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Parcelforce Tracking: “Awaiting Payment of Customs Charges”

You’re expecting a delivery from Parcelforce and received an “Awaiting Payment of Customs Charges” update.

What does this mean exactly? Where is your package when you see this alert and who needs to pay the charges?

Let’s take a look…

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Summary: Awaiting Payment of Customs Charges

This tracking alert means that customs charges are owed on the shipment contents. In most cases, the recipient will be responsible for the payment of these fees. The amount is dependent on the value of the contents. However, a recipient within the U.K. will receive a notification from Parcelforce of the owed amount and how to pay it.

Awaiting Payment of Customs Charges – Guide

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This is one of the more self-explanatory tracking updates from Parcelforce.

It doesn’t stop it from being annoying or even sometimes a surprise to receive.

You may have thought that the sender had included tax and duties in the original charge for the item, and are now wondering why you need to pay extra.

Or maybe, the shipment has been sent by a friend and was marked as a gift, and the fact tax and duties have been added has made you want to dispute it.

Whatever the circumstances, as it stands, this alert means that fees are due on the shipment and it will not be released from customs until they are paid.

How Much Will the Charges Be?

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The amount owed on the item will depend on the value of the contents and the country the goods are arriving.

Essentially, where the value of the goods is above the minimum value for commercial items or gifts as set out by the customs authorities of the destination country, they will be assessed by those authorities and fees will be added.

For arrivals into the U.K, a letter and/or email detailing the owed charges will accompany (or closely follow) the arrival of the “Awaiting Payment of Customs Charges” update.

In other words, Parcelforce will notify you of the decision made by UK Border Force. You will then be able to pay the fees via the information provided.

But I think the Custom Charges are Incorrect


The important issue to realise is that there is no point in raising any dispute with Parcelforce.

The carrier has no bearing on the fees that are owed. It is completely the decision of the customs agency.

This means that for shipments arriving into the U.K where charges have been deemed necessary, you will need to contact UK Border Force with any questions or disputes. 

The details of the fees that Parcelforce sends you, will include the relevant contact information to do this.

What Happens After an “Awaiting Payment of Customs Charges” Update?

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There really are only two main outcomes after this alert from Parcelforce.

Prompt Payment of the Charges Owed

If, upon arrival of the details of the charges owed, the recipient promptly pays the package will be released from customs.

In the words of Parcelforce, after payment, the “automated system will recognise when you’ve done this and schedule the delivery for the following working day”.

In cases where you have received the alert but have no details of the amount owed, you will need to contact Parcelforce, cite the tracking number of the shipment, and find out what needs to be paid from there.

Disputing the Charges Owed

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If you decide to dispute the charges or have questions regarding them, your package will remain with customs until the issues are resolved.

Disputing the amount will often involve a back fourth with UK Border Force. 

If they decide to entertain the notion of your dispute, you will be required to provide evidence of the value of the item in terms of receipts and/or purchase orders. The process can take time.

The end result will hopefully be revised customs charges so that a lesser amount is owed.

Upon payment of this, the shipment will be released for delivery.

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