason I've always got lucky buying from Canada .
Everything I've had has slipped threw customs without me copping for a VAT and duty handling bill .
I'm not complaining anyway !
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Post Options Post Options   Quote neilt3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 January 2021 at 14:10
Have you got any further with it ?
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