E-commerce from a trader outside of EU

Updated: 11/27/2015

When you order a product from a country outside the EU, other regulation applies, for example you have to pay customs duty and other fees. The rate varies depending on the goods you order and the country you order it from.

Image of a finger pointing at a shopping cart.

Did you purchase from the US? Find more information in the article “E-commerce with a company in the US”, via the link on the right side of this page.

When you purchase from an online trader outside the EU, the EU legislation on consumer protection does not apply. For example, it is not certain that you can cancel your order. It is therefore important to find out more about the company's policies. Try to get information about complaints and trader's liability when they handle defective goods. The amount of time a trader is responsible for if a product is defective may vary between countries. It may also be wise to find out if a warranty is included and also if it applies in Sweden. Then you can turn to a Swedish retailer of the product.

Customs duty

The rate is usually a percentage of the price including shipping and insurance costs. If there is a free trade agreement (FTA) or similar between the EU and the country that you order goods from, customs duty can be reduced or removed. To get such benefits, you must submit a separate document, often a certificate of origin from the other country.

If you want more information on which duty applies for the item you ordered, you can call the Customs Administration, CallCustoms, on telephone number 0771-520 520. You can also

find the link to the Swedish Customs' website to the right on this page.

VAT

When the package arrives in Sweden, the shipping company (e.g. the Swedish postal service Posten or a courier) will complete a customs and VAT declaration for you and charge you for it including an administration fee. VAT for most goods is 25% but for food it is 12% and 6% for newspapers, magazines and books.

Do you have any questions regarding the Swedish postal service fees, contact Posten. Find the link to the right on this page.

You can also read more in Swedish Customs' brochure “Online Shopping” developed in collaboration with the European Consumer Centre Sweden and Posten. You can find the link to the brochure to the right.

Swedish Customs' brochure "Fee Guide" will help you figure out what it will cost in total to import certain goods. Find the link to the right on this page.

How to proceed if you are having problems when you are shopping online outside of the EU.

There are consumer organizations and other organizations, agencies or associations that provide information about consumer rights. Note that the European Consumer Centre Sweden is unable to help you if you have a dispute with a company that has its registered office outside the EU.

On econsumer.gov, see link to the right of this page, you can file a claim against companies in other countries so that consumer authorities in each country can intervene and prevent other consumers from experiencing the same thing. They also give information and advice on e-commerce from regulators in 28 countries.

Many consumer organizations worldwide are a member of Consumers International. On their website you can read more regarding basic consumer rights and find consumer organizations. Find link to their website to the right on this page.