Could use some advice on buying from overseas/customs etc.

Darth Vater

Senior Member

Vintage Old School

Gold Member
I've had no issues ordering items from overseas (drums, microphones, etc). Smaller items purchased from UK have typically been shipped via Royal Mail, larger items have been shipped FedEx International Priority and would be delivered stateside via FedEx Express. FedEx pays the customs and then typically bills me within 10 days for what I owe them on customs.

Old Dog new Cans

Senior Member
If there is something required as far as customs, the seller should be responsible--OR should contact you with instructions. Otherwise, it should ship right to your door.


Staff member
Rules on 2nd hand goods vary from country to country. A private sale is still typically classed as a commercial goods import, unless it's a "gift" of nominal value. Most used goods attract a flat rate of around 3% on US import, but state sales taxes can still apply depending on which state you're in. You'll need to check this out locally.

To help you, the international commodity code for drums is 92060000. You will need to declare the purchase price (value) and include shipping costs in that value. Don't be tempted to enter a false value - they often check / compare, and a false declaration will get you in a world of pain.

Any shipping method that uses UPS for the land transport to your address will mean the goods are held at customs until any duty is paid. This can add a week or two to your shipment. Services that use FedEx, DHL, etc, will deliver directly to you without delay, & invoice you for duties later. You may need to provide your tax ID to the shipper. US customs are getting hot on this aspect recently.

Most important - your shipment will need to be packaged such that it can withstand a fall of at least 6ft on to a hard surface. A drum in a cardboard box with a few layers of bubble wrap won't cut it, & nor will it be likely to pass any claim for damage. The bigger the drum, the bigger the risk. Using postal services that ship by sea increases risk as there's many more sorting / handling steps involved. Air is better, but of course, more expensive. I would never ship by sea, & I package drums to bomb proof standard.

Hope this helps.


Platinum Member
All good info/tips.

Seller is in Spain. I wonder if it's the same rules as UK in that it's all EU now isn't it?
Well, for the moment, yes...

You want to do the transaction through Ebay, or Paypal, or Reverb, because they have some protections in place for the buyer. If the shipping gets "lost" in transit, you should be able to file a claim and be refunded. Sometimes a shipping company with take a picture of an item when it's delivered to your doorstep. Maybe you can request this from whomever is doing the shipping.

Ebay is the most expensive with their fees. Paypal and Reverb are better, though they charge a bit more for overseas transactions than domestic.

Darth Vater

Senior Member
Hmmm, seems seller is using state owned Spanish Correos Economico postal service for shipment. Would that in turn involve our postal service on this end? My concern with this is the package sitting somewhere until import duties are paid as opposed to DHL or FedEx covering them up front, expediting the shipment and then, if necessary, billing me on the back end. Am I overthinking this?

Update: I think I'm going to pass on this drum unless they're willing to ship DHL. Read these reviews for Correos !! ugh, doesn't exactly inspire confidence.
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