Who Pays Customs Fees, the Shipper or Recipient?

Recipients are the responsible party for paying customs fees and import duties...so make sure your customers know that!
customs fees are paid by recipients of international shipments

eCommerce just keeps getting bigger and bigger, and shipping internationally has become a huge part of it! Simply put, people from all over the world want stuff from all over the world. As a result, that also means that more and more people need to pay customs fees. Generally speaking, the recipient is responsible for paying customs fees and import taxes, not the shipper.

What If I Sent a Package That’s Being Held at Customs?

Customs and import taxes vary from country to country, and different countries charge different values for different types of products. If a country’s customs department is holding your recipient’s package, then there’s a good chance your recipient needs to pay a fee in order for customs to release it to them. In this case, you should simply contact your recipient and let them know that’s what’s going on.

Help Prevent Surprises With Customs Fees By Managing Customer Expectations

The best way to avoid any surprises is to prepare your recipients for the possibility of paying customs fees. Even a simple disclaimer on your website would do the trick. In our experience, however, international shoppers typically expect to pay these fees if they have ever purchased anything online from a foreign country before. All that said, as long as you set the expectation with your international customers when they purchase something from you, then you shouldn’t run into any issues!

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  1. Hanna joseph

    What if i were surprised as a recipient of a diplomatic immunity package that i can’t afford to pay the customs fees because the sender hadn’t informed of how much the fees are until a day before the consignment’s arrival at the airport.


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