Mailboxes: Speak Up Against Duty Hike

January 9, 2012

In an email sent to customers, Mailboxes Unlimited president Stephen Thomson urged them to contact their MPs, call talk shows or take other actions as a duty hike would be “destructive to both residents and Bermuda as a whole.”

The Premier and Finance Minister Paula Cox recently said, “At the airport the rate is 35% however via other methods of import, the rates vary from 5% to 33.5%.

“Because of the inconsistent duty rates across methods of import, Government efforts to support local business are not as effective as intended. Therefore the Government will examine changes to duty rates for personal imports.” The duty payable at the airport has already been raised from 25 to 35 percent.

The full email follows below:

The Premier, in recent interviews, has made it clear that she intends to discuss, in open forums throughout Bermuda, the potential to increase duty rates on all imported personal items to 35% as has been implemented at the airport.

Increasing duty by over 500% in some instances (clothing is currently 6.5%) would be destructive to both residents and Bermuda as a whole.

I understand that this proposal would target all imported personal items including Ocean Freight, Air Freight, Courier and the Post Office.

Without exception this massive tax increase would target all items being imported into Bermuda by individuals. Retailers and companies will be exempted and still pay the lower duty rates.

As a matter of urgency, if you are as upset at this proposal as I am, please:

  • 1) Contact your M.P. or the Premier directly.
  • 2) Call the Talk Shows.
  • 3) Write a letter to the Editor.
  • 4) Attend any open forum on this issue that may be held.

At this point, it is a PROPOSAL only. Bermudians and residents need to speak up and be heard if we are against this damaging and unacceptable tax increase.

I appreciate your support and encourage all our customers to be heard on this issue.


Stephen Thomson

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Comments (113)

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  1. Pathetic Lazy People (PLP) says:

    PLP has spent all our money on fancy trips and GP cars. Now they want us to bail them out. Bermuda is doomed until we vote these losers out.

    • all clogged up says:

      How am I suppose to vote for you if you are gonna make life hard for me. you gave away free bus rides, free daycare, free this, free that. Now you want me to make up for the losses?????? F*CK IT AND VOTE OBA

    • Who is worse says:

      ………..this guy is pathetic – I bought 1 CD via amazon costing $8.52, his freight charge was $20……….and he’s complaining about government’s 35% duty -


      • Sandman says:

        At least you had the option of using or not using mailboxes to bring in your cd. You could have shipped in an amazon cd directly to your home address and avoided using mailboxes.

        I’ve used mailboxes a few times and found it very convenient for items I can’t bring in directly. Ultimately mailboxes expands consumer choice. If the government brings in insane duty hikes for personal imports then it would seriously undermine our consumer choice.

        And here’s a message for the Hamilton stores: we know you are the ones lobbying for this. You’d better go into serious reverse mode and plead for Paula not to do this. Because if the personal duty goes up, I will NOT be shopping in any of your stores until the rates go back down and I will be encouraging everybody I know to do the same (last year we spent thousands in Hamilton)

        • not a happy Bermudian says:

          Totally agree with Sandman! If such a thing goes thru to appease the Chamber, then I will boycott all of their members stores, in particular Gibbons Co. since they seem to have spearheaded it with Paula Clarke and Pulp & Circumstance who bring in frivolous useless stuff! The only shops that I will support are supermarketsif they are members.
          You are taking away my freedom of choice, especially when I’m a petite & prefer classical clothes of quality . . . nothing worse than “mutton dressed as lamb” or clothes that are to long all over walking the streets! And quite frankly, I doubt that 60 + % stays in the Island, pure marketing BS more like 30%!!!

    • Voice of Reason says:

      You really can’t be serious! First this guy, who could give a sh*t about Bermuda as long as he’s raking up profits, puts out this statement, now people think they are going to be paying 500% duty, which is so dumb.

      There is a loophole in the law which means that people at the Airport bringing in goods pay one rate and other persons via differing modes of import pay another rate. How exactly is closing this loophole a bad thing.

      I’ve heard people up in arms. But if one person were paying 100 and you were paying 500 wouldn’t you want the loophole to be fixed. I don’t see the fuss, but then again I don’t use ZipX or Mailboxes, I just shop here and bring things back when I fly.

      • Think About It says:

        It’s not a loophole jack@ss, it is one rate at the airport so that the process of clearing customs doesn’t take all day. When you clear stuff through the docks and and air freight it takes HOURS to clear customs, so there is more time do deal with the varying duty rates.

        Do you want to wait hours at the airport to get your 6.5% duty on the few items you have or just apply your duty free allowance, pay your 25% (now 35%) and be out the door in less than 20 minutes?

    • georgeS. says:

      plp has rip,ruin,exploited and destroyed our only home…means dearly to all of us..We must stand tall,with courage,tenacity and vote these ruthless,greedy, and inept scums out!!

    • independent says:

      this is a white business man raking in dollars in an overcharged business, i won’t vote plp but won’t let one of the 40 thieves get away with this this bull crap. I am voting for the independent candidates

  2. Proud to be Bermudian says:

    Steve Thomson continues his personal crusade against buying Bermuda. The man should be ashamed of itself.

    Steve Thompson, “Buy Amazon!”


