The most common concern when purchasing on Aliexpress would probably be the amount each customer should pay for the customs and import tax. Well, the quickest answer is that it depends on what country you’re currently in. Different countries have different import tax ranges you should look at.
Before proceeding with your purchase, make sure everything’s clear with you so you won’t be shocked by the amount you’ll have to pay once the parcel arrives right in front of your doorstep. The price will highly depend on the amount of the item you’re purchasing though.
Planning to make your next purchase on Aliexpress?
Here’s everything you need to know about its import tax to the UK.
Why buy on Aliexpress?
There are tons of ecommerce platforms out there, but why do people go to Aliexpress to check the items they’re looking for? Basically, people buy on Aliexpress for two reasons. First, they get the products that are not available in their country. Let’s admit it. Sometimes, we find the best deals on Aliexpress and we tend to push through the purchase because that specific item isn’t available in our place.
Second, the price in Aliexpress is sometimes much lower compared to the ones that are sold within your area. We compare products before we purchase them. And we tend to go for the one that’s less expensive.
Import and customs duties in Aliexpress
Buying on Aliexpress is easy. With just a few clicks, you can order as many items as you want. You place your order, enter your address and wait for your items to be delivered directly to you. Such a convenient way to buy something without the need of leaving your home.
Buying online indeed allows us to source products easily even if they are produced and manufactured by companies from other countries.
Aliexpress was established for B2C business for customers who usually buy items online for personal use. However, this is no longer just for end users today because small businesses stock up their items and rely on Aliexpress.
Actually, Aliexpress allows you to buy wholesale products with some famous coupons. Sometimes, you get coupons when you buy products at a higher cost, usually anything above $100. This is advantageous if you’re a business owner since you can get more revenue from the items you’ll resell in your country.
It’s a good platform to start with. However, the price you’re seeing might just be the surface of what you’ll need to pay after checking out your item.
Aliexpress import tax to the UK
When you buy products outside your country, your transaction will be regulated by a series of trade regulations issued by your country, primarily, the UK. In England, buyers are required to pay customs on all packages bought from another country.
There are options where you can pay this tax. If you want to avoid the paperwork, you can pay for the VAT directly through Aliexpress but this is only applicable for orders below £135. You will pay 20% of the total amount of the product you purchase and Aliexpress will directly transfer this payment to the UK tax authority to exempt you from paying the tax when the item arrives.
But if your order exceeds £135, this is when you’ll have to pay an additional customs fee when you receive your item. This is another tax aside from the VAT you also have to pay. The customs will send you the amount to be paid which is 20% of the total amount of the product you purchase (VAT) plus the customs and handling fees.
Yes 20% may sounds expensive. But if you look at similar items at Amazon UK, this may be otherwise. Aliexpress items are still cheaper!
How your package is delivered to you
When you buy on Aliexpress, usually, packages are not that big. In this case, your product can be sent through postal service or through a private courier.
In case you choose the postal service option, your package will undergo the local postal service process. These postal services usually handle the customs clearance for all packages that will be shipped to another country.
When the agents find anomalies with the parcel, they will forward a notification to the shipper and let them do the necessary clarifications before proceeding with the shipment.
On the other hand, if you prefer your package to be shipped via a private courier like DHL, TNT or UPS, it has to go directly through the customs. And in case of any problem with the parcel, you will be notified and you’ll have to clarify things as needed to the customs authority in your country.
Tips to buy safely on Aliexpress and avoid scams
Let’s admit it. There are tons of frauds and scammers going around the ecommerce industry today. And sometimes, it’s not that easy to distinguish the legitimate sellers from the illegitimate ones.
When buying on Aliexpress, chances are your items will be coming from another country and will be shipped to the UK, right in front of your doorstep. It should go that way. But what if you encountered a scammer and didn’t notice it throughout the purchase?
You spent money for a product that isn’t legit, and what’s more painful is that you paid for its VAT even before it was shipped to you. After several weeks, the package arrived damaged, or didn’t arrive at all. That’s awful. But you can prevent it from happening in the first place.
Find a reputable seller.
How do you find a reputable seller when buying online? One of the most effective ways to do this is to look for some feedback from other previous buyers. You’ll know a seller is trusted if he or she has tons of good feedback.
Feedbacks are usually found below the product descriptions of the item you’re searching for. Ideally, you want to get your product from a seller with tons of 5-star feedback. This proves that he or she is a reliable seller and that he or she provides customers nothing but high quality products.
Check for seller guarantees.
Sellers can also provide seller guarantees so customers can trust them more. With a seller guarantee, customers are assured that they can get a full refund whenever the item they received isn’t the one they’ve ordered, or if it’s damaged or even didn’t arrive at all.
No one wants to release refunds over and over again to their customers. They will eventually lose. So if a seller offers a seller guarantee, you can trust him or her that he or she will surely give you what you’ve ordered without any problem. And if there’s any unexpected conflict during the process, the seller will definitely inform you throughout the resolution of the issue.
Between you and the seller, you’re the one in charge of what you order online. It all depends on you. No matter how much security the site gives you, you still need to take responsibility for your actions.
First thing to take note of, never settle on a product with a price that’s too good to be true. Be cautious about this one. Because some buyers get blinded by low prices and think they can really save money when in fact, they’re just wasting some.
Second, never send your payment directly to a seller’s bank. If the seller asks to take the payment out of Aliexpress, that’s definitely fraud. Any payment outside Aliexpress is no longer covered by the buyer protection policies.
Lastly, do not confirm delivery before the item arrives. Never say you’ve received it until you truly did. Once you confirm the delivery, the seller can get your payment right away and it’s easier for a scammer to forfeit the delivery process once the payment has been transferred to him or her.
Vigilance is the key to prevent yourself from dealing with scammers on Aliexpress.
Compare prices from other similar sellers.
When you look for something online, you don’t just go with the first one that comes in the search result. You still gather some other similar sellers who sell the same item you’re looking for. You compare them–their policies, their customers’ feedback, and the total number of orders they have so far.
That’s how you figure out which one is the best option for you. Most sellers just have a little discrepancy when it comes to prices, but never settle for too expensive, or too low prices. It’s either you get an overpriced item, or get scammed.
There are so many things going on before your item gets to you. You don’t just order a product and expect it to arrive tomorrow. It goes through a long process especially if you’re ordering from another country.
Before purchasing on Aliexpress, it’s best to make everything clear with the seller first. Ask for the amount of tax you’ll have to pay and options on how you can pay for it. Through this short conversation, you’ll also figure out if the seller has been in the business for a long time once he or she answers you with professionalism and full knowledge.