UPS delivery wants me to pay £32 to release my urgent letter to Italy

I used UPS to deliver an urgent letter with my notarised signature to my sister in Italy. Three weeks later, I was asked to upload an “invoice for my goods”, or to authorise destruction of my envelope or its return to myself at my own cost. I repeatedly pointed out that I had no invoice since the envelope did not contain goods, but no response. I uploaded a photo of the document and, the following day, we were asked to pay €37 (£32) to release the item. We had no choice but to pay and contest it later, but UPS claims it has no record of the case.
LN, London

Brexit has unleashed chaos within the delivery system now goods sent between the UK and the EU are liable for import VAT and, if they cost over a certain sum, customs duty. Your letter was not goods, however, and you had duly stated the contents on the label. You couldn’t get UPS to accept this and nor, for three weeks, could I.

The company, rated “one star” on Trustpilot because of late or missing deliveries, told me your sister had provided an invoice stating that the parcel was worth £50, which prompted a customs charge UPS paid on your behalf. This is nonsense. Italy charges customs on goods worth more than €150 and your sister did not upload any invoice because there wasn’t one. When I put this to UPS it took a further fortnight before it decided the customs charge was a mistake and would be refunded. It was finally received … after another three weeks of chasing.

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