California state taxation issue

From a user in Reddit:

"I got this email this morning (posted below). It basically says they wont ship 8K Plus orders to Californians until they cough up some more money because Pimax forgot to include sales tax on the orders. To their credit, they are going to share in to cost, but after my stretch goals being extorted away, this still tastes bad.

Did anybody else get an email like this Today?

“ Dear Xxxxxxxx

Sorry to inform to all California’s customers, we can’t start the shipment due to the sale taxes matter. According to the state taxation bureau, all items must imposed by 8.66%. But we did make a mistake by without putting it on the website. We are willing to bear the remaining taxes with you paid the 4%. For example, $849 * 4% = $33.96, you have to pay $33.96, before we can arrange the shipment on your order. Please hit on the link to make the payment on this particular issue. Once again, we are so sorry for causing so much inconvenience!"


Only things sure in life are death and taxes.


The entitled generation have no idea how lucky they are.

Imagine crying over an unforseen 30 dollars shipping fee when buying a heavy package sent from China to USA (or other long distance), as if some terrible ethical sin against their person has occured.

If they don’t like it, they can easily buy an inferior technology VR headset, in stock, in their own country.


Even though (for a change) not making any mistake in the chain from “person clicks order” to “person unpackages product and considers it wonderful” would be helpful and much needed:
On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being universal happiness and 10 the last stage of a zombie apocalypse, I’d say this is a solid 1.001.


For use in Sweden we will get a msg from deliver Company you have to pay **** amount Before we can deliver this.




Well, she does a much needed job with jumping around on certain person’s toes as long and often as it takes. Less the elephant type herself, more kind of an antibody… :slight_smile:


DHL Express is notorious for that in Canada. On Average they have always charged me an extra $20 to $40 Canadian. When I bought the p4k for I think it was $400ca they charged an extra $25ca.


… And Pimax delays

You elect Socialists you pay Socialists. It’s that simple. And when you don’t elect them, the poor mob lacking education in economics will elect them - and you’ll still get taxed. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

That Pimax carries half of a tax - that’s crazy. Tax is a consumer tax - carried by the consumer.


I have no clue how it is in the US.

But they tried to do the same for EU in the past (including VAT in store) which they have no right to do. Yes, we need to pay the tax, but not to Pimax but during import. In US it might be different though.

If they advertised wrong price (does not matter if by mistake) you definitely have right for refund if they are not willing to keep it.

There are other shady practices like different shipping prices. For example most EU countries they ask shipping $60, but me, also in EU, I had to pay $120. Even though they admitted it was mistake and at start responded in forum claiming they fixed it, it still remained at $120. At the end I resigned as I did not want waste hours over just $60.

I have learned how it might work from another recent Kickstarter (Tilt Five, a cool AR glasses project).

They are a US company and have a registered warehouse in the Netherlands. They will pay for importing the glasses to Netherland (or let’s better say: the import was already included in the averaged out pledge price). But they have to pay VAT to the target countries. It is as if this Netherland warehouse would be a store: They import stuff and sell it to EU citizens - which results in added VAT.

So what they did is to collect VAT via Backerkit from each EU citizen. No further customs actions needed from the backer side, the package will just arrive as if it came from Europe. This approach imho makes sense and plausibly explains why we have to pay VAT to the manufacturer in some cases and to customs in others.

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The amount of money isn’t really the issue her is it? The issue is that -again- a customer made a deal with Pimax, and then afterwards Pimax change the deal.


That is purely incompetence by international sales and by the guy who set up the renewed online store. I wouldn’t assume malice. What is worse, you judge by yourself.

At least they’re trying to get it fixed. I hope they keep documentation on the how-to’s, after all these expensive lessons.

To be fair though: Other companies have entire sales departments and chains to the vendors for this. I bet with the many manhours sunk into fixing the issues from and post Pimax Day 1 / 2 , they could’ve employed one or two people just for that.

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That may or may not be true, but that’s also not the issue. As a customer you are not doing business with individual employees. You agree with the selling company to buy a product at price X, and then both parties are bound to that unless both parties agree to undo or change the deal. That’s basic consumer law.


