Courier Firms Notify Customers Of Rate Changes

August 24, 2012

Following the recent Supreme Court ruling, the island’s courier firms have notified their customers the duty rate will be lowered to where it was before.

An email sent out to Mailboxes US Express customers said: “I am happy to report that per the recent Supreme Court ruling, Mailboxes US Express is, in fact, entitled to have our goods cleared at the lower business duty rate. Therefore, all US Express shipments will revert to the previous duty rates enjoyed by our customers over the last 15 years. i.e. clothing 6.5%, shoes 10%, supplements, 15%.”

An email sent by ZipX to their customers said: “Dear ZipX Client,Due to the recent court judgment regarding the 25% Duty Rate implemented on personal use shipments, the rates of duty for your shipments will go back to as they were before this legislation was implemented.

“Please be advised that effective Friday August 24 2012, all shipments cleared through customs will be processed at the applicable duty rates used before the flat rate of 25% was put into effect, i.e. Clothing 6.5%, Camera equipment 8.5%, etc.”

Speaking after the Court Ruling, Premier Paula Cox said: “The main policy objective for the amendment was to assist the retail sector through duty relief and to provide an incentive to on-Island shopping. Revenue impact should not be material. This was never designed to be a major revenue raiser, even though any additional revenue is welcome.”

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Comments (42)

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  1. PLP Safegurding Bermudians says:


    9 years as Finance Minister and you and your team werent competent enough to raise import duty properly to achieve your goal of collecting more taxes, you really are hopeless.

    Next up, PLP leadership change please!

    • Concerned Bermudian says:

      This is just another in the long line of policies that has had to be reversed by this government. You have to ask, “How much vetting do they actually do before releasing a new policy or procedures?”

  2. Mad Dawg says:

    So what arrangements will these courier companies be making to refund the over-collections? After all, their customers trusted them and Customs to follow the law between them, and they didn’t. More Duty was collected than should have been, due to their combined incompetence. Every penny over-collected should be returned.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      You had better ask that question of Customs. They are the ones who stuck it to Mailboxes. If Mailboxes did not pay the goods were not released.
      This is is just another ill thought through PLP policy which has cost the public tens of thousands.

      The PLP experiment has been an epic FAIL.

      • Mad Dawg says:

        Mailboxes, ZipX, and anyone else in the same business. They need to announce what will happen to refund overpaid duty.

      • Politely Pompous says:

        @Mad Dawg and Triangle Drifter…excuse me but what does this have to do with Customs? Customs had no say in this! The Collector of Customs was notified of this and told that these rates were applicable immediately and had no choice but to implement them. She was caught out of the blue just like everyone else and had to scramble to get this enforced-she had zero say and wasn’t consulted. I know people who are Customs officers and they were pissed off just like everyone else because these rates affect them like everyone else.

        When the Government passes increases such as licensing fees do you go down to TCD and blame the clerks there? When fines are decided through legislation do you blame the police for that? If you had a computer business and the the Government said you had to charge such-and-such a fee for every computer you sell, how would you feel if the customer blamed you??? You’d have no say over the matter! That’s how it is with Customs-they’re the middle man in all this. They have zero say in what duty is charged!

        It’s ridiculous how Bermudians just moan without even getting their facts straight. The Government is the one who makes these laws and everyone has to abide by them. When Government increases fees at budget time we have to pay them-we can’t say we don’t agree…the same with Customs-they have to collect what they’ve been told to receive and they have no say, either. Again, the Customs people aren’t too happy about all this crap, either-that I know for a FACT!

        • Mad Dawg says:

          Customs were charging 25% on everything. How can they NOT be to blame? They should return the overcharges, idiots like you would defend any behavior, no matter how insane.

          • Politely Pompous says:

            @Mad Dawg: Are you mentally challenged or something? Re-read what I said. I am not an idiot and it isn’t about ‘defending any behaviour no matter how insane.’ The only idiot here is YOU-you go around making such stupid comments all over Bernews and then want to insult people when they challenge you. You’re clearly a stubborn and ignorant person.