    • Family Man says:

      So what is actually made in Bermuda?

      Paula’s hats?
      Goslings rum?
      Brown’s suits?
      Zane’s sunglasses?
      Laverne’s new car?

      We can’t even get a tourism plan written in Bermuda.

      • Made in Bermuda says:

        ……dont know about the rest of the list but due to her size (18+) and height, the Premier’s clothes & some of her hats are actually made in Bermuda………I think the lady is her brother’s mother-in-law, so the Premier does support locals

        but you are right the others on the list have to use externally made goods not by choice i might add a we dont make rum, sunglasses, cars or suits

    • 1minute says:

      Mailboxes is a Bermudian business, that will lose money/business with the tax hike…

      Most of us buy Bermuda when the price isn’t 300% over the US…

    • LOL (original) says:

      The tax raise has nothing to do with buy Bermuda it’s a money grab as they know that poeple will shop over sieze as some have stated here already. Even the retailers shop over sieze. Bermuda produces people not things………………


      • Voice of Reason says:

        I shop overseas and Pay 35% already, why not the people who shop online? I don’t get what all the fuss is about?

  3. Young Bermudian says:

    If any truth is behind this report the gov is losing its mind. Who voted for these people? How much further do they think they can reach into our pockets? Disgusting.

    • Peaches & Cream says:

      Those were the first words uttered from my lips when i received the email! ‘They have lost their damn minds’!!!! When is the next election again??????

      • Voice of Reason says:

        I’m still missing the point.. I shop overseas already, I used to pay 25% now i pay 35%. So, why not the people who shop online.. I guess I’m just really really confused here.

        Or should i start my own protest to make sure people pay the same rate i do at the airport!

        If its one rate in one place, then it should be one rate everyplace!

        • Onion says:

          Here is where i have a problem. I’m a avid football fan EPL, and a good bit of my family is too. Now i buy several jerseys a year, I’m not flying to England to go and get them so i shop online. The stores here don’t carry all the jerseys i want let alone sizes. Now my daughters birthday is next month and she’s wants a personalized jersey with her name on it, like I do. So now instead of me paying 6.5% to bring this in for her the proposed duty is 35%. That is a massive markup.

        • LOL (original) says:

          Apparently you pay more than that as you also pay for you ticket to go get it. If you aren’t hip to cost effective shopping and getting value for your money is that not your fault?

          LOL again this is a money grab and has nothing to do with people buying Bermuda if anything it will further contract the economy. I’ve read it a hundred times on here that Government should spend money (that what Government supporters say over and over again wish they would have saved some to spend now;) to stimulate the economy and encourge people to spend confidently to get the economy running again. So how does this fit in with that ideology?

        • KMA!!! says:

          On top of your 35% you get a hundred free. Shopping online you have no allowance. So you buy something for 500, your paying 140. I buy something for 500 I pay 175. thats fair?


    Well If customers of Verizon can voice there opinion on a $2.00 charge which the company had tried to implement for customers paying on line and or via phone,of course the CEO listened to them,and has put that hold,indefinitely…So Lady Premier listen to the people that put you where you are now…I work for a vey prominent courier company,and this 35% hike would hurt us all…LISTEN PLEASE…

  5. Wicky Chupa says:

    I find it disguisting that Mailboxes charges based on which rate is the more expensive.. dimensional size or weight. They try to find a way to rip you off more.

    Zip X charges on weight.

    Oh yeah, I am against any type of duty hike on imported goods… Who you think will suffer the most?

    • It's only math says:

      Zip X must be charging higher prices per weight to make that happen. Think about it, neither Mailboxes or Zip X actually have their own plane to fly the goods in – they both use the existing courier and cargo options and charge their customers according to what they are charged.
      Furthermore a plane not only has a weight limit but also a volume limit. Of course they are going to charge you for the space your package takes up.
      Learn to think a little bit!

  6. N/A says:

    Mailboxes charged too much before this duty hike took place. No need to complain about them, just don’t use their services if you don’t like their high prices..

    • Responsible dog owner says:

      You’re missing the point! The discussion is about duty rates, not Mailboxes charges.

      The duty rates would increase even for items sent through the normal postal service.

  7. Responsible dog owner says:

    What does the Chamber of Commerce Retail Division not understand about internet shopping and the reasons behind it?

    There are many items which are just not available to buy in Bermuda. Anyone who likes to make their own clothes will tell you that you cannot buy patterns in Bermuda; the selection of fabric is extremely limited particularly since Gibbons Company ceased selling dressmaking fabric and only sells cottons for quilting.

    Raising the duty to 35% will not encourage people to shop in Bermuda any more than they do now. I would buy everything in Bermuda if I could find it.

    • S says:

      Agreed. The choices are limited in Bermuda. Raising the duty will not encoruage people to buy bermudian. How can you buy bermudian if it isn’t in the country to begin with?
      How about addressing why the cost to purchase items in Bermuda is 200% to 400% the cost of those same items overseas? The focus should be on that and not forcing people to pay ridiculous prices for items locally and when purchased overseas.

