I ordered last week a couple of PCBs with dev.dangerousprototypes.com dirtypcbs.com. As usually I send in multiple designs and use DHL 2-5 days shipping option. The costs for that is a bit more then the slow HK post option, but I want them as quick as possible. I expected them to charge me import duties and handling fee, but they seems not to get the numbers right.

For the Netherlands import duties/VAT (for PCBs) is 21% over the total value including shipping. If the total value is less then 22 EUR (or 25 USD) you don’t need to pay it.  I was charged a total of approx. 70 USD for the designs sent in. Using the exchange rate Paypal used when I ordered that comes down to about 63.50 EUR and thus 13.25 EUR VAT. DHL charges 13 EUR (without VAT) or 15.73 (with VAT) for their ‘service’ to declare your parcel. If I use a small piece of paper (or even a calculator) the total amount due would be about 29 EUR, but DHL computation came with 42.83 EUR?! WT*?!

Last time when I ordered PCBs I had also issues with their way of calculating the import duties. It turns out they assume the costs of shipping to some ridiculous amount of 100 USD!! In fact they know who sent the parcel and what they charge him for that. Phoning and writing emails didn’t help back then. I must pay the ridiculous price and then ‘granted’ the opportunity to get a waiver I could use to ‘ask’ the tax office for a refund. As DHL collect the taxes, they will refund it to them. The only way is to send a snail mail with all documents to the tax office (using a stamp off course). Within 6-8 weeks they tell you if they will refund the overpaid taxes. As said they will refund it to DHL and not directly to you. Then you could ask DHL if they please want to refund it to you. My experience is it takes months and several emails/complaint to even get the intention they will refund it within 14 days. As a reference the overpaid taxes of the parcel I got this januari were refunded just this week.

Easy money? Yes, for 15 EUR I would expect more then this..

UPDATE may 11 2016:

I contacted them through a localized contact form and filed a complaint. Today they asked me to send them an invoice and a proof of pay. I mailed them with the invoice and screenshot of my paypal and they mailed my back and say the customs had changed the amount of taxes. Unfortunately because too much time is elapsed I can’t pay upfront, but only on delivery. We’ll see if the delivery boy have the same info I got 🙂

Perhaps the 15 EUR is well spent afterwards?