How Fed-Ex tried to overcharge us

Here's an exerpt of our correspondence with Federal Express after they tried to hit us with a £180 bill for Excise and VAT (and Fed-Ex!) charges:

The goods were not Camping Gear as indicated on the invoice, but rather

1) A non-motorised vehicle designed for the conveyance of babies or young children, either being towed by a bicycle or pushed by a person. This qualifies as a ?baby carriage? and is liable to 2.7% import duty, not 15%. Full 17.5% VAT applies. Tariff code 87150010 00.

2) Accessories for the above, Tariff code, duty and VAT as noted for above.

3) A child?s cycle helmet. This qualifies to 2.7% import duty, not 15%. No VAT applies as it is a child?s helemt. Tariff code 65061080 00.

I have made several phone calls to the HMCE and the Tariff Classification Service to verify these facts; one of the HMCE national advice lines, the last call reference was BAN9250.

I am also confused by the addition of a Fedex Freight charge of ?46.80 to the pre-duty/VAT bill. I paid (US $) $162 for shipping the above items. The cost of the goods (1-3 above) is added to the shipping charge to make an import total of 739.93, which is converted to ?393.83. Then the charge of ?46.80 is added on top to create a sum of ?440.63. Duty is levied on this sum. But I never paid ?46.80 for any services, not from Fedex certainly. How can I be held liable for duty (and VAT) on an amount (?46.80) which I never paid? Is it possible that this is the UK portion of the shipping charge (so, part of the $162 I already paid)? It seems like I am being asked to pay duty & VAT for the same thing twice. Can that be right?

Also, the invoice papers from the original vendor includes a $15 charge for the ?membership? scheme (customer loyalty scheme) run by the vendors from whom I bought the imported goods. This $15 is not liable for duty or VAT; it is not an imported good, or a shipping service to transport goods.

I make out my bill as follows:

Goods

$ value

? value

Plus Duty (2.7%)

Only Duty

VAT (17.5%)

Carriage and accessories

545

290.08

297.91

7.83

52.13

Child's cycle helmet

17.93

9.54

9.80

0.26

0.00

Shipping charges

162

86.23

88.55

2.33

15.50

Totals

724.93

385.85

396.27

10.42

67.63

Your Admin Charge

4.5

Total due, including Duty, Vat and Fedex Admin charge

82.55


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