  8. Emeka47 says:

    I thought this temporary reduction of customs duty was supposed to help the stores in BDA. What this government did not say up front, is that “Mr. & Mrs. Public, we need the money from you instead of the businesses, so we’ll reduce the duty to the store owners and TAKE IT FROM YOU PERMANENTLY”
    There are things that the shops in Bermuda DO NOT HAVE, like women shoes size
    10.5 W or 11W. Fashionable clothes that fit fuller size women and young women, NOT OLD FASHION, poorly made, multiple styles sitting on the shelves that cost an arm and a leg to buy. Even with the reduced duty for the stores, nothing has changed. HERE ARE MY SUGGESTIONS. Forget the petitions; Everybody and I mean EVERYBODY, don’t buy one item in the stores; only import what is urgently needed in your household; DO WITHOUT all the ‘stuff’ you don’t really need; ignore all the Adverts, Sales and Enticements to get you to shop. BEFORE YOU SHOP, think for 24 hours; Who wins? We, the consumer. Government gets NO duty and the stores will either cut prices or get what we need on the shelves. Sometimes in order for our voices to be heard, you have to make hard choices and sacrifice!

    • jury says:

      I TOTALlY AGREE WITH YOU on this!!!

    • Jus' Askin' says:

      Where do you work? Obviously not in retail. To suggest not to shop in Bermuda will lead to a certain growth in unemployment. Everyone loses!!!!!
      Please think before floating such foolish ideas ;-)

      • Emeka47 says:

        I worked in retail twice on my 50+ years and the mark up of goods is ‘out of wack’ I was responsible for pricing goods thay were less than $5.00 from good ole China, become more than $30 on the shelf, in Bermuda! That’s a fact! These shops have made a profit on goods for many, many years! I am not telling peole not to shop in Bermuda or Overseas, you can do whatever you want with your $$’s. I am suggesting that you NOT BUY UNNECESSARY items and not to be persuaded by adverts that tell you to shop! Consumers are their own worse enemy.

        • Jus' Askin' says:

          It cost $5.00 in China
          Factor in :-
          1. Shipping
          2. Duty
          3. Rent
          4. Staff
          5. Pay Roll Tax
          6. Soc. Ins
          7. Pensions
          8. BELCO
          9. BTC
          10. Internet
          11. Possible Bank Loan to Start Business
          12. Buying More Goods from China
          You would easily see how you can go from $5 to $30. Your may have been responsible for pricing the goods but how about paying the bills ;-)

    • S says:


  9. Not a puppet says:

    People like myself shop overseas because of size ,and choice.It’s just not here in Bermuda. The cog should know this very well!.When I can shop locally I do, but more often overseas .Size 14 shoes are hard to come by here.I should not have to pay more because I have big feet.

    • Death to party politics says:

      Quoted for truth! I wear size 13 and the local selection for these sizes just isn’t there. I shop for shoes overseas out of necessity, not because I’m not trying to support local retail.

  10. your joking says:

    They continue to increase taxes but have yet to decrease their wages even though they are the reason we are in this mess….

  11. Spanky says:

    Steve is a create entrepreneur and I feel for him. He’s an early adopter, takes risks and invests in Bermuda. He and all other courier services will see a drastic drop in business when (not if) this extra tax is initiated. How sad that local retailers can’t think of other creative ways to earn local support and our dollars. I try to shop local but if I come across apathetic sales staff, a 300% markup over US prices or just plain lack of inventory/choice then it’s for me.

    The sad reality is our government will have to raise taxes and lower spending and we ALL are going to feel this hurt. Every right thinking citizen accepts that we have to pay taxes. What irks us is how this government spends (wastes) our tax revenue.

    I can guarantee we will see a “recreational fishing license” (tax) in 2012 just as they do in the US. Everyone who fishes off the rocks/docks etc will have to buy an annual fishing permit. You watch!! I already have to pay an annual “registration” fee to license my plastic kayak!!

    Higher duties are coming Steve. Sorry.

    • Long~Tales says:

      i agree on everything you say. I choose not to shop in Bermuda because i refuse to pay high prices for knock-off clothes that unravel and stretch after the first wear. I should be allowed to buy what i want from where i want. Forcing us to buy Bermuda because retailers can’t attract business only hurts the public, either way we now have to pay an extraordinary amount of money for basic necessities.

      and on the licenses topic i agree, having a license myself (for what i will leave out), and i have seen the annual costs go up over 200% for some things!! at one point, something which was free now costs us $250. We don’t have the money to do this! Is this the plan to get the island out of debt?! by putting all of its residents in personal debt?!

      something needs to be done.

      • Voice of Reason says:

        I really don’t get how people make an argument about people being forced to Buy Bermuda.

        Tax hike maybe, make you think twice possibly, force me to shop here, no way!

