Be careful what you accept . . .

Posted by Serenity of Beauty at Monday, March 19, 2012

I have been meaning to do this blog post for agesss, but it has literally taken ages to get to the bottom of what I am going to inform you all with today. Some of you may or may not be aware of the situation, but I wanted to blog about it to make everyone aware and be very cautious of what samples they agree to receive.

November 2011 I was contacted by a US company by the name of 'Oxygenetix'. I hold my hands up, I didn't have a donkey clue who the heck they were, but with any company I do not know, or never heard of, I turn to trusty google and start doing some research (still got the nerdy student cap on!). Having done my research and found numerous blogspots, articles 'raving' about this company, I decided to respond back to the email with my interest to sampling the product. I made it perfectly clear that I was a UK blogger, and reassured that this was not a problem. I was also informed I would be receiving extra samples to giveaway to followers of my blog which I thought was a lovely gesture. My details and my required foundation shade were forwarded to the necessary department, and I heard nothing more.

Weeks and weeks passed until we were now into the new year (January 2012). I have ordered a few things from the US, and I know it does take a little while longer than usual UK post, but I was becoming slightly concerned. I know the christmas post can also delay things a little, which I did take into consideration, but was still a little concerned. One day I received a little note for my little postman regarding a package which was being held at my local depot, which I thought ''ah ha this must be it'' and off I went to collect the package. I handed over my slip and waited for the chap to find my package. Whilst I was waiting, I couldn't help notice another package sat on the shelf with my house number and part of my road scribbled in capital letters! When the chap came back, I asked to look at it - unbeknown to me, the package that I had been waiting ages for had been sat at the depot since the end of November - nobody had bothered to inform me! And then to add insult to injury there was a lovely £12.24 duty charge slapped onto the package!!

Of course, now in complete limbo I didn't know what to do with this package from Oxygenetix; do I pay the duty or do I ''return to sender''? Because I was informed there were extra goodies included for a giveaway, and I enjoy giving things away to say thank you to you all, I paid the duty charge. Intrigued to see what prizes were included for you all, I ripped opened the box, and was faced with mountains and mountains of tissue paper, and then a little 30ml pump foundation fell out, that was it! My face . . .

. . .To say I was cheated, mugged off, upset - was an understatement! I just couldn't believe my own eyeballs! In a complete and utter hot temper, I drove home and immediately jumped onto the laptop, to write whoever it was that contacted me an email saying how disgusted I was with the whole thing. I also made it perfectly clear in my email that I wanted full reimbursement of the duty charge as I was not made aware of this. I thought I was being cheeky, but I thought no, I want my money back. My email went off at the speed of lightening and I sat waiting patiently for a response.
A few days later I received an email from someone expressing their most sincere apologies, claiming that the person who contacted me had since been 'fired' and that samples are never sent out to bloggers, and this should never have happened. I was also informed that reimbursement of my duty cost would be in my paypal account at the end of that week. I felt somewhat happy that my email had been acknowledged, and that I would be receiving reimbursement, agreed by those 'at the top' and etc. Great (or so I thought) . . .

End of the week came . . . nothing! I sent a reminder email to the person who I had been liaising with, and informed again yes it had all been approved by management, and that I would be receiving my reimbursement in 2-3 working days. I took to watching my own paypal account like a hawk! I decided to leave it for a week, see if anything materialised, and guess what? Nothing showed up in my account. By this time I was feeling slightly 'peeved' and annoyed as I just wanted my money back. Failing to get 'through' to the person I had been liasing with, I decided to complain again, but this time sending the email to the 'generic' email for customer queries. This time I had correspondence from someone who actually was listening. I again received the same apologetic speech in the email, and was offered samples to giveaway .. . I kindly declined, and made it perfectly clear I just wanted my money back. Less than 24hours = ping .. £12.24 had been credited to my paypal account!

What a polava!

If this experience hasn't taught me a lesson, then god knows. But from now on I will not be accepting any samples from the US again, due to unexpected duty charges! I made it perfectly clear to the company that I was a UK blogger, and nowhere in the email mentions about possible duty charges. Ok perhaps I should have had my 'wits' about me a little bit more, but I didn't expect it as I have received samples from a different US company before and did not face duty charges. 

So bloggers be wary - if a US company is offering you products to sample, enquire about potential duty charges.
Hope this blog post has been helpful, an insight for you all.


TheOtherSideofCool on 19 March 2012 10:59 said...

What a nightmare, you'd think a company would be so much more organised than that! And theres no way they should allow you to pay duty charges when they're offering you samples to try and advertise on your blog! Good for you for standing up and getting the money back! xx

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Sian on 19 March 2012 11:14 said...

I totally forgot about the hassle you went through with this! Glad you got your money back in the end xx on 19 March 2012 11:59 said...

I'm sure there would have been an option for them to pay any charges before sending it to you! I would have been furious!

Rachael on 19 March 2012 13:15 said...

Getting things through customs is a nightmare, what might be ok to post in the USA might not be in the UK is a total nightmare and sometimes you don't know about any problems until it's posted. Which sadly sucks. They sound a nightmare regardless of the duty costs but i'm glad you got your money back in the end! Also - naughty post office for not telling you you had a parcel!!

Becky on 19 March 2012 13:34 said...

This is really interesting and informative and I shall definitely keep this in mind when contacting by companies in countries other than my own, thanks a lot for posting this.

Irene Hua on 19 March 2012 14:11 said...

how awful, the duty charge must be ridiculous for beauty products! thanks for letting us know xx

BeautyU on 19 March 2012 18:25 said...

What a nightmare! Thanks for sharing this Stace x

Victoria on 19 March 2012 21:42 said...

I often see people passing the blame of duty and customs charges onto the USA companies, but you must be aware that they have NO control over this. They are probably not even aware that the UK customs charge duty on all packages imported from outside the EU. It should be your responsibility as a UK citizen to know what charges need to be paid. Its not the companies fault. Im glad you got your money back in the end though! Was cheeky to send such a small sample! xx

Miss drifted Snow White on 24 March 2012 02:34 said...

unfortunately, customs charges have nothing to do with the sender as such that they have to declare it for it to go into this country. moan about the UK for raising custom charges.

Commercial consignments of £15 or less are free from customs duty and import VAT. For example, goods purchased over the internet with an intrinsic value not exceeding £15, will not be charged any duty or VAT but this does not include alcohol, tobacco products, perfume or toilet waters. See paragraph 2.6, 2.7 and section 3.
If you are sent a gift with a value of £40 or less, and which complies with the rules shown in paragraph 2.5, it will be free from customs duty and import VAT, but this does not include alcohol, tobacco, perfumes and toilet waters.
Customs duty becomes payable if the value of the goods is over £135 but duty is waived if the amount of duty calculated is less than £9.

Sometimes UK customs like to raise customs charges even when the parcel is less than £15 of commercial value or £40 of a gift value because they know people have to pay first to find out what's in their delivery and then it's a hassle to get it refunded.

Tell people to declare things as gift for $10 and then you're in the good x

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