Regular readers may remember my complaint that I was obliged to pay import duty on the postage in addition to the value of the goods. Today I found out new and inventive additional ways to extract more funds from unsuspecting importers of goods that are Not Coming In Dubai.
The value on which 5% duty is charged ignores any discount applied at the other end! Thus, my goods attract 5% duty on $360 for the full price including postage, rather than on $315 plus postage (which is what I actually paid the seller for my stuff), nor on $270, the value of the goods. I was told to complain over at the Department of Seaports and Customs, but previous experience leads me to infer that this would be a waste of oxygen.
In my case the additional duty paid amounts to only a few dirhams, but the principle as explained to me by the nice Egyptian gentleman behind the desk was that:-
If I import something invoiced at Dh1000 with free shipping, I pay Dh50 duty.
If I import something whose original price was Dh100,000, but is discounted by Dh99,000, I have to pay Dh5000: 5% of the original Dh100,000. And there's something morally obscene about that particular arrangement.
My new Egyptian friend told me that I was lucky: in Egypt there's a 200% import duty, etc, etc, blah, blah. Which is of course part of the reason why neither he nor I live in Egypt.
Insult to injury time. There was an additional administration fee to pay Customs, and a further fee to pay Emirates Post for 'storage'.
Apparently I have to pay for two weeks (or part thereof) of storage of my package. I know it left the US on 06 February, and Track and Trace said it arrived in the UAE on 15 February and landed in my local post office on 16 February, six hours before I collected it. Yet I had to pay storage for the eight days when the parcel didn't officially exist, but was actually sitting unsorted somewhere in Dubai.
The moral to this story is labelled Shop&Ship.