  12. jus ahskin says:

    sooo if some forsee a decrease in those flying items in cause of this increase in tax does that mean the buyers for stores are going to bring in better merchandise and is the gov’t going to see that we can get paid enough to live Bermuda let alone buy Bermuda?

    jus ahskin

  13. blah blah says:

    Why should it be an outrage now that government is closing the loophole. As long as we are being charged ridiculous duties at the airport the same should be charged everywhere else too. It is not a secret that the government got us in this mess, what you complainers fail to realise is that we all will have to chip in to right the ship. Otherwise, we all will go down with it. I don’t care about what Steve Thomson thinks or the profitability of those types of companies. Clearly it is not about Bermuda’s best interest, or he would be promoting to buy Bermudian and not ship… I too received his arrogant and self serving email and I was not at all impressed by its transparency, he does not what to see his record profits dwindle. We all need to chip in – you too Stevie…

    • Long~Tales says:

      As much as they want to protect the local businesses realise that companies like zips x and mailboxes have locals working there too, should prices go up and people stop paying to import then they will have to lay off staff…

      its not about being self serving, its about survival, and hes trying to keep his business alive.

    • Gracious says:

      yes, it is true that it is neccessary to buy at local retailers to keep the chain of employment and boost to our economy going. but this 500% increase is really ridicolous when you think about. I have a 3 year old who grows at an alarming rate like most toddlers do. When I go away and I purchase a pair of shoe that I know she will only be wearing for a couple of months from payless from 19.99 I don’t feel too bad about it.
      with these proposals this is what the figure amount looks like:

      old duty of 25%:$23.75

      new dutyof 35%: $25.65

      proposed duty of 500%: $114.00

      If this doesnt strike anyone no matter their political affiliation as being crazy, then something is truly wrong.

      P.S. if Boyles has to pay the 500% as well then this same shoe that presently cost $60.00 will now become $360.00

      • realist says:

        Get your facts straight…the duty rate is not 500%…it is proposed to become 35% and that could be as high of an INCREASE as 500% depending on the old duty rate for the item.

  14. Triangle Drifter says:

    This is nothing but a money grab by a very very desperate incompetent Government.

    Nothing to do with Mailboxes. Mailboxes has lots of competition for ots services. This money grabbing duty hike applies to all.

    Steve Thompson should be applauded & supported for being the front man against this latest venture of PLP stupidity. His competitors who choose to fence sit & let Steve fight alone should be boycotted. They don’t care. They will pass the increases on without a fight to you, the customer.

    This has nothing to do with helping retailers. Most of them do nothing to help themselves.

    This is about a broke Government which won’t do what is necessary & drastically cut its own expenses because they know their voting base lies in the civil service.

  15. Ganja Mon says:

    As much as I support the PLP and defend them, I will not be giving them my vote this year..

    over and out

  16. Pathetic Lazy People (PLP) says:

    Robbing people to pay Paula.

  17. LaVerne Furbert says:

    Reading these comments,I think of the saying “Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die”.

    On the one hand you call complain about the state of the economy, and on the other hand you complain when the Government tries to do something to address the issue.

    The bottom line is that the only way that a government gets money is from taxes – not just the Bermuda Government, any government.

    I remember that there was a time when the Jamaican government didn’t allow its citizens to take anymore than $50.00 out of the country because their economy. Thankfully, that policy is no longer in place.

    Every country does what it has to do.

    As far as I’m concerned, courier services like Mailboxes are rip-offs. The other day I ordered something from Amazoncom and I was charged $170.65 to bring in two items that totalled $101.45. I did make a formal complaint.

    • Not a puppet says:

      Gov. would not have to raise taxes If they didn’t waste the surplus in the first place! Minister paycuts, sell minister GP cars ,then talk to me about raising my taxes!

      Please Please call an election soon. When the OBA gets in they will have raise taxes to fix what the PLP has broken!

    • finally left!! says:

      Lol can someone get the story straight? Are these tax hikes meant to save the retail sector as paula says, or increase govt revenue??

      While it is true we are in a mess and need to get out, you laverne (and govt*y fail to realize there are two ways out. One is is raise taxes (larger income), which seems to be happening. The other is to lower expenses.

      When people complain, its not that they are pissed govt is trying to get us out of debt, its because govt isn’t fixing the problem that got us into debt in the first place!!

      Hypothetically, if your water tank is leaking water, do u fix the leak, or turn on the hose from the well to keep it topped up?

      • Keep the faith says:

        Couldn’t have said it better myself!

      • Death to party politics says:

        That’s what I want to know. I thought this was a measure to aid retail, not increase Government revenue?!

    • just sayin says:

      sounds to me like ya not taking ya own advice and buying bermuda. maybe you should put your money where your mouth is and make some suggetions that will benefit not bermudian buyers but the gov’t as well…isn’t that part of y you were there?

      just sayin

    • @Work says:

      You need to learn how to shop and ship in items. For example, I purchased a pair of shoes. the cost was going to be $150 (shipping only) I quickly added a LED TV to the shipment and paid the same shipping rate. BTW: A flat screen TV is not a LCD or LED or Plasma.

    • Pastor Syl says:

      Not true, LaVerne! This government could get money by taking a 5-10% pay cut and instituting it across the board for all civil servants who earn more than a certain amount, like $100,000 a year. That would impact not only payroll costs but also pension expectations. If some of us have to suffer, all of us should suffer. At least then, when she says “I feel your pain” we would know she actually does feel it and is not just mouthing platitudes and panaceas.

      • Boom says:

        The PLP plan to do a pay cut, just in time for the election.

