Paid customs duties, but had to return your purchase?

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Cost, Insurance, and Freight (CIF)

A cost, insurance, and freight (CIF) agreement is a legal document that lists the cost of goods, insurance, and freight for shipments. The document's purpose is to protect the buyer in case of loss or damage during transit. CIF agreements are typically used for international B2B shipments.

The CIF agreement outlines what costs the seller is responsible for and when that responsibility is transferred to the buyer.

The CIF is strictly used in seaway and waterway shipments.

Responsibilities of a seller

  • Paying for export licences and providing inspection of products
  • Paying for shipping and loading of the goods to the seller’s port
  • Covering the packaging costs
  • Covering customs clearance fees for exporting
  • Covering costs of shipping from the seller’s to the buyer’s port
  • Covering the insurance costs up until the destination port
  • Paying for any damaged goods

Responsibilities of a buyer

  • Unloading the products at their destination
  • Moving the products to the delivery site
  • Covering customs clearance fees for importing

Transfer of risk

Under a CIF contract, the seller agrees to transfer the risks associated with the goods to the buyer once the goods are loaded onto the transport vehicle.

This means that if the goods are damaged or lost in transit, it is the buyer who is responsible for any losses, not the seller. While this may seem like a disadvantage for buyers, it is actually a very important protection.

By transferring the risks to the buyer, the seller is ensuring that the buyer will receive the goods in the condition that they were in when they were loaded onto the transport vehicle. This provides certainty for both buyers and sellers and helps to avoid disputes.

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Can I get my customs duty refunded?
If you’ve returned an item to a retailer abroad worth over £135, then most likely yes! There are a few caveats though. Certain items like alcohol and tobacco aren’t eligible.

And there are time limits too.

If you returned the item because it was damaged or defective, it can’t have first entered the UK more than 365 days ago. And if you returned the item because you didn’t want it anymore, it can’t have entered the UK more than 90 days ago.
How long does it take to get my refund?
How much will I get back?
Who will handle my claim?
What is a letter of authorisation?
Who are Duty Refunds?