Return PolishForums LIVE   /   Archives [3]
  PolishForums Archive :
Archives - 2010-2019 / Law  % width 12

WARNING - To Individuals setting up companies in Poland to trade outside of EU.

1 Oct 2013 /  #1

I am British and own a Polish Registered company with my Polish Wife. We have recently gone "legit" and registered the business properly in Poland and now "all" transactions are being put through our shiney new cash resgister. (Kasa Fiskalny)

We have an online shop that sells consumer products all over the world, the problem we have faced recently is receiving customer returns from outside the EU. Polish customs are stopping every single package that is sent back and I mean every single one! regardless of it being marked "Returned Goods" they simply stop it and send a 2 page document which demands copy of original sales invoice (proving we originally sold the item) and proof of postage. This isnt the problem, the problem is they also ask for an SAD document to be completed and sent in, this is a 30 page document.

The problem is in Poland there is no difference between one brush being sent in and a container of brushes its the same paperwork for customs clearance. I spoke with customs and explained that we couldnt fill out the SAD document it was quite simply too complicated, my wife is a highly educated person and she even said that are phrases and codes used within the documentation that can not be understood at all. The Customs officer I spoke with on the telephone basically confirmed that the SAD is not designed for individuals to complete it is too complex and we would not be able to do it ourself we would have to go to a customs clearance agency, give them the SAD document and our paperowork for our packages and they would obtain the items on our behalf.

Now here is the kicker... The customs clearance agency want 150PLN to go to Warsaw, 100PLN for completing the documentation plus we would still be liable for additional VAT and handling charges which could amount to over 500PLN.

So we sold a designer brush for £50, we bought it for £25 we make £25 profit. The customer returns the brush we refund the customer £50. We then have to pay £150 to get our brush out of customs!?! I dont want to state the obvious here but this is not the recipe for a profitable company.

Based on the above we have deemed it absolutely impossible for a company to sell goods from Poland to consumers outside the EU that may require returning or exchanging because the money you have to pay to retrieve your goods from the Polish Gestapo far outweighs any profit you would make on the item.

There is no speaking to the Polish officials, they are not interested. I have begged for our items back they are currently holding onto 4 of my packages, two of which have been returned to the United States once already and our poor customers have paid to return them again for the second time only for them to be stopped again. Not only can we kiss goodbye to the clients ever ordering from us again we can also kiss goodbye to our profit on all 4 items as we will have to cover the return postage (To the UK) on them this time around.

Its an impossible situation and no one is willing to help us or listen to the problem, their is no ombudsmen or governing body you can speak to like you would have in the UK (Which I now call Normal Land). There is no recourse at all, its incrediably primative the customs officer for Poczta Polska just says sorry you must provide ALL paperwork for each parcel including the 30 page SAD document which should be submitted by a customs clearance agency. Failure to do this in 20 days and your parcels will be returned to your customers.

We have now resorted to using a mail forwarding address in the UK (normal land) where our customers RETURNED GOODS are treated as such by the normal people there and delivered to our address there, once a month we then have to pay £20 to have the whole lot couriered back over here.

The situation is sickening and worsened by the fact that the customer service here is non existant, a shocking situation that prevents small companies from trading with consumers outside of the european union. Anyone thinking about having a business of this nature here in Poland be warned, Polish customs will try to extort payment from you to receive your returned goods and there is no way out of it.
1 Oct 2013 /  #2
My question - are you exporting these goods from the EU properly?

It seems to me that you aren't exporting them properly for Customs purposes, hence why they want the SAD on import.
1 Oct 2013 /  #3
We have now resorted to using a mail forwarding address in the UK (normal land)

Very interesting tale, genuinely feel for you that you had all that hassle, but sounds like you've found a solution now and

So we sold a designer brush for £50

obviously, I really hope you do well and really clean up ;o)
1 Oct 2013 /  #4
There is no speaking to the Polish officials, they are not interested.

