Business owner claims Canadian resident charged £113 extra import fees for £33 cheese

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A UK business owner has claimed one of his customers who lives in Canada was charged an extra £113 in import fees after ordering £33 worth of cheese.

Simon Spurrell, managing director of Cheshire Cheese Company, revealed on Twitter on Wednesday how DHL Express Canada had seized his customer’s cheese.

The overseas courier service has asked for £112.78 in import duty fees to be paid before the cheese is released to the customer.

Cheese Important Charges | Business News UK
Mr. Spurrell posted evidence of the shocking charges to Twitter

The Canadian customer paid £33 for a Cheese Lovers Hamper from the award-winning company – on top of £26.70 initial delivery costs.

But Mr Spurrell was fuming after DHL Canada Express contacted the customer asking for extra fees that were almost four times the price of the hamper. 

The customer ended up telling the company to destroy the hamper after refusing to pay the extortionate costs.

Mr Spurrell also refunded the customer on their purchase and has been forced to do the same with several other customers from overseas.

Hitting out at the effects of Brexit, Mr Spurrell, whose company is based in Macclesfield, Cheshire, took to Facebook on Wednesday to highlight the issues his company faces.

He said: “So much for the UK Gov’s advice to look to emerging markets instead of the EU.

“@1CheshireCheese customer spent £33.00, DHL added £26.70.

“Customer had a demand for duty of $150.63 for cheese & biscuits.

“That’s an extra cost of £112.78 and another no-deal country crossed off our list.”

Mr Spurrell’s post gained more than 1,600 likes and hundreds of retweets on Twitter.

Cheese Important Charges | Business News UK
The customer was informed they would not receive the Cheese until the charge had been paid.

@Rkstm wrote: “Highwaymen. 

“What part did the government play in this transaction to deserve $150? 

“What does the customer get for their $150?

“Nothing, this is just state thievery.”

@jochenleidner said: “There just isn’t any viable alternative to doing business with your direct neighbors. 

“Leaving the EU was a poor idea and it should be reverted back as soon as possible so all business can thrive again (as it did when borders were gone).

@DavidWa53158736 commented: “It cost a friend of mine £900 to ship three small boxes to #Spain by #UPS due to the additional charges and #BrexitLies new rules. 

“It would have cost 1/4 of that when we were in the EU.”

@GraWitMik replied: “For ten years I’ve run small legal, (declaring taxes), collectibles business using eBay and other online sales sites.

“Most items sourced in the EU & most customers in the UK.

“My business died on 01/01/2021.”

@Zondervan1875 wrote: “Cheese FFS! If there was ever an example of how f****d-up BREXIT really is, then this is it!”

The additional fees come as a result of Brexit aftermath which saw the United Kingdom sign the Canada-United Kingdom Trade Continuity Agreement.

Cheese Important Charges | Business News UK
Cheshire Cheese Shop in York.

As a result Brexit has faced criticism with many believing that it has prevented smaller companies from selling goods directly to overseas customers.

Businesses across the UK have hit out at the effects of Brexit, with many claiming they cannot adapt to the additional tariffs.

Speaking today Mr Spurrell said: “All products are equally affected but that was the one that Canadian customer told their customs officials to destroy and we as a good will gesture refunded the original cost and another 18 others too.

“I was shocked then angry that this was yet another direct consumer market that was commercially unviable for us.

“We cannot even ship to Northern Ireland because an EHC is required.

“Before Jan 1st we had an ocean of opportunity that became a pond and is dwindling to a puddle.”

Mr Spurrell added: “Canada has a low threshold of allowance of $20 before they charge duty but the level of duty is very high.

“The USA has a $800 threshold before duty is applied and that is the only country in the world we can commercially and viably still ship directly too.

“I was advised by the UK Government to concentrate on their newly negotiated deals for emerging markets for example Canada and Japan.

“The Japanese market has an 85% mainly lactose intolerant population and it takes three days to deliver at £60 before duties are applied.

“We just want an exemption in the EU deal just like fish has an exemption for personal consumption up to 2kg.

“If that exemption was in place we could regain 26 countries we could ship directly to.”