Did Vimenpaq AND La Aduana Steal Money from Me?

Lucas61

Well-known member
Jun 13, 2014
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retired English teacher (30 years)
I believe that they BOTH did. The purpose of this post is twofold: (1) Maybe my allegations are mistaken in some way and a member here can correct me, (2), If not, this post is a warning to people who use Vimenpaq when items are taxed via customs. A couple things to note: First, I have never had an issue with the hundreds of packages I have received from Vimenpaq that did not pass through customs. Second, but neither did I have a problem with Vimenpaq AND Customs—until recently. I believe that both entities are now “on the take.”

Here’s my case: Rounding to the nearest 10, I ordered a box from Amazon that weighed 10 pounds and contained two items, one with the value of 250 USD and the other of 100 USD.

Care to guess what I paid for tax and transport? How about a whopping RD$ 10,184.00?

First, La Aduana, I paid via BanReservas RD$4,829. Now let’s calculate the tax on the single item with a value > $200.00 USD. 50% of $250.00 is $50.00, converting to pesos: 50(55) = RD$ 2,750.00 the amount of taxes I expected to pay. Well if you look at the invoice total, $350.00 which includes the $100.00 non-taxable item, 20% of $350 is $70.00 (55) = $3,850, it seems that they also taxed me on the item that was non-taxable. The additional money totalling RD$4,829, I cannot account for.

Hamlet Castillo, a bilingual manager at Vimenpaq, confirms that Customs stated that I was charged for the total invoice. So let’s re-state the Customs’ policy: Any package with a single taxable item triggers the same 20% tax on non-taxable items. Up until now, Hamlet has been very helpful. Now he’s talking gibberish. To charge taxes on non-taxble items because they’re in the same box as taxable ones is such a blatant disregard of Customs' own rules.

Now let’s look at the Vimenpaq charges. They charge RD$ 277 per pound, so 277(10) = RD$ 2,770.00. So where does the Vimenpaq charge of RD$ 5,355.00 come from?

a. Correcion DGA RD$ 2,000
b. Desaduanizcion RD$ 1,300
c. Combustible RD$ 322

RD$ 3,622!! That’s more than the transport cost. So the actual transport cost is about 2(277) = RD$ 554.00 per pound.

We have an expression for charges like this in the United States. They are called “padding the bill,” passing on fraudulent charges under the guise of normalcy.

Hamlet Castillo is lying through is teeth when he explains these "normal" charges and I don’t expect any help from him. Vimenpaq is “on the take” and he’s protecting his job. Ditto for La Aduana. The amount of money I’d have to pay a RT Uber to go to their office would be mooted even if they were to refund me, which is highly unlikely, given many similar experiences in this country. If you try to get redress from a business entitiy that cheats you, you will rapidly descend down a rabbit hole of stories and lies that are transparent in their stupidity. I will never order from Vimenpaq another items that passes through Customs. I calculate they they cheated me out of RD$ 4,387.00—from a customer who’s always given them good business.
 

NotLurking

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First, La Aduana, I paid via BanReservas RD$4,829. Now let’s calculate the tax on the single item with a value > $200.00 USD. 50% of $250.00 is $50.00, converting to pesos: 50(55) = RD$ 2,750.00 the amount of taxes I expected to pay.
Your math is wrong here 50% 0f 250 = 125 x 55 = RD$6,875
 

NotLurking

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Here is one of my bills from Domex for a $239 cellphone for my son that weighed 1.6 lbs plus another small item under $200 for comparison.
1657154524010.png
 

Lucas61

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Jun 13, 2014
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Compared to mine, your bill seems reasonable. You have one taxable item with a value of $239.00. 20% tax is $47.80 (RD$ 55) = RD$2629 which is very close to your total. Now that I've signed my for Domex for my cigar order of < 10, I will use Domex in the future for taxable items and stay the hell away from Vimenpaq.
 
