The new deco variants of Scarlett and Roadblock showed up on the InDemandToys website a week ago. I had held off on buying them for a while from other shops, but when I noticed them there, I decided to snatch them up.
They are the first figures that have arrived from the UK where the taxes weren’t paid in the UK but should be paid upon delivery. And boy, did I have to pay. The value of the 2 figures was listed as 35 GBP (around €40). The import duties and VAT add up to €15. Which is reasonable I guess (until you look at the calculations), but the ‘administrative costs’ our local postage service charges of €24 is anything but that.
Like I mentioned before we should look at the calculations. They calculate the VAT not only on the product value and the shipping costs. Oh no, they also add in the import duties and the ridiculously high ‘administrative costs’. So you have a total value of €40 (products and shipping), then they add the import duties (around €2) and the €24 gives a total amount of €66 where you get charged the 21% VAT on (€13.86). So, the total of Import Duties and Taxes add up to €15.86. Add this up with the costs they charge, and you get almost €40 extra. Crazy, right? Forgive me if I sound bitter (I am) but when I hear people over in the US complain about having to drive to a few stores to buy these figures for less than €20, I can’t sympathize with your ‘struggles’. Yeesh, people, you don’t know how lucky you are. Just shut up.
At least the figures do look great! So there’s that.
That’s it for this update. I’ll be checking on my bank account a lot these days until the next paycheck comes in…
Last year, Funko released the G.I. Joe Beach Head figure as an NYCC Exclusive. At first, it looked like it would be very hard to find one over here in Europe. After searching for a while and debating with myself just how much money I was going to spend on him, I found one on eBay for a very reasonable price, $30 including shipping to Belgium. All the others I had come across were either cheap but with expensive shipping costs or they asked already more than $30 for just the figures. So, I didn’t doubt long and bought it. Paid with PayPal. Friendly contact with the seller. So far so good. And then started the waiting game.
I waited a long time, but suddenly I got contacted through Facebook Messenger by some guy from Norway. He sent me pictures of the Beach Head Funko pop, papers with my name and address on them, and accused me of trying to rip him off. I explained that I did buy the figure on eBay, that my data was correct, but that the tracking information I got from eBay was still showing my figure in transit. We soon discovered that we both ordered from the same seller, and that most likely the packages got mixed up. The confirmation for that arrived a few days later, when I received ‘my package’. It contained the Norwegian’s Star Wars figure.
I contacted the seller and he remained friendly and was quite upset with the mixup. He only had 2 international sales and it just happened to be these 2 that got messed up. He told me not to worry and just file for a return through eBay. There the trouble started. There was no way that I could initiate a return shipping other than sending it back on my own initiative and cost. The seller tried to get it initiated, but couldn’t make it happen as well. I then contacted the eBay Customer Support. I must say, they were quite helpful and quite timely to reply. They told me that because it was an international sale, no returns could be initiated from eBay itself and I would have to arrange it through PayPal. So, I launched an inquiry with PayPal. Meanwhile, the Norwegian guy and I had come to an agreement, we’d ship the packages between us, if the seller would pay for the fees. We never heard back from the seller on that offer. And after escalating with PayPal Support, we got our money back in full. We could start the exchange ourselves.
I tried to register the parcel with our Belgian Postal Service, but they were asking $44 to ship the package to Norway! I wasn’t going to pay that much for the Funko Pop figure, and so I looked at other shipping providers. DHL, DPD, several others, they all charged more than that. It was insane. Since we don’t live that far from the border with The Netherlands, I thought to look with their PostNL. They offered the shipping for just $23. So I risked it – technically all non-essential travel outside of Belgium is still discouraged – and drove to the nearest Dutch post office. I filled in a few forms, paid the fee and the package was on it’s way to Norway. Due to the pandemic, shipping times are longer, but just a few days later, I received my Funko Pop figure and another few days and the Star Wars figure landed in Norway. Happy Ending 🙂
Let me end this post with some pictures of the Beach Head Funko Pop figure. I won’t go into another Belgian Post rant. Believe me, I want to, but I’m not going to. Enjoy the pictures.
Some of you that have been following the blog may remember these from a while back, but I’ve actually bought a second set op Knockaround G.I.Joe sunglasses.
And here they are! Can you spot the difference between these and the ones from 2018?
Now, the glasses themselves are the same, but the baggie they come with is new, this time around, featuring Snake-Eyes on the one side and Storm Shadow on the other.
The bags feature the original card art of the figures, and I must say, it looks good.
