As Cyber Monday draws closer, smart consumers and bargain seekers are preparing their computers and wallets for this big shopping day. Cyber Monday takes place the first Monday after Thanksgiving and is estimated to generate more than 1.5 billion dollars in sales. That’s Billion with a B. If you are Cyber Monday Shopping? Know your risks and responsibilities for internet purchases. Be cautious and know what needs to be done to import your purchases into the U.S.
Here is a quick and easy checklist from the CBP to assist in your Cyber Monday shopping.
Asking these questions before buying something from a foreign source can aid in your purchasing decisions and save time and expenses.
- Can the merchandise be officially imported? Are there limitations on particular forms and are they mandatory, for the purchase’s importation?
- Is the item(s) you are purchasing for commercial or individual use?
- Who will be accountable for the shipping costs? When considering your purchase take into account how your purchase will be imported, such as by courier service, postal service or freight service. Be aware that your handling costs can be far higher than your actual purchase cost because of logistical problems, theft and missed deliveries that can occur after your merchandise is shipped.
- The seller is responsible for making sure everyone involved is aware of the exact delivery instructions and
- how the merchandise is to be delivered. Hiring a customs broker is necessary if arrangements are not made prior to importation with specified delivery instructions such as door-to-door or postal delivery for the merchandise purchased. U.S. Customs and Border Protection hold the importer liable for the payment of duty, not the seller.
- A customs broker can take care of clearing your merchandise, and forwarding your purchase on to you. You also have the option of going to the port of entry to clear the merchandise yourself. This can be a long process without the assistance of a customs broker.
- It is the seller’s responsibility to provide the correct information about the merchandise being shipped in the Customs section on the shipping documents. Documentation must be precise about the nature and value of the items must be correct or it can become a legal violation and you as the buyer can incur serious fines and legal action against you for the violations.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Declaration
All paperwork for sending packages internationally has a section for providing CBP information. A U.S. Customs and Border Protection Declaration is a form obtainable at most foreign post offices. This declaration form should include a full and accurate description of the merchandise, and should be securely attached to the outside of your shipment. Declaration forms vary from country to country, and they don’t all ask for the information required by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. You should ask the seller to provide the following information, whether or not it is asked for on the paperwork.
- Seller’s name and address. Description of the merchandise in English (which is a legal requirement).
- Quantity of each type of merchandise being shipped.
- Purchase price in U.S. dollars.
- Weight of the merchandise.
- Country of origin.
Know that all foreign shipments that do not have the declaration form and invoice from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection are subject to forfeiture, seizure and may be returned to the shipper. AFC International can assist you in importing your merchandise with an online rate quote today.