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Duty & Tax Collection

Understanding DAP/DDU vs. DDP

November 06. 2023

Time to read: 4 min

For businesses venturing into international markets, understanding the intricacies of shipping methods is essential. While your products will ultimately reach their destination, the way they get there and who bears the associated costs can vary significantly.


Delivered at Place (DAP) also known as Delivery Duty Unpaid (DDU) and Delivered Duty Paid (DDP) are two international commercial terms, also known as incoterms, frequently encountered by sellers entering the realm of cross-border commerce. Each option presents a unique blend of advantages and disadvantages, shaping the international shipping process. It's crucial to delve into the nuances to make informed decisions that benefit both your business and your customers.


Introducing DutyPlus: Bridging the Gap Between DDU/DAP and DDP


With Plusius' innovative DutyPlus solution, the complexities associated with DDU/DAP become a thing of the past. DutyPlus seamlessly solves the problem with delayed customs clearance due to unpaid duties and taxes linked to DDU/DAP shipments. This revolutionary solution not only streamlines the entire process but also enhances customer satisfaction by eliminating surprise fees upon delivery.



What Is Delivered Duty Unpaid (DDU/DAP) Shipping?


Delivered Duty Unpaid, often referred to as Delivered at Place (DAP), refers to a shipping arrangement where the receiving customer assumes responsibility for all taxes, duties, and customs fees necessary for customs clearance in the destination country.


Upon arrival, the buyer is notified of customs charges, typically based on the declared value of the shipment, and any requisite documentation. These fees must be settled upfront by the customer before they can legally take possession of their order.


Seller Obligations Under DDU/DAP Shipping


In DDU/DAP terms, sellers cover all services required to facilitate the order's journey to the destination country. This includes inventory receiving, storage, order fulfillment, labor, insurance, and shipping expenses. As the entity conducting international sales, sellers must supply all documentation essential for exporting goods and obtaining import clearance authorization for the customer upon arrival.


In the event of issues during shipping, such as damage or loss of items, it is the seller's responsibility to rectify the situation and bear any associated costs. However, once the package reaches the specified location, any additional costs become the buyer's responsibility.


Buyer Obligations Under DDU/DAP Shipping


Buyer responsibilities commence immediately upon the arrival of a DDU/DAP shipment at the agreed-upon destination. Customs will likely provide notification, depending on the parcel carrier used and whether tracking is available.


As the party responsible for importing the products, buyers are accountable for all tax charges, customs duties, and the provision of necessary documentation for customs clearance in the destination country. They must either personally receive the goods or arrange and pay for additional shipping to their residence or warehouse.


What Is Delivered Duty Paid (DDP) Shipping?


Delivered Duty Paid (DDP) shipping places the onus of paying for all duties, taxes, and the import/export of goods on the seller, rather than the customer. In DDP shipments, sellers are also responsible for transporting the order to the location specified by the customer. Simply put, if a merchant opts to charge sales tax and fees in addition to international shipping during checkout, it becomes their responsibility to ensure smooth cross-border commerce.


Seller Obligations Under DDP Shipping


Apart from delivering the goods, sellers must either collect sufficient funds at the point of sale to cover customs duties or assume these costs themselves. Sellers are responsible for ensuring they comply with all necessary requirements to obtain customs clearance and prevent parcels from being delayed. Seller obligations cease only when the goods are in the buyer's possession.


Buyer Obligations Under DDP Shipping


Customers must remit payment to the seller for the goods, either in full at the time of purchase or according to a mutually agreed-upon payment plan. It is also the buyer's duty to furnish the merchant with comprehensive delivery instructions and to retrieve the goods upon arrival.


Key Differences Between DDU/DAP and DDP Shipping


In summary, here is a quick overview of the distinctions between DDU/DAP and DDP shipping:


DDP places the responsibility for all duties and taxes on the seller, while DDU/DAP assigns this responsibility to the buyer.


Risk shifts to the buyer once a DDU/DAP shipment reaches the destination country, while the seller retains risk until the shipment reaches its final destination.


Under DDU/DAP, buyers are responsible for documentation and import clearance, whereas DDP shipping places the onus on the seller for all import/export management.


The Significance of Understanding DDU/DAP and DDP Shipments for Merchants


Expanding your business to international markets opens up numerous sales opportunities, but it also introduces complexity due to customs duties and import processes that vary from country to country.


Ultimately, your choice between DDU/DAP and DDP shipments significantly impacts the level of management your business must handle when selling to international customers.


Regardless of the selected method, one party must assume responsibility for duties, taxes, and other costs and licenses associated with import clearance. The question is whether this responsibility should rest with you or your customer.


Irrespective of your choice, it is your duty as the seller to clearly communicate the charges involved and what your customers should expect, even if they are responsible for customs duties and taxes.


DDU/DAP works well when your buyers intend to import a substantial volume of items for resale or personal use. It grants your customers more control over the import process and where their goods are delivered. This is particularly beneficial for brands looking to expand to a diverse range of countries without needing in-depth knowledge of each country's customs systems.


However, it is crucial to note that DDU/DAP has become less common for standard e-commerce orders. When customers visit a direct-to-consumer e-commerce site, they do not anticipate surprise duties upon the arrival of their orders. Unexpected fees can lead to a poor customer experience and numerous complaints to your customer service team. This is why many third-party marketplaces, including Amazon, exclusively accept Delivered Duty Paid (DDP) shipments through their platform.


In summary, while DDU/DAP offers ease of use and requires less hands-on involvement, it does not absolve you entirely of understanding the taxes and duties applicable to an order.


DDP entails more responsibility, but it also reduces the likelihood of unhappy customers and protects your brand's reputation. Given the expectations for seamless e-commerce, anything other than DDP is likely to be met with dissatisfaction. If your target audience consists of end customers rather than resellers or business owners, DDU/DAP may not be the optimal choice.


Incorporating DutyPlus into your shipping process not only simplifies compliance but also transforms DDU/DAP into a seamless DDP experience. With DutyPlus, taxes are paid in advance at the checkout, eliminating surprise fees upon delivery and enhancing customer satisfaction.


Regardless of whether you opt for DDU/DAP or DDP shipments, it is imperative to comprehend your obligations as a merchant and the responsibilities of your customers. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, contingent on your business model and target customer demographic.