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Yes, but it does NOT include taxes/duties and that alike. It’s just we Europeans are used tax (import and VAT actually are the very same thing) to be included in the advertised price it is not mandatory (as every B2B shop will give you pricing excluding VAT also in Europe). Neither does it entitle the customer to exppect the vendor coming up for it. There’s also NO law that would bind foreign sellers (like Pimax) to stat tax being included oir not in the advertised proce as it is within the EU. Matter of fact, if you purchase abroad and it is not explictedly stated, better be prepared to cash up the percentage you know your local VAT is on import. And as @JoCool and @NoamLoop have already correctly explained: this is nothing that you pay the vendor but your local fiscal ministry. Not happy, emigrate but it’l be hard to find a place this is not comon practice. But, and this is also true, abroad vendors is not entitled to cash in or invoice any taxes unless they issue proper invoices with taxes stated (which they would have to pay to the destination country, not China) and guarantee doorstep delivery with NO additional costs to the buyer. There’s yet to see a crowdfunding or even regular maufacturer shipping from China to be capable of this (5 copies of proper proforma invoices with taxes affiliated to a registered body) so leaving it to the customer to bail out their coods from customs appear to stay a while. The only solution for e.g. Pimax was to cooperate with vendors taking care of the pesky import bureaucracy.


Regarding EU, lets not forget Valve charges approx 22% more for each unit in EU, which covers the average EU tax/VAT. Oculus charges rougly 26% more in EU. Compared to US price. 399 USD vs 449Eur, which in todays currency is a difference of around 100 USD.

The VAT or tax in these stores is baked in to the EU price. We are considering a similar way of setting EU prices, to avoid problems.

Edit: seems like USD currency have catched up a little on Euro recently, so its not 100USD difference anymore. But still…


That is how EU citizens are used to see prices btw., prices from EU stores to EU end customers even have to be provided as “incl. VAT”.

Customer Z buys product A at company Y. Company Y charges customer Z amount X. Customer pays amount X. Customer Z waits for company Y to send product. Company Y realizes they made a mistake in calculating amount X and wants to change the deal to amount Q.

As a company owner inside the EU, I can tell you that the exact process is that
company Y is supposed to charge the VAT to customer Z and then pay that amount as taxes to state/country P. So whenever I sell you something (like 3D printed Vive DAS adapters for Pimax headset) for like € 10 excluding VAT, I bill you €12,10 including 21% VAT and that is what you pay me. If I charge you € 10,00 the price excluding VAT would be € 10 / 1,21 = € 8,26 and I would have to pay the remaining € 1,74 as taxes. The core of the matter is that the state charges VAT to my company, and I anticipate on it by taking it into account when I calculate my selling prices.

Now, it could very well be the case that in China and/or in TS’s country, the customer is supposed to pay the taxes directly to the state. In that case, Pimax is not at all bound to pay any of the 8,66%, and it would indeed be a nice gesture for them to pay any of it. The part that I do not understand is where they say that they cannot send product A before customer Z pays them 4% extra. If it’s between customer Z and state P, go ahead and send the product. If it’s between company Y and state P, company Y pays the taxes to state P and may or may not decide to charge customer Z for it - beforehand.

There is one more issue to address: VAT and import taxes are two totally different things. I charge my local customers VAT, or Value Added Taxes, just as my customers in other countries. Import taxes (or import tariffs, rather) may or may not be charged if a product or service leaves one country and enters another. It all depends on trade agreements between the countries involved.

Could it be the case here that this is not VAT at all, and we are seeing dear Mr. President Trump’s famous import taxes against China at work?

If the tax/tariffs are charged to the customer, Pimax is not held to pay any part of it, and they should send the headset because the customer will pay directly to the state. If the tax/tariffs are charged to Pimax, they can’t just decide to have the customer pay for it after the agreement was made.

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In Sweden it is illigale to only show price without vat/tax if it sell to private persons, not blaming Pimax at all here, just state the facts.