For quite a long time (more than two years) I’ve been importing supplements from the U.S.
The supplements I imported were acetyl-l-carnitine and alpha lipoic acid combined pills. I’m not suggesting everyone rush out and buy them, but there is some evidence - albeit ambivalent - that they may be helpful for MS (so I’m not immune from the supplement bandwagon, either).
These pills are marketed here in the UK (e.g. at Amazon), albeit not at the exact same doses, and certainly not at competitive prices - hence I’ve always imported them.
Until recently, it’s worked fine. The company had a UK website for placing the orders, but they still got dispatched from the US.
After a few days, I’d get a note from Royal Mail, on behalf of Customs and Excise, that there was import VAT to pay. Expected, and quickly and conveniently paid online - then the goods would come.
But lately, the company announced they were closing the UK website, but UK customers could still order direct from the US website. Fine, I thought. The stuff always came from the US anyway, so shouldn’t make any material difference - just using a different portal. Even better, the US prices worked out a LOT cheaper, and they had a lot more choice, and a lot more special offers. In particular, they had a special offer on high-strength biotin, so after all the recent discussion here, I thought I’ll just try.
So I ordered almost a year’s worth of my usual supplement, at the offer price, and then three months of biotin at the special price too, and the whole lot together came to almost £100.
I got an order confirmation, and a dispatch note saying it had left, but it’s been nearly three weeks now, and no note from Customs & Excise saying you have a parcel, and there’s duty to pay.
I’m starting to think I’ve lost the whole £100-worth, because the seller say they have no responsibility for what happens after it reaches your country - specifically if it’s impounded/confiscated by Customs & Excise. They say it’s the customer’s responsibility to check.
Do you think the biotin might have been illegal? I can’t think it is the other stuff, because I’ve been ordering it for years, and it has always arrived no problem. Wouldn’t Customs & Excise even tell me if my goods had been seized and destroyed?
I’m quite concerned, as £100 of supplements is an awful lot to just write off, and I doubt I’ll be covered by the seller. I suppose I might be able to claim on my credit card - but not if it turns out I tried to import something that’s not allowed. But shouldn’t they still have delivered the part of the consignment that is allowed - the stuff I’ve always ordered in the past without a problem?
If anything has been declared prohibited, I can only think it is the biotin, and then only because of the dose (10000 micrograms), as I know biotin can be legally bought and sold here.
Anyone else had problems importing high doses? Is it likely it’s been confiscated? Wouldn’t they inform me?
A friend of my mother’s once (illegally) sent her diazepam through the post, and it disappeared without trace. I think it had probably been confiscated and destroyed, but Mum was never informed, and I discouraged her from pursuing it, because what she was trying to do was illegal in the first place. So I’m not sure whether they do inform you. It just doesn’t come.