Feb 7, 2007
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You are taxed on a value of purchase, not on a per item basis. Your purchase had been 350 USD, not 250 USD, you are charged tax on 350 USD, period. There is no pero, quizas, veremos, it{s tax on whole purchase, period. Else I would bring in a container of goods of under 200 USD each and would pay no tax.
You were taxed on 350 USD, that's correct.
If your item did not have invoice, you would be charged change of customs category in the DR. If your item had invoice from origin, your package should be put into taxable category in Miami and not changed category in the DR (possibility to reclaim the 2000 pesos paid for the reclassification category).

There are 3 categories of taxes - ITBIS 18%, most of goods but very few pay this. Gravamen (customs duty) that range from 3% to 20%, about half the goods. Selectivo 10% to 20% specific goods. Your final duties are calculated as
CIF (cost of goods, insurance, freight) * gravamen = customs duties
(CIF + customs duties ) * selectivo = selective tax
(CIF + gravamen + selectivo) * ITBIS = ITBIS

you would pay (assume maximum taxes apply) as follows
350 * 0.2 = 70
420 * 0.2 = 84
504 * 0.18 = 91
total taxes and duties paid = 245 USD

Mn top of that you would pay fee to Vimenpaq for customs clearance services, for which they charge you 1300 pesos.

Moral of the story = do not bring in packages that have a total value of more than 199 USD
Moral of the story 2 = do not bring in multiple packages in a single day that have a total value of more than 199 USD
 
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Feb 7, 2007
8,005
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Here is one of my bills from Domex for a $239 cellphone for my son that weighed 1.6 lbs plus another small item under $200 for comparison.

And you paid less than you actually should have, your taxes due were 65 USD on 8% gravamen and 18% ITBIS, 500 pesos to INDOTEL for VUCE process (telecommunications equipment) and 1300-2000 pesos customs clearance process. Your true costs should have been 5375 to 6075 pesos on that 236 dollar cellphone, SO you actually saved quite a lot of money.
 
Feb 7, 2007
8,005
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Compared to mine, your bill seems reasonable. You have one taxable item with a value of $239.00. 20% tax is $47.80 (RD$ 55) = RD$2629 which is very close to your total. Now that I've signed my for Domex for my cigar order of < 10, I will use Domex in the future for taxable items and stay the hell away from Vimenpaq.

You have absolutely no idea how custom process works, neither here nor in any other country. I have seen Canadians paying 100+ dollars on 50+ dollar items bought from China and flown in by DHL etc.. In this particular case, neither Vimenpaq nor Aduana did anything wrong to you, are not on the take, they had not conspired against you, etc... move on.
 

NotLurking

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And you paid less than you actually should have, your taxes due were 65 USD on 8% gravamen and 18% ITBIS, 500 pesos to INDOTEL for VUCE process (telecommunications equipment) and 1300-2000 pesos customs clearance process. Your true costs should have been 5375 to 6075 pesos on that 236 dollar cellphone, SO you actually saved quite a lot of money.
Well I've paid less than I should for all my over US$200 shipments because they follow the pattern of the above posted bill.
 

NotLurking

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You are taxed on a value of purchase, not on a per item basis. Your purchase had been 350 USD, not 250 USD, you are charged tax on 350 USD, period. There is no pero, quizas, veremos, it{s tax on whole purchase, period. Else I would bring in a container of goods of under 200 USD each and would pay no tax.
You were taxed on 350 USD, that's correct.
Also the total aggregated purchase price of a few things exceeding US$200 can be circumvented by buying and shipping each item individually.
 

william webster

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Jan 16, 2009
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Never, never, never combine purchases into one shipment..... sacred rule

3 $75 purchases will trigger the $200 rule when combined..... singly... $0 tax, freight only

It's the'package' - not the items
 

JD Jones

Moderator - Covid 19 in DR & North Coast
Jan 7, 2016
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I've noted that more than once the folks at Domex have "massaged" the handling of some of my packages, especially with items over $200 which saved me a lot of money. Not always, but occasionally.

I get the feeling from Lucas; I once bought a compressor for my A/C (TGM, so much for parts available EVERYWHERE!) and the costs from Aduanas were ridiculous. NOT through Domex, I wish I had used them.

