This is going to sound like a whining whinging moan and basically it is, no i mean it’s a joke, it has to be. I recently aquired a Moonlte CS focuser from a friend who got it for his Celestron EDGE 8, a Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope. I needed a replacement flange to fit my 8 inch Ritchey Chretien, simple enough I’ll just order one online. Rother Valley Optics do replacement CS flanges for £59.99 ( regardless of what type you need the price is the same ) just not the one I need, our European telescope suppliers where the same so I turned to the United States and the manufacturer; MoonLite Telescope Accessories, who do indeed make a flange for my needs. I promptly ordered one at £57 and £23.59 shipping and handling, this was on the 1st February 2018 it was then packaged, processed and left the US from the JFK International Airport to arrive at London Heathrow on the morning of the 4th ( hats off to the Americans, thats quick ) then leaves heathrow at 7.58am the same morning by Parcelforce, this is where it get’s good. It then takes 2 days to get to Parcelforce Coventry and spends the next 7 days held in customs, being looked at, poked, pondered over, looked at again, passed around the canteen a few times then finally reboxed and put on a shelf and forgoten about for a while ( come on it’s a metal ring with a 90mm thread on one side and a dovetail on the other not weapons, contraband, drugs or any of that stuff ).
It’s a flange for a telescope focuser. It clears customs on the 13th and Parcelforce attempt delivery on the 14th ( note i say attempt ) I get text updates on tracking and i see attempt. I phone Parcelforce only to be told that there is a fee to pay, “how much says I, £28.55 says she, your’e having a giggle at my expence says I”. Undettered she says ” It’s £8 Handling fee and £20.55 VAT, if you dont pay it will be sent back to sender”, “that sounds very green and enviromentally friendly to me says I”. I have little choice but to pay, and it will now be delivered on the 15th ???. So this flange, if I could buy it here in the uk would cost me £59.99, in the end it’s cost £109.14. Now one for the maths genius’s among you, VAT being 20% what the heck has customs used to calculate a £20.55 VAT charge ???.
I rekon it was someone with a poor grasp of basic mathematics and a broken abacus.