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Thread: Customer tried to avoid addt値 China duties - caught by Customs :D

  1. #1
    Senior Member Tradd's Avatar
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    Customer tried to avoid addt値 China duties - caught by Customs :D

    You might remember I知 a customs broker. Last year when the additional China duties were introduced, a customer asked us if we would classify their shipments as something else so they wouldn稚 have to pay the additional. I refused. Customer was pissed and pulled their business. They had another broker they had been working with somewhat. That other broker had no problem changing the classification so the customer wouldn稚 have to pay the additional China duty. It was changed to something that had no relation to what they were importing. I had been clearing their shipments with the same classifications since 2012 when I took over the clearances from someone else in my office. Customer had been with my company since the early 90s.

    Customer got away with it for about 6-8 months. Couple months ago they advised us they were being investigated by Customs. They had to get a lawyer. They池e probably going to be paying the lawyer a lot more than what they saved in duties.

    The current leadership of the company is the second generation and greedy. The founder had to retire in the past couple of years due to health issues and was very nice to deal with. I知 only sorry founder痴 hard work is being destroyed by second generation.

    Customs requested paperwork from us last week for the few clearances we had done since the additional duties had been in effect. They are obviously comparing how I did it to how the other broker did it. We can show going back to 2012 (you only have to keep hard copies going back 5 years per CBP regs, but our system has info back 7 years) that we致e been doing it the same way. We supplied the requested paperwork.

    Customer actually told us they want us to contact them next time BEFORE we respond to Customs. We plainly told them that whatever they say has no bearing on our responses to Customs. We are required to respond to Customs.

    Customer has come crawling back to us and we have all their business back. They complain the other broker is not being cooperative.

    What痴 even worse about this situation is that the other broker appears to have not declared the shipments to another gov稚 agency. If that truly is the case, whatever Customs does to this customer will look like child痴 play when the other agency is done with them. The other agency will nail customer to the wall.

    I知 enjoying the whole situation immensely. The customer complained to my company痴 executives months ago that I was being VERY unwilling to work with them and that I am very black and white. I actually used the correct word for what this whole this is - FRAUD - with the customer and they didn稚 like it. I told them I was not risking my hard-won brokers license for them. I told the same to our executives, who agreed with me. When I learning the customer was under investigation by CBP, I did a happy dance right at my desk and laughed. Karma bites.

    I told them multiple times that Customs was going to watch out for importers suddenly changing their classifications to avoid the China duties. They were greedy and could only see the short term savings.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Teacher Terry's Avatar
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    That’s funny Tradd. I can’t believe the other broker was willing to commit fraud.

  3. #3
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Tradd, it is satisfying when you have to fight to hold the line on accuracy and get confirmation on your decision. Good!
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

  4. #4
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Good for you, Tradd. When you just do the right thing, you can always sleep at night. Your customer tried to cheat and now he's living a customs nightmare. The other broker obliged the fraud, and now they are in deep crap. That's life.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

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    Have you ever thought of working for the customs agency as an investigator?

  6. #6
    Senior Member Tradd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yppej View Post
    Have you ever thought of working for the customs agency as an investigator?
    No, because I’d have to give up my brokers license (can’t be a fed employee) and I’d never do it. Plus, that sort of thing is done mostly by uniformed officers.

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    I retired from the IRS and the stories we had about crooked practitioners who would do whatever the client wanted were endless. And also endless were the recriminations when the scheme was found out. Dont ever do anything you would be embarrassed seeing on the front page of the newspaper. And as this company found out, consider the costs of litigation. It is amazing what people will do for pathetic sums of money.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by sweetana3 View Post
    I. Dont ever do anything you would be embarrassed seeing on the front page of the newspaper..
    I like this adage, good advice.

    It must be so satisfying, Tradd, that you were vindicated in the eyes of the bosses. Hope they learn from this. You worked darned hard for that brokerage license and they should respect that.

  9. #9
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    Character may be unfashionable, but it's never wrong. Good for you.

  10. #10
    Senior Member beckyliz's Avatar
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    Way to go, Tradd. It is VERY satisfying. Thanks for sharing.
    "Do not accumulate for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal. But accumulate for yourselves treasure in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, your heart is also." Jesus

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