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Hello and thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 15 years’ experience. Please be aware that although I will endeavour to reply to you promptly, I am also in full time private practice and so I may not be available to respond immediately and it may also take me a few minutes to prepare a reply. The site will notify you as soon as I respond. I look forward to working with you to answer your question fully.
I'm very sorry to read of the above.
thank you. How have you made these payments? e.g. bank transfer, credit card, debit card et cetera
thank you. I note you have requested a phone call which has been picked up by one of my colleagues whom I expect will be calling you shortly if they have not already done so. I do not wish to duplicate what you discuss by phone, but briefly, in anticipation of that phone call or to supplement it by giving appropriate links, based on what you describe, the shipping company has acted as your agent in paying customs and VAT which is no logger payable as a result of the goods being lost before delivery.
You will need to ask the shipper for information as regards ***** ***** there's been made and whether they declared the VAT and duty using the customs declaration service or using the CHIEF electronic service and the reference number associated with the payment.
You can either ask them to apply to recover the money paid or you can do so yourself with the above information. You will need to use the appropriate form depending upon whether they use the customs declaration service or the new CHIEF service to pay the duty. Links to the forms can be found at the following link:
If they have genuinely paid the VAT and duty on your behalf as they claim (in which case they will be able to give you the above reference and information) then they have performed their service in this respect. had you paid them for the shipping then you would have a contract with the shipping company and would be able to raise a claim against them for their failure in service subject to the terms of your contract.
As it is, the contract for the shipping is as between the shipper and the supplier with your relationship with the shipping company being limited to them paying VAT and duty on your behalf. If they have charged any form of handling fee for this service, they would be liable to refund that to you but in regards ***** ***** element, I cannot see they are in any form of breach of contract if they have indeed paid the VAT and duty on your behalf as your agent as they say and as such, it seems to me it would be for you to recover it from HMRC.
it is possible that any terms and conditions you agreed with the shipping company may alter the above, but I would ordinarily not expect them to make themselves liable for anything beyond the above voluntarily
I'm glad the above answers all your questions for now. If you have any follow up questions please revert to me.
I think it is likely implicit in the above but for the avoidance of any doubt, if the shipping company cannot evidence that they have paid the VAT and duty on your behalf as they claim then naturally in the circumstances, it would be for them to refund you the money and in those circumstances, if they refuse to do so, you would have a direct claim available against the shipping company for the same
sadly, this is a legal information service and as such, I am not able to offer representation. However, in any event I presume I would be correct to say that the amount involved would be considerably less than £10,000 and as such, any claim would be made in the Small Claims Court which in the main does not allow recovery legal costs. Accordingly, pointing representation is unlikely to be cost effective in the small claims court is designed to be used by unrepresented parties