Polish customs offices are one of the last remnants of the old system in Poland. I remember explaining to one of them that the Sky TV digibox that was sent to me and for which he wanted £300 in 'taxes' before he'd release had only cost me £50 on ebay because it was used and even if he did want to tax it, he was using the incorrect rate: the machine was made in the UK and so he shouldn't be taxing it at Japanese product rate. He replied that just because a machine had gone out of production five years previously didn't mean it was used and as I had no expert opinion confirming it was used he would tax it as new and that my paypal paperwork showing what I'd paid wasn't stamped by the bank so he couldn't accept it as proof of payment and that while the machine did have a sign on it saying "Made in the UK", Panasonic was a Japanese company and I had no expert opinion confirming the unit was indeed made in the UK. He looked most surprised when I told him to just send the thing back because I'd just bring it with me in my suitcase from the UK instead (as that would be tax free).

once a month we then have to pay £20 to have the whole lot couriered back over here.

And there's your work around solution. Sounds good to me. Have you considered adding to it? Perhaps let all the Brits you know in your area that you can have monthly deliveries of cheese, bacon, etc?
1 Oct 2013 /  #5
I've done some more reading, and while I don't know the Polish system well, I'd be surprised if it was drastically different.

It seems to me that you're being asked for the SAD document because you haven't informed Customs about the goods being exported in the first place. Are you just posting the items without making any declaration and charging 23% VAT?
1 Oct 2013 /  #6
deliveries of cheese, bacon, etc?

Good idea. Although some Tesco branches are still doing CC mature cheddar (albeit not so cheaply, any more).
OP britinkielce  
1 Oct 2013 /  #7
We are exporting them using UPS with all the correct paperwork, the recipients are outside of the EU and so VAT is zero rated not 23% having said that if I hadn't of fought my corner against my imbecile Polish accountant I would be charging 23% to everyone globally because in her words "no one at Kielce tax office know anything about this Zero rated VAT thing so you will just have to charge it and repay it" lol emmm how about no? Sorted that now though finally.

I have lived in Kielce for a couple of years and on the whole I love living here, I didn't realize there was a market for bringing over British cheese, bacon etc.. I haven't met a single English person anywhere in Kielce in 2 years!

Yes we have a work around but it's a hassle compared to the UK, which accept a returned good for what it is. Right now Customs have £800 worth of specialist footwear in 4 parcels and they simply won't let us have them back. They include cover notes from the customers saying "the zip broke" and "it's the wrong size" I have sent them our postage documentation our sales invoice everything but they still want us to employ clearance agents they refuse to work with us at all..
1 Oct 2013 /  #8
Have you tried asking them for the legal basis for them refusing to deal with anybody other than a clearance agent?
1 Oct 2013 /  #9
We are exporting them using UPS with all the correct paperwork

I'm wondering if there's not something missing here, to be honest.

What I'd do is go to a couple of clearance agents (or call them) and ask them about the procedure in this case. Something just seems wrong - you shouldn't need to complete the SAD for something like this if the export documentation was done properly. Don't take the first person's word for it - try a few until you get a clear answer.

It seems to me that you should be supplying proof of the export (via the Urzad Celny computer system, whatever it's called here) when you re-import the goods - VAT and duty was already paid at some point, so it's illogical for them to be charged twice. Do you have access to the computer systems that they use? You should certainly have access to "CELINA" - if you don't, then it makes me think that something isn't being done correctly. UPS will provide the notice that the goods have been exported, but I think you should also be declaring the export.
2 Oct 2013 /  #10
You will go bankrupt in the time that you wait for a correct response from the customs office - happens to all businesses so don't take it personally. Polish ports are losing a lot of business to Hamburg, Rotterdam and even Constanta due to the erratic and intransigent behaviour of the urząd celny.

I think there are instances where they can force you to use an agent (but thats only what I have been told and I took it in good faith) .

Your work around is probably better - get it sent to the UK, find some way to get it to Poland as cheap as possible.
8 Jun 2014 /  #11
I would think delphiandomine is right, this guy is not filling proper custom's paper work at his end.
Oh, well ! you pay and learn the hard way.
Simple advise pay extra money to custom broker to file all paper work on your behalf and in the mean time you as a exporter concentrate more on generating more sales! and acquire more training in export/import . That would be my advise to you.

however, I do I agree with this guy on one thing customer service in Poland is non existent !!!! and in my opinion in business world friendly business customers service is a must to me.

Good luck.
8 Jun 2014 /  #12
This thread is important. Thank you for the information and advise.

Archives - 2010-2019 / Law / WARNING - To Individuals setting up companies in Poland to trade outside of EU.Archived