Ebay question re: customs and item value

I just sold an item on Ebay for about $175. The buyer, who’s in Canada, has asked me if I can put on the box that it’s a gift with a value of $45 in order to save him hassle with customs.

What are the implications of this? I don’t mind helping the guy out but I’m not keen on doing anything illegal (especially if it has any chance of coming back and biting me on the butt later on). Since it’s a used item I guess I’m free to put any value I want (I mean, the thing’s actually worth more than I’m selling it for, but that’s Ebay for you) but I’m sort of afraid that if it gets lost in the mail or something that might cause trouble in trying to recover costs. I’m also worried that since I plan to put the correct value on the FedEx airbill, some eagle-eyed customs agent might spot the discrepancy.

I guess I’ve pretty much got myself talked into putting the real value on the package, but I wanted to get the details first. What will this mean for the buyer, as far as what he’ll have to pay and what inconvenience he’ll have to go through?


It’s very much against the law. If somehow the customs folks find out about it (on their end) your buyer faces prosecution, confiscation and/or punitive fines on top of the value of their item, depending on the laws in their country. Packages are sometimes opened randomly, and customs inspectors are pretty well informed about values.

The other customs then files a complaint against you with US customs. I don’t know what the penalties are, and I really don’t want to learn.

I’m not a customs inspector or a lawyer who deals with international commerce, just a collector who often buys or sells UK antiques.

Yeah, that’s kinda what I figured. I think the guy’s just going to have to pay up, 'cause I’m not going to risk getting myself in trouble for an Ebay buyer I don’t even know. Thanks.

I am in Canada, a daily importer and exporter for 23 years, and buy and sell on Ebay. The previous response is over the top - to put it lightly. The importer suffers the consequences of a false value - not you - esp in a trivial monetary transaction. Having said that, I dislike cheap people and people who try to stick handle others into doing something unappetizing for no good reason at all. Duties today have been reduced to nearly zero and if the item is truly used, the value is slight anyway.

I’ve bought and sold internationally on eBay. Prima facie, the value of the item is what it was sold for on eBay, not includinmg shipping. That’s the value I’d put on a customs form, and that what I’d expect a person sending stuff to me to writye down, too.

Is the value to customs the actual EBAY selling value, or the usual value for such an item. Sometimes items sell on EBAY for more or less than there regular value. Could you get into trouble with customs if an item you bought for $100.00 was marked as $100.00 value on customs forms, but usually sells for $200.00?