Do I have to pay the DHL bonded storage fee (for $300!)—invoiced after I received the package?

I ordered a pair of (authentic) shoes directly from the French brand Rouje to the US. The value was $210. They shipped through DHL and the shipment was seized by US Customs for some reason and held in examination for 3 weeks. I called every day asking what was going on and if I needed to pay VAT or something which I was prepared to do. DHL said that was not the issue. Finally, I heard from DHL that there was a documentation error where the shoes were mislabelled as "womenswear" not "footwear." So they sent me a document to fill out and I sent it back the same day, the shoes got released and I finally received them a few days later.Then a week later, I got an invoice from DHL in the mail for the VAT—about $20, fine. 

But included in the invoice was a "bonded storage" fee for almost $300! I looked it up and there's a per diem for $31/day. On the DHL website it says: "Storage charges apply when the shipment cannot be released by customs due to inaccurate or missing paperwork. Charges take effect three calendar days after the freight arrival date or broker notification, whichever is later. The charge applies to the duty and taxes payer." 

But the missing paperwork was NOT my fault. This fee is worth far more than the shoes and is ridiculous! Has anyone had any experience with this? Are there any actual laws (not from the DHL website) I can refer to?

Update:

**Edit: Not VAT, but import tax. On the invoice the $20 is listed as an import duty.

5 Answers

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  • 1 month ago

    It got held up and you have to pay, unless you can find someone to reason with. "Women's footwear." Women's wear, foot wear - I find their whole issue ridiculous.

  • 1 month ago

    What you can do is refused to claim it let it go back to the person that you purchased it from I'm sure that whoever you purchased it from has to have a tracking receipt that said it was delivered in order to claim the money open up I returned claim at the same time and demand your money back! That way you don't have to pay for the shoes or the tracking. And you can tell whoever you purchased them from that they made a shipping label error that caused an excessive bill see you there for refuse the shipment. Then reorder the shipment from somebody else!

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    Sounds like you are being scammed.

  • A.J.
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Who did you buy the shoes from? If you properly bought them from a respectable seller, they are the shipper. In international purchasing it is difficult to recover these things and lessons are expensive to learn. In the USA, some people buying counterfeit shoes were fined as buyer-importers and a fake pair of Nike's could cost hundreds of dollars. Your story is flawed and needs to be clarified.

    "I ordered ... to the US."

    "Then a week later, I got an invoice from DHL in the mail for the VAT"

    USA has no VAT. Shipments exported from Europe are not charged VAT.

    I cannot find duties on shoes, but there are tariffs on many items including shoes shipped from China.

    Almost 100% of famous brand items bought from a China seller either costs more than in the USA or is counterfeit. That is true for years.

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  • 1 month ago

    There is no VAT on goods shipped outside the EU. You need to tell DHL that there is an error. Also report this to the vendor.

    Not clear whether you are being billed for the bonded storage fee but if you are, you need to explain to the vendor that you are not responsible for this. The key thing here is that the vendor mislabeled the item and that was why it was stuck https://www.cbp.gov/trade/basic-import-export/inte...

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