Guide: Online Shopping Abroad & Customs Formalities


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Dr MUDHAN

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Have you got attracted to some beautiful car item online abroad?

Do you want to buy?

Which is not available in India or in Indian automobile stores; even if available, double the price!

You are confused whether the Indian customs will trouble you?

Import, If so anything to incur as custom duty

How much value of import attracts custom duty in India & how much % extra?

Whether we can simply buy through our credit card or we need a special account like PayPal?

How do they ship – standard airmail or international courier

Whether shipping free or cost additional?

Will they ship to India, if not how to get it abroad?

Will it be safe?

- I had all these doubts!

Those who have visited my primary thread know how many things I purchased abroad.

Those who have not visited, might have thought that the thread is only for new Honda city owners, as the caption would have misguided them –

My new Honda city –the Albus.

I invite you to my primary thread and I am sure, you will find many interesting information which would be useful & applicable to your interest.

Now

I want here to share my experience over online shopping for auto spares abroad & about the customs formalities with our fellow TAI_ns.

I have purchased more than 30 items valued 1.5 to 50 dollars for me and for my friends.

Almost everything reached me safely.

One time I had to pay custom duty as it was via ARAMEX courier from USA.

Two times I got it refunded by the sellers as things had not reached me even after 75 days.

One time I got it refunded as I proved the seller’s supply depot had sent me the counterfeit.

So far I have gone once to grievance as the seller has not responded to my proof that he had sent me something cheap & different than what he had advertised, though the value was just 2.5 dollars as I felt that I should not be get cheated.

Life will have uncertainties. That doesn’t mean that we should sacrifice simple pleasures by avoiding what we like to do with our cars.

Let us buy what we like, of course, carefully but ensure let it not pinch our pocket.

Start a purchase test with small orders valued below 5 to 10 dollars. And then go for more.

Happy shopping!



LET US SEE THE PROCESS:

1. Find out the item which you want
2. Find out the right price and shipping method & cost
3. Compare the prices with other sellers & online shops
4. Select the shop based on their selling price and creditability
5. Pay for it
6. Wait for it & Track shipping
7. Pay custom duty if any
8. Avoid problems with custom authorities.
9. Receive it
10. Revert to the seller, if there is a need for refund / replacement.


1. Find out the item which you want

You want to buy, say a Gear Knob for your car abroad. Search through Google web as well as through Google images, you will find number of images, shapes, sellers.
Or, you got the image of the item, you want to know who sells it - don’t worry, upload the image in Google image search bar and find out the sellers.

Prefer a seller who has got the product or which has almost what you want, go through their web site and note down the right words as described there. Say for example, you like the’ shunk2 type gear knob’.
Now type it the appropriate word in Google and search again, you will find the sellers for the specific item across the world.

2 . Find out the right price and shipping method & cost

Example one seller in Ali Express has the one you want, check the price of other sellers, there by typing the name of the item on their search bar in the top, to get the list of sellers for the similar item.
Sometimes you will be very lucky to find out the price very much less from some sellers who go with the concept ‘Minimum Margin But Maximum Transactions ‘
Note the price and see the creditability by looking into their profile, no. of sales and buyer comments. More transaction reflects their stability and creditability. Refer their shipping mode.

Prefer Hong Kong Regd. Airmail if available or China Mail which would be the cheapest and almost free.

Avoid buying items send through reputed courier like DHL unless it is expensive and you definitely need it. No doubt it is safer & faster, but necessarily make you to pay extra custom duties.

Buy always cheaper items, make order individually, and avoid bulk order.

If they do not ship to India -

You have to make use of ARAMEX ‘Shop & Ship’ facility and you will incur additional shipping charges. For example, you want to buy from amazon.com, they never ship directly to India. You have to provide them an address in the country which they agree to ship. ARAMEX provides their own address as recipient & repack / reship to India. It would cost you almost 250 %.

(Better, If you have your people there, let they bring to India for you when they visit their mother land.)

3. Compare the prices with other sellers & online shops

Do one more search whether such item is available in ebay.com, if yes refer the price? Many time I have found out, the item is still cheaper in ebay.com then select the eBay seller. (Or you want to avoid all these trouble, check up with Indian eBay (eBay.in), if it is available, may be priced 150 -200% more)

4. Select the shop based on the selling price and the shop’s creditability

Select the seller & the item and book mark in the wish list.