        • LOL (original) says:

          And give themselves a raise the week after……


    • @Work says:

      LaVerne Furbert made a formal compliant about shipping costs, that’s a joke. Shipping costs is one of the reasons given for the high prices. My dog was attacked and at least three current dog laws were broken. Two days of calling the police for answers went unnoticed until I wrote to the paper. Where are your priorities? (If you are the LaVerne Furbert everyone thinks you are)

    • Franklin says:

      “Bermuda: Hey, at least we’re not Jamaica!”

  18. marisa the magican says:

    People need to do something instead of complaining on the internet. Although I am kid in high school and probably have no idea what im talking about. :X

  19. sigh says:

    I’m sorry – where did the Premier say the rate will be increased to 35% for these purchases? From what I recall it was said that the duty rate for personal imports may be reconsidered. That doesn’t mean automatically going from 6% to 35%. This email is scaremongering and politics. Why don’t we wait to see if any action is in fact taken rather than jumping to sensational reports that may not even be based in fact?

    • finally left!! says:

      Because by then it is too late. No point trying to act if its already happened. Get the peoples voice heard beforehand!!

      • LOL (original) says:

        That is what is meant by public consultaion. End of the day Government can’t pay it self. Yet the Cabnet’s salaries are safe…………………..


  20. summer lover says:

    Whether you use Mailboxes or not, there are some US based companies who ship here. If we buy via internet and items are shipped to the post offices, of which are suffering now, doesn’t that transaction help the Bermuda economy? Paula should be ashamed of herself. We are in this mess because she could not tell Ewart “No”.
    So Steve Thompson sent you an email as a owner of a business. I received it too and I was not offended, more upset but…duh! he owns a BERMUDIAN based business that employs BERMUDIANS! Wake up people!
    Due to the variety and cost lots of people do shop online, I do a lot.
    I tried to buy some shoes for work, but I have a narrow foot. I went to Trends and asked if they would bring a narrow size in for me; I was told that they are not intrested in that market. I ended up buying 2 pairs online. It’s a shame; they had the same style in their store. Guess where I am buyng shoes next year?
    Solution: vote PLP out

  21. The real solution is to have a uniform tax for imported goods regardless of how they are imported. Otherwise the differential tax will cause some businesses to artificially succeed while others suffer.

    To be clear, we should probably have a set import duty of 20% for all personally imported goods.

    Whilst the approach from Mr. Thompson may be applauded, I think it is quite ironic that he promotes buy Bermuda in one breath but appears to be doing well from those that choose not to buy Bermuda.

    By the way, I am a full supporter of free enterprise and I am not knocking his entrepreneurial spirit.

    • Not a puppet says:

      Finally a solution . I talking about the same thing this morning.:)

    • REALISM says:

      i agree with u. COMPLETELY!

    • Sandman says:

      I’m not sure that a “solution” is needed. What’s the problem exactly? Bermuda has very limited consumer choice, high prices and ‘patchy’ customer service. People are able to get around this by importing online.

      The only people complaining are the shops who don’t want to adapt to the new online competition. Coopers and the like can say goodbye to my custom if the rates go up for individuals.

      A flat rate of 20% would not be welcomed by consumers or the local shops – it would be a 13% increase for clothes, jewelry, perfume. And these are the things that tourists buy too.

      • @ Sandman
        At the moment we pay 35% to import at the airport and 6.5% via courier. My suggestion is to have a single 20% rate for both the airport and the couriers rather than different rates.

        The import rates paid by relati stores are lower than 20% and should remain.

  22. SpanishPointBye says:

    Steve and those who think like Steve….this is about sharing the sweet and sour. Skip ya fullish politicing and acknowledge that MB’s profit margins have some scope for reduction. But he’ll probably pass on the cost to the people/customer so he’ll probably maintain his margins. Greedy or reasonable? If you showed a stronger social conscience, maybe this wouldna happened. Anyhah um gone.

    • Anon Ymous says:

      I’m fairly sure that Mailboxes are not making anywhere near a 300% markup on what they pay in costs to the airlines unlike some of the other BDA businesses (retailers) are, so if we’re talking scope for reduction the spotlight should maybe be directed elsewhere; combine this with the payroll tax breaks and I think we can see a clear advantage and where the real gouging takes place, after all, I dare say MB has salaries, payroll tax, fuel, Belco, stationery, etc. to pay the same as the others.
      Any economist will tell you that to stimulate an economy, there must be cash flow and confidence……….increased cost of purchases across the board does exactly the opposite, encouraging the consumer to save until value returns and uncertainty subsides. As has been said before, this is a desperate attempt to boost Gov. revenue and not to encourage local spending.

  23. Concerned Bermudian says:

    Its funny how the government now wants to rape the public to generate revenue. This debt situation is largely due to governments mismanagement of the public purse, over spending on capital projects for years and ill advised programs introduced by the last premier. Now we as the general public are being forced to pink up for governments mistakes.

    • LOL (original) says:

      And yet thier salaries are safe………..


  24. James Cornes says:

    Dear Laverne Furbert
    We wouldn’t have to pay extra taxes if the PLP knew how to control spending. What about a paycut for the overpaid politicians. The issue is not saving Bermuda retailers with a 35% duty. The issue is PLP using this as an extra revenue stream and disguising it as “Save Bermuda Retailers”. It is a fact that Bermuda retailers cannot carry products to suit all of our tastes and sizes. So why penalize your voters.

