Regarding shipping from U.S.-based warehouses

(Background: The title of this topic is referencing a reply to

How is shipping to countries which impose VAT (, tl;dr: almost everyone except the U.S.) going to be handled?

Also, VAT in the E.U. takes the listed $329.00 price and turns it into $394.80 (list + 20%). :frowning:

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Since Kickstarter, we’ve said that we’re not able to cover VAT or Customs fees. We wish we could, but the economics just don’t work :confused:


I’m okay with the business decision to not cover VAT or Customs fees.

My question is how is shipping to countries which impose VAT going to work?

  1. Are we going to pay the VAT before the keyboard ships so it will then ship with all of the correct paperwork needed to breeze through Customs?

  2. Will the keyboard ship and we get to play Customs roulette with which variation of the official paperwork will be accepted on the day it arrives in our country?

  3. Will we be even notified it is being held by Customs awaiting payment of fees?

Personally, I am really hoping for option 1 above. Because regardless of what I think is fair, corporations do have more weight in negotiations.


To clarify a little more: in at least .nl the local post company (TNT Post Group) ‘helpfully’ handles customs and VAT for end-recipients… for a nontrivial fee, that is then imposed upon delivery, which in turn means you cannot receive the package unless you actually pay on the spot, or go to the nearest post office, a day or maybe two later, and pay there. Having the option of dealing with customs and VAT beforehand tends to at least halve the fee, and makes delivery itself a much smoother process.

Hence I would much prefer to pay VAT and customs fees in advance so that it is all taken care of and doesn’t have to be dealt with at the point of reception.

Furthermore, if I understand correctly TNT Post actually has offices in Shenzhen to deal with exactly the problem of handling customs and VAT for .eu delivery… both lowering fees and expediting delivery. Maybe something that might be looked into?


It looks like we’re going with FedEx for all shipments. As I understand it, no, there is not any way to prepay your VAT and customs brokerage fees. You will get FedEx tracking information when your keyboard ships.

I do know that some FedEx customers in some countries have had luck phoning them up at asking that FedEx not act as a customs broker on their behalf.

The guidance I’ve gotten from FedEx about their fees for european countries is “2.5% of advanced Duty/Tax with a minimum or£12 which ever is greater” - My read of that is that they will be paying the customs agency and you will be paying them back.

We’re working with a fulfillment company with extensive experience doing international shipments, in part so they can help us make sure our documentation is correct and clear enough to please as many customs agents as possible.


FedEx’ fees for Europe are described as ‘2.5% of advanced Duty/Tax with a minimum or£12 which ever is greater’ (with variations for the Nordic countries and Switzerland) - While ~14 EUR for expediting customs isn’t negligible, it’s not as bad as we’d feared it might be.

We looked into shipping from Shenzhen or Hong Kong, either for everybody or just for non-US customers. The pricing, reliability and quality control that we’d have access to for consumer shipments from China don’t work out for us. If we were much smaller or much bigger, it’d be a lot more plausible :confused:


Right, that explains quite clearly! Yes, paying fees in advance seems like a much better idea given this information. Thank you for your dedication and detailed information!