Import Customs: Scary or Simply Miss Understood?

Are Customs & Excise going to Lock Me UP??

Probably yes, if you are entering the country with a kilo of drugs down your pants. However if you are honestly importing new stock in the country for re-sale there shouldn’t be too much to worry about.

There are a few things you sould look out for though, firstly if you are buying from the Far East some manufactures think they are doing you a favour by marking the consignment as a gift, this will essentially dodge the import tax which is nice of them really but not for you if HM Customs does a random check and finds that your gift is actually 500 pairs of earrings! You wont get locked up but there could be a fine for incorrect declaration or an even bigger one for fraudulent declaration. in reality you would be unlucky to get that but it’s not worth the risk so make sure your supplier marks the goods correctly and pay the import duty, it’s not a huge cost and you should be factoring this into your costings before you make the deal. The prices are so good in the Far East it wont hurt your profit margins at all.

Next if you are thinking about importing toys you need to check that what you are importing is compliant with Toy Safty standards if you are in the UK that’s the lion mark and CE standard, if you are in the US or any other country you will need to check this out. Most western markets have safety standards that new toys have to meet, these are basic rules to make sure things like a dolls eye doesn’t become loose and get swallowed or that an arm can easily be pulled off and expose a sharp edge.

Electrical equipment also needs to meet basic safety standards and a declaration of conformity must have been obtained to show that the correct standards have been met and approved. If the manufacturer you are working with is experienced with working winthin the EC  they will know about these standards and will be happy to provide a copy of their certificate of conformity. If they have no idea what you are talking about this probably means they don’t have one and you should stay clear.  You may get away with importing the goods without the appropriate documentation but if customs ever do a spot check you’re responsible as the importer. Again if the worst were to happen and something you sold was responsible for causing a fire or even an injury you will be held responsible as the importer.

So often it sounds scary but if you are thinking about importing it’s just a case of doing your homework, check with customs what certificates and conformities are needed for the specific items you are looking at and they will give your all the latest info you will need. Then just make sure whatever you bring into the country has the relevant paperwork and you’re covered.



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