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Doirlinn 11-14-03 04:06 AM

sending a bike from Germany to US
 
Hello,

I'm moving from Germany to the US and want to bring my bike with me. For complicated reasons I can't simply bring it as extra baggage on the flight, so I'm looking at sending it to the States. I think I can do this through the regular post, but does anyone have experience with doing this?

I'm wondering specifically about unexpected costs people have run into, how to avoid paying customs fees on it (bike was originally purchased in the States, but has been mostly rebuilt over the years, with no reciepts of course). Does the standard "GIFT" written in large letters on the customs form take care of that sort of thing?

I've searched the archives a bit, but no luck yet.

Thanks for any help,

Doirlinn

DieselDan 11-14-03 08:20 AM

DHL does have courier service in the USA a la UPS.

Doirlinn 11-14-03 08:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DieselDan
DHL does have courier service in the USA a la UPS.

Yep, also true (although I haven't been able to get a reply from DHL yet for an estimate of shipping costs). Deutsche Post was easy so far - make sure the bike is already boxed and that it weighs less than 20 kg and you're good to go. But I haven't been able to figure anything about making sure customs doesn't give me a hard time and making me pay more than the shipping cost in duty fees.

Doirlinn

Dave Stohler 11-15-03 10:18 AM

If you aren't up on proper boxing techniques, take it to your local bike shop for packaging.

Doirlinn 11-16-03 05:11 AM

Thanks - I'll do that.

danr 11-16-03 10:28 PM

Where are you moving to in the US? Your first time here or just returning? Either way, welcome.

Doirlinn 11-17-03 01:24 AM

avoiding customs fees
 
I'm just moving back home to WI after being here for most of the last year and a half. Thanks for the welcome - it'll feel good to be home!

Anyone have ideas about avoiding those possible pesky customs fees with the shipping?

Avalanche325 11-17-03 05:02 PM

If the bike is obviously used, it should not be a problem. I moved to New Zealand and back without any problem. New Zealand just asked me how I cleaned it before releasing it (mountain bike). I did ship it with the rest of my household effects though.

Doirlinn 11-18-03 02:17 AM

That's good to hear - I hope the US is as good about it!

Doirlinn 11-18-03 05:16 PM

Just an update... I've determined it's virtually impossible. If you're flying and have a way to get the bike to the airport with you it's no trouble. But it's too big to send through the post, and UPS and FedEX are both about 200 euro (my bike at this stage isn't worth that, sad to say)

nathank 11-19-03 04:28 PM

as to the customs: should be no problem. it's a used bike so shouldn't have to pay, plus, you're an American (i'm assuming) and either you took the bike with you to Germany or you can say you did...

i thnk the best option is flying it with you if at all possible --- most airlines now charge $35 to $75 (a few count it as your 2nd luggage) for a bike... even if you already have 2 pieces of luggage i think the easiest way might be to pay excess baggage and fly with it...

otherwise, i don't have any personal experience... get a friend to fly back with it? but if you disassemble the bike (remove fork, pedals, wheels) and get it down to not be "oversized" then i think it shouldn't cost too much to get shipped by normal post.

sorry i don't have any more info - i bet there is a cheap way --- possibly some freight shipper provides a service by boat --- that's the cheap way to send stuff (takes 4-8 weeks) but you normally ship a pallete or more (i shipped 2 palletes when i move to Germany and paying for full shippment was cheaper than my self-move from the us west to east coast!)

also check if the post has "slow" shipment which means via ship. not sure, but pretty sure should be well under $100...

livewombat 11-22-03 07:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Doirlinn
Hello,

I'm moving from Germany to the US and want to bring my bike with me. ...does anyone have experience with doing this?

I'm wondering specifically about unexpected costs people have run into, how to avoid paying customs fees on it (bike was originally purchased in the States, but has been mostly rebuilt over the years, with no reciepts of course).

I've traveled from Austria to the US with a US bike (returning from a bike trip) and have (on another occasion) shipped three German velomobiles to Minneapolis, but there wasn't much overlap with your situation. You'll need some sort of statement of where you got the bike and what it is worth. I wonder if having evidence that you have used it for a long time would entitle you to an exemption from the presumption that you have to pay duty at a new-bike rate. You can find out about US Customs fees in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (http://www.usitc.gov/taffairs.htm). The specific relevant section is: SECTION XVII: VEHICLES, AIRCRAFT, VESSELS AND ASSOCIATED TRANSPORT EQUIPMENT Clicking on Chapter 87, for vehicles, you come to the bicycles section, on page 15 of this chapter, headed 8712.00, "bicycles and other cycles (including delivery tricycles) not motorized"). There are a whole lot of rates quoted for various kinds of bicycles with different diameters and widths of wheels. The basic idea is that skinny-tire bikes go for 5.5% and recreational wide-tire bikes go for 11%.

Presumably, you will have to provide some evidence that the bike is yours and where you got it. Did you ever license it in the US? Do you have old photos?

If you added stuff to it in Germany, do you have receipts for the parts?

I would fill out the customs declaration with a statement that the bike was bought in the US and is being returned, would declare the value of any significant parts that added value to the bike and that aren't fully depreciated (i.e. worn out), and just send it. Plan to pick it up in person somewhere (post office, UPS or FedEx office) and to have no chance to appeal whatever amount of duty was charged.

Good luck,

Mary


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