Now, it wouldn’t be a post about some exclusive Joe related item from the US without some issues with the postal services. This time though, I can’t really blame them. I bought the glasses with a discount code from Knockaround, so instead of paying $30 for them, I only had to pay $24. This is important, because our postal services don’t charge extra fees and duties on packages that have a total value (item + shipping costs) lower than €22 and it so happens that $24 was €21.16. So I thought I was good. I waited quite a while (with Covid and all, that was to be expected), and after about 2 months, I get a mailman ringing and asking for €35.80 ($40.60) to release the package. I was somewhat pissed and wanted to refuse the package, but then I would probably never have that bad-ass baggie, so I paid. I immediately launched in inquiry, both with the post office and Knockaround. As it turned out, Knockaround had put the original value of $30 on the custom papers, so the post office went with that. You could argue that they’re not to blame then. Well sort of, because they claim that part of the fee they ask to get the package through customs is that they open the packages and inspect the products. My package wasn’t opened and inside there was the invoice clearly stating the correct amount of $24. Long story short, Knockaround apologized for the mistake and gave me a refund on the glasses (massive Kudos to the Customer Service team!) and the postal services are asking for €85 administrative fees to correct the customs amount (so not their fees!). This would mean I’d have to pay another €85 to get €13.80 back from the customs amount. Talk about Kafka to the extreme.
It looks like the next few days will be sunny, so I’ll be taking out my sunglasses and enjoying some of the vitamin D.
A while back I found out that the boys from G.I. Joburg have created a Christmas sweater in G.I.Joe/Cobra theme. As a collector of not only the toys and comics, but also everything remotely connected to Joe, I had to check it out.
It took some time to get my order in. I still don’t really know what was going wrong, but a (very) long story short, with the help of Paul and the people over at Teespring, I was able to place an order. Then the waiting could begin… After all the delay, I didn’t expect to get the sweater in time for this Christmas. It arrived here just after New Year, so I guess I can still wear it, no?
What would an internationally bought item post be without a good rant about the Belgian Postal Services? Not one of me. That’s right. So here we go (again – sorry for the people who have heard this before… over and over again). I was at work when the postman came by, so he put a notice in the mailbox stating that I could go and pick up my package in a Post Office nearby. And I should bring $40 if I wanted to take it home with me. Now, I’ve said this before, I don’t mind paying taxes, it’s the way capitalism works after all, but they charge me $25 for the ‘service’ of getting the package cleared through customs. I’m not saying they don’t do something, but they can’t tell me exactly what they do. They just say they perform ‘formalities’. I pay the bill they shove down my throat without having another option whatsoever. A little bit of explanation as to what I’m paying for would be welcome.
Well, enough about that. I’m sure that you’ve heard it all before or maybe even had the unpleasant experience yourself. Feel free to read back some of the previous blog posts, I’m sure you’ll come across a rant about shipping costs sooner or later. Seriously though, shipping is killing the international market for collectors, especially when prices are also going up. Another example for you, I’ve been looking into getting the IDW Michael Golden’s G.I. Joe Yearbook: Artist’s Edition Portfolio Variant. I’ve found it on the official IDW webpage for $40, which is okay I guess, but the shipping would be a whopping $113.79. That would make a total of over $150 and then again I’d have to pay $25 formalities and another $44 on taxes. Insane if you ask me.
As I’m writing this, news has leaked about the upcoming 6″ line. I’m hopeful we’ll be getting something over here in Europe as well. I’m not completely sold on the scale, I guess growing up with up with the 3.75″ figures, they’d always be my first choice. I’m not saying I wouldn’t buy any in 6″. I just want to see it first before I start burning through my wallet (again).
That’s it for now. Check out the G.I.Joburg shop on Teespring for more great designs and I’ll see you next time when we will be getting back on track with the Impel Trading Cards (we’re at #87).
A short post today, to show off my new Knockaround glasses.
I ordered them from the Knockaround website earlier this month after having seen them around the interwebs a lot, mostly on Instagram. They arrived quite fast, from the US of A. Naturally our Belgian Postal Services ripped me off and I ended up paying more in taxes and their ‘processing’ fee than I paid for the glasses. Each year, they increase the amount of that fee. First it was $10,then $14, last year it was up to $18 and now I had to pay $25 on top of the import duties. Those duties are actually fair and correct, but the fee they charge is complete bogus and they can never explain what this fee covers. I swear, it looks like Extensive Enterprises is controlling that company and their trying to fund professor Apple’s plan.
Enough nagging (I can hear you think it. How scary is that ? But you have to admit that I’m right!)
The glasses themselves are simply amazing. The orange tinted glass pieces are polarized, so they work like a charm in bright sunlight and whilst driving. The plastic box they are shipped in, looks the part. Showing off both the Joe and Knockaround logo. The glasses come with a rather nice looking pouch, depicting Duke on one side and big old CC on the other.
The green camouflage goes perfect with the orange and the red, white and blue stripes on the arms are a nice homage to the original G.I.Joe logo. Check it out for yourself and order your own pair. You won’t regret it!
This post is not sponsored by Knockaround. I bought the glasses myself as a collector of all things Joe related and cool person ?
Until next time.
Happy Collecting and YoJoe!