  25. @Work says:

    Last report I saw stated that 81 Mil was spent in BDA vs 5.1 mil declared at the airport.

  26. half truth says:

    this government needs to freshen up on economics. sometimes it is better to not react at all than to jump without can not increase government revenue by increasing the taxation on the people that put you into office. you must first find a way,(just like a business does) to increase the money coming into the island…economics 101, make income by selling a product or service. we have no manufacturing so clean up our services offered, act like you want people to come here, and don’t spend more than you make…you can put a tax on air but that doesn’t mean people will pay it…if the people are happy they will continue to support you..

  27. sala says:

    Steve Thompson is only looking out for himself!! Dont be fooled!!! If this wasnt the case you would of heard him loud and clear just like this when the duty hike was made at the airport, but no he was quiet, he didnt mid….. all until this might now effect his own business… hes trrying to push this whole thing out like hes a saviour .. really come on guys.. he charges ridiculous prices for shipping.. anyway.. dont be fooled that he really cares about the public.. hes only concerned for his own business..

    • LOL (original) says:

      So will you pay the 35% tax for me or atleast the difference. You care about Bermuda and Bermudian’s right?……………………….

      LOL If he gains support and thoughs poeple that import reach out to Government about this we all win. Government is to big and can’t support itself cuts must be made either reduce salaries, though cuts in time, slash overtime, part time hours somthing.

  28. For real says:

    Of course Thompson’s letter was self serving but, I bet he’s convinced a lot of suckers to do “his” bidding for him!! All he is concerned about is his personal bottom line! His shipping rates have been a rip off for years!!

  29. navin johnson says:

    better get accustomed to tax increases people as a desperate government needs money to sustain itself and guess where the money comes from…give up? you and me and they will be taxing us to death to make up for their shortfall since it is apparant they cannot control spending…..

  30. REALISM says:

    smh plp once again..

  31. Berr says:

    This is disgusting, I think we as a people should send a strong message to government and if they are even thinking of increasing the rate to the suggested astronomical 35% then we should stand firm and holt all local retail spending for 2 – 3 days!!!!!!!!!! That should send everyone a strong message, we are being forced to shop here when the choices are mediocre, we SHOULD have a choice here. WE are prisoners …..

  32. Honkey-Donkey says:

    …and so the dash for cash begins in earnest…The next cash grab to fund the ever eroding budget & increased debt servicing load will be Income Tax…mark my words peeps…just my 2 cents…

  33. Gracious says:

    wheter or not Thompsons e-mail is self serving is not the issue at hand here. Noah warned the people a flood was coming. Should Noah have been ignored?!!! wake up and stop focusing on those who present the message to, but instead pay attention to the message. I have learnt to listen to information released and do my own research. It is ultimately up to us how we use the information given, BUT if this is indeed the Premiers proposal for this great of hike it impacts us all, even if you buy Bermuda.

  34. Ginger says:

    I am smart enough to know that it makes more sense to buy Bermuda. By the time you factor in the cost of shipping and duty, the items won’t be any less expensive by shopping online, not to mention the added convenience of not having to wait several weeks to receive goods. However, I shop online frequently due the lack of choice in Bermuda. I am 5’2″ high and find it almost impossible to buy trousers to fit me in Bermuda. The choice of petit sizes here is very limited and rather old fashioned. At Christmastime, i was forced to buy online since the items I knew my boyfriend needed for his boat and camera etc. were also not available here.
    I would like someone to explain the following: When we pay duty on goods from the USA, i believe we pay on the Net amount before tax is added, but in the UK tax is already added to the price of each item and is not detailed seperately. So, does that mean that we are paying two lots of tax. The british tax which is pre-added and then the Bermuda Customs Duty. I thought you only paid duty on duty free goods. I am confused!!!!

    • Rev. Don Moore says:

      Recently the Government passed legislation that raised the duty on merchandise purchased by the public abroad and which they returned with, to a rate of 35% and reduced the amount that was allowed in duty free. Like many others I was not in favour of that.

      Now it is public knowledge that plans are in the works to extend that rate of duty to all goods imported by the public and which they receive through Courier and other agencies.

      I personally will be enraged if this becomes reality.

      The Premier has made it clear that she and her Government are seeking ways to protect the local retail industry. Her recent “walk about” in Hamilton is testimony to that fact.

      The majority of the public are sympathetic to the policy of “Buy Bermuda”. I personally go out of my way to support this, even if the variety of merchandise offered is far less than that which can be purchased abroad.

      However I have always felt that subsidies can get out of hand and then become detrimental to the pockets of the average citizen and frankly become undemocratic.

      Should government implement a higher rate of duty and exempt the retail and related businesses from paying the higher rate, then the result will be that the average citizen will be penalized.

      The local retail industry will have greater freedom to raise their prices, having been freed from the competition of local courier companies and related services.

      There will be a reduction in the variety of items that citizens can currently gain access to at competitive prices.

      There will also be a return to the days when the retail industry put ridiculous and sometimes outrageous mark ups on their merchandise.

      This was an entrenched habit which I believe historically led to the public seeking better prices abroad.

