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General Discussion: Customs charges from UPS

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written by: karmacomposer

+100 for alan - I totally agree with you.

I ordered through PMT and, although a small headache insued, I received my Pico and I was NOT charged anything by UPS nor did a bill ever come my way.

Florida is one of the few states with MINIMAL taxes, so I guess that's another Florida perk!

Alan, I agree and HOPE TO GOODNESS I can eventually afford a Tau.


written by: mzappile

Tue, 15 Dec 2009 02:11:01 +0000 GMT

Has anyone who ordered the Pico from the U.S. get a $30 invoice from UPS?
I got this invoice almost 3 weeks after I got my Pico. It surprised me. Anybody else?

-Matt Z

written by: geert

Tue, 15 Dec 2009 06:23:44 +0000 GMT

Hi Matt,

I've had this happen lately for goods that I order from the US to Europe. They seem to have become much more strict about this than they used to.

Take care,


written by: john

Tue, 15 Dec 2009 08:44:05 +0000 GMT

Hi Matt

You'll almost certainly find that this is your local taxes. We deduct our local taxes (the VAT) when we ship to the US and as Geert said, customs authorities the world over now seem to have begun enforcing local import duties ad taxes for internet purchases, usually via the shipping agency. It was a nice few years while they were too incompetent to manage this, wasn't it though?


written by: catoro

Tue, 15 Dec 2009 13:19:18 +0000 GMT

You have to be thankful you had only 30 bucks to pay, I ordered my Pod X3Live from the states lat summers because it was really cheaper there... all and all including taxes and the almost one month delay in the Spanish customs I ended up paying 20 Euros more than the list price in Thomman...
Tricks like declaring as gift and similar are also not working anymore (when buying from ebay for instance).

From UK to continental Europe is quite expensive to my taste, but taking into account the time they take and the almost unexistant customs problems, I believe is a good deal after all.

Buying from the UK is a good deal at the moment for EU people... I haven´t see any post here related to shipping of the Pico (other thank this of course) my experience with this was extremely good as I ordered mine ona sunday afternoon and I was already playing the next friday morning ... the process was very well documented and fluid with the sales department and I recommend 100% if someone is thinking on buying from the Eigenlabs webpage to do it... Customer service starts from the dispatch of the goods and the Eigenguys know that...


written by: mzappile

Tue, 15 Dec 2009 21:32:25 +0000 GMT

Thanks for the feedback everyone, haven't ordered
from overseas in a while. Just wanted to make sure
it was experienced by others. (Not just UPS charging me
because they want to ;-)

-Matt Z

written by: Alfareese

Wed, 16 Dec 2009 22:58:33 +0000 GMT

I also was charged 30.00$ by UPS as a cod or they would not release the instrument to me. I also thought that part of the fee I paid for the Pico was a delivery charge.

written by: john

Fri, 18 Dec 2009 12:14:51 +0000 GMT

Hi Barry

That will be your local taxes. The shipping charges are all paid by you up front when you order, but we do not deduct your local import and sales taxes (if you live in the US you'll notice that we don't charge you VAT, the EU equivalent) as UPS will do this for you before they deliver, if you have them to pay.


written by: barnone

Sun, 3 Jan 2010 21:15:20 +0000 GMT

You guys should make customers aware of this on the website, because it is not obvious.

The pico may be $30 but the Alpha was $308 which was a surprise to me.

written by: Foveus

Wed, 13 Jan 2010 10:07:20 +0000 GMT

I paid UPS $265 COD when my Alpha was delivered to New York City yesterday .. I certainly was not expecting that at all.

written by: stuwyatt

Thu, 14 Jan 2010 03:23:08 +0000 GMT

I feel for you poor US Eigenharp owners.

I experienced the wrath of customs charges when I lived in Paris. I'd ordered an Electrix Repeater from the US, and scraped together every penny I could find to pay for the unit... It was then impounded by customs, and was only released to me after I'd paid about £200 (I forget exactly how much).... It took about a month if I remember before I could get my hands on the unit.

Anything going to the US from Europe or vice-versa will be charged import duty...

Anyway - I have an excuse to bump a thread and say hi. I received my Pico today, and tomorrow, I should be receiving my mac mini from Apple.... I can't wait to start playing with it :)

written by: barnone

Thu, 14 Jan 2010 06:03:53 +0000 GMT

I think this is really a matter of expectations being very different in the US for items ordered with shipping paid.

All it would take is an "*Foreign orders will be subject to any customs import duties...blah blah." on the website. It's feedback to eigenlabs because I believe this will happen again and again and it can be fixed so easily. So this is just feedback to help them manage expectations better. And yeah the US is a pain in the arse because we are not as regularly exposed to this stuff as europeans.

