Individual Entry


Daylight robbery


I was recently violated by the well-lubricated member of HM Thieves & Excise. As is commonly known, buying an item worth more than £18 from a non-European Union country and importing it into the UK incurs a fine quaintly described as a “customs charge”. Generally I’m careful to avoid going over the limit, or if I am buying something with a value of more than £18 to order from a store with a means of slipping the package under the radar, so to speak.

Unfortunately, neither of these safety measures were worth a damn when, on Monday morning, I received a card through my door from Royal Mail informing me that they were holding on to an item of mine with a £11.36 charge on it. Knowing that I hadn’t bought anything from outside the EU in the last few months that could possibly have such a charge, I was confused to say the least. Needless to say, I was even more confused when I handed over the cash at the sorting office only to be handed a copy of the Blu-ray release of Persepolis, ordered from DVD Pacific for the cost of £13.82.

You opportunistic little shits

You opportunistic little shits

Not only that, but, despite selecting the premium shipping option in order to ensure that the order reached me in time for my birthday, it failed to arrive in the UK until after it had passed - July 8th, according to the attached HM Thieves & Excise sticker. Of course, mail ordering is hardly an exact science, and there are an infinite number of variables that come into play when you have to send a package from one country to another. That doesn’t explain why the item reached Customs on July 8th and I wasn’t informed about it until July 14th.

So there you have it. Not only was I charged extortion money on a package that shouldn’t have been eligible, either Thieves & Excise or Royal Mail then held on to it for a further week for the privilege. I shall of course be claiming the money back, but, given that the charge is split between £3.36 of VAT (paid to Thieves & Excise) and a ludicrous £8.00 “handling fee” paid to Royal Mail, I can see this going on forever. I first have to claim back my £3.36, which will no doubt take an eternity, and only once that has been accomplished can I then get on to the robber barons at Royal Mail to get the other £8 back.

The moral of the story? Even when you’re on the side of the law, you still get buggered by the authorities. So, if you happen to dodge the odd customs charge or fiddle the system in some other way, I see no reason for you to feel bad about it.

Posted: Friday, July 18, 2008 at 2:49 PM | Comments: 6
Categories: Animation | Blu-ray | Cinema | General



That is a bummer.
But the movie is well worth it; it's amazing and the BD looks great!
I rented it and then had to buy it; it should be arriving next week, along with 'Cuckoo's Nest' BD.

Posted by: Daniel Sardella, July 18, 2008 4:00 PM


Yes, it is indeed an amazing-looking disc. I took a peek at it this morning and it’s pretty much perfect. I’ll be watching it later tonight, hopefully.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is another one I have on the way. It’ll be the first time I’ve seen this film.

Posted by: Whiggles, July 18, 2008 4:13 PM


When i ordered using my AMEX from CD Japan and got charged a ridiculous extra £21 - Most of which was a Royal Mail charge i simply phoned my credit card company - American Express - and informed them i wasn't happy with this and they gave me my money back - They probably made a chargeback on CDJapan....Still it made me happy and my order was just £21 so i don't know how they charged so much extra...I think Royal Mail charged something like £18 for holding it...Rip Off Merchants that they are.

Posted by: FoxyMulder, July 18, 2008 5:12 PM


I thought my import Playstation 3 and ten free movies was a safe buy and had escaped the clutches of HM Customs...A Week later DHL international get in touch saying they got charged £34 so they want me to pay them it back....I wasn't pleased but since the site i bought it from had labelled it a DVD player worth only £54 i got lucky and could have probably ended up paying much more.

I hate customs...hell i hate the rip off Britain culture where we pay so much more for everything.....I walk into Woolworths and oh some nice looking Blu Rays - £24.99 each...No way i can buy that same Blu Ray online for £14.99...It's nuts and considering how our MP's rip us off with their expenses i'm not surprised shops and manufacturers rip us off too as leadership comes from the top and our leaders are a bunch of monkeys....Ok rant over.

Posted by: FoxyMulder, July 18, 2008 5:17 PM


This happened to me before with DVDPacific because whoever filled out the customs declaration had terrible handwriting, and it looked like it cost more than it did.

Wrote to HMRC and RM, and the former reimbursed pretty quickly. RM took agggggess.

Posted by: anephric, July 19, 2008 6:53 AM


I shipped 2 packages of HD DVDs and Blu-rays worth US $320 to the U.K from Japan by AirMail but both packages were flicked either by HM or by the posties working for RM. It's been more than 2 months and I am still struggling to find the whereabouts of the stolen packages.

Posted by: LGans316, July 20, 2008 3:59 AM

Comments on this entry and all entries up to and including June 30th 2009 have been closed. The discussion continues on the new Land of Whimsy blog:


Back to...