      I have a vivid memory and a personal example of this to share.

      Many years ago I needed a new raincoat. I priced one in a local store(no longer in business), it was a London Fog raincoat labelled at a cost of $700. This was too expensive for me. Whilst on the East Coast I discovered the same identical item at a cost of $70. Naturally I purchased it and still have it!

      It is my sincere hope that the government will think long and hard on the proposals they have in mind, for after all, if nothing else, they need to be reminded that this is most likely an election year!

      • Death to party politics says:

        The law of unintended consequences. I 100% agree, and I think the Bermudian consumer will rebel by boycotting the local retailers. So what next? Are people going to then be banned from importing personal goods period, if these measures fail to work? This can go to a very nasty place if we’re not careful.

        • LOL (original) says:

          How can it not work this is not to protect the local retailer. THIS IS A TAX GRAB! Plain and simple I boil the Premier walk about as electioneering plain and simple. If others can’t see that. ……….

          LOL come on the pic above has her holding a PLP shirt for cryin out loud.

  35. Triangle Drifter says:

    Here is a far out idea. How about everyone who voted PLP, which got us into this mess, speak up???

    Since they voted for this hopless Government perhaps THEY would like to take accountability for debt the PLP Government, which they voted for, created.

    Any takers?

    • blah blah says:

      Absurd! Another moron, and you waste our time with this. If this is the best that the OBA’s got give me the PLP any day! Comments like that will get the PLP reelected for sure.

      • Triangle Drifter says:

        I see you firmly believe in accountability. (Thats scarcasm BTW) Actually I have no idea what the OBA take is on all of this. I certainly do not speak for the OBA. Is name calling best that you can come up with?

  36. poorandpregnant says:

    if two ppl of the same family going thro custom…u now allow 100.than 200..What a ripoff and plain third world cheat..Shameful and them out..we had enough of their BS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Boom says:

      PLP punish married couples and people with children. We are discriminated against. Whereas a dating couple can easily get two allowances of $100, a married couple can only get the single $100. Govt are anti marriage.

  37. poorandpregnant says:

    the worst ppl are the ones who keep putting this backward govt into office..Even the Timbuctu is doing better Bermuda.

  38. Ride says:

    One of retail’s stated reoccurring hindrances is the cost of leasing space in Hamilton. I think the financial engineering of the airport personal imports and the proposed extension to all personal imports is hurting them in this space.

    If I were a retail landlord prior to the airport adjustment I may have been becoming sympathetic to the retailers’ expenses. There were plenty of signs to indicate that sales were down and that businesses were closing. Had one of my hypothetical tenants come to me I may have entertained the idea of lowering the lease at some point. From a landlord’s perspective it is better to have a slightly lower lease than none at all.

    But then the landscape changed. The airport duty structure was revised to favour retailers. Now I’m hypothetically thinking, “Hummmm. Let’s keep the lease where it is and see how this plays out. Maybe they’ll be able to continue to pay with this change.”

    Some time passes and things still don’t look too rosy for retailers. However, the new airport tax structure has not been in force for long. Therefore, I’m content to see if the retailers can survive. Then the landscape changes again in favour of the retailers. Now I might hypothetically think again, “Hummmm. Even more concessions for the retailers? Let’s keep the lease where it is and see how this plays out.”

    The attempts to engineer the retail market are being undertaken with too narrow a view. I think what will happen is people will get hip to online vendors with direct shipping to Bermuda to cut out the Mailboxes, ZipXes and other forwarding services for most of their online purchases. Shipping United States Postal Service or Royal Mail is many times (x8, x10 is some cases) cheaper than these forwarding services. The wait can be as little as a week with some of the options. The word will spread for online vendors that ship direct. The forwarders will lose business, retail will continue its decline (as they refuse to innovate), and people will shop online in record numbers.


    • Legal Reasons? says:

      I agree with using USPS or Royal Mail to reduce costs… until it reaches the Bermuda Post Office. Once the package reaches Bermuda, the postal insurance bought in the US or UK is expired. I do not trust a single employee at the Bermuda Post Office. I could foresee an increase of packages “lost in transit”…

      • Ride says:

        @Legal Reasons?

        I shop USPS and Royal Mail all the time. Use the least expensive option that includes a tracking number. Not only the couriers have tracking numbers. I’ve never had any issues with lost or missing packages. Also, it has been my experience at my parish post office that the postal service employees are trustworthy and diligent in their duties.


        • clarity says:

          I agree with Ride. I try to ship to the post office first, before using any courier. I have found the service from the St. George post office wonderful.

  39. True says:

    Us onions will pay anything to bring our toys in!!!!!!

  40. @Work says:

    Times have changed, the following is taken from

    Online competitors are certainly part of Best Buy’s problem, but not for the reasons it thinks. What’s really going on is more basic. Best Buy just doesn’t understand its customers’ point of view.

    Replace Best Buy with Bermuda and it’s the same thing.

  41. Professor says:

    Mailboxes needs to update their website to reflect their actual dimensional weight calculations. They have changed their calculations in order to increase the calculated dimensional weight by at least 20% over a year ago but haven’t reflected this change on their website…that is false advertising.