Now the item and the seller is fixed.

5. Pay for it

Place order through your credit card by registering into their online services. When you register, always prefer reputed platforms like eBay.com, Ali Express, Deal Extreme who are mediators and your money is secured with them until the transaction completes. Avoid unknown direct sellers.
Some eBay.com sellers insists for instantaneous PayPal payment, then you should have an account with PayPal, register with them, nothing cost extra for registration. Sometime PayPal services will charge you one dollar extra as service charges for the item you buy.

6. Wait for it & Track shipping

Order placed, you will receive confirmation email from them and wait for 4/5 days and you can now track the order with some sellers.

Ali Express provide you tracking facility to know the journey of the item ordered.

You have to give the Tracking Number provided by the seller In the China mail / Hong Kong mail site.

If you continue get a message ‘Success find: 0 items!’ even after 15 days of your order, contact the seller immediately to get the correct tracking ID.

Otherwise if everything in order, it will show the status as in the picture down.

Null means customs has cleared without any doubts. Once it happens in India, you can expect any time delivery.

Sometime, it will indicate – ‘Retention reason: Other’ means they hold in India for security check up or to know the correct value to levy custom duty, then release. It would take extra 15 days to one month.

7. Pay custom duty if any

Generally, free shipping of low value items from HK / CHINA never attracts extra custom duty.

One can import in India goods worth Rs. 2000 duty-free. Furthermore, this duty exemption is bumped up to Rs 10,000, provided the item is marked as a "gift".

Sometimes customs authorities are clever, they hold items marked as ‘gift’ and give us trouble. They may ask us to provide the invoice details, if necessary.
Reputed couriers to avoid such troubles, pay the duty and get it reimbursed from the buyer. But from US, you will get either through EMS (speed post) or by reputed couriers –ARAMEX, DHL etc., which come through after payment of custom duty only.

Generally electronic items more than Indian value of Rs.2000 attracts a custom duty of minimum 30 -36.06%. Recently the law has become very stringent.

Value includes the shipping cost.

8. Avoid problems with custom authorities.

Items with batteries are generally restricted and attracts extensive check by them and delay.

You have to be very careful to avoid customs problems as you are not supposed to import certain banned items – animal skin products like cow hide / crocodile skin leathers. They may even send summon to threaten to penalize / fine us.

CAUTION: If you buy any other things other than automobile ones, better look at the list of items banned for imports in India before ordering online abroad.

CHECK HERE: INDIAN CUSTOMS PROHIBITED AND RESTRICTED GOODS

9. Receive it

Free shipping takes time to reach at least from one month to two months.
Hong Kong mail is faster than China mail.

Reputed couriers serve very fast, provided without much problem with the local custom authorities.

You have a facility to accept 'extending receiving time' with some sellers with Ali Express under genuine circumstances if there is delay at their custom clearance, before making a complaint about non receipt.

10. Revert to the seller, if there is a need for replacement.

Once you receive the item, see whether it is the same as you ordered.

If damaged, mostly it won’t happen, sometimes if so, you have to contact the seller immediately, before you bring to the grievance redressal / dispute facility of the mediators.

Most of the time seller response is good in genuine cases, either they refund or replace the item.
But you have to bring to their knowledge your displeasure with photo evidence, what you ordered and what you received.

Grievance redressal mechanism is very good in eBay, DX but it takes more time with Ali express.

Yes, start a purchase test with small orders valued below 5 to 10 dollars. And then go for more.

Wish You a Safe, Lucky & Happy shopping!

Dr. MUDHAN
[cheers]
 

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Great thread Dr Mudhan. [thumbsup] Lots of insights on how to purchase stuff online. This will surely help a lot of our members in ordering items from abroad for their beloved cars. Online shopping is the way forward and the way globalization is happening, one can order even a 10$ item from US/UK and it will be delivered to your very door-step within days.
 
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@Dr MUDHAN

Very informative thread and I am sure it will be very useful for most of our members who want to do online shopping abroad.

Thank you for sharing
 
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Dr MUDHAN

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SOME MORE TIPS:


While you compare the price between sellers, the following points to be analyzed before placing the order:

Whether the cost includes free shipping with this seller?

