International package delivery charge

I sent a small parcel to a postcrosser’s children for Christmas from the US to The Netherlands. For a week, the postal tracker has listed the location as available for pick-up so I emailed the postcrosser who told me she must pay 32 euros to get the package. I have never heard of such a charge. Is that legit/common in other countries?

I assume you added a customs form listing all the items as gifts and marking their value at a dollar or 2 each…otherwise they have to pay taxes


Agreed - how much did you pay for the contents in U S dollars?

Yes, the customs form was taped on the front by the postal worker. The contents were about $20 USD.

About $20 USD

There could be several reasons, including that customs believes the items are worth more than the declared amount, or the recipient frequently receives goods from outside the EU and is no longer eligible for further exemptions, or yet other reasons. Only way to know is speak with the post office. But to answer your question, yes this is common anytime you’re sending anything other than letters or documents.


Thanks. Live and learn.


Sadly in some countries corrupt customs officials extort bribes as “customs fees” or whatever if you expect to see the package again. It has happened to parcels to my family. But I don’t think this happens in the Netherlands.

We send our relatives parcels to the Netherlands often, and once were a bit careless to report more than 45 euro total values of content. Even though all of it marked as gifts, they had to pay some money to retrieve the parcel :see_no_evil:

Edit: Here’s the link: What to be aware of when receiving parcels from private individuals abroad from 45 to 700 euro one has to pay 2.5% of value of goods plus VAT tax (same link as @Izzy2018 found :hugs:)

I have been suspecting that there is something strange going on with US - Europe postal because the amount of times I have been forced to deal with customs with packets arriving from US (even with completely correct custom labels and the value under accepted amount) is surprisingly high. Could be just my bad luck though.

32 euros is quite high fee. But this sounds like the type of case you can’t really do anything to. It is up to the receiver to decide if they want to take it further, I am afraid.

I was recently checking the custom rules for sending to Canada and their custom page mentioned that the packet has to also include a personal letter or card that indicates that the packet really is a gift. I found that interesting since the customs wouldn’t be aware of any letters in the packet unless they open it, but it might be a good idea to add that just in case. Maybe it can serve as an extra proof in case you have to argue over the fees.

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This is the rule for European countries. It is necessary to indicate that this is a free gift between two individuals and write the value of the content, less than 45 euros. Usually we asked that they write it to us in Italian, since we are in Italy and the cost is 5 euros. I’m really sorry