As published on Zibbet's blog
and on The Pursuit of Etsyness
Many of us who sell online have had this experience, and I think itâ€™s something that should be addressed so that those that are new to the world of online selling have a reference.
When you sell Internationally, as many of us do, you occasionally run across the odd customer who wants you to help them circumvent their customs fees by marking â€œgiftâ€ on the customs forms or by claiming the itemâ€™s value as less than the purchaserâ€™s paid price.
This seems harmless, and because most of us are focused on providing exemplary customer service, you might even feel tempted to agree to this request. But, you might want to re-consider this decision because, contrary to your first instinct, this is not good customer service.Â Itâ€™s mail fraud.
Mail fraud of this type may seem harmless, but itâ€™s a felony. It carries a sentence of up to five years in prison and/or fines of up to $250,000.
Are you willing to go to federal prison for a sale?
One way to ensure your customers are aware youâ€™re not willing to participate in this is to add a note into your shop policies under your Shipping information. If youâ€™ve had a request or two like this, or are concerned about getting these kind of requests, I encourage you to do this.
Here is an example from our shop â€“ â€œINTERNATIONAL SHIPPING shipping is available at reasonable rates that are listed at the bottom of each item description. Please note that we are not responsible for any VAT/Customs fees that may be related to to your order nor will we help you in illegally circumventing these fees if they are applicable to you. Falsifying customs declarations or having an item marked as â€œgiftâ€ in order to avoid customs fees is classified as Mail Fraud and is a felony.â€
Although good customer service is everything in any type of business, please remember that stepping over the line from good customer service into fraud or illegal action is often a line that the unscrupulous can try to blur.
Be careful out there!
Twist the Leaf is an artisan
jewelry designer that specializes in quality artisan jewelry designs
for the every day women who appreciate color, quality and style. As co-collaborator of Bits n Beads by Gilliauna,
he contributes a wide variety of designs to the shop and helps with the day to day running of the business where needed.
Publishing Rights: You may republish this article in your website,
newsletter, or book, on the condition that you agree to leave the
article (not necessarily including pictures), author's signature, and
all links completely intact.