Shopping Online: ASOS

Online shopping in South Africa ASOS | All Dolled Up

There’s been lots of discussion in the blog comments and on our Twitter feed recently about buying beauty products online, and specifically the customs duties that come along with importing goods from overseas. The official policy is that orders with a value under R500 (excluding shipping) are exempt from customs duties and it has always been my advice to people that they should place small orders to avoid this. I had heard however that this policy wasn’t applied consistently and people were getting charged duties even on orders under the threshold, so I thought I would test it out myself.

Online shopping in South Africa ASOS | All Dolled Up

I placed an order with ASOS who stock brands like NARS, Benefit, BarryM and Too Faced (full list here) and deliver to SA for free. The total value of the order was Β£16. I paid with my South African credit card and with the exchange rate at the time, it worked out to R302.43.

Online shopping in South Africa ASOS | All Dolled Up

The order arrived at the post office within 10 days (their policy is that it will be delivered within 11 working days but it was quicker than that) and I had to go and collect it. At this point, having heard all your horror stories, I fully expected to have to fork out customs duties but the package was handed to me with no charge.

Online shopping in South Africa ASOS | All Dolled Up

I know that isn’t everyone’s experience and I can absolutely believe that the post office applies customs duties whenever it bloody feels like it, but I like to think that my “small order” theory works. And with regular sales and generally competitive prices otherwise (e.g. my favourite Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer that you can’t get in SA is Β£5.49), I think it’s definitely worth a try.

What do you think? Have you had any experiences shipping items to SA from overseas? Would you use ASOS to buy beauty products?

26 comments on Shopping Online: ASOS

  • Chantelle

    I’m pretty sure my post office just slaps on duties at random. Last ebay purchase – R40 (it was marked by the seller at $15 value and they didn’t open the box which is a good thing, since the $70 invoice was inside). Previous parcel from the UK was marked as a gift worth Β£50 and they charged R15 duties. But as long as it’s small duty amounts I’m ok with it.

    BTW, did NOT know ASOS did free delivery. Not necessarily a good thing O_o

    • Jules (author)

      I hate that we don’t seem to have control over it as consumers – what’s the point of the CPA then?!

  • Anye

    I have has similar experience with custom duties. I once bought makeupgeek shadows – 3 of them and paid no custom duty. I then decided to buy 4 as the total in R value was still under R500 and I ended up paying about R80 in custom duties. I have a theory that they keep your name on record and keep watch on how much you purchase and when.

    • Jules (author)

      Either that, or they just rip you off when they feel like it πŸ™

  • Sandra Wiese

    I agree, I also had a similar experience with CherryCulture, bought goodies within 10 days custom free at my post office, BUT I also try to stay below R500.

    • Jules (author)

      Oooh I must look at CherryCulture! *slaps own hand away from keyboard*

  • Melissa

    Consider yourself lucky then Jules. I buy from ASOS probably every week. Clothing and beauty products. I always stay under the threshold but do get nailed with customs 9/10 times. I once ordered 2 t shirts, exactly the same, two separate orders. They arrived on the same day, I had to pay in for one and not the other. Logic? None.

    • Jules (author)

      It is as I suspected! It really irritates me, especially because we should be protected from this sort of thing by the CPA. Need to get Carte Blanche involved πŸ˜‰

  • Astrid Sanders

    Yay, I’ve been waiting for a post on international online shopping. Knowing that delivery is free and that speedy feels dangerous. Keep calm dear heart! Anyway thank you for the informative post! πŸ™‚

    • Jules (author)

      Pleasure! Happy shopping xx

  • Bronwyn

    I have made quite a few orders, only one of them was over R500, and every single time I have had to pay customs of over 50%. Most orders were around R300 and I paid R170 or so in duties. So the threshold literally doesn’t exist for me. I would definitely try ASOS though now…will let you know if they charge me customs on it again!

    • Jules (author)

      50%?! That’s extortion. I’m pretty sure we’re all victims of corruption at the post office. Wish there was a way to enforce our rights as consumers in cases like this.

  • Desle

    Thank you fo this great post. I have alway been scared to do overseas online shopping. Great advice. Xx

  • Keitu

    Hi Guys

    I recently ordered a dress, the promised delivery date is fast approaching. How will I know that the goods have arrived in SA for collection?

    • Jules (author)

      Hi Keitu – the Post Office will probably get in touch to let you know that the package is waiting for you at the nearest depot. Look out for a delivery notice from them in your post box πŸ™‚

  • Keitu

    You are a star Jules. Thanks!

  • Keitu

    Hi Guys

    My order has not arrived and its already 7 days outside of the promised delivery date. No word from the post office or anyone. I sent through a query via the asos customer care, but they are telling me i should a while longer. What can I do in the mean time. This is my first time ordering from asos, I had such high hopes….. HELP!!

    • Christine

      I’m also still waiting for a delivery from them, but it is not Asos’s fault so there’s nothing they can do – it’s either stuck at customs or the post office. I’m assuming with all the public holidays we’ve had there’s quite a backlog of deliveries, maybe contact your local post office to check if it’s there, and they just haven’t sent the slip out yet?

      • Keitu

        My issue is that, does customs or the post office contact you when your goods arrive? In that case I might as well be patient because of the public holidays as Jules mentioned. I was thinking of contacting the local post office, but what do I say to them if I do not have a tracking number?

        • Christine

          Your local Post Office contacts you – you get a slip in the mail like with any other package delivery, stating where to pick up your package and how much customs duty you owe. Without a tracking number it’s difficult, maybe your post office will look in the back if you ask them nicely? Worth a try!

        • Anye

          Try contacting the following person:Ben.Blignaut@postoffice.co.za. I had the same problem a while back and google revealed he is the go to person. Just tell him where your ordered from, your address, tracking number (from Asos) etc and he might be able to tell you if it is in SA yet. He helped me. Good luck

    • Jules (author)

      I think you’ll just have to be patient – sometimes there can be some delays with delivery, especially with all the recent public holidays. If you don’t hear from the Post Office in the next few weeks then I would enquire with ASOS about a refund (they do give them).

  • Mash

    Hi

    Has anyone ordered shoes online before. Just wondering what the custom costs will be on them. Do they calculate same as clothing?

  • Tessa

    I’ve tried to order Nars from ASOS and there seems to be shipping restrictions to South Africa & they only ship to European countries except for their lipsticks & lip liners. Huge disappointment!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *