Currently, you can send a parcel domestically in the UK and into Europe with no requirement for any customs documentation. However, if you are sending outside of the EU to popular destinations such as the USA, China, Australia or India to name a few, you will need to complete customs documents and attach them to the outside of your box, so that Customs Officers can check what you are sending and its value.
We have collated some Customs Advice that you should be aware of to help you understand Customs Charges and how to ensure your package clears customs.
Customs is an authority who control what is shipped in and out of a country. They ensure no illegal or prohibited goods get through and also ensure the government they represent receive the correct tax and duty owed on goods that are liable for charges. These taxes and duty charges are known as Customs fees.
Each country has a different set of rules regarding Customs so you will need to do your research before you post your parcel overseas.
All countries have a list of items that are not allowed to be imported, including some of the obvious things that Parcel Monkey list as prohibited such as food, aerosols or liquids. In addition to these, there are also items which you may not expect to see so check before you send.
You are not allowed to send money, mobile phones, antiques, musical instruments to various destinations, and even more surprising items include clothes and books. Check the rules for the destination country before you send anything to avoid delays, hassle and stress!
Parcel Monkey aim to make it simple to find a courier service at an affordable rate but to also complete the Customs Documents, so much so we have built it into our booking process so you can't go wrong as long as you provide all the required information accurately.
You must correctly complete a customs declaration form when posting abroad. This will include;
The customs documents help Customs Officers find out what's inside the package and check if any customs duty and tax applies to your package.
Customs Officers will check what you are sending and duty will be applied - even if you mark the shipment as a ‘gift’, it won't necessarily mean it will avoid customs duty. The majority of the time, however, samples, gifts and personal belongings will pass through without charge if below a certain value.
Parcel Monkey will provide an easy-to-fill-out form during the booking process that covers all this, so you don’t have to worry about missing anything out.
Completing the customs documentation correctly is essential in order to avoid any delays with Customs. You will need to provide a description of the goods, the value of them and the nature of them (are they a gift, personal belongings or something you've sold).
Be clear, honest and upfront when you list the contents of your parcel. List every item individually in your parcel and avoid writing generic terms like 'clothing' 'personal belongings' or 'gifts'.
For example, if sending clothes, put what they are such as 1 x red t-shirt, 2 x blue jumper, 1 x pair of Nike trainers.
Failing to provide a detailed overview can cause a hold up with your parcel or even a return if Customs has reason to believe the information you have given is inaccurate. The same goes for value, Customs Officers will always check up on the market value, so be truthful to avoid additional cost and delay.
Some countries require the tax ID of the recipient or their passport number and so we have some more information on these locations.
For some locations such as India, you may need to complete a 'Know Your Customer' form. This will be provided by Customs for the recipient to complete which checks the recipient is who they say they are and helps prevent fraud.
Once you have completed an order we provide the shipping labels and Customs Documents ready for you to print out and attach.
If you book a DPD courier service, the Customs Documents are paperless and handled electronically.
TOP TIP - Put an extra copy of the customs invoice and the shipping label inside of the box, this way if for any reason these documents come loose or the box is damaged the courier has some information to continue processing the parcel.
All packages sent with Parcel Monkey are done so DDU (Delivery Duty Unpaid). This means any customs duty is owed must be paid by the recipient. .
In order for this to work correctly and your parcel to be delivered without hold up or delay, you must provide the correct and working contact details of the recipient so that if Customs Duty is owed, Customs can contact them to sort out payment and release the parcel.
When you book with Parcel Monkey and you must provide a working local contact number that the recipient can be called on and a working email address that also belongs to them.
When the package arrives customs will contact the recipient for payment if there is any duty owed and they will need to pay this before the item is delivered. Packages will be held by customs until payments are made, and returned or destroyed if payments aren’t received.
DDP (Delivery Duty Paid) is where duty is paid by the sender, we do not offer this service.
If on the tracking you see any Customs related updates, contact the recipient to ensure they have been contacted by Customs and if they have not been, get in touch with Parcel Monkey and we can contact the courier to resolve this.
Most of the time, if you’re sending a gift, personal belongings or a business sample, you don’t have to pay duty or tax so long as they’re below a certain value. Again, the allowance varies depending on the destination country. However, you should make the recipient aware of this before sending, that any Customs Duty is their responsibility.
This aspect can be very complicated as the rates and applicable items are different for each country outside of the EU. We advise you to work with the recipient and establish the rate of duty before you arrange a courier to collect your parcel or parcels.
Any Customs Fees will be taken from the recipient by Customs or a Customs Broker. No cash will be asked for upon delivery, if an issue like this occurs you should contact us so we can resolve the issue with the courier.
Our terms and conditions state (3.5) state that it is the responsibility of The Customer to submit all papers required for the customs clearance.
Do not allow any movement of items inside the box, the parcel should be secure and not have anything inside that can shift around the box. Be sure to remove any batteries, they are prohibited and will cause an issue with any courier you send with. Check our packaging guidelines and follow them closely and your parcel will arrive safely.
Check with the recipient the delivery address, you don't want to have any issues with the courier making the delivery. You can always check the address on Google Maps to be sure of the delivery postcode too. You can always write the address in marker pen on to the box as well, plus provide a return address.
Contact the recipient once you have dispatched your parcel and let them know your PM tracking number so they can follow the parcel too.
If they forget something is on the way to them, they may decide not to pay for that mystery parcel they have been contacted by customs about. This could then see the parcel is returned back to the UK.
Delays can occur in Customs, there is sometimes nothing that can be done until they have taken the time to clear the goods for you. Parcel Monkey has no control over this, and neither does the sender so do let the recipient know that delays are possible. We do not have direct contact with Customs as a courier reseller service, we liaise with the courier who you choose to book from our quote engine to resolve any issues.
Check you aren't sending a prohibited item
Complete all the Customs paperwork correctly
Research tax and duty charges in the destination you are shipping to
Correctly pack your items - secure those Customs documents to the box
Ensure the recipient delivery address is correct
Let the recipient know the parcel is on the way