Forum home Archived Best buys

Importing a Dress from USA


I have fallen in love with a dress, but in the UK it is approx £1200.00 UK Sterling, and in the USA it is approx $700USD.

You can order the dress, and they do ship overseas, however they mention that there could be a customs charge, not charged by them, but by the import laws.

Would anyone know how much approx. this would be, and whether anyone else has bought their dress from overseas?

Many thanks, Kind Regards, Karen


  • emma_avfcemma_avfc Posts: 192
    Look on the Customs website - they list all classes for charging on there.

    We have just paid a lot to import some bike parts from america.
  • superfursuperfur Posts: 11
    Hi karen I have ordered my maggie sottero dress off an American website. Like you the dress cost 750 pounds in UK shop and 359 pounds in America including shipping. I also forgot about tax duty etc and contacted Customs and excise via e mail and looked on website. I found them very unhelpful. I think though you have to pay tax and duty on arrival which comes to about just under 30% of price of dress. I think it should still work out cheaper than buying in UK. My dress is due to arrive mid August so I will let you know what happens!! If it works out well i am also going to buy bridesmaids dresses from there!! Good Luck xx
  • ksteelukksteeluk Posts: 2
    Thank you very much. It does appear that you pay the standard 17.5% VAT charge, and then the customs duties. I am struggling to find a suitable code to class the dress against, which then gives you the relevant amount of duties you pay. The customs website is very confusing to say the least !

    However I have asked the dress company if they know of the relevant code, to at least give me an idea, but have decided to bite the bullett and order the dress either way.

    Kind Regards, Karen
  • cheryl1976cheryl1976 Posts: 411
    Hi Superfur, i went dress shopping last week and loved 2 dresses, 1 of which was a Maggie Sottero.. i'm going next week to try both dresses on and if i decide on the Maggie i'd definately be interested in getting it from America with the savings you made.. which company have you gone through? Thanks, Cheryl xx
  • superfursuperfur Posts: 11
    Hi cheryl I have ordered my dress from I tried the dress on in the shop and my mum measured me at home and then I ordered it off the internet. I love maggie sottero dresses!!!Let me me how it goes....
  • lisa573lisa573 Posts: 63
    one of my friends had a $250 bridesmaid dress sent over here and she paid £60 in tax but you'll probably still save money!
  • ClaireyukClaireyuk Posts: 14
    Hello, I read in a post on here ages ago that someone ordered a dress from America and the person who sent it to her wrote on the label that goes on the package that it was fabric samples. Apparently, because of this they didn't have to pay the customs charge. I'm really not too sure exactly what the wording was but it might be worth looking at how much you'd have to pay if it were just fabric samples, it might be a bit cheaper.
  • Hi

    I'm planning on ordering my dress and bridesmaids dresses from an American website. I have contacted them about this and the company have agreed to mark the packages as "gifts" to avoid paying tax. I've done this with perfume and it's worked! The fabric samples idea is a good one though!
  • melaniebukmelaniebuk Posts: 98

    hi, I was discussing this with someone the other day. You have to bear in mind that customs and excise make random checks on the contents and will obviously charge you if they realise the contents are not a 'gift'.

    Ialso just found this info on the customs & excise website and I really think I'd rather expect to pay the import dutues than get caught out

    - Note: Some unscrupulous overseas suppliers openly advertise on the internet, or on their web-sites that they will deliberately either misdescribe items or underdeclare their value in order to evade customs charges that are legally due on importation. You should be aware that although the foreign sender may have completed the customs declaration form on the parcel you are regarded (in law) as the importer of the goods and responsible for the information on the declaration, and any customs charges that may be due. This means that if you purchase goods from these suppliers and the declaration is found to be false or misleading you may be liable to financial penalties or criminal prosecution. Furthermore the goods themselves will be liable to forfeiture. It is in your own interests to ensure Customs declarations are completed properly
  • surely you could ask the dress supplier to add a note in to the words of hope this comes in handy, blah blah blah from an aunt or something and then ask them to send the invoice under a separate cover? If this was done surely you wouldnt pay the customs charge
  • Hi all!

    I have the same dilema! Have fallen in love with a Pronovias dress which is a tad short of £1000 over here. Wish I'd never looked on the internet but did and found it on an American site on E-bay, bids starting at about £350!!! I just think it's perhaps too good to be true and don't want to end up like one of those people you see on the TV crying wishing they'd just ordered from a shop like everyone else! I just don't understand how they're so cheap. Does anyone know how they do it?

    Fifi xx
  • Hi All,

    I have recently ordered a Mori Lee wedding dress and 3 mori lee bridesaid dresses from America ( For all 4 dresses and a few extras inc. delivery, it's about £500.

    I emailed Customs and i was advised that i will probably have to pay 17.5% (vat), 14% for some other tax and they also might charge 12% for simply shipping clothes over from USA. It is such a rip off really, i've worked out that it will probably be £250ish. It will still work out cheaper.

    My friend ordered a few bridesmaid dresses lat year and spent a few that she didnt have to pay taxes, she had the company put down that the value was only $50. However, this then meant that had anything happened in transit, she would have only been insured for that amount. In my case, it's not worth taking the risk! I'd rather just pay the taxes.

    I also thought that even if you mark down that the package is a gift (i'm sure i read this on customs website), you can still be liable for tax! Might be worth looking into though!


  • Hi all,

    I have actually received my dresses now, they are all great and am so pleased with them!

    They ended up costing me £107 in taxes and customs....half what i was expecting but this means that i paid £620 for everythng and in UK just my gown would have cost £652!

    Kerry x
  • i imported my dress from america it cost me a little xtra than stated because of exchange rate and i got charged 20 pounds import tax on my 320 dress. hope that helpsimage
  • Kerry can you tell me the maggie soterro dress u bought where the sizes really different than here? I love the lillian and its nearly half the price on the internet but im worried about sizes and is it a genuine maggie sottero? thanks

  • To work out how much import duty will be due you have to convert the total paid for goods and shipping into sterling. For a dress add 12% this is the import duty. Add the import duty figure to the cost of the goods and shipping this then gives you the total that VAT is due on, so you have to then calculate 17.5% of the total. You have to pay charges on merchandise and gifts so no point getting a false declaration put on the parcel! Oh and to make it worse many carriers add handling fees for clearing goods through customs
Sign In or Register to comment.