As I’ve said before, one of the things with collecting what are essentially players grade guitars is the need to often replace non-original parts with the correct vintage versions. And this often requires purchasing said parts from the USA and importing them to blighty. This is normally a straightforward affair, until what’s recently happened to me happens – HM Revenue and Customs effectively steal them off you, don’t reply to your emails, fob you off on the phone and will not help you receive your paid for property.
The story goes that I’d bought some parts from the USA – an early 60s ES scratchplate and a mega-rare black varitone ring for a ’59 ES-345 (with original Dakaware chicken knob). They cost over £300, but parts aren’t cheap and where else are you going to get them? So I dealt with the cost, and got them shipped over.
As of today HM Revenue and Customs have had them for a total of 36 days and will not reply to me about the matter, despite all of my efforts. They haven’t bothered to get in touch about the fact they’re held up, I don’t know if they’ve confiscated them (their website says if they have, they should contact me about it), or simple stolen them off me, because they will not talk to me about the matter.
Parcel Force say they can’t help as it’s a customs issue and their site simply says ‘ In Progress’ (link to that here). So I’m guessing that I’m not getting them, meaning I’m going to now have to get a solicitor involved in the matter, in the hope that they either release them or compensate me. I’ll certainly think twice about trying to import parts again. And HM Revenue and Customs clearly aren’t to be trusted.
If you’re thinking of importing parts from the US, beware.