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I bought an electronic device for about £200 (GBP) from a UK online store to a nearby country where I live. When the package finally arrived, a few weeks later, it stated "£20" for the value for the customs/anyone to see.

Is it common practice to slash 10x off of the price for the customs to not add various fees? Isn't that illegal?

I will not start any problems for the store and certainly have no interest in paying any extra fees myself. Just asking out of curiosity.

Of course, they can claim it was a mistake if ever found out, but if they do it consistently, that seems difficult... Not to mention there must be electronic proof of how much each order actually cost the customer?

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  • "Is it common practice to slash 10x off of the price for the customs to not add various fees?" Yes (or at least it's not uncommon). "Isn't that illegal?" Yes.
    – Ryan M
    May 27 at 4:31
  • In this case the store is doing you a favour, as you would be the one paying the import duty if they put the true value on the declaration. No skin off their nose.
    – Moo
    May 27 at 6:09
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Are online stores supposed to state the true “order cost”/value of an order on the package/envelope for the customs?

Yes

Is it common practice to slash 10x off of the price for the customs to not add various fees?

Common? Probably no. Uncommon? Also, probably no.

Isn't that illegal?

Yes

Of course, they can claim it was a mistake if ever found out, but if they do it consistently, that seems difficult... Not to mention there must be electronic proof of how much each order actually cost the customer?

Yes

Look, robbing banks is illegal but people still rob banks. Similarly, ripping off HM Revenue & Customs is illegal but people still do that too. In fact, far more people do that than rob banks.

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