Buying from China - Customs Fees

I haven’t bought anything from Banggood or Gearbest for a while and was wondering if much has changed in regards to customs fees/import tax after Brexit.

Is it still the case were you can still buy stuff from abroad for £15 or less and not have to pay anything?

I know that some of the Chinese sites used to ship to the EU and then re-label the packages so the customer would avoid fees. Do we now have to pay fees for anything coming in from the EU?


I’ve ordered loads of stuff from banggood and have yet to be charged extra for anything. Just takes bloody ages to get here lol

Yes as discussed in other threads, VAT is now always charged under £135 so you can no longer avoid that and chances of being stuck with import tax and courier fees now much higher. Right royal snafu.

Anecdotally low value items still getting through but the 20% VAT isn’t great.

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I’m now charged 20% VAT on low value items from Ali, I think £135+ is where the ‘excrement hits the airconditioning’, I think it also depends whether your ‘import’ passes through the EU.

This might be helpful.


It’s a wider impact than that. I have for many years purchased specialist embroidery components from a small US retailer. She also does on-line classes- I have done quite a few of those. Never had any problems with the materials being sent over USPS to Royal Mail.

Until now that is. Since 1 Jan, she is struggling to send the materials as she cannot work out how to apply for the trader registration for UK she needs to send stuff. I’ve had a look on the govt website and I cannot work it out either! After this class, she won’t be selling to the UK any more, it’s a small amount of her trade and she doesn’t need the hassle. As there’s no equivalent of what she does produced domestically, it’s disappointing.

Only silver lining thing is that I foresaw this and over the past couple of years I purchased all the patterns that she does that I like and want to sew, and I have also built up a good stash of materials…



This is a very familiar tale. The cost in time and effort of registering with HMRC for a few dozen UK customers means that we are incurred massive costs having to go via reshippers for lots of cottage industries. Utter farce.

Most recent item I’ve bought from Banggood China warehouse was a Runcam Session 5 a couple of weeks ago, about £80. I believe it was crated with other items and sent to the UK distribution facility before being forwarded on by Royal Mail. The related tax was probably calculated for the whole shipment either at the point of export or entry. As there was nothing for me to pay on delivery, as the packaging had the customs declaration form with the true value of the camera on it.

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I bought 3 items costing over £900 from Aliexpress in Feb this year. All delivered within 25 days and zero customs delay or tax paid.

Yeah Chinese stuff is still slipping through and is quicker than it used to be. But the duties on US stuff are a really bummer.

What hacks me off is that model railway stuff is import duty free but you pay only VAT. I bought a £600 loco for a garden railway. from USA and paid VAT only. Looked it up and found model rail stuff is marked as Toys :thinking:
Mind you it cost £55 DHL airmail 2 days!!

We seem to have two concurrent threads running on an almost identical subject.

Please continue this discussion in : Post Brexit Importation - Customs, Duty, VAT & Courier Charges.


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