Anyone who has ever purchased something from another country over a certain pricepoint knows that they are responsible for any and all duties, since they are importing. Chinese know, for example, that their government will charge duties on everything of any value that they order from another country. Most countries have a much higher price threshold before duties kick in.
Does Amazon specifically warn them of this? No. There are probably 100 things Amazon could inform a buyer of but that would make them scream, run and hide under the bed and never venture online again.
If you have pricey items and are selling internationally, you would be free to warn the buyer that there may be duties and they will be responsible for them. Not a bad idea, really. I’ve had a couple international orders refused and sent back because the buyer decided not to pay the customs. They were in the neighborhood of $100. So if I still sold internationally, that is exactly what I would do.
As far as returns, an international buyer is taking a bit of a chance since if they didn’t read carefully or change their mind, they will have to pay the return. If it is defective, you will be responsible for either refunding without return or paying for the return since the buyer, whether in the US or located on the moon, had every expectation of receiving what they ordered.
Bottom line, international selling has its risks, and it’s best to raise your shipping charge a bit to give you a little more cushion. Also, for expensive items, you need secure, insured, tracked shipping.
Hope this helps you weigh the options. I switched to mostly FBA so I would have one less headache and a little more time to drink coffee.
Canadian customers buying on Amazon.com should know that they will have obligations related to paying GST/HST and any duty.
Regarding additional shipping, you can not change anything more than the customer paid. If you want a different shipping rate, you need to set that up in your Shipping settings before the customer buys.
Here is a link with more information that you could refer to a customer who was not aware:
I suggest that if you are concerned, you do advise the customer that they may need to pay any import related fees to the carrier. To minimize that risk, I suggest that you use USPS as their tolerance for those additional charges is less than other carriers who will always bill the customer.
When customers find out that they have an additional charge, many will refuse the package and it will be returned to you at your expense. The customer will still request a full refund and may get that from Amazon with an A-Z claim if you disagree.
If you are not sure about how to effectively deal with international orders, you should disable those and restrict your offers to US customers. That will eliminate a lot of hassle and risk.
Last summer when offered the opportunity to sell on Canada and MX, when I checked the rules about selling there and decided I didn’t want that hassle which I don’t have on my other selling venue. What I read at the time implied that the seller had to deal with the VAT and the different sorts of taxes, etc. I’m not sure where that info can be found without spending lots of time looking for it, but Amazon did state we were expected to deal with this stuff and I’m not sure why. Perhaps I read it wrong.
As one poster said those in other countries are usually aware that they will be liable for customs duty and VAT plus anything else they want to add to the bill. I’ve only ever had one complaint from someone that bought a vintage $50 pattern that by the time the taxman was done with her she had paid $80 for it and not realizing I used U-pic and not USPS for insurance (no need for insurance stamps all over the box) she got mad that I hadn’t inured the package that was worth $80 as well, although I had for the $50 value. But generally since those folks all live in smaller countries they cross borders more often and are more aware of cross-country rules. I think one of the reasons that the Euro came into being.
All in all you have to be very clear what Amazon as well as the other country expects of you when mailing something to them.
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