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Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 31555
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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I ordered a £5000 battery from China and the shipping

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Good morning, I ordered a £5000 battery from China and the shipping company has lost it after it arrived in the UK. I had already paid them over £1000 import duty which they say they can't / wont refund me
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer about this? In which country do you live? If different, which country is your legal question related to?
Customer: I live in the UK and haven't yet spoken with a lawyer
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: I have asked them to return the VAT / Duty payment and they have refused
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: I dont believe so

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.

  1. May I confirm if the order was placed by you as a consumer or business customer please?
  2. Did you pay the shipping company separately to pick up the item from the seller or did you simply pay the seller including delivery costs and the seller organised shipping?
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
Hi Joshua, I placed the order with a 3rd party (called Triad) and they arranged the shipping which I paid to them. I am a consumer not a business. When the goods arrived in the UK, the Shipping company raised an invoice for VAT / Duty which Triad passed to me to pay to the shippign company directly (which I did). Subsequently the shipping company said the goods have been lost or stolen

thank you. How have you made these payments? e.g. bank transfer, credit card, debit card et cetera

Joshua and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
I made the payment for the goods to Triad by Credit Card (which my card supplier has agreed to refund) but the VAT / Duty was made to the shipping company by bank transfer

  1. thank you. Is the shipping company based in the UK or overseas? That is to say, are they are the registered company within the UK or have a registered office of some description here?
  2. having provided in the explanation or justification for a refusal to refund you?

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
They are a UK registered company and they say they can't refund me as they have already paid the VAT and Duty to HMRC

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:

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
Thanks Joshua. I assume from your description, the shipping company doesn't have any liability to refund me and the onus is on me to recover from HMRC directly?

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

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
OK thanks Joshua, much appreciated

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

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
If we get to that stage, are you in a position to represent me to make the claim against them?

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

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
Ok thanks Joshua

I'm glad the above answers all your questions for now. If you have any follow up questions please revert to me.