            Yes-Customs did charge the 25%…they were told they had to! What are they supposed to say to their superiors? “We don’t agree with this so we’re not charging it”? Don’t be ridiculous! When Government imposes fees, its employees have to obey in collecting them. When the Premier raises the licensing fees for your car, does the clerk at TCD have a say? Can the clerk say ‘I don’t agree with this so I’m charging the old rate’? Of course not! They would all be out of a job.

            When the Govt. passed seatbelt laws, do the Police have the option of saying they don’t agree and so don’t stop people? NO. When the Govt. imposes mandatory fines, can the Magistrate say ‘I think this is stupid-I’m going to give this person a lower fine’? NO-of course not! He does as he is ordered.

            Civil servants and Govt. employees have to do as they are instructed. I know for a fact that Customs wasn’t consulted. They aren’t the ones wasting money-the Govt. is and they’re trying to raise revenue at all costs so they’re doing whatever they want and their employees need to go along whether they agree or not.

            If a store in Hamilton decided they were going to raise their prices, can their employees then charge the old prices because they disagree with what their boss is charging? NO. If they did, they would be fired and could possibly be charged with theft for undercharging the customer. They have no say as they are an employee-the same scenario applies here…Customs has no say in what their bosses-the Govt.-charges! They are simply there as agents of Govt. and have to carry out their wishes.

            Customs would have had no say once the law was passed. They were told that this is what it is, and they had no choice but to carry out Govt.’s orders. If you cannot comprehend that then there is something seriously wrong with you cerebrally.

          • Politely Pompous says:

            BTW-I agree that peoples’ money should be returned…that is not the point I am debating. Govt. messed up, and so people should be refunded any overpayments made. What I am debating is your charge that this is the fault of Customs-they are not to blame as they are only doing what they are instructed to do…a child can comprehend that so why can’t you?

            • Mad Dawg says:

              Customs were the ones implementing the policy. They were the ones sticking it to Mailboxes. I know they had no choice but to do what government said, but Customs is the agency that should now set about repaying the over collected taxes.

              • Mayan says:

                Mad Dawg, why do you insist on arguing until the cows come home when it’s blatantly apparent that you are WRONG. Now you’re chopping and changing your argument all over the place just to avoid looking stupid.

                Customs was ‘sticking it to Mailboxes.’ Customs is a government department carrying out the instructions they were given. Government was the one who implemented the policies-not Customs. You must have had a bad experience with them or something because you have tunnel vision. You sound like a broken record. It’s just Customs, Customs,Customs from you. Just blame it all on Customs.

                It’s Government (those who sit in the House and Cabinet) who made this stupid decision. They should be the focus of your blame. You tell us what you expected Customs to do once the directive came down since you know so much. When Customs was told that this is the new policy and these are the new rates, what do you think they should have done? Please explain in plain language exactly what so we all can understand. If not, shut up because you’re looking more and more stupid with each comment you post.

  3. James Goodfellow says:

    I wonder if mailboxes will care to explain the several hundred per cent mark up they make on their obligatory insurance charge of 2%. Will Mailboxes care to share their cargo insurance policy that shows a rate of 2% or anything remotely close to that (I don’t see why they shouldn’t have a token mark up to cover costs etc) ? The actual market rate is approximately a tenth or less of what they charge. In other words mailboxes are automatically pocketing approximately 1.8% of the value of your order through marked up insurance.

  4. Victor says:

    If the country had a proper, progressive tax base – i.e low rates or no rates of duty to promote local trade, modest profits taxes (say 12%, Hong Kong or Singapore style), taxes on services such as accounting and law practices (none are presently paid – payroll does not count as all pay it and it is personal income), modest income tax (say 15%, again HK or Sing style), this absurdity would have never taken place; business would take care of business, we could all get on with our work, and the tax base would be secure instead of taxing the hell out of those who are already the most squeezed. Yes the PLP government inherited an archaic tax system; but over thirteen years they too have been damn stupid or cowardly to fix it – and it has now all come home to roost.

  5. lyfe says:

    does that include post office?

    • Boom Bye Bye says:

      True… And what about by boat?

      • Boom Bye Bye says:

        Ok I guess this applies to any business who has to pay duty upfront before the customer pays it back to them?

