I have been sending orders internationally for quite some time now and I recently received a message from a customer saying that they had to pay a fairly hefty customs charge (import fee). They informed me that customs charges can be avoided if the product is marked as a gift. Is there a way to do that on the declaration form? I understand I can't go back and fix this one but I'm trying to avoid future customer frustration for those unaware of these fees. I'm shipping from the U.S. if that makes a difference. Thanks!
Ren here from the Shopify support team, here to lend you a hand.
Custom charges are one of the unfortunate realities of international shipping. Labelling a package as a gift when it is in fact a product is considered falsifying and against the law. You can read more information about this at this third-party link.
A "gift" option can only be applied when sending personal items to friends or family, not a purchased product. I understand not wanting your customer to be responsible for paying the fee should they incur a customs fee, and in these cases you may wish to refund them or offer them a store credit for a future purchase.
It's important to outline the details of what your customers might expect on a Shipping Policy page, so the fee doesn't come as a complete surprise. You can read more about shipping etiquette here.
An app does exist for calculating a total landing cost which you can learn more about here and might be worth a shot to help set the right expectations for international customers.
I hope you've found this helpful! Please let me know if I can clarify anything for you.
I'm hoping if someone from Shopify would actually answer the question because I send promotional gifts all the time overseas and there is no GIFT option that I found. I would have to use Shippo to mark it as a gift or just lower the value of the package which messes with package insurance. So is there a "mark as gift" option for customs or not?
Based on personal experience, when I ship internationally from Canada, I fill out a physical customs form that does include a box to check off "gift". The online version of the customs form includes the same area to indicate whether a gift is being shipped.
So in your case, since you are in fact sending promotional material, you should be able to claim the item as a gift. To be sure though, I would recommend speaking to the individual at the post office counter (or giving them a call) as they deal with multiple instances of shipping/filling out customs forms daily and may have a better idea of what those expectations would be in your individual case.
Thank you Ren. So Shopify does not have that option? I know Shippo does. I will just ship using Shippo for promotional international stuff in the future. Just wanted to check with Shopify first. Thank you.
Hi again @DejaDrewit,
At this time the option doesn't exist in Shopify's admin settings, however, I can submit this to our product team as a request for future consideration. Check out this link for more information on how taxes and duties work when shipping online.
Have there been any updates about this option becoming available? We also send promo gifts to our customers. We have had to use other shipping services when we do this since there doesn't seem to be a gift option in shopify.
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