If shipping through standard Airmail (China / H K ) is extra, what would be the total cost of this seller?

Whether the cost includes all the required accessory or components as a package or there is any ‘small print’ below indicating extra.

What I mean:

See below three Seller's price for the same item -

SELLER 1 = Free shipping! Universal steering light Fender Side marker light/Lamp Car LED Turn signal Lights- US $8.99 / Pair
(Package Description: A pair LED light without control box. If you want control box +9 dollars)

SELLER 2 = Free shipping! Wholesale! Universal steering light Fender Side marker light/Lamp Car LED Turn signal Lights- US $14.99 / Pair
(Package Description: A pair LED light)

SELLER 3 = Free shipping, Universal steering light Fender Side Lamp with control box / Marker Turn signal Lights- US $10.40 / lot/Pair
(Package Description: A pair LED light + control box)

If you see little in-depth, you will notice, though the seller 1 apparently appears to be the cheapest, the seller 3 has the best price, as his price includes control box. The real price of the seller 1 is more if you include the control box. So let us not get cheated.

If you use the control box, this product will keep lighting both side of the car along with parking light, and will flash when you open the turn signal light; if you install the product without control box, it will flash just when you open the turn signal light only.

See always what the Package Includes. (Note: Which would be indicated by the seller at end of the page or somewhere in between the page).)

It is better to contact the seller and get clarified.

His response will also indicate how serious he is about the business and your requirement get recorded.

Dr. MUDHAN
 

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Thanks for the detailed information. If I have to purchase any items form US especially I ask my friends out there in US to get one for me for trouble free delivery [:D]
 
Thread Starter #7

Dr MUDHAN

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SOME MORE TIPS ON:

REVERT TO THE SELLER, IF THERE IS A NEED FOR REPLACEMENT.

Generally, I have seen no item damaged as packing used to be good, in an Airmail cover with inner bubble layer.

Rarely it was different from what I expected – a cheap counterfeit against what advertised.

My communication with the seller to ensure what I wanted, before I placed the order and the photos of the item I received helped me to solve the issues immediately without lodging a dispute with the owners of the website.

Only one seller from whom I purchased a double side tape was so adamant and I have taken up with the redressal forum.

I give you here few snapshots for your reference.

Dr.MUDHAN
 

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Great wrote up. It would be very useful if you provide the info on customs duty you paid along with the original value of the items. This would be helpful to others so that they may have an expected percentage that goes towards the customs duty vs the value of an item.
 
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Dr MUDHAN

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Great wrote up. It would be very useful if you provide the info on customs duty you paid along with the original value of the items. This would be helpful to others so that they may have an expected percentage that goes towards the customs duty vs the value of an item.
Thanks.
I have already indicated in the thread that I had reimbursed to the courier 30% custom duty of the value (which includes shipping cost) when I bought KLASSE product from amazon.com.

Value of the item in Amazon including their shipping charges to US address Rs. 2400 plus 30% CD Rs. 720 Total Rs. 3120

(Please note the hidden charges of ARAMEX. Shipping charges for first 500g = 10 dollars/next 500g =8 dollars again from US to India. Nonrefundable one time Registration Charges 45 dollars to utilize this services)

I have paid Rs. 980 (@ old dollar rate) as their Shipping charges to India (total 3120+980). Registration charges were paid by my daughter, which I was not aware earlier. I felt it a blunder mistake later. That is why I said in this thread to the forum members not to do the mistake. These all occurred as they don’t do direct shipping to India.

In case if the seller does direct shipping through courier, any value of Rs.2000/- and more will fetch custom duty of 30%, which we have to incur in addition to the amount we paid to the seller abroad.

The items bought from DX & Ali Express, came by standard airmail so far not made me to pay custom duty for values from 1.5 to 50 dollars.
 
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Dr MUDHAN

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HOW DID I OVERCOME THE CUSTOMS BLUES WHEN I BOUGHT MY CAR’S BLUE TOOTH RECEIVER?

This is about my purchase abroad a car blue tooth receiver ...

I have ordered from AE.

I checked after 15 days, whether it had left China and the tracking showed no sign of receipt at China customs ware house.

I contacted the seller. The blues … problems started.