    • HotSauceDownSouth says:

      Unlikely – post office is a government organization.

      So the duty rate hike was essentially a complete waste of time on part of government because a large portion of the population use companies like ZipX and Mailboxes to bring in goods.

      Open up that loophole further – I’ve got a truck to drive through it!

  6. Joonya says:

    Elekshun time round de korna. keep de intanet shoppas happy….

  7. Unbelievable says:

    I would really like to know what the Bermuda Government MPs et el think when they look in the mirror each and every morning knowing they have fawked sh!t up again and again and again. Seriously….
    Just how fawked up can a person really be before they realize they are really fawked up or do they proceed daily thinking this is how the rest of society thinks and acts…

    • HotSauceDownSouth says:

      I’m sure that more than a couple of heads in the department of finance are spinning today. All this “cash grab” revenue down the toilet. It’s going to be an interesting election year….

      • Politely Pompous says:

        What’s so irritating is that Govt. claims to have put these policies in place to try and get people to shop locally when they know that isn’t true. They put them in place because they know that Bermudians will shop online no matter what, and they can get their greedy little hands on some extra cash to put into their empty piggy banks.

  8. Grateful! says:

    i for one am happy they lowered the duty rates. Its ridiculous the price people have to pay when they come through customs! pretty much paying for items TWICE! Government, do the public a favor and stay consistant!

    • HotSauceDownSouth says:

      I brought some small items in through the post office. By the time I paid the duty and the wharfage fee, I’d paid more than half the value of the items in fees!

    • Mad Dawg says:

      Just a clarification, Grateful. They didn’t ‘lower rates’. They just screwed up when they attempted to increase rates. Big difference.

  9. Responsible dog owner says:

    I hope they will reduce the rates again at the post office, as the shipping is less via US Postal Service than ZipX or Mailboxes.

    Looking at the reports on the sales volume, the “duty” harmonisation doesn’t appear to have done much for the retail sector, except alienate the customer!

  10. Photog... says:

    I’m a little confused. What duty rate should I have paid on a camera that came in via ZipX/UPS last week?

    • Ride says:

      Last week you would have paid the 25% duty hike for the ZipX/UPS package. For packages Customs processed today, and until further notice, you would pay the standard rate which I think is 8.5%.

      Note, however, that if you go to collect a ZipX/UPS package that was processed by Customs prior to today you will pay the 25% duty hike rate.


    • Mad Dawg says:

      You should have paid 8.5%. However you actually will have paid 25%. They owe you the 16.5% they overcharged.

  11. VJ says:

    @ Triangle Drifter and others. Do not blame Customs as they are not in the business of ripping people off. They fall under the Ministry of Finance and who is the Minister? If the law states what duty rate has to be applied, they have to do their job and collect the revenue. They have jobs to do and a boss to answer to just like you…..

    • Mad Dawg says:

      Do not blame Customs? Customs is run by the government isn’t it? Between them they have, as usual, made a mess of something. Now they have to return what they overcharged.

  12. VJ says:

    They are a government department, they are not run by the government. Big difference, buddy, and you clearly need to education yourself on how the government civil service structure works before you foam at the mouth…you should call yourself rabid dog instead!!

    • Mad Dawg says:

      So it is a government department, but that means it is not run by the government. Er, right. Thanks for your very enlightening explanation. Obviously you are a frikkin genius.

      In the meantime, can the, er, ordinary people around here who got robbed for the past 3 months get our overpaid taxes back?

      • VJ says:

        Nope, not a genius nor do I profess to be. However, I know the difference between a government department and the government. Do government employees pass the laws? The people that work in the government departments ARE the ORDINARY people that you speak of!!! You seem to be a bit, er, slow but can’t expect much from somebody that doesn’t even know how to spell dog…

