The transport and courier company DHL had charged consumers who had made purchases from online stores abroad a separate EUR 20 handover service fee upon acceptance of the delivery. This had come as a surprise to the consumers. DHL justified the introduction of the fee with the amount of work incurred from delivering the information and documents required for customs clearance to the consumer for self-service clearance.
Service price is one of the key terms of an agreement. In online shopping, vendors must provide consumers with key information on the properties and price of the goods before placing an order. The price must also include delivery charges and other fees, with the exception of any official fees, such as customs duty and VAT.
Consumers had not been informed of the fee charged by DHL for the handover service when placing an order. In addition, a handover service fee was charged for information required for clearing goods through customs and needed by consumers to fulfil their obligation to make the statutory customs clearance.
The Consumer Ombudsman found DHL’s practice to be an unreasonable contract term practice for consumers and, hence, in violation of the Consumer Protection Act. In the summer of 2017, DHL Express (Finland) Oy undertook to revise its practices. The package delivery and supply chain service provider UPS also gave up a similar fee as of 1 January 2018.