I did ask customer support about the fact that we were not being charged VAT and their answer was the US customers did not have to pay VAT and so we were saving that money (end of story). Nothing about tax entering the country.

....anyway sorry for the serious post....welcome'll have lots of fun with your pico.

written by: stuwyatt

Thu, 14 Jan 2010 10:24:05 +0000 GMT

Thanks for the welcome barnone, and yes, I am in total agreement with you. Non EEC customers should be aware that there may be import taxes on items purchased from the UK.

written by: aaronw

Thu, 21 Jan 2010 18:46:37 +0000 GMT

Hi all,

In the final stage of the order process we now state about custom charges when shipping to the US. Hopefully this will stop any shock surprises when UPS turn up to deliver!


Customer Services

written by: fzzzy

Thu, 21 Jan 2010 19:05:39 +0000 GMT

Just a note on my experience here in the US, in Berkeley, CA. UPS didn't charge me any customs charges. Guess I got a visit from the customs fairy :-)

written by: marcosharkness

Thu, 28 Jan 2010 21:15:57 +0000 GMT

Just got my pico today (Oh BOY!!!) and I was a little surprised about that as well here in Washington. I had to do some fancy maneourvering with my building's front desk to make sure the package didn't get sent back to UPS a second time. I don't remember seeing the bit about the customs duties in the checkout process, probably because I was a bit too excited about ordering my Pico.

Feedback to Eigenlabs would be to also include the verbiage in the "shipment confirmed" email just to drive the point home for us excitable kids. So far, support has been quick and responsive -- thanks Aaron! Keep it up and you'll have happy customers.


written by: Tones2

Fri, 29 Jan 2010 00:07:11 +0000 GMT

Is there any way to PREPAY the custom charges?


written by: stuwyatt

Fri, 29 Jan 2010 01:04:55 +0000 GMT

There might be a way to prepay the customs charges if you contact customs yourself and inform them that something is being sent from the UK - maybe showing them the invoice from Eigenlabs?

written by: john

Fri, 29 Jan 2010 08:13:31 +0000 GMT


We're talking to UPS at the moment about being able to deduct these local taxes at source, when you order, for US customers in the same way we do for VAT with European purchasers. Unfortunately its quite complicated as each US state seems to have a different regime, unlike the EU. We'll probably introduce this when we bring in US dollar pricing (which has its own hassles as we then have to manage exchange rate fluctuations), but we have to regionalise the whole website for that, which is a fair bit of work. It will happen, just not overnight....


written by: strykerakamack

Wed, 3 Feb 2010 06:09:42 +0000 GMT

Ordered the Pico friday morning
arrived in USA monday morning
No charges from UPS ...yet

written by: alan.mccornack

Fri, 5 Feb 2010 03:03:02 +0000 GMT

I'm in California, and they (oops!) charged me 61.34 pounds sterling for VAT, and warned me that UPS might demand $30 US upon delivery, and that the VAT would be refunded to my credit card. Well, I haven't gotten my bank statement yet, but from daily balance monitoring, I know they did the VAT refund. And UPS delivered, signature required, while I was off at Calculus class (mom signed). If they send a bill, I'll gladly pay it.

Honestly, after spending $350 for a bass guitar, and finding it too hard on my (53 yo) hands, this instrument is AWESOME by comparison! You barely touch it, and sounds begin to emanate. I played trumpet from age 8 to 16, and LOVE an instrument I can modulate with my breath, or play like a piano keyboard (with NO "WRONG" NOTES!). Both the Clarinet and Cello voices are just like a real instrument: as a rookie, I'm making all kinds of awful squeaks just like any other beginner. But as I begin to practice, it is sounding more and more like I know what I'm doing. Before long, I'll be able to play cello and bass guitar and clarinet and.... The potential creative products are astronomical in breadth and depth.

This is awesome! The packaging it comes in serves as a custom shock-proof traveling case, documents tucked neatly in the lid, including everything you need besides your trusty iMac or MacBook. Barely a week into ownership, I'm looking at the Tau and thinking about rationalizing the purchase.

In 1972, I paid $414.75 for the HP-45 calculator. It came with a leather case, a Quick Reference that tucked neatly into a pocket, and it was small enough to wear on a belt or slip into a shirt pocket. It, and the HP-35, started a revolution. Of course, today, you can get more functions than those oldies for less than $15. But they set the standard FOR THEIR TIME. The Eigenharp Pico has that same level of quality! I opened the box, looked at the contents, smelled that wonderful new electronic gear smell, and I was just as stunned as when I was sixteen years old: every detail has been thought through; there is not only none better, there is nothing close!

When I ordered my Pico, the Tau had not yet been announced. It's just as well. I want to whet my taste with the Pico, and somehow work the Tau into my budget for 2010. This is going to be a very good year, I can tell. The Pico is a great investment in myself.

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