  13. Former Civil Servant says:

    @ Mad Dawg. As a former government worker, I have to say you are way off the mark or maybe just a little thick. Government workers (the ground troops) have no say on what policies and regulations the “government”, meaning the policy makers, choose to implement. Do you think government employees are all called into a meeting and asked “What do you think about this?” Before a policy is put into place? Heck no! In fact, the Collector of Customs was told about the 25% tax hike the very same day the information was released to the public. Customs Officers have to pay the same taxes you do, Mad Dawg. Do you think they want to pay more money too? Who the heck does? Your stance is like somebody going into a store and being angry at the salesperson because an item is overpriced and you think its a rip off. That salesperson isn’t responsible for the huge markup their boss put on the item and probably secretly agrees its a rip off too! Government employees have to pay the exact same fees as Joe Public, may it be TCD licensing fees, land tax or customs duty. It is silly of you to blame the average worker for something they have no control over. Like the blogger tried to explain, there is a distinct difference and I don’t know how to make it any simpler for you. People like you really need to learn how the mechanism of “government” work and it is not how you think.

    • Politely Pompous says:

      Mad Dawg’s brains got scrambled some years ago so he clearly still isn’t thinking straight. He cannot comprehend what normal people can, he’s too busy spazzing out…

    • Mad Dawg says:

      Former Civil Servant,
      Here are the issues. 1. Ordinary people have overpaid customs duty.
      2. Customs is the agency who collected the overpaid duty.
      3. The ordinary people who overpaid would like that money back.
      4. Customs, who collected the overpayments, will perhaps assist in the return of the overpaid taxes. Or, alternatively, Customs employees won’t assist. Time will tell. Some Customs officials have been jerks in the past. Some have been ok. Time will tell what will happen in this case.
      5. I understand how former Civil Servants can be embrarrassed by being told to do stupid and irrational things. I think it probably happens a lot with this government. However, some of the time we’re told about how Civil Servants are professionals of the highest order. Yet other times, like in this case, we’re told they are just lowly functionaries who do as they are told without question.
      6. If the Collector of Customs can’t take responsibility for making sure Customs Duties are collected properly, we need a new Collector of Customs. Get someone who can do the frikkin job. Not a lapdog. (did I spell the word dog ok?).

      • Mayan says:

        Mad Dawg-the Collector of Customs isn’t a lawyer or expert on the complicated ins and outs of law. Government has access to legal experts so they should have researched all of this before the policies were implemented. It makes me wonder how many other laws and policies were put into place that wouldn’t stand up in a courtroom.

        Most Civil Servants do just do as they’re told. I’m sure the only ones who have a real say are those at the Permanent Secretary level and even then, how many of them just do as they’re told? I’m sure they won’t argue with their ministers no matter how much they disagree.

        Civil Servants for the most part carry out the instructions they are given. If they had all sorts of clout, they wouldn’t need a Union, now would they? The fact is, they do so it’s clear that they themselves need protecting from their employers, The Bermuda Government. If they had all this so-called power, they wouldn’t need a Union!

  14. Dee (Original) says:

    I certainly hope that this Mad Dawg character is self employed. If he’s not, I’m pretty sure he’s been through plenty of jobs because he clearly won’t follow his boss’ instructions if he doesn’t agree with them. How lovely, sounds like a model frikkin employee!!!

    • Mad Dawg says:

      Usual tactic. Ignore the question and shoot the messenger.

      • Mayan says:

        I agree with Dee. M.D. everyone here can see that you’re not the sharpest knife in the drawer or you just don’t like admitting you’re wrong. If you do have a business, let’s hope your employees carry out the instructions you give them instead of ignoring them if they disagree. When it’s time for you to pay your taxes, how about you don’t pay the full amount if you don’t agree with Government. Do that and see what happens. You expect Customs to disobey orders so why don’t YOU have the guts to as well!

        • Mad Dawg says:

          The Collector of Customs is supposed to carry out its duties within the law. It didn’t. Therefore it should be making arrangements to return the overpaid, illegally collected, duty.

          Frankly, I don’t care about your comments about me. In my mind you’re all dopes if you have no problem overpaying Customs Duties.

  15. Dee (Original) says:

    Mad Dawg you obviously DO care what is being written about you which is why you keep returning to this story to see what’s being written. Frankly, I don’t agree with what happened. My issue (and I guess a few other people’s) is with you blaming customs officers who were following orders from their superiors. You seem to think this makes them mindless robots but in all sectors of society people have bosses they have to answer to. The fault lies with the Minister of Finance who tabled the bill in the House of Assembly and the members that passed it.