Beware of Bid or Buy sellers in South Africa with competitive prices in Rands which exclude customs ...

Beware of Bid or Buy sellers in South Africa with competitive prices in Rands which exclude customs duties in the fine print

This is something I have recently come up against since my allocated quoted of 3 import consignments by SARS is exhausted (I ordered 4 $2 items from AliExpress in August) so I was driven to Bid or Buy to select something locally offered in Rands. In the past, most items are already in stock locally and they just courier it to you.

But now more than one seller is showing a price in big bold letters so that you select their item because it is cheaper than others, you see a local courier cost (in this case SA Direct Courier) and it shows 29 available.

They state "to keep our prices as competitive as possible all our items are shipped from our suppliers abroad, therefore, your packaging may be inspected at customs". Then in non-bold, it states "We cannot be held responsible for extra charges. Buyer responsible for Customs Charges".

Actually, this is anti-competitive because this is then implied to be a more expensive cost to the consumer, but a lower price is advertised. It may be stated in the fine print but I still think this was not the spirit that the SA Consumer Act intended. It's like saying we leave the VAT out of our price to make our product pricing appear more competitive but it will be borne by you later on.

Well, I also cannot provide my ID number for customs clearance as it will endanger my earlier imports still on the way. The seller has assured me I must ignore a request for my ID number.

Another item I bought does clearly state all costs are included and there is nothing in addition that I as the seller will pay - good for them as their advertised price was what I paid with shipping which I chose. How are they expected to compete fairly though with other sellers who just exclude the customs duty? Is that fair to the consumer or the reseller?

I've lodged a complaint with +bidorbuy so long to give comment on this practice and its fairness. At the least, there should be a warning right next to the price of the item stating "full cost not stated" or something like this. I'd have then excluded those items from my comparison. I'm not sure Bid or Buy should be allowing such a practice. Whether it contravenes the Consumer Act is still another issue.

But other buyers in South Africa may just want to watch out for this when comparing items.


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