  42. James says:

    This whole idea is incredibly convoluted and difficult to manage, translation more Goverent jobs. What is needed is a low tax regime right across the board with no distinction between personal and business – prosperity is contigent on keeping costs low and competition high. At best, Government should lay off and stop distorting the economy with these odd interventions.

  43. JUNO says:

    In the event that the duty does increase for the public (and not for the retailers) would the outrageous prices stay the same. Personally I feel that Government is raping us, they barely raised my pay 1% but yet they want to increase the duty about 10%.

    Not the way to go Paula……

  44. My two cents says:

    The consumer backlash and black market something like this will create will be a sight to behold in a few years time. I am warning the retail industry now, you will be sorry about this in a few years time. The people will turn on you and you will have nobody to buy your products. I am not saying this as a personal vendetta, just simply looking at the common sense outcome. You f..k with people long enough, they will retaliate, it’s human nature nothing more. The backlash this will create toward the PLP will be inconceivable. Again, keep f…king with people long enough, they will turn on you, it’s human nature nothing more. The short term results in the changes to duty will do nothing more than raise more money for government to waste away. Thoughtless, impulsive, quick fixes brought to you by the Bermuda government. The lack of talent and creativity is radiating.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      You could very well be right. A whole new smuggling industry waiting to be developed, shell companys (wait, who already has those?), all kinds of ingenious methods of getting regular stuff in.

      A whole bunch of angry Bermudians. How many remember when the dutyfree allowance was about the same purchasing power as $1500.00 in todays money? Of course most of us only got to travel once a year, if we were lucky, back then. Airfares were much more expensive than today.

      Vote PLP. Vote for financial slavery.

    • Ade says:

      It goes so much deeper than the stores in the retail sector. Why is it that prices are so high? The government does not exercise any regulation. Essentially people can charge what they want and since we cant get it anywhere else without an inconvenience, we buy the products. I swear every industry is run by one or two companies and they control the entire market. All of a sudden there no more room for another company. These companies basically have a monopoly. Whether it be HWP and Bermuda Motors all the way to Gorahams and Masters. There is no way a company like Key Tech can own the only Yellow Pages Book, BTC our only way to get internet, Logic (more money for internet), while other companies like Cablevision can’t get approval to increase their internet speeds (which still requires a service from BTC). This includes the retail sector. Competition does not exist in Bermuda. Period. That is why prices are high. Our government needs to be held accountable.

  45. observer says:

    What has happened to our Bermuda???

  46. Ade says:

    I am tired of having unqualified people running this country. It seems like there is no standard of our politicians. THEY HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THEY ARE DOING. I guarantee that 90% of our politicians lack a degree relevant to the public sector, let alone what is required to run a government portfolio. Where is the retail sector bail out? Bermuda is the only country in which a recession occurs and the response to it is to raise prices and raise taxes. How does that encourage spending? How about we make these politicians responsible for their actions with checks and balances. Our entire government needs restructuring. Get rid of all this @#$%^&* that is destroying OUR country.

  47. M3ke says:

    When I shop online its usually because the item is not carried in Bermuda. This increase in tax will only hurt the customer. Mailboxes needs to get rid of the $17 first pound rule anyway cause that is ridiculous as they are robbing the people of Bermuda.

    Local retailers do not carry all the products, and because they don’t it is not fair to hike up all the prices on all goods into Bermuda. Do these people use their Business and Economics they learned in school? This is very frightening.

    The government needs to encourage people to spend their money. Forcing locals to shop locally with limited options is reducing the quality of life and will not help the economy. Companies island wide have reduced staff, we have a large unemployment rate, and now you want to hike up duty to fix the economy?? Retailers have to adjust to a global economy and reduce their prices and not charge 300-400% on items.

    Most retailers in Bermuda close at 5pm if not 6pm at the latest. How in the world does the Bermudas premier shopping mall in Hamilton close at 5pm? If the average person gets off work at the same time, do they expect customers to do massive shopping on their lunch break? There is very few online retailers that are local in the country and deliver with free 2day shipping comparable to Amazon and other US online retailers. The bottom line is service and retail are pathetic in the country. PLP and OBA (both are bad for Bermuda) need to understand there are other ways to stimulate local shopping and the solution is not raising duty. All you are doing is lowering the already falling quality of life in this country.

  48. Steve says:

    Whens the last time you have bought something in Bermuda and didn’t feel like you got ripped off?

    Why do all retailers close at 5-7pm even a shopping mall?

    Do locals have convenient shopping options in Bermuda?

    Can locals browse the internet on local websites and order a item and have it delivered with free or 2day shipping comparable to Amazon and US stores island-wide?

    Does a toothbrush really have to cost $10? Does cereal have to cost $8? Does a shaver that retails for $29 in the states have to cost $79 in Bermuda?

    Do the grocery stores really have the power to agree to disagree on lowering costs for customers?

    Where is the incentive to shop in Bermuda? Oh I forgot the government wants to use coercion and deny the people of Bermuda a better quality of life and force us to shop in Bermuda where the service is bad and prices are 300-400% that of the states with very limited shopping options and convenience. Please tell me this isn’t the plan. This is as basic as you can get.

    Where are we going Bermuda?? We are depriving our own citizens.