The combination of charges were as much as the part itself. I held onto the customs P/W forever because I was going to investigate what transpired but finally tossed it-some things are not worth the hassle.
 

Lucas61

Well-known member
Jun 13, 2014
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retired English teacher (30 years)
You are taxed on a value of purchase, not on a per item basis. Your purchase had been 350 USD, not 250 USD, you are charged tax on 350 USD, period. There is no pero, quizas, veremos, it{s tax on whole purchase, period. Else I would bring in a container of goods of under 200 USD each and would pay no tax.
You were taxed on 350 USD, that's correct.
If your item did not have invoice, you would be charged change of customs category in the DR. If your item had invoice from origin, your package should be put into taxable category in Miami and not changed category in the DR (possibility to reclaim the 2000 pesos paid for the reclassification category).

There are 3 categories of taxes - ITBIS 18%, most of goods but very few pay this. Gravamen (customs duty) that range from 3% to 20%, about half the goods. Selectivo 10% to 20% specific goods. Your final duties are calculated as
CIF (cost of goods, insurance, freight) * gravamen = customs duties
(CIF + customs duties ) * selectivo = selective tax
(CIF + gravamen + selectivo) * ITBIS = ITBIS

you would pay (assume maximum taxes apply) as follows
350 * 0.2 = 70
420 * 0.2 = 84
504 * 0.18 = 91
total taxes and duties paid = 245 USD

Mn top of that you would pay fee to Vimenpaq for customs clearance services, for which they charge you 1300 pesos.

Moral of the story = do not bring in packages that have a total value of more than 199 USD
Moral of the story 2 = do not bring in multiple packages in a single day that have a total value of more than 199 USD
Thanks for these details and explanations. My understanding is that there is a firm rule: Any import with a value > than 200 USD triggers routing through Customs and 20% taxation. But according to you, that is false. Suppose that a packge had no items of a value of $200.00. There would be no taxation. The reason is that items with a value < 200 are not taxed. But then you say that ONE item with a value of $200.00 triggers an identical 20% tax on items with a value less than 200, values that would otherwise be ignored. This is an inherent contradiction of the rule.

And I understand that courier services have departments that interface with La Aduana to process the paperwork. This work entails nothing more than eschanging a few emails and is part of customer service. I could undersand a fee of RD$ 1,000 or something like that but don't tell me that that these front loaded charges that EXCEED the cost of transportation are justified. This is FRAUD. And a fee for "Combustible"? Last I heard, metal is not flammable.
 

Lucas61

Well-known member
Jun 13, 2014
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retired English teacher (30 years)
I've noted that more than once the folks at Domex have "massaged" the handling of some of my packages, especially with items over $200 which saved me a lot of money. Not always, but occasionally.

I get the feeling from Lucas; I once bought a compressor for my A/C (TGM, so much for parts available EVERYWHERE!) and the costs from Aduanas were ridiculous. NOT through Domex, I wish I had used them.

The combination of charges were as much as the part itself. I held onto the customs P/W forever because I was going to investigate what transpired but finally tossed it-some things are not worth the hassle.
That's what hurts. You know you've been burned but action is not worth the hassle.
 

Lucas61

Well-known member
Jun 13, 2014
741
75
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retired English teacher (30 years)
You have absolutely no idea how custom process works, neither here nor in any other country. I have seen Canadians paying 100+ dollars on 50+ dollar items bought from China and flown in by DHL etc.. In this particular case, neither Vimenpaq nor Aduana did anything wrong to you, are not on the take, they had not conspired against you, etc... move on.
Maybe I am ignorant or maybe you are an apologist for La Aduana; likely it is a point in between.
 

william webster

Platinum
Jan 16, 2009
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No---- ALL ORDERS...must be less than $200 to avoid tax..... DO NOT GROUP PURCHASES !!

I have heard that even different packages arriving the same day will be hit....
Aduana limits your import to $200.... 3 separate packages of $75 arriving same day can trigger it too

I have heard that - so stagger the delivery dates