Parcelforce Invoice- Review Items


macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 28, 2010
United Kingdom
Hey, I've recently had two items sent to me from the US (to the UK) for review on my site.
One was an iPhone case worth $80, and the other, an iPhone case worth $70.

I got the $80 case delivered to me no problem, but for the $70 iPhone case, I've received an 'import parcel invoice' from Parcelforce. They want to charge me £8 for a "clearance fee (zero rated for VAT purposes)" and £8.10 for "import VAT". I can understand the charge for import VAT (although it's frustrating), but the Clearance Fee is very annoying, £8 to get someone to send me a letter!

Now my question is, when I received the $80 case, on the outside it said "Commercial Sample" under "Customs Declaration" and I was charged no import VAT or clearance fee. Does this mean that commercial samples are exempt from import VAT etc? If so, can I call HMR and explain the situation to them and not pay the £16.10 for the $70 case?

Any advice, or any experiences with Parcelforce and their outrageous clearance fees would be appreciated, thank you!


macrumors 603
Dec 19, 2002
If it's declared as a 'commercial sample', generally it will not be subject to import taxes, if it's declared as 'merchandise', it will typically be subject to import taxes based on the value on the declaration.

Now, the customs can generally also open the package, inspect the contents and charge you something different if they don't feel it was declared properly, like if it's declared as a commercial sample and they open it up and there's an invoice for $80 inside.

I imagine some of the Parcelforce fee comes from the fact that they do in fact contact you and work with you on the customs duties--when there is a customs problem with items sent by standard postal service/air mail they often just vanish, or sit in customs indefinitely, or show back up weeks later at the sender's location, so you are receiving a higher level of service.

I worked at a company that sent many small international shipments every day--the value of the USPS was fantastic, but critical items really had to go FedEx, often at 10 times the price. When receiving things, the reason for the price was clear, as FedEx would actually work to open up a dialogue with the customs office and we'd learn what paperwork/fees were necessary, without the package being ignored or sent back--something the post office only seems to do when they feel like it.
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.