Shipping Returned Goods Across a Customs Border
Shipping goods across a border involves a 2 stage customs process:
When we ship your goods back to you, our hubs will act as the exporter of the goods and you will be the importer of record. As such you should have a valid EORI number (or equivalent) and a valid tax ID for the country in which the goods are being shipped back to.
If the goods that we receive for you were originally shipped from the country that they are being shipped back to, then customs classify these goods as ‘Returned Goods’ and are treated as reimports as they cross the border.
Reimports are dealt with differently by different customs authorities in different countries and we have various strategies to get your goods shipped back to you within these varying guidelines.
Returned goods being shipped to the UK
From many of our hubs, Ezi ship the returns by consolidated truckload or sea container containing the returns of all our UK based sellers. The goods are then cleared by our own dedicated customs broker and then shipped onto you once they arrive in the UK. The shipments are cleared under RGR (Returned Goods Relief) as returned goods and as such you should not be liable for any customs duties and taxes.
To be eligible for import under the RGR scheme your goods need to be either manufactured in the UK or have been in free circulation in the UK prior to the initial export, and be re-imported within 3 years. For guidance please refer to the UK Government website.
During your account set up we will request some sample data and a declaration to state that your goods are eligible for import under the RGR scheme. You may from time to time be required to provide detailed customs information on specific shipments that are in transit.
Currently this is offered on shipments from the following countries:
This is by far the simplest and most cost-effective way in which to get your returned goods back to the UK. Please note however, the shipment of the consolidated trucks/containers is less frequent than shipping by courier. If you want your goods back quickly or if your goods are not eligible for import under the RGR scheme, then we can also ship your goods by courier. We also ship by courier from those hubs where the consolidated shipping lane has not yet been set up.
Please note the following regarding shipping by courier:
Courier shipments are more expensive than our consolidated rates.
You will have to provide detailed customs data for every shipment before we can ship the goods unless you are fully integrated with our system and we have access to the necessary data.
As the goods cross the border back into the UK, the couriers may contact you for customs and duties payments. Please note that this is your responsibility as the consignee and importer of record to pay these charges or provide any requested supporting documentation to prove that the items in the shipments are returned goods and should be reimported exempt of these charges.
Returned goods being shipped to the EU
Despite the fact that most EU countries specify that the shipment of returned goods is not liable for customs duties and charges, in practise, it appears that duties and taxes are actually charged as the goods cross the border. This tariff will be calculated on the commodity code (HS code) of your items and the value of this product. You will need to provide these details on your commercial invoice before the goods are shipped.
You, as the consignee will be contacted by the courier to pay these charges before the goods are released. It is then up to you to reclaim these charges from your local customs authorities and provide the supporting documentation that they require. Please note that each customs authority within the EU has a slightly different process regarding the shipment of returned goods. It is your responsibility as the consignee and importer of record to be conversant with the processes in your local country.
We strongly recommend that you keep accurate records of all your orders and goods you export to your end customers. This will include the order number, tracking reference, MRN, courier used, date shipped and evidence of the original order and refund made. This information may be requested to reclaim the charges.
Ezi Returns is currently reaching out to customs brokers across the EU to try and forge constructive relationships to implement a more seamless process to the import of returned goods into the EU so that these charges are withdrawn as the goods cross the border. It is not proving an easy task unfortunately, but rest assured we are persisting with this aim.
Ezi Returns ship goods back to the EU via courier for boxed shipments or via transporters or freight forwarders for pallet shipments. Customs paperwork is required for each shipment.
Returned goods being shipped to the USA
If the value of the shipment is below 800 USD then no customs duties or taxes are applied.
If the value of the shipment is above 800 USD then in order to get the goods cleared with no duties and taxes being applied, you will have to prove that the goods are returned goods either to the courier or to your appointed broker who will be actioning your import clearance. It is your responsibility as the consignee and importer of record to provide this data.
Ezi Returns ships goods back to the USA via courier for boxed shipments or via transporters or freight forwarders for pallet shipments. Customs paperwork is required for each shipment. We would strongly recommend appointing your own customs broker in the USA to clear pallet shipments. If you do not have an appointed customs broker we have a number that we can recommend.
Returned goods being shipped to other countries
Ezi Returns ships goods back to all other countries via courier for boxed shipments or via transporters or freight forwarders for pallet shipments. Customs paperwork is required for each shipment.
Please note that it is your responsibility as the consignee and importer of record to be conversant with how returned goods are treated as they cross the border into your local country so that the paperwork and any data required may be provided as needed.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for all current shipping prices. Please note that the stated courier costs may fluctuate on a monthly basis due to fuel surcharges. In Canada these fluctuate on a weekly basis.
The information required by customs can be far reaching when returning your goods. Ezi Returns are continuing in their endeavour to make it as easy as possible for you. We now have a process in place where customs information can be generated automatically. This requires an integration with your order management software so the data needed can be easily retrieved when needed. Please contact us at email@example.com for information on how we can get you integrated.
Alternatives to shipping & other services
We have a number of alternative solutions to shipping which sits better with our eco-friendly perspective of the company.
These include a resell service, a liquidation option, or a charity donation. If you would like any information on any of these offerings then please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Important links + information
To apply for your EU EORI number you will need to contact the tax authority in the country directly. Find the list of EU customs authorities here.
Some marketplaces are providing solutions through partners to ensure compliance for EORI numbers and VAT. We strongly recommend seeking specialist advice regarding the potential implications for EORI numbers and VAT. Please see SimplyVAT.com, one of our partner companies who may be able to help you.
If you are unsure of the HS code for your products you can find more information here.
For more information regarding the responsibility of the importer of record, see here.