He wrote me back that something went wrong and the item got returned from their customs. So he agreed to send me a new one and gave me a new tracking number.
40 days over – I did not receive the set.

Every time when communicated about the delay to the seller, he really responded politely and extended the receiving time 15 days to make me to wait more.

50 days over- Seller understood my disappointment and offered to return the money but he told me that I should pay back him if the item received by me later.

Understanding his honesty, I agreed to wait more and did not asked for refund.

At China itself it took more than a month for clearance.

At last the tracking showed that it arrived in India but indicated ‘Retention Reason – OTHERS’, pending customs clearance.

60 days over, I received a mail from the seller that it was very well in India and requested me to try with custom authority.

I know, going to our customs would cost me indirectly (conveyance for me & convenience for them!) and it would exceed the value of the item I have purchased. So I left it.

75 days over, I did not get it. I contacted the seller and told him that I cannot wait further and requested him to return my money.

He returned the full money # US $14.90 (I have given below the snap shot of his letter while he returned the money), and in fact it was more than the amount I paid to him, as the dollar value got increased!!

After almost one month in our Chennai customs office, I received the packet. The original packing was opened for their analysis and repacked in a black carry bag type cover, tied by jute (!), fixed with custom seal and wrapped with a note ‘ cleared / custom duty nil ’

I thought the way they handled the set would make it useless.

I had to face all these hardships because the package included an electronic receiver & a battery as some radio signal transmitters are restricted by Indian customs for import.

Fortunately, nothing happened and the set really works well as expected in every aspect.

Do not miss to read the full story here :

http://www.theautomotiveindia.com/f...ws/14219-my-new-honda-city-white-albus-7.html
 
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Armrest

Hello people

I am considering buying the armrest from the link below. The seller says he has sold many to customers in India. It looks exactly like the one in the vagtune website. What I am worried about is whether I have to pay any customs duty for the armrest and if so, how much. Only a couple of other members have installed the armrest in this forum and they either bought it from an online store in India or had the item shipped to a country where there is no customs duty.
If anybody here knows how much customs duty I might have to pay, please do let me know. Thank you so much in advance.

2011 new Volkswagen Polo original factory authentic Armrests box,bag,Store content box,leather seat storage case,console-in Armrests from Automobiles & Motorcycles on Aliexpress.com

Regards,
Vipin
 
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Re: Armrest

Hello people

I am considering buying the armrest from the link below. The seller says he has sold many to customers in India. It looks exactly like the one in the vagtune website. What I am worried about is whether I have to pay any customs duty for the armrest and if so, how much. Only a couple of other members have installed the armrest in this forum and they either bought it from an online store in India or had the item shipped to a country where there is no customs duty.
If anybody here knows how much customs duty I might have to pay, please do let me know. Thank you so much in advance.

2011 new Volkswagen Polo original factory authentic Armrests box,bag,Store content box,leather seat storage case,console-in Armrests from Automobiles & Motorcycles on Aliexpress.com

Regards,
Vipin
Anything which costs above 2000Rs attracts 37% customs duty. Also you need a IE code (Import Export Licence code) for importing anything to India.

Regards,
Sankar
 
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Re: Armrest

Anything which costs above 2000Rs attracts 37% customs duty. Also you need a IE code (Import Export Licence code) for importing anything to India.

Regards,
Sankar
Is the customs duty paid on the price of the item alone or combined price of the item and shipping? Where do we go to clear customs duty? Or do the delivery guys (Fedex in this case) do it for us and we just have to pay them (the delivery guys)?

Regards,
Vipin
 
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Re: Armrest

Is the customs duty paid on the price of the item alone or combined price of the item and shipping? Where do we go to clear customs duty? Or do the delivery guys (Fedex in this case) do it for us and we just have to pay them (the delivery guys)?

Regards,
Vipin
Customs duty is total cost of item after it has landed in India which includes shipping charges also. Yes courier guys will pay the customs duty and you inturn have to pay them. As things stand you won't be able to buy this armrest as you don't have IE code. Wait for 2 weeks and i might be able to help you with this.[;)]

Regards,
Sankar
 
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Re: Armrest

Are you sure I need an IE code? This guy said he has shipped the item to many customers in India and that they have had no problems at all. Anyways. I will wait because I don't think the prices will change in two weeks time. [:)]

Regards,
Vipin
 
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